MLS Weekend Preview

MLS Weekend Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 20, 2009
  • 4 Comments
  • Amado Guevara, Dwayne De Rosario, Emmanuel Ekpo, Game Predictions, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Santiago Hirsig, Sasha Kljestan, Weekend Previews

Chad Barrett and Toronto FC travel to KC to face the Wizards Saturday night. (Getty Images)

Back at it for the 2009 season. Nearly every club in action this weekend with five games on Saturday evening and one lone match on Sunday afternoon.

Just as yesterday I will try to give just a quick preview, a couple questions, and score prediction. Nothing too fancy since I don’t get to see every club all the time. Also feel free to pipe in your game predictions below.

Columbus Crew – at – Houston Dynamo:

1. How will Houston contain Schelotto?

Its a question for everyone but Houston did a decent job a year ago against the Crew. They split their season series and Houston won the home leg. However, Columbus looked very strong in preseason play while the Dynamo struggled here and there. With no Eddie Robinson (out to injury) it could be a long afternoon chasing GBS in the midfield. Richard Mulrooney or Ricardo Clark will probably be set to lock him down and if they come up short in the task it will put more pressure on the backline. Luckily for the Dynamo that is one of their stronger departments.

2. Who will score for Houston?

After Brian Ching things get a little tough this year as we all know. Stuart Holden will be asked to create in the middle and set pieces become that much more important to the men in orange. Kai Kamera is suspended for this game and normally I would say he would be right in the discussion to help with the scoring load. Someone like a Brad Davis or a Brian Mullan will have to pick up the slack.

3. One guy to keep an eye on tomorrow night.

Emmanuel Ekpo is someone to watch on the wings for the Crew. I think this year could be a big one for him and getting off to a quick start would definitely be needed by the Black and Gold faithful. Look for Ekpo to put a lot of pressure on the Dynamo flanks and probably help Columbus produce a goal or two.

I think this one could be real tight defensively. I still have too many questions about Houston’s attack though I do see them pushing the Crew a little in this one since it is at home. Robertson Stadium has never been kind to Columbus but I see some luck changing.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, Houston 1

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Chicago Fire – at – FC Dallas

1. Will Dallas be able to hold off the Fire attack?

Honestly I don’t what to make of this Dallas defense. It should be better than in years past but I’m not expecting a drastic improvement here. Dallas may not have Blanco to contend with tomorrow and that may actually be a good thing. The Hoops still will have to contend with Brian McBride and the speed of guys like Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe. Pablo Ricchetti is out on suspension which could lead to more pressure on the backline tomorrow.

2. Is this really a good rivalry anymore?

To be hoenest, Dallas has kind of owned the Fire in recent years…espcially in Dallas. Chicago hasn’t won in Dallas since 1999 and hasn’t beat Dallas since 2005. Plus this whole Brimestone Cup thing hasn’t gone to the Windy City since 2001. Could this finally be the year the Fire owns the Hoops? Perhaps. I think the rivalry is still more with the fans than actually on the field. Anymore these two clubs don’t seem to match an rivalry of a Chivas-LA or even a Toronto-Columbus. Maybe though this year will be different.

3. Player to watch for both sides.

David Ferreira for Dallas and Marco Pappa for Chicago. Both will play different styles but both will see a lot of the ball tomorrow. Dallas needs Ferreira to be the rock in the middle that controls the pace of the game. Chicago just needs Pappa to do his thing and be the special player that I think he can be.

Dallas should contend well with Chicago still. Their style of play does match well against the Fire even with the defensive issues. With Blanco in question I think the game will be tighter than if he were actually on the field. Chicago goes up early but I think Dallas gets a late goal to tie it.

WVH Prediction: Dallas 1, Chicago 1

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Toronto FC – at – Kansas City Wizards:

1. Which midfield addition will work out better, Dwayne de Rosario for Toronto or Santiago Hirsig for KC?

A lot of people love the DeRo move and a lot of people seem high on Argentine import Hirsig for KC. It will be interesting to see which has a better impact on this game tomorrow. Both will be called to do a similar task, which is facilitate the offense in the midfield. DeRo knows the MLS game so I have to give the slight nod to Toronto in this one. Though I will admit I have very interested to see Hirsig play for the Wizards and see if this is a good move or not.

2. Where will the offense actually come from in this game?

Face it both clubs were largely terrible on offense a season ago. With new faces in the offense things should be better. For KC its all about getting Claudio Lopez and Josh Wolff on the same page this season. They should be a good combination when healthy. And for Toronto the addition of Pablo Vitti should help Chad Barrett out. Right now on paper Toronto does look to have a slight edge in the offensive category. KC has some solid strikers but none that make a large impact last year, they need that go-to scorer this season and Wolff has to be that guy.

3. One player to keep an eye on.

Amado Guevara is always an interesting character. I put him here today because I really want to see how he shares the spotlight in the midfield with DeRo. Most say he will be fine and I for one believe it. I think however I just need to see on the field.

This one should be interesting. Both clubs have tons to prove in 2009, especially on the offensive end. KC at home is usually pretty strong and they typically have matched up well against Toronto. Thing was in the past Toronto never had someone to control things in the midfield like DeRo. That is a difference maker and that’s why I am taking the visitors in this one.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 2, KC 0

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Colorado Rapids – at – Chivas USA

1. New season, yet same old story for both clubs…one is still dealing with injuries and the other is probably still inconsistent. So what gives?

This one is a real head scratcher for me. Chivas is still ravaged with injuries going into a new season. Colorado really did very little to upgrade their below average team from 2008. I feel both are pretty much where we left off with them a season ago. Road clubs typically do well in this series but something about having Sasha Kljestan healthy and ready to go in this one has to give Chivas a better shot.

2. Where will the offense come in this one?

Chivas failed to have a consistent scorer last year while for the majority of the season the Rapids failed to score consistently as a team. Conor Casey is the guy however to watch for the Rapids in the offensive third of the field. Though questions are still surrounding whether or not he will be able to do better than his late season run from last fall. I’m one that is holding out to see that.

Chivas needs a scorer and hopefully new import Eduardo Lillingston can pair up nicely with a recovering Maykel Galindo or Justin Braun. Still, none of those names are striking fear in any defense right now.

3. Two guys to watchout for.

For Chivas it has to be Jesse Marsch, becuase as the offense goes so does Marsch. While I love me some Kljestan I do believe a lot more rests on Marsch than Kljestan for this club.

For Colorado keep an eye on Omar Cummings. If he can be the counter offer to Casey then the Rapids may have a quality one-two punch in 2009.

Overall this game should be a decent watch on Saturday night. Neither club is a true contender now but a strong showing in week one always makes people think. Colorado has had fast starts before and could see one with new coach Gary Smith. I just think neither one is ready to make a huge jump out there just yet. A draw sounds like a solid bet in this one.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 2, Colorado 2

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New England Revolution – at – San Jose Earthquakes:

1. What do we really expect out of San Jose in 2009?

We think the Quakes are better and I for one have even jumped on their season bandwagon. Thing is they face a New England squad that I’ve been on the bandwagon with for a couple years now. I think Frank Yallop did go out and get a good group of new players for this club. They should be better offensively with Cam Weaver. Also being in San Jose doesn’t hurt a bit either as I really feel they will make that venue a nice home this year in terms of keeping it a fortress.

2. Will we see a healthy Taylor Twellman?

Nope. Not for this one, he is listed as out for the game. Tough break too as the Revs will have to lean heavily on Kheli Dube and the two young Gambians again this year. It worked out fine for them a season ago when Twellman was out and they had to fall back on Dube, Nyassi and Mansally.

3. Player to keep an eye on tomorrow night.

Michael Videira for New England will be interesting to watch. Expect Steve Nicol to use him up top with Dube early on (or in a late game situation). Viderira is returning to the club after being selected in 2008 in the SuperDraft. He went to Europe instead of the MLS as we all know but is now back with the club for 2009. He could be the spark in the offense that Nicol is looking for this season.

I think this one will be closer than some will expect. Both clubs have loads to prove in 2009 as New England wants to show that their end of the year fallout is behind them and for the Quakes that they’re no longer an expansion club. I do like the Quakes at home as I am still worried about New England’s defense without Michael Parkhurst. Until I see that guys like Gabreil Badilla are ready to step up for them I probably won’t be eager to pick them as much.

WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, NE 1

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DC United – at – LA Galaxy:

1. Just how much better are these two clubs from a year ago?

DC improved but only slightly in my books. LA got rid of a bunch of trash but brought in a bunch of so-so guys. Defensively this one could be real ugly in a hurry as each club still has firepower up top with Luciano Emilio for DC and Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle for LA.

2. Can DC win out west?

Typically in the past DC fails to come up strong in games against some western clubs, especially LA in Carson. Last couple years DC has not been able to right the ship with Donovan, and last year he put up a hat trick on the Black-and-Red. With the lack of improvement on defense for DC one has to believe nothing will change in the way they play out in Carson.

In the last two games at the Tool Box they have given up 10 goals to LA. Yeah, I don’t see that changing.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

If DC wants to keep on the board with LA in this one they need a good showing from rookie foward Chris Pontius. I think off the bench Pontius could be a good counter to LA and maybe even the change of pace up top that DC needs to stay with the Galaxy.

This one just screams goals to me. Last year it was that way and I don’t see any reason why it won’t be similar on Sunday. Neither added a lot of depth or quality to their defense and the offenses are still relatively the same. The difference for me is LA is at home and DC is not. It simily comes down to that.

WVH Prediction: LA 4, DC 2

  • SDM

    I am soooooo glad to see that headline!! Thanks for the preview.

  • SDM

    I am soooooo glad to see that headline!! Thanks for the preview.

  • joel es latest socce

    Great game. Houston were fortunate to stop the Crew from not scoring more.

  • Great game. Houston were fortunate to stop the Crew from not scoring more.