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Wizards-Revolution Preview

Oct 15, 2010 - 9:30 PM By ALAN FERGUSON STATS Writer

Kansas City (10-12-6) at New England (8-15-5), 8:00 p.m. EDT

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 night.

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 history.

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 rout.

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.