MLS Weekend Preview: Week 4

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 4

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 10, 2009
  • 12 Comments
  • 2009 Week 4, Ade Akinbiyi, Albert Cedades, Alfredo Pacheco, Carlos Johnson, Christian Gomez, Conor Casey, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Dwayne De Rosario, Eduardo Lillingston, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero, Gerson Mayen, Gregg Berhalter, Javier Morales, Kenny Cooper, Landon Donovan, Marco Pappa, Omar Cummings, Osvaldo Alonso, Pablo Vitti, Patrick Nykaro, Robbie Findley, Santiago Hirsig, Steve Zakuani, Weekend Previews, Yura Movsisyan
Dwayne De Rosario leads TFC against FC Dallas on Saturday. (Brian Stephens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

Dwayne De Rosario leads TFC against FC Dallas on Saturday. (Brian Stephens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

So far the 2009 season has been a lot different than most would expect. Two western teams headline the standings with perfect records, while a couple eastern clubs aren’t far off the pace. Judging by this weekend’s schedule this could be a good for some struggling clubs to get on the board here this season.

This will be the first weekend in a while that I can remember where all the games are on Saturday. Easter Sunday probably has a good bit to do with that reasoning. Seven games total, with only New England missing out on the fun due to the unbalanced schedule this season.

Feel free as always to post your score predictions for your club’s game or for all the games below.

FC Dallas – at – Toronto FC:

1. Can Toronto correct their offense and get on the board against a very weak Dallas defense?

You’d have to think that the best cure for some offensive woes this season have to be facing a club like Dallas. Toronto gets a double dip this week and next week with the North Texas club. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that John Carver and his club should expect no less than four points out of these next two games with Dallas.

I thought last week against Seattle the Reds created some decent chances for themselves but were just unable to do anything with them. Pablo Vitti looked pretty good on a couple passes from Dwayne De Rosario. And speaking of DeRo, or the FCD-Killer as I like to call him, you have to think he would like nothing more than to get on the board this season against his old Texan rival.

2. What can Dallas do to slow down the attack from Toronto?

For one Dallas hasn’t played all that well in BMO Field in their two visits. They won last year’s meeting but at that point and time they were actually doing alright as a club and Toronto was already starting to fall into their summer funk. I think this visit being a bit earlier in the year will change things, especially since Dallas isn’t doing well so far this season. They need to find a way to get Kenny Cooper involved more and control the ball in the midfield. Toronto actually is doing better this season in the midfield so it will be another tough test for this Dallas midfield.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I’m going to go with Toronto’s Pablo Vitti again here. I think while Chad Barrett will probably getting his fair share of looks, Vitti either as a start or off the bench should make an impact in this one. I just think he pairs up well with Dallas’s backline.

Quick Thoughts:

Dallas has a lot to work on here and a road trip to Toronto is not the best time to fix some the problems going on with the club. They may still be able to get on the board in this one but I think Toronto just has more talent in all the right areas this year in comparison to Dallas. Schellas Hyndman still hasn’t found his touch in the professional game  yet and I really don’t see it starting to show in a place like BMO Field. Toronto will bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Seattle with a nice win over a struggling Dallas team.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 3, Dallas 1

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Chicago Fire – at – San Jose Earthquakes:

1. Can San Jose find their offensive touch once again against a strong defense like Chicago?

Hey we all thought Houston had a mighty good defense and then the Quakes some how came out and torched them for three goals in 15 minutes a couple weeks ago. Maybe San Jose is the type of club that plays up to their competition when they face a good club and down when they face other clubs (no knock on you KC). So if that is the case we should expect their offense to step it up a notch against a very strong Chicago defense that has played very well so far this season.

2. What does Chicago need to do to control this game?

On the road last year the Fire were one of the league’s best so I wouldn’t be shocked to see them play their style of game in this one. All they have to do is control the pace of the game from the start and get their main guys involved early. San Jose is the type of team that can be beaten early in a game if you attack quickly.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Marco Pappa for Chicago has been really good so far this season. He scored a goal last week in the win against New York and I could see him making a similar impact on this one as well with how shaky San Jose’s defense can be at times. His speed on the wings along with guys like Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe could be a lot to over come.

Quick Thoughts:

I honestly don’t know what to make of these Quakes just yet this season. I want to like them I really do but they have been too inconsistent so far and good teams like Chicago handle inconsistent teams with ease. I think it will be tighter than last year’s contest in Oakland since it is being played at San Jose’s normal venue and not in Oakland. It will be interesting to see if Blanco gets the start or if he continues to come off the bench for Dennis Hamlett’s group.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 2, San Jose 0

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DC United – at – Real Salt Lake:

1. Can DC get a win in the Rocky Mountains?

DCU as we all know have been largely terrible in Colorado and in Salt Lake City over the years. It could be an altitude thing or just a mental thing but whatever it is hasn’t been good out of the Black-and-Red. DCU needs to get on the board early like they have so far this year with guys like Luciano Emilio and rookie Chris Pontius. Using their wings will also help out but the key battle will be in the midfield between RSL’s Javier Morales and DCU’s Christian Gomez. So far Gomez hasn’t impressed and Morales has been his usual self. DC needs a good game from Gomez and a bad game from Morales to get the three points here.

2. Can Robbie Findley keep up the scoring?

One thing I’ve been waiting for now for a couple seasons is for what Robbie Findley did against Columbus last week, just go crazy and score. His hat trick was hopefully his coming out party for good here this season and if that is the case then look out. Findley has the tools to be really dangerous for this kind of matchup, plus he has been linking up very nicely with Yura Movsisyan so far this season.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I think wing play will be a big factor in this one at Rio Tinto Stadium. In that case I think a guy to watch out for is RSL’s Will Johnson. He can be very dangerous from the wings and if he start to link up with Movsisyan and Findley up top it could be a long evening for the visitors.

Quick Thoughts:

I know a lot of you haven’t like what I’ve been saying about DC lately. That’s fine and in a way I do hold them to a pretty high standard. I really hope to see a quality game on Saturday betweek these two. I won’t like I think it has game of the week potential written all over it and no one is really talking about it in that manner. I see this being a pretty tightly contested game in the midfield with a defensive error causing the homeside to end the night with three points.

WVH Prediction: RSL 2, DC 1

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Colorado Rapids – at – Columbus Crew:

1. Will we finally see the Crew be the Crew this season?

Yeah, the Crew haven’t looked like the club that dominated things last year but then again they didn’t dominate early in the year last year so there really isn’t a huge reason to go nuts just yet in Columbus. Colorado comes into town Saturday and the Rapids may be just what the Crew need to get things going in 2009. The visitors haven’t won in Columbus since 2004 including last year’s 2-1 result.

2. Can Columbus stop Conor Casey?

I think it is safe to say that the three goals from Conor Casey had a lot to do with the poor defending by LA last week. Still a hat-trick is a hat-trick no matter who you score it on. Columbus will more than likely mark Casey a little more than LA did, which should make it tougher for him to get open in space like he did a week ago. Plus Columbus has plenty of size in the back that matchup well against Casey.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

As much as I expect Columbus to mark up on Casey this weekend I would say that could leave some space up for Colorado’s Omar Cummings. If he can get just the slightest about of space he has the speed to do some serious damage.

Quick Thoughts:

Columbus has to get on the board here if you ask me. Four games in for the defending champions and only two points to show for. They are home for this one and should be able to get the positive result. I don’t see Colorado getting the same sort of space in this one as they did a week ago in LA. Columbus plays a little more compact in the back unlike LA. Look for Columbus to control the midfield in this one and get their first win of the year.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, Colorado 1

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New York Red Bulls – at – Houston Dynamo:

1. Just how badly does Houston want this game?

I think we all recall the last time these two faced off in Houston. New York got some nice calls from the man in the middle of the field and scored three goals when it was all said and done to advance to the next round of the playoffs. That bad taste was left in Houston’s mouth all winter and I think they’ve been waiting around so far this season for this game. You have to expect they will turn it up a notch in this one to get the result.

2. Will we finally see some fresh faces for New York?

We sure are getting there that’s for sure. Alfredo Pacheco may not be one though as the club is still waiting on his ITC card. That isn’t looking good for him to get that just yet from what some are saying. We did finally get to see fullback Carlos Johnson last week and another full week with the club should help his playing time. The big one we are waiting on is Spanish midfielder Albert Cedades. Once he gets use to his new club it could be a big turnaround for New York. Keyword in there is “could”…its just a big if right now.

3. Player to keey an eye on.

Speaking of newcomers, we should see Houston’s newcomer Ade Akinbiyi in this one. If he comes off the bench (which I bet he will) I mainly want to watch and see how fit this guy is and if he will even be enough to help the Dynamo’s attack this year. A lot of pressure will be put on him to help carry the load.

Quick Thoughts:

The more I look into things here with New York the more I think history is quickly going against this side already in 2009. I know its early but only one club in league history has gone winless through three games and reached the MLS Cup (DC in 1996). And things were mighty different in this league back in 1996. (That stat actually affects both clubs here even though I was talking about New York) I really see Houston pressing for this win on Saturday. They hated to end things last season the way they did against New York and I would bet that their fans won’t forget it either. New York hasn’t looked good on the road yet this year and I doubt it will start this weekend. I just don’t think the newbies for New York will make that big of an impact just yet.

WVH Prediction: Houston 1, New York 0

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Kansas City Wizards – at – Seattle Sounders FC:

1. What can Kansas City do to slow down the Sounder attack?

Let’s be honest for a minute, KC on the road this year hasn’t been anything special and quite frankly it hasn’t been anything special over the last couple of seasons. Put them in an environment like Seattle and you have a potential disaster right? Maybe. KC has to attack early in this one and get Seattle on their heels. The Sounders haven’t allowed a goal yet this year and if they allow one now I have a feeling it will rattle them enough, even at home. I don’t think it will rattle them enough to drop a game just yet though.

2. Which Fred will start?

You have a Fredy that didn’t make the trip last week due to the flu (and other reasons). And an aging Freddie that got banged up a little bit in the trip to Toronto. Depending on which goes it may not matter as the offense goes through that position on the field. I’d kind of wonder what Sigi Schmid would have to do without both Freds. Probably rely more on rookie Steve Zakuani.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

A lot for KC depends on how well Santiago Hirsig handles the offensive load for this club. If he can get guys in space and distribute the attack it could be a good day for the visitors. Thing is he will be going against one of the hottest guys in the league in Osvaldo Alonso.

Quick Thoughts:

Can you really go against the Sounders right now? I really don’t think you can with the way they’ve been playing. I want to find a reason to pick KC but I honestly have none right now.

WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, KC 0

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Chivas USA – at – LA Galaxy

1. Which LA will show up for this one?

We know LA can turn it up against their HDC rivals. After last week’s performance against Colorado I know they can score and probably will against Chivas. I just don’t know which defense will show up for this club. Now with the addition of veteran Gregg Berhalter you’d have to think a quick team like Chivas could have a field day against a defense that has already played once this week (a loss in PKs in the US Open Cup on Tuesday to Colorado).

2. Just how real is this Chivas bunch?

This Chivas group is a real mystery that has pulled off three straight to open the season. No big name headlines the success of the group and most of the usual names on their roster are hurt. But give credit to Preki for trusting in newcomers like Eduardo Lillingston and youngster Gerson Mayen.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

In this new edition of the SuperClascio it still comes down to one man, Landon Donovan. He has been a Chivas-killer since the AmeriGoats came into this league. I don’t see any reason why he doens’t keep it up in 2009.

Quick Thoughts:

While I don’t think Chivas is dropping this game I have a feeling it will end in a draw as LA will use the heat of the rivalry to fuel their attack. Chivas didn’t play all that well against their HDC mates a season ago and I have to wonder if they have the defense to hold off a guy like Donovan (two goals and two assists in two games this season). I don’t see LA pulling away with this one but I’ve seen stranger things out of this bunch before.

WVH Prediction: LA 2, Chivas 2

  • Rikky

    DC is going to lose. Garber put a huge mental strain on the team by saying that they could possibly be moved. Just adds to the stupidity that Garber has shown over the years.

  • SDM

    Thanks for the preview. I'm onboard with all of them, except maybe the Dynamo-RedBull game. Yeah, I know they are awful, but to me NYRB really exposed the Dynamo's overall lack of team speed during the playoffs and did a good job taking advantage of it. I can see Richards (and others) flying up and down the wings all night against them.

  • FireExaminer

    The Fire are full of dyanmic players on the wings, but not many central midfielders. I think they'll try pappa in that role this weekend, if blanco doesn't get the start. And because Blanco went a full 90 on tuesday I'd be surprised if he plays more than a half on Saturday, so I don't think Denis starts him.

  • Rikky

    DC is going to lose. Garber put a huge mental strain on the team by saying that they could possibly be moved. Just adds to the stupidity that Garber has shown over the years.

  • SDM

    Thanks for the preview. I’m onboard with all of them, except maybe the Dynamo-RedBull game. Yeah, I know they are awful, but to me NYRB really exposed the Dynamo’s overall lack of team speed during the playoffs and did a good job taking advantage of it. I can see Richards (and others) flying up and down the wings all night against them.

  • The Fire are full of dyanmic players on the wings, but not many central midfielders. I think they’ll try pappa in that role this weekend, if blanco doesn’t get the start. And because Blanco went a full 90 on tuesday I’d be surprised if he plays more than a half on Saturday, so I don’t think Denis starts him.

  • soundersfan

    i'm tired the the clean sheets, as a fan I want Sounders to go down and have to come back to win it

  • soundersfan

    i’m tired the the clean sheets, as a fan I want Sounders to go down and have to come back to win it

  • SDM

    Hush that noise!! I finally broke down and put Keller on my Fantasy team this week!

  • SDM

    Hush that noise!! I finally broke down and put Keller on my Fantasy team this week!

  • soundersfan

    SDM-<br />
    crap, I did as well, damn negative points….

  • soundersfan

    SDM-
    crap, I did as well, damn negative points….