- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 15, 2008
- 0 Comments
- Game Previews, Week 21, Weekend Previews
I think this weekend will be all about breaking through the mold or crumbling even more for some MLS clubs. The gridlock in the middle of the standing should lighten up a bit here as well. We are right at that two-thirds mark of the season and this season has proved that everyone is nearly in contention here based on the standings after 18 or 19 games. I don’t think desperation will set in for some clubs yet but it is getting close to that time for those border playoff clubs to get their stuff in gear.
We are finally back to the normal weekend schedule, five games on Saturday and one lone Sunday contest. I love it too because all games can be seen either on TV (FSC or local) or online with MLSnet.tv, which is a great service if you aren’t already signed up for it (come on it was $20 for the whole season, but now just $10…great deal!!).
Two inter-conference battles this weekend and four conference clashes. If last night’s game in LA is any indication for this weekend we could be in for a real treat.
Let’s get down to business shall we? Feel free to post your game predictions below as well. Those are always welcome.
FC Dallas – at – Columbus Crew: I would love to be up in C-bus with some of my mates for this one but I will be stuck in the Big D instead. These two clubs have had some time off recently to get healthy and bring in some new faces. I think the moves each have made though I would have liked each to have signed some defensive help as well.
But moving on to this game, expect Dallas to bring in two new faces to the lineup with Jeff Cunningham and Victor Sikora and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Pat Noonan either on the bench or in the lineup for Columbus. Who will make the biggest impact will be the biggest question out of those three. Columbus looks to be the healthier of the two clubs with no reported injuries to talk about. That is a positive sign for Sigi Schmid’s bunch going down the stretch.
These two always put on a good show when they face on another. Dallas on the season series last year but had problems doing so in games with lots of goals (a 3-2 win and a 2-1 win). I see this game being just as close since the two clubs will play one another twice in a short span this month (Columbus comes into Dallas at the end of the month).
Both need momentum going forward but I see them drawing even here this weekend. I’d love to see Cunningham get the monkey off his back and score his 100th goal in the league, against a club he’s never scored against. It should still be a fun one though to watch.
WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, Dallas 2
DC United – at – Chicago Fire: This lovely rivalry heads north to the Windy City. My big question is whether or not DC will bounce back from their terrible loss to New York last week or return to their usual self’s and play well. I have a feeling it won’t be the ladder of the two though.
Chicago lucked out last weekend in New England but a win is a win and they could see themselves win this game and move to the top of the standings (depending on what New England does tomorrow night though). So the motivation is certainly there for this club. DC has to be careful here, another loss (especially bad) and people will start to raise questions yet again about this club and about Tom Soehn as head coach.
This is the rubber match of the season series too. Chicago took it to United early in the season in DC but United came back in June to beat the Fire at Bridgeview thanks to a late Luciano Emilio goal.
As said both clubs have motivation in this one but I see Chicago pushing out on top in the end. No word if Brian McBride will be back to play in this one or even be on the bench but it would be exciting if he was in the lineup. If not, the Fire should still be able to hold off DC and in the process break down their defense. It won’t be pretty but it will be extremely physical.
WVH Prediction: Chicago 2, DC 1
Real Salt Lake – at – Houston Dynamo: Top two in the west collide this weekend down in Houston. Probably one of the more underrated matches of the weekend. Houston has been very impressive as of late while RSL has been sitting on their butts. Seriously, they haven’t played in a couple weeks so I kind of forgot how they were doing (oh yeah one loss in their last 10 games…not to shabby).
Anyways, Houston has a chance to overtake RSL in the western standings with a win at home. As we all know RSL isn’t the best road team in the league (in fact some would say they are the worst) but they are getting better. If they want to prove something to the folks around the league a win in Houston would be the best place for that. They’ve never won in Houston in three meetings with the Dynamo.
We know RSL’s defense has carried them a lot in recent weeks but their offense has to get on the board here. Only four goals on the road all season is not going to get them far in the playoffs and in a place like Houston where goals are tough to come by they need to get on the board early here to gain some momentum. I just don’t think they have that killer finishing touch down here just yet and that Houston will be able to put this one away.
I see guys like Nate Jaqua or Kei Kamera having an impact on this one late in the game. It could be a sloppy game with rain that is in the area tomorrow, which will help RSL more than Houston. But I think Houston will play through the weather (like they have times before this season in DC and other places).
Houston wins and goes to first in the west.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, RSL 0
Kansas City Wizards – at – Colorado Rapids: The Rapids are hoping to put an end to the bleeding at home with this final game of a three-game home stand against the Wizards tomorrow night. Colorado has pretty much out played their last two opponents but have come away with two bad losses to Toronto and Columbus.
You’d have to think KC is in a better position right now coming into this one. There is a lot of weird buzz going on surrounding Fernando Clavijo and his coaching position with the Rapids. Stuff like that can draw some serious attention away from the task at hand on the field if they aren’t careful. With the way KC has played recently (2-1-2 in their last five) I think they will come into this one and be able to walk out with at least a point, if not three.
The Rapids haven’t lost to Kansas City in the last five meetings in Colorado, with two of those victories. The last Wizards win in the Mile High City came June 9, 2004. I think that trend will end this weekend with another gritty KC win. It won’t be pretty as we’ve seen in recent weeks out of this bunch but a win is a win no matter what. And for a club that needs points right now to stay in the playoff hunt, they will take them no matter what.
KC wins another wild one with the Rapids.
WVH Prediction: KC 3, Colorado 2
New England Revolution – at – San Jose Earthquakes: The late game of the evening on Saturday. The Revs travel west to visit the expansion Quakes. One club is on top of the standings and the other is at the bottom, so a cake walk for the Revs right? I don’t think it will be nearly as easy as their last meeting earlier this season.
New England has to bounce back from last week’s disappoint loss to the Fire. If they can come out and prove that it was a fluke and down the Quakes people won’t think twice about that weird loss. But look for San Jose to pounce of this club early at home. With some new faces they will believe they can take the Revs down in this one.
The thing is I just see New England coming out on top in this one though. Darren Huckerby and company will make it interesting but I just see the Revs bouncing back in convincing fashion here. I know they let that game slip last weekend and that should fire this bunch up who haven’t seen defeat all that much this season. Having Taylor Twellman back in the lineup once more should be more than enough.
WVH Prediction: New England 2, San Jose 0
Toronto FC – at – New York Red Bulls: Big time match for both clubs. Right now each club is at that 25 point mark in the standings along with a few other clubs. A win would put some daylight with the others but a draw would just make things more difficult to view here.
Lots of new faces on the New York side of things are starting to pay off for Juan Carlos Osorio, or at least judging by last week’s result over DC they are. They have to keep it up though in order to stay on pace to reach the playoffs this season. With a health(ier) Juan Pablo Angel right now they are definitely on pace to do so.
I was hoping to see what kind of reaction Amado Guevara would get back in New York but he’s suspended for this one from that red card he got a couple weeks ago against FC Dallas. Too bad because that would have been a great storyline to follow in this one.
Even with Toronto’s road win last week I just don’t have the confidence go with the Reds this weekend on the road. Two straight road wins may be a stretch for this bunch right now. If they had signed a striker by now I would feel a little more comfortable about picking them.
Angel continues his impressive form.
WVH Prediction: New York 2, Toronto 0