MLS Weekend Preview: Week 6

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 6

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 24, 2009
  • 2009 Week 6, Ben Olsen, Chad Marshall, Chris Pontius, Claudio Lopez, Conor Casey, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, David Ferreira, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, John Thorrington, Josh Wolff, Kasey Keller, Kenny Cooper, Lucianio Emilio, Marco Pappa, Pablo Vitti, Weekend Previews

Another full weekend ahead in Major League Soccer, hard to believe we are already into the thick of this this week with two league games under our belts. Things are certainly starting to speed up here as we move forward in the season.

Seven games to discuss here for the upcoming weekend, five on Saturady afternoon/evening and two more the next day on Sunday. All but one game are conference clashes this weekend, the lone inter-conference meeting is out in Sandy, Utah between RSL and New England.

All clubs are in action this weekend except for Houston, who has been off this entire week. All four clubs that had week-night games are in the mix again this weekend. Tough doubles for Chivas, Toronto, New York and Kansas City. Depth will come into question for each of those clubs this week for sure.

As always feel free to pipe in your score predictions below.

Chicago Fire – at – Columbus Crew:

1. Will the rest give Columbus enough to get back into gear here?

Let’s face it Columbus needs a win and if Chicago plays any bit like they did a week ago in the second half it could end up being their first. Hard to believe six weeks in and the defendind champs haven’t record a single victory yet. The rest should have done some good for the Crew who need to find their offensive ways.

2. Will Chicago bounced back after their second half funk from a week ago?

Let’s face it that last 20 minutes for the Fire was terrible. It mostly was due to sloppy defense and a lack of midfield presence since Black was subbed out and even later on Marco Pappa came off the pitch. With both of them gone, well mainly without Blanco to be real honest, the Fire lacked the punch in the midfield that they were giving the Wizards in the first half and even the first part of the second half. As long as the midfield trio of Pappa-Blanco-John Thorrington is in tack things should be good for the Fire offensively and even defensively.

I’d say the funk they put themselves in will also cool off a bit unless their back four get into some card trouble. Against a club that is tough like the Crew it could be a rough evening for Chciago at Crew Stadium.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

Chad Marshall for the Crew will certainly have his hands full tomorrow night with Brian McBride in the box. Should Blanco or Pappa connect with McBride the Fire could be looking at extending their eastern conference lead. Marshall has to come up big on the defensive side of the ball for the Crew and it also wouldn’t hurt if he was able to put away one of his big headers on the offensive side as well.

Quick Thoughts:

The Crew have to win something eventually here and the Fire have to lose one eventually here as well. Both clubs really haven’t put it all together for a full 90 just yet but the Fire have been able to look better so far this season. Columbus needs a strong showing at home here to get the ball rolling but I just don’t know if it will come against the Fire. Chicago is too dangerous and right now I just don’t know if anyone other than Gulliermo Barros Schelotto can score for the Crew. Its not bad that GBS is scoring for the Crew but he certainly needs help carrying that load here. I like this one to actually end in another draw for each club. Chicago plays well on the road but they tend to drop out of games for stretches of the game and I see Columbus capitalizing on that.

WVH Prediction: C0lumbus 1, Chicago 1


New England Revolution – at – Real Salt Lake:

1. RSL returns home, so should we expect more of the same out of them?

What I mean by that is more of the same home play out of RSL. Let’s face it this club is great at home and terrible on the road. They just are. I don’t see any other reason to why RSL won’t bounce back in this one after looking so-so on the road last week in New York. They host a very underrated New England squad that is still undefeated here in the young season. With this being the one interconference clash on the weekend, bragging rights are on the line.

2. What does New England need to do to pick up points in Rio Tinto?

One thing RSL does well at home is spreading the field and really making people work to get the ball in possession in midfield. New England has to control things from the start with guys like Shalrie Joesph and Jeff Larentowicz. This will be key since the New England backline is ravished with injuries right now. If they don’t control things from the start it could get ugly, like it was a couple weeks ago when RSL hosted the Crew.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I’m watching out for Yura Movsisyan in this one and so should you. With the amount of injuries for New England’s back four I see Movsisyan give those that are out there a giant headache tomorrow night. He’s big and physical and could easily work his way into a couple of goals if he finds himself in the right spot to do so.

Quick Thoughts:

Honestly I don’t like New England’s chances to sneak in to Rio Tinto and get even a single point from this one. Their backline is too banged up and starting some rookies in the back (though who have been good) could be troublesome for Steve Nicol. RSL is just too good at home and should get the three points in this one to move up in the western standings. I’m not saying New England doesn’t have a chance but I just think a injury-depleted defense on the road equals disaster. Plus let’s be honest too, their offense hasn’t done much so far this season anyways.

WVH Prediction: RSL 3, NE 1


LA Galaxy – at – Colorado Rapids:

1. Can we really expect LA to do anything special on the road here?

The Galaxy have not won in their last 11 league visits to Colorado, since a 3-1 win July 13, 2002 at Mile High Stadium. The Rapids have won their last seven league home games against the Galaxy, winning nine and drawing two over the undefeated span. Yikes. The Galaxy are one of two clubs without a win right now and if they are going to pick up the first win of the year it will be in a venue that has been very unfriendly to them.

2. Can we expect Conor Casey to continue his Galaxy beat-down?

A couple weeks ago Casey went off for a hat trick against a Galaxy squad that probably produced one of the worst defensive efforts I’ve ever seen. From start to finish in that game Casey owned the Galaxy. Put Casey and the Rapids at home for the second time this year (yeah six weeks in and this is their second home game) and it could be another long night for Bruce Arena’s bunch.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

While I fully expect LA to key in on Casey look for Omar Cummings, Colin Clark and even Mehdi Ballouchy to have bigger games. Really keep an eye on Ballouchy, I think people are starting to grow tired of seeing him in the middle of the field for the Rapids, if he doesn’t start producing soon he could see his way to the bench.

Quick Thoughts:

If I were to do a bet of the week it would probably be this one. LA looked terrible the last time they faced Colorado and the fact that the Rapids are playing some pretty good soccer these days lets me believe that they will have no problem handling their business at home against LA. I fully expect Casey to have another big night against LA.

WVH Prediction: Colorado 3, LA 1


FC Dallas – at – Chivas USA:

1. Who is more gassed from the mid-week game?

Both had to make cross country trips back west for this game after playing on Wedneday night. Each club lost in similar fashion, Dallas lost in a US Open Cup game at DC while Chivas was in league play up in Toronto.

Chivas will need to bounce back quicker if they want to retain their hold on the rest of the league in the standings. I really felt they went too defensive against Toronto and really didn’t throw a lot of numbers forward. While Dallas played with some reserves in DC and lost for it. If anyone is tired it could end up being Chivas.

2. Does Dallas have any momentum going into this one?

They may actually after picking up the win against Toronto last week. Offensively things are starting to click a little better but defensively things are still where they’ve always been. One bad mistake against a club like Chivas and it could be a long trip back to the Big D.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Watch out for Dallas’s David Ferreira. He’s slowly starting to find his own way in MLS and once he continually gets on the same page as Kenny Cooper we could see a really deadly combination between those two.

Quick Thoughts:

Chivas needs a bounce back from their mid-week game while Dallas is slowly playing with some confidence here. A few weeks ago Chivas absolutely took it to Dallas in Frisco thanks to some of their newcomers. Getting the return leg at home here this weekend I think Chivas will wake up offensively after how they played on Wednesday and get on the board against a Dallas defense that still hasn’t proven a thing (other than they give up weak goals). This Dallas side just doesn’t strike me as one that will pick up a lot of road points this year though too. I could be wrong about that but Chivas will bounce back, from what I’ve seen out of them they are a quality side and quality sides tend to bounce back quickly from losses.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 2, Dallas 1


San Jose Earthquakes – at – Seattle Sounders FC:

1. Will getting Kasey Keller really make a big difference for Seattle?

He should. Let’s be honest about that Keller should make the impact that most of us have seen out of him. In the two games (or one and a half) since his red card the Sounders have given up a couple cheap goals and have looked out of sync since their leader was gone. Thing is they need to find their offensive ways again too, since Keller was carded they’ve also gone dry offensively (though I doubt Keller really has anything to do with that).

2. Can the Quakes put it together for a full 90 on the road?

Put a young club on the road in a place like Qwest Field and it could be a long night for the Quakes. I’ve said I want to like this club but they have some serious defensive issues right now that I just can’t get behind. Down the middle where Seattle has been successful is a key area that San Jose has not played well so far this season. If they are going to stop Fredy Montero or Freddie Ljungberg they have to get quality play out of Ramiro Corrales, Ryan Cochrane, and Nick Garcia.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

One guy that should have a good night for Seattle is their big striker Nate Jaqua. Going against a defense that lacks a serious punch, I see Jaqua sneaking in for a goal or two tomorrow night.

Quick Thoughts:

Again, I want to like the Quakes but they are so unproven on the road here this season and with defensive issues against a side that can be so dangerous behind Montero, Jaqua, Steve Zakuani, and Ljungberg it could be a long night in Seattle for the visiting side. Sigi Schmid lead clubs don’t typically lose three straight and I think this is the right game for them to get back on the scoresheet and back in the win column.

WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, San Jose 0


DC United – at – New York Red Bulls

1. Will New York continue to see red?

Its funny, these last couple games for the Red Bulls have been card infested. Newly aquired Carlos Johnson has seen two reds in three games. His stand-in Jeremy Hall has also seen red in that time. Something has to change because it isn’t like the guys are being more phyiscal on the ball, no, its careless fouls that are costing this club. Against a rising club like DC one mistake and it could be another long night for the MetroBulls.

2. Who will lead the way for DC this week?

It seems like one week it is Luciano Emilio, the next it is Jamie Moreno, and the following is Ben Olsen. Which is good. This club needs their big leaders to do just that, lead. They need a solid performance out of each of those guys on Sunday.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Watch out for rookie Chris Pontius. So far this year he’s been playing really well for a rookie and if New York tries to double up on Emilio like I think they may you could see extra space for Pontius and other guys like Fred or Moreno. I think Pontius could be a difference maker in this game.

Quick Thoughts:

DC had the mid-week game in the Open Cup and looked good. NY went on the road last night and sort of stunk up the place in KC. I thought they had a chance or two to come back in that one but they never seemed to get on the right side of things offensively. I would have to think DC is the fresher of the two clubs but in a rivalry game all bets are off. I know NY will need this game to bounce back but I’m not fully counting on it as DC is starting to play some decent soccer here. NY still hasn’t put it together for a full 90 like most thought they would by now.

WVH Prediction: DC 2, NY 1


Kansas City Wizards – at – Toronto FC:

1. Can Toronto keep up what they started on Wednesday?

I’ll be honest, on Wednesday night that was some of the best soccer I’ve seen out of John Carver’s bunch in a long time. They controled the pace from the start and never let Chivas USA in the match. Oddly enough most believe they played better despite the loss of Dwayne De Rosario. It was part that and part Amado Guevara stepping up and carrying this club on his back in the first half.

They host a KC club that is really playing some good soccer right now. No losses in their last four games which is really good after losing their first two games to start the season, including one to this Toronto side at home.

2. What does KC need to do to pick up some more road points?

First of all the need to keep momemtum at their side as much as possible in this one. Toronto did an excellent job on making sure they controled the midfield play against Chivas and right now that could be a weakness of KC. Their midfield has played well at times lately but I think their success has been to their defense stepping up and their offense finally producing. If they don’t possess the ball better than what we saw last night out of them it could be a really long game for the Wizards.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I think in this one you gotta keep a look out for Pablo Vitti for Toronto. I keep thinking this guy is going to really turn it on here sometime and start scoring. It could be that he needs to not be on the field at the same time as Chad Barrett, maybe Barrett’s ways are rubbing off on Vitti. Whatever the case may be I think Vitti could do well in this one.

Quick Thoughts:

This one honestly is now shaping up to be the game of the week. Two up and coming clubs who are playing some good soccer clash to end the week. I think Toronto has to get on the board early here if they want to win this one. KC has shown they can keep a lead when they get one and Toronto has never been known to come from behind here. I think in the end this one ends up level after 90 minutes. Toronto finds the back of the net in the first half but KC battles back with Claudio Lopez and Josh Wolff.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, KC 1