Weekend Preview: Eastern Clubs Collide

Weekend Preview: Eastern Clubs Collide

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 23, 2008
  • 2 Comments

Its a little strange to think that this week has already seen two games wrapped up but that’s what happens when things start rolling along in a MLS season. I won’t comment too much on last night’s game between Houston and San Jose as I only really caught the end of it (good time to tune in).

From what I gather in highlights and what I saw, San Jose pretty much took it to Houston last night. For once I thought to myself “wow, this kind of looks like the old Quakes, not an expansion version.” Its true though, and it wasn’t that Houston played poorly or anything it was San Jose did what they should have been doing all along this season, use the speed on the wings to create chances.

Guys like Kia Kamera and Ryan Johnson have talent and can score goals when they have the room to do so. Last night we saw just how effective this club can be when they play the ball into space. It worked most of the night and after a while they got the rewards from it.

Houston on the other hand didn’t the chances and looks a bit tired out there. Also, it wasn’t like San Jose was doing anything special on defense either, they just took more care of the ball than Houston did. Its still pretty obvious the need of another proven striker and maybe another defender that this clubs needs. Don’t be too shocked to see them make a trade for another striker in the coming weeks.

Anyways, let’s get down to the task at hand in previewing this weekend’s games. The usual menu is on tap, the typical five games on Saturday and a lone game on Sunday. Interestingly enough its mostly conference battles taking place this weekend with one lone inter-conference battle on Saturday night out in LA.

New England Revolution – at – Columbus Crew: A couple of questions coming into this one: Can Columbus keep it up at home where they are undefeated this season? And, which version of New England is going to show up tomorrow in Columbus?

I think the first question is a little easier to figure out than the second. The Crew have been totally dominate at home this year, going 4-0 and only have given up four goals (three of those were against Chivas in that wild 4-3 game). The Crew also haven’t lost in six games, while New England has been a bit up and down even with a two game winning streak coming into this game.

Last year these clubs were pretty much even before Columbus won the final game of the season in New England (the other two games were draws). In this series you can expect lots of goals, last year’s three matches saw 15 goals and overall in 45 meetings Columbus has scored 70 to New England’s 59. Oddly enough Columbus even holds the series record between the two sides. I have to admit I was a little surprised at first by that.

Health should be a concern for both sides. Columbus has a slew of guys on the injury list for tomorrow’s game, while New England only has Taylor Twellman to report. No word yet officially if he will play tomorrow night or not. That may be a good thing for New England though to only have one name on the report after the way they started this season with all the injuries they’ve had to deal with.

This one is a little harder to predict. New England has to figure out a way to shut down Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who had a pretty good year against the Revs a season ago. Some may remember his game-winner in the season finale.

This game just screams a draw to me after reviewing how things went a season ago and after seeing recent play out of the two sides. While Columbus has looked really good this year, I am just curious to see how long this run holds up here. This one should be pretty good though.

WVH Prediction: New England 1, Columbus 1

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Toronto FC – at – DC United: The return leg of this week’s home-and-home series between these two clubs. Interestingly enough this is the final meeting between the two sides this season. So far they’ve split their two meetings and thus makes this the rubber match of the season series.

DC as we all know is in the midst of a little trouble right now. At 2-7 on the season they have dug themselves a pretty big hole. Some of the blame is being places on head coach Tom Soehn. I’m still hearing the rumors of his possible firing if his club fails to win this game. I don’t know how true that is but with the way things are going a change could be just what the club needs, even if it is a coaching change.

So, just how does DC get back into the swing of things here? Toronto seems like a good candidate to do so as they’ve yet to see success in RFK Stadium. In two meetings in the Nation’s Capitol, DC has beaten Toronto 4-1 in both games.

I doubt we will see that kind of a scoreline though but I do see DC finding a way to pull this one out. Wednesday night in Toronto, United had plenty of chances but just failed to get lucky with those chances like Toronto did with Danny Dichio’s game winner. DC played better than they had in recent games which leads me to believe they should be able to win this one.

The main thing I am waiting for here is not for DC to starting playing well as a team, that I know will eventually come but its the play of Luciano Emilio. Was he seriously a one-hit wonder or is he finally going to step up to the plate and start knocking in some goals for United this season? That is what I am waiting for out of this club.

But until then I don’t know if I can really pick them to win. As a whole this season they haven’t really convinced me that they can get it done, even at home. I think they will start to play a bit better and get a draw against Toronto. I think defensively Toronto has been very solid as of late and it will be tough to get by them here.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, DC 1

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Real Salt Lake – at – FC Dallas: A crazy week for FC Dallas, on Sunday they get hammered by LA 5-1 and then lose their coach Steve Morrow a couple days later. What was Salt Lake doing over the week? Just getting ready for this game in Dallas. RSL is coming into this game with only one win in their last five, but that win was against FC Dallas a couple weeks back.

You are going to see one of two clubs out of Dallas tomorrow night in Frisco. A club that is determined to play well and continue their winning streak at home against RSL (5-0 at home all-time against RSL). Or a club that is still reeling over the loss of their coach and one that is getting over an embarrassing loss a week prior.

RSL has to feel pretty good about their position here. They know how to beat Dallas but they have to figure out how to get the monkey off their back that is winning in Pizza Hut Park. Its going to be hard against a team that is going through a lot of emotions right now. However if they stick to their game and get some lucky breaks like they did a couple weeks ago, they could be leaving Dallas with three points.

I think though Dallas will pull this one out. RSL isn’t a great road team, though this would be a good place to start picking up road wins if I were Jason Kries. Dallas has a lot of emotions going on right now in the locker room that I think will help push them forward here under Marco Ferruzzi and get the interim coach a win in front of the home crowd.

The thing that could end up being ugly though in this game, the attendance. After last week’s sellout, I highly doubt the stadium will be even half as full. Just a hunch that I hope isn’t true but it probably will be.

WVH Prediction: Dallas 2, RSL 1

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Chivas USA – at – Colorado Rapids: The Red-and-White take the show on the road to the Mile High City. Coloardo are winners of their last two at home and look to continue building on their slim western conference lead. Chivas is hoping to build off their 3-1 win over DC United a week ago.

Things have started to turn well for the Rapids in recent weeks. Omar Cummings  has stepped up as a solid goal-scorer and Christian Gomez is proving he is worth every penny. Plus their play at home this season has been pretty solid. They’ve won three of four and have out scored opponents 8-2 in those games.

Chivas has had a wild ride this season. Dealing with a slew of injuries from the start, the Goats are finding ways to deal with the absences of key players. After losing five in a row, they came through for their first ever come from behind victory last week against DC. A boost that was surely needed for this club who had nine players out to injury. Knowing now that they can come from behind and win and that they can win with whom ever they have on the field has to be a big thing for Preki’s club.

I see this one shaping up to be a good game. Colorado should have the full advantage on offense but don’t rest too quickly on Chivas’s ability to create their own chances in the middle with Sasha Kljestan.

Out of the five matches played in Denver between the two sides, four of those matches ended in a draw. I think this weekend could be another one of those but I am going with the homeside with another shutout win. Cummings and Gomez link up again for the victory.

WVH Prediction: Colorado 2, Chivas 0

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Kansas City Wizards – at – LA Galaxy: The league’s best offense plays host to the traveling show that is the Kansas City Wizards tomorrow night in Carson.

The Wizards are in the fifth game of a six-game tour. They have won just once in their last six contests after a promising start to the season. They face a stiff challenge on the road with LA who know how to score goals in bunches. The Galaxy lead the league in goals scored with 19, but are also second in goals against with 16.

KC has to get on the board early in this one. Lately their offense hasn’t been hitting anything other than Jimmy Conrad headers. Against a club like LA, those won’t come too often. LA has the ability to spread out KC and teams that have done that to the Wizards so far this season have ended up with good results because of it.

LA knows they have to outscore right now to win games. I think they hold off the Wizards in this one after seeing how KC hasn’t won in LA since 2004. We could see the return of Carlos Ruiz for the Gals, and from what the LA PR people were telling me a week ago, he’s as fit as they’ve ever seen him right now.

WVH Prediction: LA 3, KC 1

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Chicago Fire – at – New York Red Bulls: Ah, what really should be the game of the week is on Sunday. A match both sides have been waiting to see since Juan Carlos Osorio left the Windy City for the Big Apple. Both clubs don’t like one another and will want to prove that in this one.

With all the hype Osorio won’t be able to coach in this one since he was red carded a week ago. So much for building that factor up. Though he wouldn’t have that much of an impact on this game as the guys on the field would.

Both clubs come into this game with a lot to prove. New York has been a surprising club who haven’t lost in five games. Chicago has been pretty solid as well as of late, being winners of three out of their last four. Both have the best defenses in the league in terms of goals-against as well. So do we expect a defensive stand from both sides or will their offenses explode?

New York will easily miss the play of Dave van den Bergh on the wing. How Chicago uses that to their advantage will be key. If they handle the wings nicely they should be able to control the pace of the game with Blanco in the middle. We all love a Blanco – Claudio Reyna battle in the midfield as well so that should be one to keep an eye out for.

One thing about this game however is the fact that Chicago has been really solid on the road this year and New York has been a bit overrated at home. I look at two home games for the Red Bulls against New England and Kansas City as games the Red Bulls should have won. They didn’t and thus is the reason as to why they are a few points back of the Fire in the standings.

That will come to haunt them down the road as well and I think it will haunt them here Sunday. I like the Fire on the road, even if their play isn’t pretty, its effective. They will bounce back from their loss to Houston a week ago and inch closer to Columbus in the standings.

Its a mild upset but an upset indeed.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 2, New York 1

  • Cannon Girl

    In a nutshell Drew—My Joe and his Quakes ruled Thursday night! Too bad you didn't see the whole game. San Jose rocked & rolled all night! Yeah, I'm gloatin', because it wasn't luck. It was just the kind of play I know they're capable of. GO QUAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cannon Girl

    In a nutshell Drew—My Joe and his Quakes ruled Thursday night! Too bad you didn’t see the whole game. San Jose rocked & rolled all night! Yeah, I’m gloatin’, because it wasn’t luck. It was just the kind of play I know they’re capable of. GO QUAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!