- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 5, 2008
- 2 Comments
- Game Predictions, Game Previews, Week 24, Weekend Previews
Week 24 is already off to a hot start with Colorado’s rare road upset of FC Dallas last night. The move bumped the Rapids back into the playoff picture for the time being. Several other clubs hope their luck can change like that this weekend as each club faces some more must-win matches.
Back to our typical weekend slate with five games on Saturday and one final game on Sunday to round out the weekend. Plenty of decent matchups, all with playoff implications tacted to them.
As always feel free to post your predictions to this weekend’s games for your clubs or all the games!
Chivas USA – at – Toronto FC:
Can Chivas continue the surge?: Ah, Chivas is getting healthy and no have no extra games on the menu to deal with after they bounced out of the CONCACAF Champions League this past week. That loss on Tuesday may have been a blessing for the Goats as they head into this weekend. Currently tied with Colorado for that third and final playoff spot in the west, Chivas is in an excellent position to start their move. I think it continues this weekend on the road.
What will John Carver do?: We’ve heard the complaints all week from Carver that he wasn’t expecting to lose this many players to World Cup qualifiers. Listen John its the nature of the business in MLS, deal with it. He will be without: Greg Sutton, Jim Brennan (Canada); Marvell Wynne (USA); Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala); Amado Guevara (Honduras); Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica); Julius James (Trinidad & Tobago); Jarrod Smith (New Zealand); and Carl Robinson (Wales). Nine players total and seven of those are starters. Yikes.
Is Chivas finally healthy?: Oh the Red-and-White are so close to being healthy it is scary. I think once these qualifiers are over and Sacha Kljestan is back in the line up for good here in the final stages of this season this club will be a tough out. We saw last weekend just how good they can be when they control the pace of the game. I see them doing that on the road tomorrow because of their depth (in comparison to Toronto).
Who to watch for: Atiba Harris for Chivas. Chad Barrett for Toronto. Both can have an impact in this game and both will. I see each putting on in the back of the net this weekend.
What will the result mean for each: A win is big for both at this point. For Toronto it gets them a bit closer in the east and for Chivas it puts them back on top of things out west for that third and final spot. A draw does each very little though could help Chivas more in the standings. A loss for Toronto pretty much signals their season is over in my books. The loss for Chivas just makes the west that much more interesting.
WVH Prediction: Chivas 2, Toronto 1
New England Revolution – at – Columbus Crew:
What bad blood will spill over in this one?: Look we remember what happened the last time these two faced off in Columbus. The game was close to the end and ended ugly on a last minute PK. From there the fans went nuts and so did the web with floods of talk about racism and what not. Lets all hope that doesn’t happen again. Not just so we can enjoy the game but so we don’t have to see more MLS Rumors reports about Crew fans being racist. Anyways, I think some tension is still there and this one will be physical.
CONCACAF Hangover for the Revs?: The Revs have been beaten up in their last few games in the league and out of the league. Injuries are piling up again and this club isn’t looking like that dominate side that we saw from May until late July. The schedule got to them, that is for sure but now with the CCL out of the way they can focus on the league once more, and a great place to do that is in Columbus where they can get back on top of the league standings with a win.
Can the Crew be cooled off?: Right now the Crew are red hot, winning four out of their last five and have just looked great in the process. They will miss a couple key members of their roster for this one in defense but if MVP candidate Guillermo Barros Schelotto can say anything about it the Crew could be looking at their forth straight win tomorrow. I think Shalrie Joseph will match up great against GBS in the middle.
Who’s scoring for NE?: Injuries are killing this club up top, Kheli Dube is out, Adam Cristman is done for the year and Taylor Twellman is about as healthy as it gets right now and he is a bit banged up. They need Twellman to produce, that is pretty obvious. If he continues his current pace, the Revs will make this a game. However, if the Crew are able to stop him in the back with Chad Marshall and Andy Iro it could be a long evening for the Revs.
Who to watch for: Brad Evans for Columbus. Steve Ralston for New England. Both will play a big part in this one. If Evans can continue to link up with GBS in the box the Crew will win this one, but if Ralston gets his magic going the Revs will walk with three points again from Crew Stadium.
What the result will mean: A win is big for both, for Columbus it keeps them above the Revs for another week but for NE it puts them back on top of the Crew. A loss hurts both, especially the Crew who have built some serious momentum lately. A draw just makes us wait for more again.
WVH Prediction: Columbus 1, NE 1
New York Red Bulls – at – Chicago Fire:
The return of Osorio to the Windy City: We know this won’t be a happy reception for Juan Carlos Osorio and his Red Bulls as they visit Osorio’s former club. Though I wonder if the fans even remember it as it was a bigger deal back in the winter than it is now. I would say they still don’t like him but they are mainly focused on beating his current club.
Who’s missing more?: New York is missing Jorge Rojas and Andrew Boyens to qualifiers and Chicago is missing Marco Pappa, Gonzalo Segares and Blano. Chicago may be missing some big names but I feel have a better amount of depth than the Red Bulls. Missing Rojas in the middle will be big I think this weekend. Chicago always plays more spread out without Blano and not having Rojas out there will be tough go against that spread attack.
Will the Red Bulls get pay back?: The last time out Chicago thumped the Red Bulls 5-1 in New Jersey. That was a while ago when the Red Bulls looked like a damn joke. Now they look legit and I wonder if they can muster up a rare road win and get the payback. Chicago is one of the worst home clubs in the league so this would be a good place to get one if they are going to do it.
Who to watch: Brian McBride for Chicago. Juan Pablo Angel for NY. Who scores more will lead their club…pretty obvious I know but in all reality this one should be closer than last time around and I expect one of these two to net the game winner.
What the result will mean: For Chicago it puts some more daylight between themselves and DC and New York and gets them ultimately closer to Columbus and NE. For New York it puts them within striking distance of that third automatch spot in the east (though goal differential would still go the Fire’s way). A loss would end the streak for the Red Bulls as they head into some more tough games. For Chicago it would put them on that spiral path that they are already on right now, which is not good. A draw helps Chicago more than New York.
WVH Prediction: Chicago 1, NY 0
DC United – at – San Jose Earthquakes:
Will DC cool off the Quakes?: Arguably San Jose is the hottest club right now in MLS. They haven’t lost in their last seven games and have looked real impressive all over the field. DC has been playing pretty well and even collected another trophy for their already packed trophy case this week in the US Open Cup. But both have injuries to be concerned over.
Which injury is bigger, Emilio or Corrales?: DC loses it’s top goal scorer, while San Jose loses their best midfielder. Its like apples and oranges here but my feelings are DC can make up Emilio’s scoring for a game or two elsewhere while San Jose will struggle to plug up the hole where Corrales plays.
Can DC win in North Cali?: Its been over a decade since they last won out in San Jose. The Black-and-Red aren’t the best of road sides so I wouldn’t be shocked to see them slip up in this one. They are coming off that US Open Cup win and could go into a soft mode for this one, especially with the amount of injuries they’ve piled up.
Who to watch for: Ronnie O’Brien for San Jose. Santino Quaranta for DC. I like Quaranta as of late and think with the absense of Jamie Moreno (Bolivia WC qualifier) and Emilio, DC will have to turn to someone like Quaranta for offense. As for the Quakes I see O’Brien leading the way offensively on the wings against a DC club who is very empty on the wings right now due to injuries. Expect O’Brien to dominate on the wings this weekend.
What the result will mean: A win for DC keeps them on pace with everyone else, a draw keeps things close for them and a loss wouldn’t be shocking. For San Jose a win could put them into the playoff picture and not on the outside, a loss would really kill their current momentum and form and a draw would not be the result they are looking for at the moment. In other words its three points or bust for the Quakes.
WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, DC 0
Real Salt Lake – at – LA Galaxy:
Will the Galaxy start their playoff push?: The winless streak is at 10 now but the Galaxy are just two points out of a playoff spot. Thing is Bruce Arena will be without his main one-two punch again due to international duty. They made a push around this time last year and came up short but this year seems like a tougher time to do so.
Time for RSL to make a push themselves?: I think so, if they are going to get going here before the playoffs start they have to get things going on the road. Another win at the HDC (their only win was against Chivas) would certainly help.
Who to watch for: Javier Morales for RSL. Edson Buddle for LA. I think without Eddie Lewis and David Beckham, Morales will have a lot of room in the middle of the park to make things happen for the visitors. Buddle needs to step up his play and get the Galaxy going here. I think LA needs Buddle to step up more than RSL needs Morales.
What the result will mean: For RSL it means a bump up the standings and possibly puts them further away from everyone else in the west. A draw and a loss for RSL just makes their playoff push a little more tougher. They need better results on the road. LA needs points no matter what but three points are vital.
WVH Prediction: RSL 2, LA 1
Kansas City Wizards – at – Houston Dynamo:
Will the new strikers help KC?: Two moves in a matter of a couple days to upgrade the attack in KC. They’ve added Herculez Gomez from Colorado and Abe Thompson from Dallas. I liked the moves but I still think they needed to do work in their midfield. They don’t have a solid enough playmaker in the middle of the park right now. I do think though a change of scenery for the two will help but it won’t translate into goals right away, especially against Houston’s defense.
Can the Dynamo push for the Supporter’s Shield?: I think with three points this weekend they certainly can. Their schedule does get tougher so they do need to take care of things at home while they can. I like their chances though against a KC squad that hasn’t been too good on the road this season.
Will missing Ching, Onstad and DeRo be too much?: On paper it seems like it could be but Houston is too deep right now to lose anything with those guys gone for this one. They will lose a step in the midfield and possibly in the attack but I see a guy like Cory Ashe or Stuart Holden stepping up to make up for things.
What does KC have to do to win?: Control the ball and the pace of the game…which won’t be easy on the road.
Who to watch for: Nate Jaqua for Houston. Josh Wolff for KC. Both were midseason moves but only one really has paid off in my mind (Jaqua). KC really needs a lift offensively and Wolff has to be that guy. Jaqua just needs to deliver in Ching’s absense.
What the result will mean: For KC it gets them back in the race but another loss would pretty much put them in the “let’s look at 2009” category as the east is just too deep right now for them to play that kind of catch-up this late. So they need three points. For Houston a win gets them closer to the top but a loss would open the door a bit for RSL to get back in the western conference race.
WVH Prediction: Houston 2, KC 0