Tonight's the big night. Two titans of the MLS crammed onto the wet and potentially very fast field at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.
LA brings an undefeated record, well-known players and the adulation of all. The Wizards bring a bunch of so-called "no-names" and a revamped style that swarmed DC United and Colorado and gave Seattle absolute fits.
This should be, like last week, the numero uno game in the MLS. The Wizards better bring their "A" game and the fans better bring their "A+" game.
Bonus points to whomever can name the movie (or at least one star) that I stole the headline for this post from. Hint: It's the title and chorus of a song in the movie.
Best Guess at formation
-----------------Nielsen---------------------The Seven Subs: Kronberg, Myers, Bunbury, Holhbein, Rocastle, Hirsig, Aiyegbusi
Battle to watchBuddle vs. Escobar/Besler
It would appear that Jimmy Conrad, at best, is struggling with the calf strain he picked up last week in Seattle. Which means the backline will likely be anchored by the youthful (but highly athletic) duo of Matt Besler and Pablo Escobar. Everyone knows that Buddle is a budding superstar capable of scoring goals in bunches. If he can find some space behind the two or catch them napping as Seattle did, the Wizards are in some trouble.
The RefereeHilario "Chico" Grajeda
Grajeda was the USASA Region II 2009 Referee of the Year. He was the man in charge last week in Houston's 3-0 victory over Chivas. He handed out just one card, a yellow.
Injury ReportKansas City
OUT: MF Zoltan Hercegfalvi (R knee sprain/torn ACL); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jimmy Conrad (L calf strain); PROBABLE: MF Stephane Auvray (R knee pain)Los Angeles
QUESTIONABLE: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee soreness); MF Dema Kovalenko (R hamstring strain); MF Eddie Lewis (L foot contusion); MF Clint Mathis (L knee surgery); DF Sean Franklin (L ankle sprain); DF Leonardo (R quad strain)
How's the weather?
You can't bring an umbrella, but you should bring a coat. According to Weather.com, the temperature at game-time will be 63 with a 65 percent chance of rain. Thunderstorms are expected around 9 p.m.
Questions you can ask
•How will the Donovan Ricketts respond to actual pressure?
Or perhaps, the more poignant question, can KC put pressure on the Galaxy keeper who has only been tasked with five saves this year? Seattle cut off the Wizards from shooting last week and, thus, controlled the game. The Galaxy will have a similar plan.
•How will LA get the ball to Buddle/Donovan?
Perhaps the only way to shut down Buddle/Donovan is to do an Italian job and close up shop and park the bus. This isn't how KC plays. Instead, they will try to pressure the supply by pushing the line up further on the field. The hope is that this draws the strikers toward the half-line searching for the ball and, the further from goal they are, the easier it is to stop them.
This will be a nervy game. Two of the top four teams in the league with only two-goals allowed between them? I hate predicting home draws for the Wizards, but this looks like it might have 1-1 plastered all over it. But, let's get a little optimistic:2-1 Kansas City (Kamara, Smith and Donovan on a PK).
Super bold prediction
Escobar will be a Buddle stopper.
Song to get you pumped
One of the greatest videos ever made (by Spike Jonze) and one of the greatest sentiments about the state of California ever put to music: "Why did I move to Southern California?" Here's "California" by Wax. (Ostensibly, you could make the argument that you would move to SoCal to get away from weather like this today. But, I don't know about you, I like having four seasons.)Vive le Wizards!