- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 3, 2008
- 6 Comments
The first primetime night on ESPN2 for the MLS in this new season. I love the idea of a double-hitter on the Deuce. Looks like ESPN is taking a better interest in the game this season, for one they answered most of our prayers about getting a new broadcast group. I’m sure the main duo (JP Dellacamera and John Harkes) will do the first contest of the night on the east coast and the backup duo will probably be Rob Stone and someone else (maybe Tommy Smyth but who knows) will do the west coast game.
Also we get to see the new MLS ads for the season, though most of us have seen them online somewhere. The new campaign “Football. Futbol. Soccer.” looks good already to me and if you haven’t seen the ads for it you probably will enjoy them.
Now on to tonight’s previews.
New England Revolution – at – Chicago Fire: For many reason I am happy these two did not play one another last weekend and that this game was saved for primetime on ESPN2. Both had an interesting weekend in the season opener. New England looked very good against the defending champions from Houston and Chicago scored a late Blanco goal on the road to tie Real Salt Lake. Obviously the better of the two games went to New England but I did say this about the Blanco goal from last week; nothing lifts a team more than a late goal after a terribly played game on the road to steal points like what the Fire did to RSL. I look for a very amped up Fire team tonight in their home opener.
The may be one of the better rivalries in the MLS going right now. The Revolution have knocked the Fire out of the playoffs each of the last three years, so you know the Fire will be gunning for a victory tonight in some sort of revenge. To me its kind of like the kid brother that wants to always beat the big brother. Sometimes it happens but most of the time the big brother prevails. Until Chicago gets over the hump they may remain the little brother in this analogy for me.
Injuries are a concern for New England. No Taylor Twellman, Wells Thompson, or Steve Ralston. Chicago looks healthy but their concern is their offense. Last week they looked very disorganized against a decent defense from Salt Lake. Newly acquired Polish striker Tomasz Frankowski didn’t wow me at all on the ball and Chad Barrett is still playing like Chad Barrett. If it hadn’t been for Blanco this club would be sitting with a loss right now and I wouldn’t feel at all good about their chances against a strong New England side.
Both meetings last year in the Windy City went the way of the home side. The Fire outscored the Revs 3-1 in those two meetings. Though you could argue that they were on polar opposite times of the season and the Fire only looked good during those two stretches of the season (very early on and very late but not in the middle).
I think this will be a good contest. Of course keep an eye out for the Gambians of New England. They ran all over Houston and I could expect them to do the same to the Fire who’s wing play against RSL wasn’t the best either. Blanco will get fouled a lot in this one and I think we will see a draw here. Jeff Larentowicz has to be the man to mark Blanco so watch out for that match-up.
WVH Prediction: Chicago 1, New England 1
San Jose Earthquakes – at – LA Galaxy: The Quakes are back baby and they get to restart their club against their most hated rival the LA Galaxy. This should be an interesting affair after last week’s loss for the Galaxy in Colorado. You have one team who doesn’t seem to have any offense on paper and another team who has no defense on the actual field. To me it sounds a lot like last weekend’s contest with Colorado. Most of us thought the Rapids had no offense going into the game and the Galaxy with no defense and it ended up being we were only right about the Galaxy.
Obviously injuries for the Galaxy are already out there with Carlos Ruiz on the shelf for a few weeks. San Jose really has no injury issues to be concerned with here yet in the season.
Looking at the history, San Jose has never played well in the Home Depot Center or in LA for that matter. Only four wins in 19 meetings between the two clubs in LA for the Quakes. Its fitting that the last club that the Quakes played will be the same club that they open their new expansion season with.
The Quakes have looked pretty well in the preseason. Winning the Carolina Cup was a pretty good thing to see but like I said before I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into that cup victory just yet here. But I will say this about the Quakes, I love their midfield and their defensive look right now. I think they match-up very well against this Galaxy club who is still looking for a bit of an identity for themselves here. Midfield play has been key so far this season in any match and I think the Quakes hold the advantage.
It all comes down to one man in this match for me though and that is Landon Donovan. He’s played for both clubs and he usually has it out for the Quakes when he plays them. He is the biggest x-factor in this game and he actually seems interested in this game unlike last weekend then you can mark the Galaxy down for a win here. I think Donovan shows up to play and the Galaxy score a close win over their rivals. As bad as the Galaxy played last weekend I think they squeak out a win in this one.
WVH Prediction: LA 1, San Jose 0