CCL Preview: RSL at Crew

CCL Preview: RSL at Crew

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 22, 2011
  • 2 Comments
  • 2010/11 CCL

RSL hopes to make history in the CCL. (Getty Images)

You hear that? It’s the sounds of Major League Soccer returning for a night. No we’re not talking MLS preseason here, its all about the CONCACAF Champions League as Real Salt Lake travels east to face the Columbus Crew in the first leg of their quarterfinal battle.

There has been plenty of hype from both sides and the league regarding this game. RSL has come out and proclaimed on multiple occasions how they want to win the CCL and go on to the FIFA Club World Cup. For them, that dream starts tonight. After winning their group last fall, RSL looks determined to prove that their early exit in the MLS playoffs to FC Dallas was a fluke. They’ve kept the bulk of their roster from a season ago together and only made a couple minor changes.

On the other side of the field is the Columbus Crew. They’ve practically blown up their roster in an effort to get younger, if not better. So far it has been mixed results for the boys in gold. The club has made plenty of moves and has a lot of people scratching their heads about whether or not this club will be able to compete with RSL in this contest.

Tale of the Tape:

[one_third]Key Players

RSL: Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, and Kyle Beckerman

Columbus: Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall and Rich Balchan[/one_third]

[one_third]Key Off Season Additions and Subtractions

RSL:
Additions: Arturo Alvarez, Cody Arnoux
Subtractions: Robbie Findley, David Horst

Columbus Crew:
Additions: Jeff Cunningham, Sebastian Miranda, Cole Grossman, Rich Balchan, Justin Meram, Korey Veeder, Josh Gardner
Subtractions: Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, Steven Lenhart, Brian Carroll, Gino Padula, Jason Garey, Eric Brunner

[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Injuries

RSL: Javier Morales (ankle), Arnoux (knee), Alvarez (adductor strain)

Columbus: Will Hesmer (shoulder), Andy Gruenebaum (groin/hip), Shaun Francis (hamstring), Kevin Burns (ribs), Dilly Duka (abdomen), Danny O’Rourke (knee) [/one_third_last]

Final thoughts:

On paper its all RSL. But this game isn’t played on paper, it is played on grass. Both teams are in preseason mode and the weather could play a big factor this leg of the series.

While Columbus has lost a lot this winter they still have the likes of Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Robbie Rogers, and Emmanuel Ekpo on their team. With their two keepers out thought they will have to reply on former FC Dallas backup Ray Burse Jr., to mine the net tonight. How he handles the pressure of this big game will determine how well the Crew do tonight.

RSL just looks too strong in this one and too determined to get a result to stumble in this one. Preseason mode or not, RSL will come out on top tonight.

WVH Prediction: RSL 2, Columbus 0

  • Reports claim Chad Marshall is injured and might sit this one out. Ouch Crew.