- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 29, 2008
- 2 Comments
- Atlantic Cup, Game Predictions, Game Previews, Rocky Mountain Cup, Week 23, Weekend Previews
First off, sorry for the late start today (and yesterday even), I’ve been battling a lovely cold this week so hopefully that has all passed here as we head into the weekend. All 14 clubs are involved in action this weekend starting with a rare Friday Night Lights game tonight out in the Rocky Mountains. Then we head into the usual weekend menu of five on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Its great that all these games have some sort of playoff implications to them at this point in the year. Nearly every club is still in the hunt to some degree. Some clubs are probably starting to slip into desperation mode here as we only have nine games (or eight after this weekend) left on the year.
As always feel free to pipe in your predictions below.
Colorado Rapids – at – Real Salt Lake:
Rocky Mountain Cup: Second clash between these two this year, Colorado got the best of their rivals earlier in the year.
Real at home: To say they need points now is an understatement after dropping two straight games. Probably a blessing in having to face an inconsistent club like Colorado at home this weekend after coming off two straight road losses.
Which Rapids will we get?: The 2008 version of the Rapids are up and down and all around. They win one, lose one. Win one, lose two. They can be sneaky but to me it sounds like we are going to be looking at that second straight loss after winning a couple weeks ago here.
Who to look out for: Kyle Beckerman. Javier Morales. Watch these two tonight. They need a big lift in their game and RSL needs them to step up their game in a big way down the stretch. As much as we loved Beckerman early on he hasn’t been the same player in recent weeks. A visit from Colorado should turn things back around for him.
What the result will mean: A win for Colorado would be huge but largely won’t do much in the grand scheme of things in terms of playoff implications down the road. RSL needs the win and in the process should get it at home where they’ve been undefeated. A draw for RSL would absolutely kill them at this point. They cannot drop easy points at home.
WVH Prediction: Real Salt Lake 2, Colorado 0
New York Red Bulls – at – DC United:
Atlantic Cup: Third and final meeting between these two rivals this season. Both matches have been blowouts by each club. The home side has one each match so far by the same 4-1 scoreline.
Who can stay hotter: While DC seems to be realitvely playing well these days (more so at home), New York is red hot. Their winning streak cannot be ignored at this point and its easily put them into the playoff scene in the east (currently as a wild-card). Both are currently in the wild-card hunt but are within striking distance of that third and final automatic bid in the east.
Emilio or Angel: Luciano Emilio torched the Red Bulls in June but Juan Pablo Angel returned the favor a few short weeks ago. Who’s got the hotter hand now easily goes to Angel, who has made the Red Bulls a serious threat again.
Defense wins: Honestly I still hate both club’s defense but at home I have to side with DC. Mainly I think it is due to the play of new keeper Louis Crayton. Finally having some stability in net for the Black-and-Red is good to have this time of the year. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Jon Conway all year and I think that his play does hurt the Red Bulls at time. This one just smells like a wild game.
Who to watch: Mike Magee. Something abuot Magee is fun to watch anymore. He is like a little kid in a candy store out there these days and that has to make Red Bull fans happy. His mark on the game won’t be huge but he has scored some big goals in recent weeks.
What the result will mean: A win for either one puts them within clear striking distance of Chicago for that final automatic bid in the east. A draw doesn’t help but doesn’t hurt too much since they each have a nice cushion over KC and Toronto at the present time. A loss kills momentum for each but I don’t think it would be the end of the world.
WVH Prediction: DC 3, NY 2
LA Galaxy – at – New England Revolution:
Circus v. Empty Tank: Which would you rather be, a traveling circus or a club that is running low on gas? Honestly since New England is at home for this you should say low on gas.
The Bruce on the road: Something Bruce Arena will have to overcome quickly is the fact that the Revs have beat up on the Galaxy in recent years in league play. No Galaxy wins against the Revs since 2004, a span of eight matches.
CONCACAF Hangover: Will we see that result on Tuesday have any effect to Steve Nicol’s group? Its possible, but I think they traveled the way they did for a reason. They packed light for a two game roadie to Toronto and Trinidad. It nearly paid off too with a draw in Toronto and a 2-1 loss in T&T. Sure losing wasn’t great or expected but they did get an important goal on the road.
What about Beckham and Donovan?: The Bruce finally gets his main squeezes in this one on the road, where the Galaxy are 2-5-3 on the year. They have to turn it on early on the offensive side of the ball if they want to catch New England. Donovan is good for that with his league leading goals tally. But don’t sleep on Edson Buddle to make his mark in this one as well.
And that Galaxy defense?: Well another week with Arena couldn’t have set them back any further right? They have 43 goals against, which is nearly double what most clubs have right now. Going against a club like New England won’t help either, especially with a surging Taylor Twellman playing again.
Who to watch for: Shalrie Joseph. How he handles the Galaxy midfield with newcomer Eddie Lewis, along with Beckham will be fun to watch. If he helps New England control the midfield like I expect him to the Revs should come away with three points.
What will the result mean?: A win for New England is simple and a must in my mind. They have to keep pace with the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire in the east and hold off clubs like DC and New York. Plus they aren’t just in a playoff race but a Supporter’s Shield race. For LA three points on the road against one of the league’s best would be huge, especially for their new coach. A loss wouldn’t shock me and a draw would be a bit of a shock on the New England side but it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Revs at this point.
WVH Prediction: New England 2, LA 1
Columbus Crew – at – FC Dallas:
Battle for Lamar Hunt: Its sort of a rivalry…more like a sibbling rivalry since they are owned by the Hunts. These two typically play one another very well and always put on an entertaining contest.
Can Dallas stop Schelotto?: Probably the biggest question for me, they didn’t get it done a couple weeks ago in their 2-1 loss to the Crew and I just doubt Dallas has the midfield to do it at home tomorrow night. Plus no Pablo Ricchetti in the line up (red card suspension from last week) doesn’t bode well for Dallas. They do get Marcelo Saragosa back but he probably isn’t nearly 100% yet.
Can Cooper and Cunningham work together?: Listen, SuperCooper has cooled off a bit. No goal in the last couple games. Mostly because the Dallas offense has looked fairly mediocre in recent weeks (if you watched last week’s game against KC you will know what I am talking about). I think they can work well together but the timing isn’t down yet. We know each can score but so far as a pair they only have one goal to show for and a boat load of nothing else.
Who to watch: Robbie Rogers. Aljeandro Moreno. These two guys have to come up big for the Crew on the road. They’ve done it before but it hasn’t been for a while. I think the Crew begin their Supporter’s Shield push with this game tomorrow night. They need that push to come from these two guys, not just from GBS.
What the result will mean: For Dallas it is a bit of a security thing. I don’t see anyone below in them in the west catching them right at the moment but a win would easily put some daylight between them and everyone below them. Another draw wouldn’t hurt but also wouldn’t help as much. A home loss this late in the year wouldn’t be good. On the flip side for Columbus they want a win to say in the SS race as well as the eastern playoff hunt. A loss would set them back a bit on their momentum right now.
WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, Dallas 1
Kansas City Wizards – at – San Jose Earthquakes:
The unkind road: KC is six points back of a wild-card spot right now in the east, so three points on the road is more than huge. Thing is they’ve only one once on the road all year and that was way back at the start of the year.
Home cookin’: On the flip side for San Jose they are sitting a few points out of a playoff spot out west themselves. They are starting a three-game homestand. A result at Buck Shaw stadium tomorrow night keeps that unbeaten mark rolling and the playoffs within reasonable reach.
Who to watch: Darren Huckerby. This guy has been like a Godsend to Frank Yallop and the Quakes. His work ethic on and off the field has been huge and players are feeding off him left and right. I see him making his mark on this one at home, as he typically plays well in front of the home fans.
Where’s the offense?: Still two of the worst offenses in the league right now facing off. KC’s leading scorer is a defender and San Jose has a guy that use to play in the indoor leagues leading their way. Sounds bad right? Still, I think San Jose at home is going to be too much for KC on the road. I just don’t see the Wizards having enough punch to keep up with the Quakes at this point.
What the result will mean: A win for either is big. A loss hurts and starts to put serious talk of no playoffs in 2008 in full gear. A draw just keeps us guessing for another week.
WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, KC 0
Toronto FC – at – Chivas USA:
Smell that? Desperation kicking in: I would argue that these are the two most desperate clubs in the league right now. Each really need results and each are finding themselves quickly escaping the playoff picture with each passing week.
Something is Fishy: We all know the Fish is in Toronto, or well…with Toronto. A turn to LA for his first game with the Reds is kind of funny to me. How much he will play is up to John Carver. It would be ironic for him to get a goal in the HDC in his first game with Toronto too.
CONCACAF hangover: If any club in MLS will have a hangover from extra games it has to be Chivas. More injuries than anything are the Goats. They traveled to Panama this week and lost. Not a good thing to return to league play and play a club that is probably more desperate than they are.
Who to watch: Sacha Kljestan. Amado Guevara. Who wins the battle in the midfield for these two will determine the game. Guevara actually has targets to pick from these days…while Kljestan just has to create on his own.
What the result will mean: A win for each is good. A loss is killer because each could actually end up at the bottom of their respective conference at the end of the weekend if they lose. A draw would be nearly worthless at this point.
WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, Toronto 1
Chicago Fire – at – Houston Dynamo:
Best road side against a strong home side: Great matchup, probably the best of the weekend. Thankfully the best for last and not on Telefutra! Anyways, the Fire play so well on the road and Houston always is tough to beat at home. I really see no edge to either club in that respect.
Supporter’s Shield race: Chicago is closer than Houston but don’t sleep on the Dynamo if they get a result on Sunday. With that trophy in reach to each club you have to get a sense that this game may be the biggest of all this weekend.
Midfield battle: Blanco v. DeRo. Clark v. Mapp. I love the battles that will take play between these two this weekend. Defensively the edge is in Chicago’s favor but I would argue that the offense edge at home is in Houston’s corner. The real battle is in the midfield. Who comes out here comes out on top, last time around it was Houston.
Who to watch: Nate Jaqua. Playing his old club you have to think he would love nothing more than to put one or two home against them. Plus his matchup with either Wilman Conde or Bakary Soumare is going to be fun to watch.
What the result will mean: A win for each put them both in striking distance or possibly in the lead in Chicago’s case in regards to the overall table. A loss would be a stumble, more so for Houston at home. A draw would just clog things up even more.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, Chicago 0