Well 4 MLS teams are out of action for a while with SuperLiga, but Columbus will host the KC Wizards, who are simply looking for something, anything to go right.
Kansas City Wizards at Columbus Cre - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick
KC has just one win since April 10th, and have scored just 2 goals in their last 5 matches while giving up 6. The Wizards need help scoring, only Kei Kamra has more than a single goal this year, he has 6 but hasn't done much lately. The Crew are 6-1-0 at home with a +6 goal differential with 11 scored and just 5 allowed, the Wizards come in without a road win and just a single road point as they are 0-5-1 with a -9 goal differential on the road with 11 allowed and only two scored.
The Crew are 8-2-4 and lead the Eastern Conference with their 28 points, I still am not as convinced as some that the Crew are this good, they have gotten some sketchy results but in this league they count the same as hard fought ones. They are 6-0-0 against teams from the Eastern Conference, which speaks volumes about the East this year. The Crew are as healthy as anyone in MLS with no injuries reported to the league. We all know that the Crew revolve around midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who has 5 goals (25% of the teams 20 goals) and 4 assists (30% of the teams 13 assists). Eddie Gaven has been improving and has 3 goals and 3 assists, second in each category for the team. This week GBS and Chad Marshall were both voted to the First XI for the MLS All Star match, but many believe that Schelotto will turn the chance to play against Manchester United down to rest.
There is no good news for KC, let's be honest at this point of the MLS season the team that started 2-0 have gone 1-8-3 since and may be the worst team in MLS after getting beat at home last weekend by Chivas. If they want to grasp for some straw, keeper Jimmy Nielsen got some huge fan support (nobody is sure how but he got more votes than Landon Donovan or Donovan Ricketts) in the All Star votes, but he was still unable to make the team. You know your team is in trouble when your top scorer is Kei Kamara who has talent but has never been a consistent player in MLS and his 6 goals so far this year is more than he has ever had in a season before. For me the biggest surprise is the collapse of their defense, which is anchored by one time USMNT stalwart Jimmy Conrad. It comes as no surprise that they recently traded to get him some help in the form of Shavar Thomas, but unless they can control possession in the midfield this one could and likely will get ugly quick.
I look for the Crew to put up an unimpressive effort and still come out with the 2-0 win.
if you want my SuperLiga rant, it is after the jump:
OK, I get it already, for SUM and MLS head Don Garber it is about the money and SuperLiga is clear proof of that. It is a tournament created by SUM (the marketing arm of MLS) in 2007 as a way to schedule "meaningful" matches between MLS team and teams from Mexico. I am not sure if the league continues to dangle the "$1 million dollar" prize for winning the tournament, it was this prize that exposed MLS and SUM as money hungry, see if a Mexican team won the tournament they would get the full amount for their players, but if a MLS team won the players would only see 15% of the prize money, the terms of the new CBA still haven't been made public so I don't know if this would be impacted by that same clause in the old CBA or not. So where was the other 85% going, to MLS of course, clear money grab.
I posted last week how it is clear that MLS loves their made for Mexican TV (no matches are live in English in the US) tournament, enough to still clear weeks of MLS action from the schedule of teams participating (in addition to the World Cup break). Most teams include these matches in their season ticket packages but after spending some time on bigsoccer.com I couldn't find many fans outside of the Chivas USA fans that were very excited by the prospects of playing in SuperLiga.
Yet, teams competing in the CONCACAF run Champions League get no such love from the league, as most are playing matches sandwiched between league matches, and two teams are playing qualifying match the night before the MLS All Star Match, and one has a match the same evening as the All Stars will face Manchester United in Houston.
I think I could like this tournament more if it weren't for the clear pandering to a very small segment of MLS fans, and if the league treated the players more fairly, and didn't make their obsession over this so clear. One only has to look at the fact that despite issues still on the MLS website, that they had no problem getting a dedicated site built for SuperLiga.
OK, my rant is over. I will not be watching or adding any coverage of SuperLiga (probably not a wise move for a guy hoping MLS will grant him media credentials for the All Star Match, but I have to be honest about how I feel).
Now go watch the Crew play pinata with the defense of the Wizards.
OFF MY SOAPBOX