Prime-Time MLS Preview

Prime-Time MLS Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 17, 2007

Another Thursday night preview here at the Hooligan. I was totally off last night but in all honesty I was not the least bit surprised with Toronto’s victory over Houston. I may comment on that game later on but for the time being I feel almost safe saying that Houston won’t repeat this year as MLS Champions. Yeah…I said it.

Now for the task at hand. A little Brimstone Cup game, Chicago hosting FC Dallas. First installment of this season up in the Windy City.

I have to say this is a very pivotal game for the two teams. Chicago needs to regain its form that they began the season with and Dallas needs to continue to gain points to keep the pressure on Colorado and Houston in the west. Chicago will be without a couple players. No word on if their leading scorer Chris Rolfe will be in action or not, he is listed as questionable. I think he will probably play and be subbed out in the second half. But that is just my feeling.

Dallas needs to control the pace of this game to win. They won both meetings last season by the same score line of 3-2. I think they can pull off this one tonight if the control the midfield. With the injuries and suspensions to the Fire I think it can happen. People tonight will get to see the full extent of how good Juan Pablo Toja, Pablo Ricchetti, and Dax McCarty are in the midfield together. I love this combination for Dallas because it allows the strikers like Ruiz and Cooper and even their attacking midfielder Ramon Nunez get up and put the pressure on the opposing defense.

I will be curious to see if Steve Morrow sticks with the lineup that beat KC last weekend or if he will reinsert Ruiz at his normal attacking spot. Possibly a sub again, which is also fine. If that is the case either Abe Thompson or Dominic Odoro will get the nod. I’d like to see Odoro because of his blazin’ speed!

I think there is a lot of pressure on Chicago tonight. Their defense, more importantly, their keeper Matt Pickens need to come up huge. They started off hot but have given up six goals in the last two games, three to expansion side Toronto. That isn’t good folks. Many people were high on this team at the start but I wonder if they are now. I never was too high on them because of their defense. It is old and has seen better days. Also, with Rolfe potentially being out tonight it puts even more pressure on them because I don’t think Chad Barrett is enough offense for Chicago to win this game.

Justin Mapp has to show up I think, something we haven’t seen since the first game of the season. Fire coach Sarachan is putting his team in a world of hurt by placing Mapp in the middle, instead of out on the wing.

I was wrong last night in my prediction so Dallas fans like myself should be careful but I think the Hoops are playing well enough right now to win this game. I do believe Dallas can get out of this week with six points. As for the Fire, they could steal this one but they really need some help if they are going to do so.
Dallas wins, and puts pressure on the rest of the west while Chicago begins skidding towards Toronto and DC in the bottom of the east. More importantly, if the Fire lose I would expect a lot more pressure on the Fire front office to look in replacing Sarachan as coach. Possible a by Fire fans out there??
WVH Prediction: Dallas 2, Chicago 0