MLS Weekend Preview

MLS Weekend Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 28, 2008
  • 6 Comments

Hard to believe the season is upon us here as things kick off tomorrow afternoon. Seems like just yesterday Houston was lifting the MLS Cup trophy and we were looking ahead to, well, tomorrow and the start of the 2008 season.

Tomorrow and Sunday we will see all but two teams involved, New York and San Jose couldn’t get a deal worked out somehow to play tomorrow so they will wait another week. Two of these games will be on FSC, while the others will be on Direct Kick or MLSnet.tv (which is a great deal…one I highly recommend doing if you can’t see every game). I believe the MLSnet.tv will be free for the first weekend like it usually is, so check it out if you aren’t at the games. I for one probably will not see either game on FSC, unless I make the effort to view it online. I just don’t know if I can sit through two games of FSC announcers this early in the year.

Anyways, on to the preview for the weekend. A lot of these picks are kind of like shots in the dark here. We think we know a lot about these teams but we really don’t yet until after this weekend. Feel free to place your picks below, however I do reserve the right to brag (a lot) come Monday if I do well this weekend. People can always tell you how dumb you are until you are actually right.

Saturday’s games:

Toronto FC – at- Columbus Crew: Ah, the new rivalry is nicely budding here as thousands of TFC fans will try to pack Crew Stadium on opening day. Honestly I love the fact that they will be traveling like that and will probably do a decent shot of selling the place out. I think they are calling this the Trillium Cup (named for the official wildflower of Ohio and the flower of the province of Ontario). Lame name but good idea to give these two clubs a rival.

This game should be interesting really because it pits two clubs that really have a lot to prove to me and everyone else this season. Columbus was inches away last season from reaching the playoffs, while the Reds were just a terrible expansion club. Both did very little over the offseason other than draft picks and a couple trades so things should be right where we left them off last season right?

Columbus won two of the three meetings last year, including one of those at Crew Stadium. We know the typical guys involved for both clubs and this year the Reds won’t open the season with a slew of injuries. An advantage that I think the Reds will have in this one. However, I do like Columbus to come out strong and try to prove that they did do enough this offseason, despite losing out on a DP from Poland earlier this winter.

Expect a close game with a few goals. I think the 2008 MLS season opens up with a draw.

Columbus 2, Toronto 2

Chicago Fire – at- Real Salt Lake: Ah, another match-up with two clubs out to prove a lot (a theme, sure why not). Real made a bunch of offseason moves to try to improve their depth and their overall look with Jason Kreis. I said I liked the moves but I wasn’t entirely sure about them. Chicago made some decent changes, including adding a scorer or two for Blanco to hook up with. Still, there is a lot to worry about over their locker room situation right now with Wilham Conde.

Chicago should be a tough team to beat but RSL played just as tough as the Fire did late in the season last year. Their defense should be better and I also think that Chicago will be a little off without Conde in the back. Blanco will get fouled a lot by Kyle Beckerman and company, which will put the Fire off their game to begin the season.

Yes, I am calling for the upset to being the year. I like RSL at home in this one, Robbie Findley nets a pair in the win.

RSL 2, Chicago 1

Houston Dynamo – at- New England Revolution: A rematch of the last two MLS Cups. Very interesting match-up that sees the MLS Cup winner against the US Open Cup winner from last year. Kind of a Community Shield type match to begin the season here in the MLS. Something I think the league needs to look at creating.

Anyways, the Dynamo should have an edge in fitness since they are already into their season thanks to the CONCACAF Champions Cup. I think this will be a very evenly played game however as New England will want to put the revenge factor into motion since they are at home.

Every game played between these two sides in New England has yielded a draw and I think it is safe to say we will see another one. Ching and Twellman score for their clubs.

Houston 1, New England 1

DC United – at – Kansas City Wizards: A match that pits two sides that signed a DP this offseason, both Argentine play-makers. It will be nice to see a packed house at a Wizards game this year, even if it is in a minor league baseball stadium; anything is better than Arrowhead at this point.

A lot of people are high on the Wizards after signing Claudio Lopez, and for good reason too. I think he brings a lot of experience and skill to this roster that was missing in the past. DC on the other had I think improved even more than their Supporter Shield winners from a year ago. I like the changes that they made on defense, which will keep Lopez in check for this game as he is still becoming accustom to his new club.

KC will keep this match tight but I like DC to overcome a pretty rowdy KC crowd (seriously, the smaller venue will make a huge impact for this club). I’m not sure what we will see out of the United DP (Gallardo) but I am willing to bet that he hooks up with Luciano Emilio for a goal.

DC 2, KC 0

LA Galaxy – at- Colorado Rapids: Colorado made some great improvements for this season, though I still think they are a striker away from really doing some damage. LA added a striker in Carlos Ruiz but got older on defense. Colorado also has some key injuries for this game (out are Casey, Ihemelu, and Petke; doubtful are Ballouchy; questionable are Gomes and Clark).

Colorado should be able to win without some of those players against a club that has plenty of holes in the midfield and in defense. However, I think LA does have enough in Beckham and Donovan (who played a hell of a game against Poland) to win this game. It won’t be pretty, believe me, because Colorado will play the Clavijo style of boring soccer, while LA will have their jumbled midfield attempting to control the game.

I’m going safe here and calling a draw. It won’t be pretty to watch or listen to on FSC (you know Max Bretos will call this one and scream like a little girl over Donovan and Beckham).

Colorado 1, LA 1

Sunday’s game:

Chivas USA – at- FC Dallas: I’m hoping to make it out to this game (have some family stuff this weekend but should be able to get away for this). Chivas, the western winners last year come in looking a little better than last year. I think they did a pretty good job this offseason, while Dallas added some decent pieces as well.

Dallas needs to control the game in the midfield to win this game. Not to mention Kenny Cooper has to get off to a hot start this season and score in this game (his finishing this preseason has been kinda bad).

I think Dallas is missing too many key players in this game though to be able to pull out a win on opening day. No Ricardinho (ankle), no Drew Moor or Arturo Alvarez (suspension), and Duilio Davino is doubtful. Key parts on the defense and in the attack for Dallas. Plus Juan Toja’s health isn’t at 100% just yet here to start the season. I do look for Dario Sala to have a big afternoon because he will be tested a lot from Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov.

I think Chivas has the talent to get by Dallas in this one on the road, to start the 2008 season.

Chivas 2, Dallas 1

  • dan

    As the game improves the networks need to make sure that they get the best personel to broadcast the 'juego bonito'… listening to a bad broadcaster feels the same as trying to watch a red bulls game late september at giant stadium with the american football lines on the field… I literally turn the tv off… just can't do it… fortunately, there are other games on real pitches to watch.<br />
    <br />
    you have great insight as always… keep up the good work.

  • tex

    I really think there is a very strong chance that FCD will start the year winless in their first 6 matches. In fairness even at full strength they would not win these games and they are not 100% healthy. If that happens look for fans to be calling for Morrows head.

  • dan

    As the game improves the networks need to make sure that they get the best personel to broadcast the ‘juego bonito’… listening to a bad broadcaster feels the same as trying to watch a red bulls game late september at giant stadium with the american football lines on the field… I literally turn the tv off… just can’t do it… fortunately, there are other games on real pitches to watch.

    you have great insight as always… keep up the good work.

  • tex

    I really think there is a very strong chance that FCD will start the year winless in their first 6 matches. In fairness even at full strength they would not win these games and they are not 100% healthy. If that happens look for fans to be calling for Morrows head.

  • Adam

    i agree with all your picks except the chicago one. i personally hope RSL can make the playoffs this year, but i just don't see them beating chicago on the first day of the season. it will be close however (maybe a tie?).

  • Adam

    i agree with all your picks except the chicago one. i personally hope RSL can make the playoffs this year, but i just don’t see them beating chicago on the first day of the season. it will be close however (maybe a tie?).