Weekend Preview: Interconference Battles Take Stage

Weekend Preview: Interconference Battles Take Stage

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 30, 2008

We are a third of the way through already here in the 2008 season. Week 10 is already under way with a couple games already in the books. After a couple of conference battles on Wednesday and Thursday, this weekend has a couple of interconference battles to talk about.

A lighter menu on tap this weekend. Only five games but then again we had two already finish up here before tomorrow’s kick off. One club (Dallas) will play their second game on the lone Sunday clash. A couple clubs get the week off some how, why Chicago and Kansas City are sitting at home is beyond me. I think KC has some friendlies in line or something coming up so they will still be busy.

LA Galaxy -  at – Toronto FC: The home stand resumes for Toronto as they host the traveling circus from LA. Both clubs have been pretty solid as of late. Toronto though did see a six game unbeaten streak end last weekend but overall they’ve played very well as of late. LA has been fairly solid as well as their defense has slowly picked things up here.

Their last meeting a month ago was one of the better matches so far this season. Toronto went into LA and got a late goal from Jeff Cunningham to win 3-2. The win was the first of the season and just the second road win in club history. Now they face the same club at home, where they are undefeated so far this season.

Its going to be interesting to see if Landon Donovan plays in this one, as he missed the US-England friendly on Wednesday. Toronto also has some key players missing for this one due to international call-ups. Greg Sutton, Amado Guevara, and Carl Robinson are all going to be gone. A bigger miss may be the suspended Laurent Robert.

I think Toronto’s defense will be a tough match for LA though. Even without Sutton in goal and Robert and Guevara in the midfield, the majority of their defense should be intact. Of course it all comes down to who plays and who doesn’t in this one.

If all the key parts play for LA (ie Beckham and Donovan) I think they have a very good shot of walking out of BMO Field with the three points. However, I think this one will end in a draw here. Both clubs are pretty evenly match here, even more so with the absences and suspensions.

I see sparks coming off the bench for Toronto late in the form of Jarred Smith but it won’t be enough to win this one for the Reds.

WVH Prediction: LA 1, Toronto 1


New York Red Bulls – at – Houston Dynamo: The first meeting of these two clubs this season kicks off in Robertson Stadium. New York is hoping to put last week’s embarrassing performance behind them while Houston is hoping to build off the late game-tying goal against Dallas in the midweek.

Both clubs will be missing plenty of key players either due to injury (Claudio Reyna, possibly David van den Burgh; possibly Wade Barrett), suspensions (Eddie Robinson), or international call-ups (Dwayne De Rosario, Pat Onstad).

A year ago when these clubs met in Houston, the Dynamo put a drubbing on the visitors, 4-0. I don’t expect that kind of performance with the missing parts from Houston. I think New York may be missing some key parts though in the midfield to control this game. As we saw last week, this is a club that looks a bit lost in their direction these days. I know they had played well before that game but the signs were there for it to happen.

I think this will be a defensive driven game with very few quality chances on goal for either club. New York has to find a way to get Juan Pablo Angel involved early and to take advantage of the defensive absences of Barrett and Robinson.

I think the problems will continue in New York this weekend with another loss on the road in Texas. Houston doesn’t have quite the offense to keep up with New York if they get on the board but I think they should be able to hold them off enough in this one. I’ve been very impressed with a few Dynamo players like Brian Ching in recent weeks. The goals will come and I think they will figure out this New York defense in the process.

WVH Prediction: Houston 1, New York 0


San Jose Earthquakes – at – Real Salt Lake: The two bottom feeders of MLS right now face off in Salt Lake City tomorrow night. San Jose is hoping to get another road win in the Wasatch Front. Real is hoping to win their third game of the season, the other two wins have come from the unfriendly turf at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Going back to the expansion season for RSL, the all-time series goes to the way of San Jose who is 2-0 against RSL. Sure the clubs are vastly different than the ones that played each other back in 2005. But both come into this game in different manners as San Jose found a home win last week while RSL dropped points late on the road to FC Dallas.

The two clubs did meet a month ago in the US Open Cup play. RSL blanked the Quakes 4-0 thanks to two goals from Kyle Beckerman.

After all the moves that Jason Kreis did with RSL in the offseason, I think its fair to say now that most of them have yet to really pay off. They look decent at home each time but on the road has been another subject. But that one bright spot on the line-up has been Beckerman.

As long as this club channels the ball through Beckerman they will have no problem getting by the Quakes. As for the visitors they have to get on the feet on Ryan Johnson. I thought a few weeks back that this kid had some skills that could really be dangerous for this club and last week against Houston we finally saw that as he torched the Dynamo defense on a number of occasions.

This one may be one of the most interesting match-ups of the weekend though. I know both clubs have been largely terrible this season but that can always lead to an entertaining game in terms of goals.

I think San Jose has the defense to hold RSL off enough in this one and should be able to get a goal or two. It all depends on how they handle the turf, some visiting clubs settle into it well and others never get use to it. RSL is use to it and that is why they work well at home. I think the previous experience of the US Open Cup will help out San Jose in this one as they surprise/upset RSL on the road.

WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, RSL 1


Columbus Crew – at – Chivas USA: A west coast swing for the first place Crew starts in LA against Chivas USA. We all remember the clash between these two sides in Columbus a month ago that saw the Crew win 4-3 in a wild affair. That loss started a five-game winless run for Chivas; they’ve since rebounded with two straight wins. The Crew began a six-game unbeaten run with that win, which came to an end last weekend against New England.

Don’t expect the wild game this time around. Things are usually pretty even when these clubs faceoff in LA. Chivas holds the slight advantage with two wins in three matches between the clubs at the HDC.

The Goats have been able to respond as of late thanks to the play of guys like Sasha Kljestan, Jesse March, and Jorge Flores. As long as they continue to figure out how to get over the injury bugs they will be fine here. I think once  they do get fully healthy here this season they will start to really make some noise.

As for the Crew, I am wondering just how long this strong play will continue. Last weekend’s loss was a tough bill to take because it was such a late goal after a strong performance against the Revs. It was a game they could have won had it not been for the goal keeping of Matt Reis for New England.

I think this will be a pretty even game though as Columbus will look to get back to the feet of Robbie Rogers and Alejandro Moreno. Each played well in the midweek US Open Cup win against RSL. Chivas has to slow these two down and stop Guillermo Barros Schelotto from being able to create. The last time they faced one another that didn’t happen and the scoreline showed with four Columbus goals.

The Crew have been average this season on the road and I look for that to continue out west. Chivas has been pretty solid at home but have stumbled up a couple times due to all the injuries. I think this one will ultimately end in a draw though tomorrow night. I want to see how Columbus responds to a loss here again. The last time they opened up a nice six-game streak.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 1, Chivas 1


FC Dallas – at – Colorado Rapids: A second game in week 10 or FC Dallas as they’ve been super busy as of late. They are coming off another draw to Houston while Colorado will be looking to get back on the winning track at home. Last week they dropped points at home to Chivas USA.

I will say this, I have yet to figure out this Colorado team here this season and maybe Sunday’s game will give me time to. They either win or lose here this year so I am not expecting a draw unless Dallas finds a way to just sit on a draw at some point. Colorado is 4-5 on the year and have yet to put together a winning streak or a losing streak. If that trend continues here Sunday, expect a win.

I think it is possible for that trend to continue. Dallas is a young club going through a coaching change here under interim coach Marco Ferruzzi. They haven’t been on the road since the firing of Steve Morrow so I am eager to see how they handle being away from home here. They’ve been an average road club this season too so I am not expecting a whole lot here out of them.

No Andre Rocha, who was red carded on Wednesday’s match with Houston. I think that loss will be key for Dallas, they need Rocha’s playmaking abilities in the midfield. His five assists on the year are second in the league right now.

Colorado has to take advantage of their home field here. Getting Christian Gomez involved early and often will be key. Also finding some guys to step up and score will be something to look out for. I am hoping to see a good performance out of Colin Clark. He was one of those guys in the preseason that I had high hopes for, and so far he hasn’t quite lived up to those hopes.

I think Colorado will bounce back in this one and win at home. It could be close but with some possible injury concerns for Dallas and the loss of Rocha, I just don’t see the Hoops putting their best foot forward in this one. That loss of two-points to Houston on Wednesday night will show up in their play.

WVH Prediction: Colorado 2, Dallas 1