Weekend Preview: Sorting Through The Week 8 Mess

Weekend Preview: Sorting Through The Week 8 Mess

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 16, 2008

So far, week eight in Major League Soccer has already gone off with a bang. Colorado easily handled their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals 2-0 last night. I didn’t get to see a whole lot of the game (I was busy watching The Office season finale) but what I did see was a very good performance by the Rapids and another weak road performance by Real Salt Lake.

As much crap as I’ve given the Rapids and their coaching over the last few weeks, last night was finally an example to me that this club does have what it takes to be in the discussion here with the better clubs of the league. Omar Cummings is slowly becoming that go-to scorer that I keep saying Colorado needed. His pace is something most clubs wish they had.

I just wish Colorado would throw something different than a 4-5-1 out there. They have the midfield in place do really do some damage but it leaves young Cummings alone too often. He needs help up there. So that may still be an issue that I have with this club.

Now as for RSL, they still have a lot of work to do. They had chances last night but no one was stepping up to finish them. Give credit to Colorado though, they found a way to shutout Kyle Beckerman in this one.

Okay, enough of last night’s game, let’s get down to business for this weekend. We are back to the usual six game set up, with five on Saturday and the lone Sunday game.

Columbus Crew – at – Toronto FC: One game this weekend that isn’t in Dallas that I am looking forward to. The Crew take their league’s best record on the road against to a hostile environment against Trillium Cup rivals Toronto FC.

The Reds had a week off to try and sort out their offense a little more while Columbus became the first club to come from behind to win a game this season. Toronto has kept pace with the Crew, as they are unbeaten in their last four matches after a pair of losses to begin the season.

The edge right now still has to go with the Crew in this game. Overall in this series Toronto has yet to get in the win column. Rivalries aren’t really good ones until both clubs win some to make it interesting. Columbus has won two of the four meetings between the sides, including one last year in Toronto.

The Crew are one team that the Reds have yet to figure out but I think they finally have the right pieces in place to make things interesting here. Toronto is very tough at home this season, unbeaten so far in fact. Columbus has been one of the better road sides in MLS this season but the biggest thing that Toronto needs to worry about is shutting down Schelotto. New York did it in week two and got a nice home win over the Crew. Shut down GBS and you have a great shot at beating the Crew.

I think things are a little more even between these two sides than in previous meetings. I think the Crew have the edge on the road but Toronto should be well enough at home since this is a rivalry game. It should be a physical one with the crowd really into it.

I see Toronto getting on the board first but then to only give up one from the Crew late.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 1, Toronto 1

Kansas City Wizards – at – New York Red Bulls: Ah, KC has a game this week. I almost forgot about them here this season since they had the week off and we heard next to nothing from them. Maybe that is a good thing for them here as they look to get another win on the road this season.

I’m slowly warming up to New York here now that they are all healthy and playing well. Last week they looked pretty solid on the road against LA. Their defense is coming around to me but I still need more out of them here before I jump on the bandwagon with some people here and rate them as one of the top four clubs in the league right now. To their credit, they have only lost once this season, and I was there to see it happen in Dallas.

KC has to remind me why again I rated them at the top of the table early this season. Twice I had them as the top club in MLS but each time the weeks following they failed to impress me enough to keep them there. I know plenty of other people feel the same way about this club. Hopefully in their week off they addressed not only their offensive issues but their defensive ones.

I think New York should have no problem tomorrow, even with Claudio Reyna and Seth Stammler sitting out. Having Juan Pablo Angel back and scoring last week had to be a huge confidence boost to this club. Even with the fresher legs I just can’t see KC getting past New York in this one. It may be close but I love what I’ve seen out of the wing play in recent weeks from New York and from what I’ve seen this year KC can’t handle strong wing play.

Angel gets on the board again.

WVH Prediction: New York 1, KC 0

San Jose Earthquakes – at – New England Revolution: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde play host to the expansion Quakes in New England tomorrow. The question I have on my mind is which New England club are we going to see? The one that dominated Chivas last weekend, or the one that lost twice to Chicago by a score of 7-0?

That’s just the thing for the Revs. They have to erase this notion that they win one and then lose won here. Too many times they look good one week, then to only mess with our minds the next when they get blown out at home.

I think the biggest difference though now is this club has Steve Ralston back in the midfield. His play should help allow this club to be more consistent with their offense and help allow their defense a bit of breathing room in terms of possession.

San Jose is looking better each week but they haven’t hit their stride here yet. The goals are starting to come and eventually the wins will too but I just don’t see it happening this week in New England. The Revs have to settle their home-field advantage here and this is an excellent weekend to do that. San Jose has been mostly terrible on the road this season.

One stat though that is amazing here, between these two clubs, New England hasn’t won against San Jose since 2000. Thing is, those were different Quakes and different Revs. I think a new record will kick off tomorrow between these clubs. And the east continues its dominance of the west with this one.

WVH Prediction: New England 2, San Jose 0

Houston Dynamo – at – Chicago Fire: Well, here’s the test for Houston fans. Was last week’s win really a fluke or are they really back here? Any positive result on the road against one of the league’s best should tell you all something. A loss will pretty much mean the offense is still bad and the defense couldn’t contain Blanco.

I don’t really know any other way to put this game for Houston fans. But as for Chicago fans, I wouldn’t want to be giving up any cheap goals to this club like Colorado did.

This should be one of the better defensive battles of the season. Chicago has the league’s best defense by a long-shot right now and Houston isn’t any easier on that end. Offensively speaking, Chicago has to have the nod in this one and that should be the difference between these two sides. I think it will be close but the Fire somehow find a way to get one by Pat Onstad.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 1, Houston 0

DC United – at – Chivas USA: So who needs a win more right now? Seriously. Both clubs who were on the right end of the stick last year have quickly found themselves staring in big holes early on this season. Both are at the bottom of the table and aren’t looking too good right now either.

Chivas USA have lost four of their last five games, all since winning their only game on the season, and have allowed the most goals of any team in MLS this season. D.C. United come into the game with back-to-back shutouts and have lost four out of their last five. Let’s not even forget to mention the fact that DC hasn’t won a road game since last fall.

One place that DC has done well at in recent trips is the Home Depot Center against Chivas. In fact, Chivas could be just what the doctor ordered for this club as they have yet to lose in the HDC against Chivas and in the series have won five of six against the Goats all-time.

This one may be ugly too. Loads of injuries from both sides. I think the difference however will be the fact that DC is on the road and maybe even without the likes of Luciano Emilio, Fred and Marcello Gallardo. All are questionable for this game but I do think Fred and Gallardo will start in this one.

Its going to be a matter of who scores first here. Chivas has never come from behind to win a game before in their history, so in order to finally beat DC, they need to score first. In the end though, I see nothing more than a draw. Neither team have given me a reason to think one would beat the other. It should be a messy game with some action.

WVH Prediction: DC 2, Chivas 2

LA Galaxy -  at – FC Dallas: For me, its finally another home game to attend here in the Big D. Its not the fact that Landon Donovan and David Beckham are coming back into town, its the fact that I think this is a perfect chance for the young Hoops to turn things around here this weekend.

This should be a wild game. I was there when they played last summer in SuperLiga and earlier this year in March in the preseason. One thing I know is that LA still does not have the defense to stay with a team like Dallas and Dallas has a defense to keep LA off the boards. Beckham and Donovan looked bad last week so I wonder if that will carry over again this week.

Let’s also not forget the freshness factor for these two sides. LA had a midweek game in Canada that saw Beckham limping around afterwards. Dallas sat at home in the midweek with a day off.

The big thing for me is that LA has yet to impress me on the road (and at home really) this season. Had it not been for Beckham’s goals against RSL, they would bit sitting with their HDC mates near the bottom of the western standings right now. Pizza Hut Park hasn’t been a friendly place for the most part in league-play for the Galaxy either, so far the Gals are winless there.

I see Dallas throwing out a more attacking formation against LA, like they did against RSL. Probably a 3-4-3 again, with either Abe Thompson or Ricardinho at the top as a target. I’m hoping for Ricardinho to get the start with Arturo Alvarez and Kenny Cooper but we will see. The different should be Dallas slowing down the play through the midfield from LA and slowing down Donovan.

This is a game Dallas needs and cannot drop points in. I think its fair to say that even though Dallas is the youngest team in the league, their coach will soon start to feel the heat if he doesn’t get them going consistently here.

I think Dallas turns their offense around and keeps LA from making a game out of it.

WVH Prediction: Dallas 3, LA 1

  • Bonji

    Last night the Rapids played a 3-5-2. Cummings and Herc Gomez up top. C. Gomez, Peterson, Clark, LaBrocca and Pablo in the midfield. Ugo, Erpen and Kimura in back.

  • Last night the Rapids played a 3-5-2. Cummings and Herc Gomez up top. C. Gomez, Peterson, Clark, LaBrocca and Pablo in the midfield. Ugo, Erpen and Kimura in back.