Friday, April 16, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: 2-0 Wizards travel to Qwest

The last time the Kansas City Wizards visited Qwest Field, they returned home with 3 points and handed the Sounders their first loss in team history. The 1-0 defeat was quickly forgotten after the Sounders topped the Wizards in their next two meetings, but after a slow start to the 2010 season, does Seattle have the momentum to topple the hottest team in the Western conference?

To Continue...

Last season, the Sounders were riding a three game winning streak while three games this season have resulted in the most mediocre schedule possible, 1-1-1. This year the tables have been turned as the Wizards are sporting a 2-0 record after the first three games. Seattle has not had the explosive start to the season they benefitted from in 2009 and the Wizards are not the team they were last year.

Astute Sounders fans will recognize Kei Kamara, the former Huston Dynamo forward who gave Seattle problems during the 2009 U.S. Open Cup run. Kamara has scored in both of the Wizard's first two league games and it will be key for the Sounder's defense to keep him in check. On the other end of the pitch, KC's new Danish keeper, Jimmy Nielsen, has yet to allow a goal in MLS league play.

Because Nate Jaqua is still out with an abdominal injury, the Sounders won't be playing at full strength at the top of their formation for the third consecutive week. Look for Montero, Zakuani and Ljungberg to attempt to fill the 6'4" forward's shoes. Seattle's rookies, Michael Fucito and David Estrada, should they play, have not been scouted by the Wizards and give the Sounders to sneak one of them behind the defense.

The key to the game for Seattle will be to score early and stay in control of the match. Last week versus Real Salt Lake, the Sounders scored by luck and let Salt Lake control the game. Additionally, Seattle's defense needs to mark-up tighter to the Wizard's offense than in previous games, specifically keep Kamara away from the ball. Finally, the Wizards lost last week 2-1 to Colorado in the Open Cup. If the Sounders can keep the pressure on the Wizard's defense while not opening up their backfield to a counter-attack, there is reason to believe Kansas City will not be able to regain their early-season momentum.

Reach Galen Helmgren at