The Full 90

Gameday 8: Who really needs a "Crew"?

When it comes to nicknames for sports franchises, Columbus didn't just get the short straw, it got a coffee stirrer with a crack in it instead.

Their ice hockey team is called the Blue Jackets. And the MLS team is the Crew. Besides Two Live and Motley, has there ever been an interesting anything with "Crew" (regardless of spelling) at the end? (If you say Cutting Crew, I swear to Jimmy Conrad I might go supernova.)

Of course, I'm bagging on the yellow-clad boys from Ohio's nickname because... well... because it's too difficult to deal with the actual facts.

All right, fine. Here are the facts: Columbus hasn't been beaten this year and are coming off an impressive 3-1 win in New York despite missing their three best players. Kansas City is winless in their last five games and, with the exception of Kei Kamara, seem to be unable to even discover what area code the goalmouth is in.

See, wasn't it more fun to make fun of their really ridiculous nickname? In my opinion, all non-plural sports nicknames (Magic, Jazz, Crew, Sparxx) are only slight less obnoxious than natural disaster nicknames (Earthquakes, Hurricanes) and way more obnoxious than sponsor nicknames (Red Bulls).

For the record, I fully realize that Kansas City has a weird nickname too. I'm not a fan of Wizards. I'd like something like Kansas City '96 or FCKC.

Historical Ramifications

Columbus is 18-16-5 against the Wizards all time; the Crew won both games (3-2 in KC, 2-0 in Columbus) last year.

How They Fared Last Week

Kansas City 2, Chicago 2 (May 15)


In absolute horrible conditions, KC came from 2 goals back (just like they did last year in Chicago) to tie up the Fire after being outplayed in the first half.

Columbus 3, New York Red Bulls 1 (Thursday)

Absolutely dominated the under-manned Red Bulls on national TV without three of their best players.

Columbus 1, Chivas USA 0 (May 15)

This team does what good teams are supposed to do: Grind out 1-0 wins.

Match-Up That Matters

Pressure vs. organization.

Pressure works against teams like D.C. United and Colorado. Against teams that are well organized (Houston anyone?) the pressure doesn't amount to much. Columbus, for what it's worth, are the most well-organized team I've seen this year.

Injury Report

KANSAS CITY WIZARDS

OUT: MF Zoltan Hercegfalvi (R knee sprain/torn ACL); MF Stephane Auvray (R knee strain).

COLUMBUS CREW

OUT: MF Kevin Burns (athletic pubalgia); PROBABLE: GK William Hesmer (lower back strain).

Suspensions/Warnings

• Kansas City: none• DC United: none

Best Guess at Formation

No Stephane Auvray. No Roger Espinoza. I think Graham Zusi did a great job filling in for Auvray last week, I see that continuing. As for Espinoza, that's a bit more difficult. Peter Vermes could do one of about three things: 1) Move Matt Besler back to left back (not happening), 2) Shift Michael Harrington over and insert Chance Myers on the right (likely) or 3) Shift Harrington, insert Myers and add Besler for Escobar (I'm dreaming).

4-3-3

• Forward: Wolff, Kamara, Smith



• Midfield: Arnaud (c), Jewsbury, Zusi



• Defense: Myers, Conrad, Escobar, Harrington



• Goalkeeper: Nielsen

The Man in Charge

Alejanddro Mariscal

Gulp. This will be his first MLS game. But, it's all good, Terry Vaughn is the 4th ref. (Wait, nevermind.)

Notable

• The Wizards have allowed 8 goals in the last five matches



• The Wizards are an a five-game winless streak. Though, to be fair, the team has been fighting the top-half of the MLS table (Los Angeles, Colorado, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago are historically good).



• Davy Arnaud is closing in on his 200th career MLS game. He has played 197, all of them in Wizards blue.



• The Crew have a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Wizards in league and cup play.



• Guillermo Barros Schelotto will return from a one-game suspension. But the Crew will be without Robbie Rogers and Chad Marshall who are in camp with the U.S. men's national team. Kansas City will be without Roger Espinoza, who is with Honduras.

Prediction

I've stood my ground and been optimistic all year long, predicting wins for the Wizards even when I suspected it might go the other direction (like Houston). Not this week. I want to believe (and I will when watching), but I don't think it goes the Wizards way today.

Crew 2 (Gaven, Lenhart), Wizards 1 (Kamara).

Vive les Wizards!

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