Southern California here I come! I’ve got a busy weekend of work and play ahead in Los Angeles, with the Utes, RSL and maybe a little ALDS in Anaheim, but more on that in just a minute.
Let’s start first with the Utes and Bruins on Saturday night from the Grand Daddy of them all the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I won’t call this a measuring stick game for Utah, but rather a test of toughness game. Last weekend they did enough on defense (forcing 3 turnovers and scoring on a pick 6 from Eric Rowe), but it was the offense that fell short, especially the passing game. The Utes are hoping to have Tevin Carter back in the secondary and UCLA is dealing with some key injuries themselves as you can read about right here.
Saturday night will be a test of Travis Wilson and Dave Christensen. Wilson will be tested by a UCLA defense that forces turnovers and makes big plays with NFL Caliber Linebackers Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks, plus all world corner Ish Adams, who is UCLA’s defensive version of Kaelin Clay. If you don’t believe me, just take a look right here. Wilson must put the 6 interception demons of a year ago behind him and find some much need rhythm throwing the football. That rhythm has been badly lacking the last 2 games against Michigan and Washington St. He can be help by the guy calling his plays, Dave Christensen. He’ll be locked into a chess match with UCLA D-Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. Christensen must find a way to balance the rush attack led by Devontae Booker, with a passing game that has some rhythm to it. I’m anxious to see how Utah WR Dres Anderson bounces back after not making a catch a week ago and dropping what might have been a game winning touchdown pass late in the 4th.
The last two meetings between these two teams have been tight one touchdown affairs, with UCLA winning 21-14 in Travis Wilson’s first start in the Rose Bowl 2 years ago and last year 34-27 at Rice Eccles Stadium, when Utah threw 6 interceptions. I fully believe this one will be decided in the 4th Quarter again. The biggest question, can Utah figure out how to close it out on the road.
I’ll move from Pasadena on Saturday night to lovely Carson on Sunday night, when RSL looks to grab 3 points and a playoff spot against Chivas USA. RSL’s last trip to Stub Hub to face Chivas saw a 1-0 loss on a world class goal from Cubo Torres. This time around should be different for RSL. Chivas USA is a dumpster fire right now both on and off the field. On the field they are dead last in Major League Soccer with 24pts and a (6-18-6) record. Off the field it appears the will not exist in 2015. According to multiple media reports, they will turn out the lights for a season and re-organize under new management.
For RSL, October sets up well with 4 games left against very beatable competition: Chivas USA twice, San Jose and Portland. It all starts with Chivas on Sunday night. A fully fit and healthy RSL squad, plus multiple quality strike options up top for Jeff Cassar should lead to 3 points and a hold on the ever so important 3rd playoff spot in the West.
Brian Dunseth and I will have the call from the Stub Hub Center in So. Cal. Pre Game on ESPN 700 at 4 and kickoff at 5p on CW 30 TV and ESPN 700 on Sunday afternoon.
I love my job! However, one of the few downsides is that I don’t often get to attend sporting events as a “true fan”. I grew up in Kansas City and for the better part of 17 years I attended 35-40 Royals playoff games with my Dad, Brother and friends. From 1977 to 1991, Kansas City was a really good team. I was fortunate enough to attend Playoff games in 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1985, plus World Series Games in 1980 and 1985. Well as you know by now it’s been 29 years (since I was 15 years old) since the Royals appeared in the Playoffs. After winning 9-8 over Oakland in the Wildcard Playoff Game on Tuesday night, the Baseball Gods are smiling upon me. Kansas City plays Thursday and Friday night in the Divisional Series against the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels in ANAHEIM! It just so happens that I’ll be in Southern California on Friday night. Any guesses where I’ll be? Yep..The Big A/Rock Pile in Ananheim! It will the most I’ve ever paid for a ticket to a sporting event, but sooooo well worth it. 29 years is a long time and I don’t get to be a fan often enough. Go ROYALS!
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