Preview: Crew vs. KC

Crew host struggling Wizards, look to extend East lead

The basics

Kansas City Wizards (3-8-3, 12 points, sixth in the East) vs. Columbus Crew (8-2-4, 28 points, first in the East), at Crew Stadium.

All-time series: The Crew lead 19-16-5 and are 11-7-3 in Columbus.

TV info

7:30 p.m. ET; ONN-TV, MLS Direct Kick

What's at stake

The Wizards are coming off a third straight loss after suffering a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Chivas USA. Against Columbus, KC have suffered six defeats and two ties in the past eight games, including the playoffs, so things don’t exactly look too good for them.

The Crew, meanwhile, are 2-0-1 since the end of the World Cup break and have won three straight in the series against the Wizards. They will be looking to kick off their three-game homestand on a positive note.

Last meeting

Reserve Emilio Renteria buried a header off a Guillermo Barros Schelotto corner kick in the 64th minute and William Hesmer had six saves to help the Crew to a 1-0 victory over the Wizards at CommunityAmerica Ballpark on May 23.

Remember when...

…Columbus turned around an early – and quick – two-goal deficit to eventually tie Kansas City 3-3 at Crew Stadium on July 17, 2008? The Wizards struck for goals in the 22nd and 24th minutes – a Frankie Hejduk own-goal and a Roger Espinoza redirect – to stun the home crowd momentarily. But the Crew rallied behind strikes from Schelotto, Alejandro Moreno and Chad Marshall to take the lead before Josh Wolff equalized for the Wizards in the 75th.

Heroes & Villains

Jimmy Conrad vs. Crew forwards – Conrad is the heart and soul of the Kansas City defense, but he had a subpar outing against Chivas USA. Whether it’s Jason Garey or Steven Lenhart starting for the Crew, their work rate and physicality present problems for any opposition. Conrad can’t afford to have another bad night.

Crew defenders vs. Kansas City attack – The back line had an uncharacteristic off-night at Houston last weekend but still managed a shutout with the aid of some amazingly poor finishing from the Dynamo. The Wizards have to hope the Crew flubs are a trend and not an aberration, and will have to finish any open chances around the goal.

Stat that makes you go “Hm…”

The Crew have a bit of a pattern going in the goals-allowed category over the past four games: 1, 0, 1, 0.

He said it

“We are fit. You could see that at the end of the game [on Saturday at Houston]. Even in the last minutes, we didn’t go to the corners to just hold the result. We were attacking.” – Crew coach Robert Warzycha, on his team’s play despite three MLS and two US Open Cup matches in a span of 15 days.