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Three Keys: Kansas City Wizards at Chivas USA


Know where he is. Hit him in the mouth.


Hey, this is a blog post. This is a blog about the Kansas City Wizards. That's what we talk about in these blog posts here.

Seeing as how we're moving to SB Nation this week (yes, it's finally happening), I figured I should get back in the swing of things. Beginning Sunday night, the Wizards start a three games in seven days stretch that will likely determine their fate come season's end. Come this time next week, we should be able to tell if they will have weakly pissed away a season that could have been so much more with a horrendous first dozen-or-so games, or they will have set themselves up to come back from said horrendous start on a miracle playoff run.

Either way, these three games will tell us where we go from here on out. Currently sitting behind 9 points (with three games in hand) behind Seattle, it's must-win time. Some have said any result against Chivas will be good. I disagree; we need three points to keep pace with the Sounders. They're far enough ahead in the standings, and with the way their CONCACAF Champions League group is going, they might just pack up shop there and focus on the league.

Must. Beat. Chivas.

How are we going to do that? That's what I'm here for - to tell you.

Be Aggressive. B-E Aggressive.

Let's remember that we're the team that hasn't played a competitive game since September 4. In the same time frame, Chivas has played three - two league and one friendly mid-week this week. If we come out flat the first 15-20 minutes and not winning every 50-50 ball, the boys just don't have it in them and don't want it badly enough.

If they can't get up for this stretch run after two full weeks rest, it will be a damn shame.

Where is Justin Braun?

Before the first KC-Chivas matchup this season on July 10, in which the Goats took a 2-0 victory in KC, Braun had amassed four goals in his first 13 appearances on the season. Including his two goal performance against KC, and since then, Braun has found the net five more times in just nine appearances.

He's still young (23) and if the US national coach weren't Bob Bradley, the US national coach would probably have thoughts of Braun in the back of his mind by now. Scoring the two against KC really kicked his season into full gear and he's been a constant threat ever since.

That said, let's keep tabs on the kid, and hopefully see more of Jimmy Conrad marking him, rather than the living, sometimes-breathing human statue, Shavar Thomas. Frustrate and/or shut down Braun, and you tell me where Chivas are going to create a goal.

Peter Vermes figured out the winning recipe almost two months ago now. Stick to the recipe, don't fuck around changing it anymore.

When Craig Rocastle and Teal Bunbury came into the starting XI back in mid-July, things took a turn for the better. Somehow Vermes got it in his head that since Birahim Diop scored a couple of goals against New England, he's a bona fide starting center forward in the 4-3-3 formation. News flash, Peter: he's definitely not.

If we see ANYTHING other than Smith, Bunbury, Kamara from left to right in the XI, Peter must go. If we see anything other than that, he's still drunk from his DUI.

The midfield, I worry about not. Captain Davy Arnaud and vice-captain Stephane Auvray are shoo-ins. You have to think Rocastle, as well. The backline - well, we all know I prefer Matt Besler to Shavar, but it ain't happening, so I'll let it rest.

Going back to the first key, Michael Harrington and Roger Espinoza can dual-handedly set the tone for the entire game in the first 10 minutes. When they win the ball on defense, start the attack the other way and bust their asses down the outside and provide an outlet for overlapping runs. There isn't a better fullback tandem in the league when they're on their game. Even when they're playing less than stellar, they still might be the best.