Wizards-Revolution Preview

Kansas City Wizards got one crucial road victory earlier this

week to aid their improbable pursuit of a playoff berth.

The Wizards will need another against the New England Revolution

and some help to stay alive in the postseason race through Saturday


After three consecutive losses, Kansas City (10-12-6) topped

Chicago 2-0 on Tuesday to pull within six points of Colorado for

the league’s final playoff spot.

The Wizards, though, have just two games left to make up that

ground, and they need a win over New England as well as a Rapids

loss later Saturday night to keep their hopes alive.

“We know the situation that we’re in. We know that anything less

than three points in each of these games isn’t good enough,” said

captain Davy Arnaud, who has scored twice in the past two games.

“We approach it the same way. We can’t control what Colorado is

doing, and we have to focus on ourselves. We’re going to come out

in New England the same way.”

It may help that Kansas City is 5-0-1 in its last six matchups

with the Revolution, who will miss the playoffs for the first time

since 2001. The Wizards are also 2-0-1 in their last three trips to

Gillette Stadium during league play and 7-1-5 there in franchise


New England (8-15-5), however, appears to have to regained its

scoring touch with seven goals in its last four games, including

three from captain Shalrie Joseph. Joseph and Kheli Dube scored

Sunday at Houston, helping the Revolution snap an 0-3-2 skid with a

2-1 victory.

With 31 goals this season, the Revs need two more to avoid

finishing with the fewest in franchise history. New England scored

33 times last year.

“This weekend we’re just going to start creating chances and

push a lot of people forward, start putting balls in the box and

hopefully one goes in early,” Joseph told the team’s official

website. “Then we (can) start pushing more and more and get that

second one.”

The Revolution got their only goal from Kenny Mansally in a 4-1

defeat Aug. 21 at Kansas City. Wizards forward Birahim Diop scored

his only two MLS goals in the first 27 minutes and added an assist,

while Kei Kamara and Jack Jewsbury each contributed a goal to the


The Wizards are hoping to get midfielder Ryan Smith back from a

strained right hamstring. Mansally and Sainey Nyassi, meanwhile,

will return from international duty this week for New England, but

midfielder Pat Phelan and defender Cory Gibbs will serve one-game

suspensions. Each player picked up his fifth yellow card of the

season in the first half of Sunday’s win.

Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth is expected to make his fourth

career MLS start for the Revolution after Matt Reis had ankle

surgery on Wednesday.