MLS Weekend Preview: Week 5

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 5

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 17, 2009
  • 2 Comments
  • 2009 Week 5, Ade Akinbiyi, Albert Cedades, Alfredo Pacheco, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Convey, Brian Ching, Brian McBride, Chris Rolfe, Conor Casey, Dominic Oduro, Fredy Montero, Jon Conway, Josh Wolff, Juan Pablo Angel, Landon Donovan, Marco Pappa, Sacha Kljestan, Weekend Previews, Will Johnson, Yura Movsisyan

Kind of hard to believe we are already five weekends into the new season. For those keeping score at home after this week we will be a sixth of the way through the season…well for most clubs at least.

Another six game weekend slate for us, with four on Saturday and two for Sunday kicks. Every club is in action this week (including tonight’s game) except for Columbus, and let’s face it they need the week off to figure out things here.

As always feel free to post your game predictions below.

Real Salt Lake – at – New York Red Bulls

1. Will we finally see the reinforcements for New York?

This should be the game we see the new guys play for New York in some capacity either as starting or off the bench. No word yet on how fit Albert Cedades is yet but I would imagine he will at least be involved in some way or another in this one. The club will also finally have Alfredo Pacheco for this one too, who finally got his ITC after a few weeks of waiting.

The biggest though may be getting keeper Jon Conway back in goal. Even though I am not the biggest Conway supporter (never thought he was all that good from the start), he is better than Danny Cepero. How big on an impact he will bring is totally up to him and his defense who has been terrible this season.

2. Can RSL win on the road?

Let’s face it, for me RSL has to start winning consistently on the road. Getting even a cheap road win will help their cause or getting a win over a crappy club like New York will help. Plus there is the revenge factor against New York for outting them in last year’s playoffs. And lastly there is some extra motivation to get their first win ever against New York.

If there was ever a time to get started on looking like a true contender it is now for RSL.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Even with all the new guys for New York I am waiting to see Juan Pablo Angel light things up this season. He usually starts to pick it up after a few games and after hearing for weeks how bad the Red Bull attack is you’d have to think he’d take that a bit personal too. He should get off the mark here…should being the key word there.

Quick Thoughts:

New York has to start scoring eventually here right? Going against a pretty decent defense in RSL it could happen but I’m not so certain they are quite there yet this season. They looked decent in their home opener against New England but other than that they’ve been a train reck this season. RSL on the other hand needs to start making noise if they want to be taken serious. So both clubs do have a lot riding on this early season game. In the end I like a draw for this one. New York will get off the mark here for the season and score a goal (or two) but I see RSL staying with them and nearly pull off the road win. Angel and Dominic Oduro get New York on the board while Will Johnson and Yura Movsisyan keep RSL level.

WVH Prediction: New York 2, RSL 2

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Kansas City Wizards – at – Chicago Fire:

1. Will Kansas City be able to keep it up here?

Two straight wins, with one being over one of the league’s best teams (and story) so far this season. Also throw in the fact that KC has actually done well at Toyota Park makes this a much watch for me. I’ve been down on KC for a while but if they can keep it up they could even turn me into a believer here early on this season.

For that to happen they have to get by a really good Chicago team. I don’t see the Fire caving in like last week and giving up three goals to KC. For one I don’t see KC scoring three goals in many games this season and for seconds Chicago is just too good of a club to not let that happen in back-to-back games.

2. When will the Fire really turn it on here this season?

Even though I’ve rated Chicago as the best club so far this season, I will be the first to admit they haven’t been that impressive. But saying that is also a testament of how good this team really is. They are slowly hitting their stride and are still winning (or tying) games in the process. It hasn’t hurt that guys like Marco Pappa, Chris Rolfe, and Brian McBride are all really playing well so far this season. A few weeks in and it could be time for the Fire to really start to break away from the pack here. You typically see clubs around this time of the year do so and I think Chicago could be that club this year who begins to pull away early.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Josh Wolff for KC is someone I want to see finally break away and turn it on here this season. He is facing his old town’s club and you gotta think he’s eager to get on the board against them. KC needs him to start producing consistently here in order to become a real contender this season.

Quick Thoughts:

I gotta say this game may be one of the best matchups of the weekend that no one is really talking about. While everyone will (and to a degree should) have their eyes on the next two matchs for Saturday, this is the game that I am wanting to see. KC is starting to show some real promise here after the slow start but they need to show that the win last week wasn’t a fluke and that they can beat the big boy clubs of the league on the road. Beating Chicago would certainly do that. Thing is I just see the Fire responding to last week’s 3-3 result in San Jose with a win at home. They know they can do better defensively and will prove it against their eastern rival.Plus I just don’t think KC has an answer for Brian McBride here.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 2, KC 1

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LA Galaxy – at – San Jose Earthquakes:

1. Two bad defenses, one big rivalry, sounds like loads of goals right?

I think its a damn good possibility to see plenty of goals. San Jose isn’t playing at all like their tough defensive self that we saw a year ago. LA is just still playing like LA in the midfield and in defense. Throw in the rivalry factor and even the game being in Oakland instead of at Buck Shaw Stadium and you could be in for a real treat.

Oh yeah there is a guy name Landon that use to play for San Jose…I’m pretty sure he will be interested in scoring a few for his current mates against his old side.

2. What will San Jose do with their midfield?

The problem isn’t all the defense, its the midfield isn’t working out with Bobby Convey in the middle. It may be time for Frank Yallop to suck it up and place Convey on the wings where he belongs and move someone else into the middle that can actually handle the ball better. Just with LA and their midfield, if this unit does not improve soon enough this club won’t be taken seriously by anyone in the league as a true contender.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Speaking of Landon Donovan. has been sort of a Quake killer since joining the Galaxy a few years ago. He has scored three goals and tallied two assists in five regular season games against San Jose. Looking at how San Jose has played thus far this season I would imagine they don’t have the answer for Donovan. That is unless they figure out what to do with Bobby Convey in the midfield. midfield a little more.

Quick Thoughts:

I do love a good rivalry. This one is still that even though the Quakes are a newer version here still. I do see plenty of goals in this one as neither defense has shown they are quite good enough to stop an attack on a consistent basis. Yes, Galaxy fans I know you guys got a shutout last week against Chivas, but that was in a card-infested game that really could have gone Chivas’s way in the end. Back to the game at hand though, I do like the homeside in this one. Even as messy as San Jose has played I do believe at home they are better than LA on the road here. Donovan will get his goal or two but San Jose is better offensively than LA is defensively.

WVH Prediction: San Jose 3, LA 1

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Seattle Sounders FC – at – Chivas USA:

1. Can Seattle bounce back from their first loss?

While they were down last week to KC the expansion Sounders showed some real grit. They showed to me that even while down they will still be in games and find ways to come back in them. In the end they didn’t due to the loss of Keller (which the more I looked at that the crappier the call became). This game will be a big test for their defense though as they will be without the aforementioned Keller and stuck with a no-named guy in a big early regular season game.

But to Seattle’s credit they have enough veteran leadership on their roster to bounce back and the one of the best coaches in the league that knows what to do when faced with these types of situations.

2. How much longer will Chivas be able to keep up the streak?

All the talk about Seattle early on ended last week with the loss but Chivas is still last undefeated club of the west. Three wins and a draw the AmeriGoats are still top dog in the west over the Sounders. Chivas keeps plugging away with a rag-tag group of guys that no one figured would get the job done. Then again they’ve also played some pretty crappy teams thus far this season. Still 10 points early on is 10 points and we have to give Preki credit for that.

Last week was a big test against their chief rivals, but this one will be even bigger as Seattle has only given up one goal all season. I’m pretty sure Seattle will be looking to control the pace of this game early on which Chivas cannot allow. A team that pressures like Seattle could be the end of a great start unless guys like Sacha Kljestan step up and control the pace of the game from the first kick.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I’m wanting to see Fredy Montero on the road here. We didn’t get to see him in Toronto a couple weeks ago for various reason and now that he has back and cleared of everything out there he should be able to focus again on soccer. That’s a good thing too as Seattle needs his goals on the road.

Quick Thoughts:

I don’t think anyone even thought this would be as big of a game when the schedules came out a couple months ago. Probably what will be the most watched matchup of the weekend will be this one. I think it will be fairly close early on as Seattle figures out how to respond on the road after their first loss of the year. If they get rattled early by Chivas it will be interesting to see how well the handle it. In the end I see this one shaping up to be a draw, Chivas scores in the first half and Seattle responds early in the second half with Montero.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, Seattle 1

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Colorado Rapids – at – Houston Dynamo:

1. Will Houston be able to put a stop to Conor Casey?

Casey has been one of the biggest reason why Colorado is doing well so far this season. The past three games Casey has stepped up and become a big leader for this club on the field and it is producing not only goals but results. Colorado looks nothing like the club that stumbled out of the gate against Chivas on opening weekend. Houston will probably look to counter some size with size as they finally can use Canadian defender Andrew Hainault. That will definitely be a matchup worth watching if Hainault is in the starting XI for Houston.

2. Will Houston finally get off the slide and score consistently?

I think this matchup is a good one for Houston to get some goals in. Colorado isn’t always the best away club and for the most part no one does well in Houston. If it is the weather or the smaller field or whatever Robertson Stadium has been a nightmare for most MLS clubs since Houston started playing there a coupl years ago.

Ade Akinbiyi should be called into action for Houston as well in this one. It will be interesting to see not only how good this well-traveled striker really is but how well he links up with Brian Ching. If those two pair up well early on this could just be the signing that Dominic Kinnear was waiting for.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I really want to keep a tab on Omar Cummings again for Colorado. Even though I think Houston has the defense to control Casey and Cummings, I just see his speed being too much to handle after dealing with the physicality of Casey all day.

Quick Thoughts:

Even though the Rapids have been playing well lately I just see this as a game that gets Houston going here this season. We know they typically start slow each season but I just don’t see a Dominic Kinnear lead team go winless in their first five games. Houston is always a handful at home and should still be on Sunday.

WVH Prediction: Houston 1, Colorado 0

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Toronto FC – at – FC Dallas:

1. Is Dallas really going to turn things around or was that just a tease?

Some of the guys here in Dallas are saying that the club just needed one good result to get them going here this season. Honestly I don’t buy that at all but that is just player speak from them. While they got a good result on the road a week ago they still looked pretty bad in the process. It was more poor finishing on TFC’s part than Dallas actually putting two and two together here this season.

2. How important is this game for Toronto?

Honestly the Reds need to get this win and get the ball rolling on their season here. They are about to enter a huge stretch of games over the next three and a half weeks and if they can come out that stretch well they will need to begin it with a big road win in Dallas. We know Toronto is capable of pulling off a road win and scoring some goals, its just a matter of time before it all clicks. We said before this home-and-away series with Dallas that Toronto needed four points to feel good about themselves, they need those three points on Sunday. Guys like Amado Guevara and Rohan Ricketts need to step up and take some pressure off FCD-killer Dwayne De Rosario.

3. Player to keep an eye out for on Sunday.

I think for Toronto to get a good start they either need to get Chad Barrett going or bench him. More than likely he will be a starter so keep an eye out for him. This is honestly a make or break kind of game for him.

Quick Thoughts:

Most of the time I would like Dallas at home against an unproven road team like Toronto. Thing is the Red Stripes have given me no reason to believe in them yet this season. Toronto out played them a week ago and probably will do the same this weekend. Like I said its an important game for Toronto, they need to get going here this season. While Dallas need to do the same they just need to figure themselves out more before it can happen.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 2, Dallas 1

  • SDM

    If the RedBulls don't come away with all three points this weekend, they are going to be in serious trouble. After tomorrow, they play three out of four on the road, including two in a row on the west coast. It could get ugly for JCO if they don't get a win.

  • SDM

    If the RedBulls don’t come away with all three points this weekend, they are going to be in serious trouble. After tomorrow, they play three out of four on the road, including two in a row on the west coast. It could get ugly for JCO if they don’t get a win.