- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 22, 2008
- 8 Comments
- Game Predictions, Game Previews, Week 22, Weekend Previews
Week 22 in Major League Soccer is already firing on all cylinders. The weekend slate should be no different then the midweek portion of the menu. All home clubs look to make a statement going into their respective matches. Each will be jockeying for position here in the playoff race.
With everything so close right now in MLS, each game begins to get that much more important here in the final third of the season. No club has really broken away from the pack though it appears about four clubs are trying their best to distance themselves from everyone else in the league. Things at the bottom are closer than they’ve ever been, thanks in large part to some teams stumbling and San Jose rising up.
The normal menu of sorts this weekend, six games with five tomorrow and one lone Sunday encounter. So let’s see how things shake down this weekend. As always feel free to pipe in your predictions below to the weekend games or even just your club’s game.
Real Salt Lake – at – Columbus Crew: Both clubs hoping to bounce back to the top of their respective conferences this weekend. A pivotal meeting really between these two. The Crew are winners of their last four at home, not dropping a game in Crew Stadium since early June; RSL hasn’t won on the road since that time either.
RSL won the previous meeting this season between the two clubs last month. They need the confidence from that game to carry over on the road this time, something that has only happened once this season for them. With six of their last 10 on the road, RSL has to pick up points some how while they are away from their friendly confines. They were unlucky to do so last week in that thrilling match with Houston that saw seven goals.
I expect this game to be another defensive battle. I like the additions that each club are making and with the game being in Columbus I feel a heck of a lot better picking the Crew in this one than RSL. Even with the three goal effort last week, RSL still hasn’t given me the confidence to go with them on the road yet this season. A win in Columbus could easily change that.
I think another week of Pat Noonan on the practice fields for the Crew will be enough to lift them over RSL int his one to split the season series. RSL had an answer last time for Guillermo Barros Schelotto and if they can find it once again they could see a rare road win. I just think the pieces around GBS are a little healthier than they were last time around, not to mention there isn’t any nasty FieldTurf for the Crew to contend with.
WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, RSL 1
Colorado Rapids – at – DC United: Believe it or not both these clubs are tied with the most loses this season. Yeah, no joke, 10 a peice for these two. This series is usually dominated by the home team, DC sports a nice home record this season, while Colorado has an ugly road mark going on.
I want to see how Colorado responds to the news of Fernando Clavijo stepping down. Obviously you could say they knew about it a week ago when they beat KC at home but I wasn’t buying it too much. Going on the road with an interim coach is a lot tougher, even if that coach has been around all year long. And not to mention going to a place like RFK Stadium is never easy to begin with. Colorado hasn’t won at RFK Stadium since July 10, 1999, a trend I don’t see ending this weekend.
If I were ever to give out a lock pick of the weekend, this would probably be it. I just see DC bouncing back from their midweek defeat up in New England by pounding Colorado into the ground. They’ve been able to do that a couple times this season at home when they look to bounce back from a tough loss on the road.
Luciano Emilio and Jamie Moreno continue their quest of a Golden Boot. I like DC to win this one comfortably.
WVH Prediction: DC 3, Colorado 0
New England Revolution – at – Toronto FC: On one hand you have a club that is desperate for points in Toronto and on the other hand you have a team in New England that is battling in a quest for the MLS Supporter’s Shield. Should be a decent battle right? I think so.
Toronto has yet to beat their rivals from Boston, even at home (last year they tied at BMO Field). If there is any time to pick up their first win over the Revs, it would be now as they need points to get back into the playoff picture.
The biggest question going into this game would have to center around Carlos Ruiz and if he will turn from Guetamala in time to play in his first game with his new club. If he does I want to see how well he will pair up with Amado Guevara in the midfield. I highly doubt their pairing will show any impact this weekend as they will undoubtly need more time to gel with one another here.
New England has to bounce back from their midweek win over DC now. We should get a good sense of how good their depth is this week with two games like this. I think it should help out with the recent addition of Gabriel Badilla to their defense, look for him to come off the bench in this one.
I think the Revs should win this one. Toronto hasn’t looked good at all in recent weeks but getting Guevara back in the line up should help. I just think he and Ruiz need more time together for this to really work out. But we will see. Hopefully Danny Dichio is good to go after last weeks elbow to the face.
WVH Prediction: New England 1, Toronto 0
FC Dallas – at – Kansas City Wizards: Two playoff hopefuls here, both sitting at 25 points on the year after 20 games. Dallas has made some moves in recent weeks to make an effort for the playoffs while KC only made a move to land Josh Wolff several weeks back. Who’s dealing in the trade and transfer market will payoff more remains to be seen.
Usually when these two meet its a fairly even contest. Not that the clubs are evenly matched or anything but somehow it usually seems like they split their seasons series with draws in both towns or one winning a game a piece at their respective stadiums.
Both clubs look to bounce back from loses from a week ago, and in all honesty I think they end up in a draw here. I want to be more confident at with KC at home but defensively they’ve looked a bit unorganized in recent weeks, even in victory. Dallas on the other hand I think can win this one but going on the road this year hasn’t been too great for them. They need production out of Kenny Cooper to get that job done. I think he will be kept in check for 90 minutes but Jeff Cunningham will continue producing in his new uniform.
WVH Prediction: KC 1, Dallas 1
San Jose Earthquakes – at – Chivas USA: Talk about some tough luck right now for Chivas. Injuries upon injuries right now for this club but at least they get Sasha Kljestan back from international duty. I would like to think that he would be enough but he won’t just yet. San Jose has looked real sharp and in all honesty are starting to look like a playoff contender here.
Chivas may have gotten the better of San Jose earlier in the year thanks to a late Ante Razov goal. But those two clubs were completely different then than they are now. San Jose has done a bit of a make-over and Chivas has just gotten themselves more injuried than they were back in that July contest.
I think San Jose wins this one but look for Chivas to battle even with some second team players on the field. The Quakes dominating win last week against New England will give them more confidence than they’ve ever had this season.
WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, Chivas 0
Houston Dynamo – at – New York Red Bulls: Two red hot clubs right here. The Red Bulls have won back-to-back games, unbeaten in their last four. The Dynamo are getting in championship form, winners of their last four, unbeaten in seven league matches, and having scored four goals in each of their last two matches.
This probably will be the match of the weekend here too. The Dynamo have been on fire in their last two games, scoring eight goals. New York has been pretty got too scoring six in their last two. Plus the Red Bulls have been solid at home this season, going 6-1-3.
The two clubs have done some good work in the trade/transfer market. I think this one looks pretty even too, the Red Bulls attack will be cleaned up by Houston’s stellar defense. Houston could break through here as Brian Ching has played well and after Wednesday night’s 4-0 blowout against Chivas, we could see them get by what I think has been an overrated defense.
I think in the end the difference is the midfield play out of Houston. I think theirs will handle New York’s a bit more and I see a guy like Kei Kamara breaking through on the wings to score once more.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, New York 0