Weekend Preview: Contenders Clash

Weekend Preview: Contenders Clash

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 1, 2008
  • 2 Comments
  • Week 19, Weekend Previews

Getty ImagesWe are slowly getting back to that normal schedule we are use to seeing on the weekends. A few MLS games here and there and honestly I love how this weekend is shaping up to be. Five games spread out through two days with three tomorrow and two on Sunday. Perfect if you ask me, though I’m sure those start times will get some people upset (another noon kickoff in San Jose?!).

All five matches have a bit of importance to them as some contenders will go head to head. Clubs will be looking to inch up the standings a bit. The biggest question may be, can Columbus win in Houston to surpass New England atop the standings? That’s one of the few questions that will come out of this weekend.

Let’s get down to business here.

Kansas City Wizards – at – DC United: One club hasn’t played well at home in recent weeks (both in league play and out) and the other hasn’t lost since mid-June. Its one of those classic, something has to give kind of games.

The Wizards kicked off the season with a home win against DC in a game that showed DC had a long way to go and that there would be reason to hope and believe in KC this season. Fast forward to August (yes we are in August now believe it or not) and both clubs are sort of in a similar spot. One should be doing well and the other is still trying to make us believe in them.

Injuries in the midfield have caught up to DC yet again this summer. Their lack of quality play in the midfield spurred the trade for Ivan Guerrero earlier in the week. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get some playing time in this on the flank for the Black-and-Red. Attacking KC on the wings is the best way to beat them I believe, most of their losses have been against good wing attacking teams.

Give the Wizards some credit though, no losses in a seven game span isn’t easy to go, but having four draws in that time will give people a reason to still doubt this club. They need to attack early and often at RFK. Going to DC isn’t exactly their favorite place to play but they have gotten wins there before.

I think this one will be another draw for the Wizards. DC is still solid at home for the most part and I see guys like Fred and Luciano Emilio getting back on track here after their fallout from SuperLiga. KC does have enough offense to beat a pretty overrated DC defense right now (who will miss their best defender Gonzalo Martinez to suspension).

Emilio for DC and Lopez for KC.

WVH Prediction: DC 1, KC 1

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Chivas USA – at – Chicago Fire: A couple of clubs looking to get closer to the top of their respective conferences with a win faceoff in the Windy City. Both however will be without some key players so it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Chicago will miss Blanco and Diego Gutierrez who are both out on yellow card accumulation. Chivas will be missing Sasha Kljestan who is with the Olympic team for another couple weeks. It seems like without Blanco and Kljestan, this game has lost a little bit of luster.

The Fire honestly need to win this game. Sure they’ve played well as of late, no losses in their last five, but four of them have been draws! At some point they have to break the mold and get back on the winning way here before some other teams in the east catch up to them or the teams ahead of them (New England and Columbus) continue to break away from them.

This seems like a good weekend for the Fire to break that mold. As much as I think Chivas will be riding a good buzz from their play in SuperLiga, I just think they’re missing some key pieces in the attack that could make a difference against this tough Chicago defense. Chicago won’t put up a lot of goals in bunches against Chivas but I do seem them putting a couple by this Chivas defense this weekend at home.

Justin Mapp and Chris Rolfe will haunt Chivas all night.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 2, Chivas 0

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Columbus Crew – at – Houston Dynamo: May be the best matchup of the weekend. The Crew are a win away from putting themselves into first place of the overall league table. While Houston is a win away from getting closer to western leaders Real Salt Lake.

Houston is coming off some strong play in league and out of league play. They advanced to the SuperLiga finals this week after knocking off DC on the road last week. Does this mean the Dynamo have finally gotten their championship form back? I think so, especially because of Nate Jaqua who has looked really good so far for the Orange.

The bad part about this game, both clubs are missing a lot of their attack. Houston will be without Stuart Holden and Patrick Ianni who are with the Olympic team and Dwayne De Rosario who is out on suspension. Columbus is also missing Emmanuel Ekpo and Robbie Rogers to the Olympics along with Frankie Hedjuk and Steven Lenhart to suspensions.

Never fear though, this one should still be a good one. These two clubs always play each other close, in five meetings all-time each club has scored five goals each, each club winning one and draw the other three. I don’t see that changing tomorrow night.

I still expect a close, low scoring game out of these two clubs. Houston plays well at home and Columbus knows how to play well on the road. Smells like another draw to me for this weekend. With all the players missing for each side it just seems to look that way.

WVH Prediction: Houston 1, Columbus 1

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LA Galaxy – at – San Jose Earthquakes: The Quakes are making a push here. Loads of moves in the past couple of weeks. They host an afternoon tilt with their California Classico rivals LA, a club you’d expect to be making more moves right about now but haven’t really.

I think the early kickoff will be tough again on the Galaxy. They sort of used the heat excuse in Dallas for the loss last weekend and I bet if they lose this one it will be due to the early start time. They should still be able to beat this expansion club, even on the road with their offense.

I like the new additions to San Jose but I still wonder if they are enough for these final 12 games to get them into the playoff picture. Right now they are only seven points out, but the thing is I doubt many clubs take them that serious just yet. A win over their rivals would do just that.

After watching the Quakes over the last couple of weeks I think they can get it done on Sunday. A win would put them within striking distance of a playoff spot and really make things interesting not only out west but in the overall table in MLS.

Huckerby nets another as the Quakes stun the Galaxy in Oakland.

WVH Prediction: San Jose 1, LA 0

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FC Dallas – at – Toronto FC: A year ago Toronto totally dominated Dallas at BMO Field by a 4-0 scoreline. Don’t expect that to happen this year considering how poorly Toronto’s offense has been as of late. Dallas seems to have got their mojo back a bit with an impressive win last weekend against LA.

But let’s not forget one thing here, Toronto hasn’t lost in league play at home all year and even better have only given up two goals in those nine games at BMO Field. As much as I like Dallas’s offense right now with Kenny Cooper and Dominic Oduro, I just don’t like them at BMO Field against a pretty decent Toronto defense.

Two things will happen in this one, Toronto will break out of their funk with the debut of Chad Barrett or they will continue in their funk with either their first home loss or another draw. Dallas just has to show up and play their game like they did a week ago at home. Control the flanks, keep the possession and attack early and often.

I think this one could be an exciting game if Toronto can get in it and make some offense happen for once. The Reds are missing some key parts like Maurice Edu and Danny Dichio. Those losses may be tough to overcome as we’ve seen in the past weeks.

A draw sounds good based on how Dallas plays on the road and just how tough it is to play in BMO Field. Dallas is a young team still and young teams typically fall on the road but I think they will continue their momentum from last week and at least get another draw.

Cooper still continues his pace but Dallas’s defense will get the best of them yet again.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Dallas 1

  • Cannon Girl

    OK—where is the real Drew and what have you done with him?

  • Cannon Girl

    OK—where is the real Drew and what have you done with him?