MLS Weekend Preview: Week 7

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 7

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 1, 2009
  • 2 Comments
  • 2009 Week 7, Alejandro Moreno, Ben Olsen, Brian Ching, Brian McBride, Bruce Arena, Chris Rolfe, Conor Casey, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Frankie Hejduk, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero, John Thorrington, Juan Carlos Osorio, Juan Pablo Angel, Justin Bruan, Kenny Cooper, Landon Donovan, Luciano Emilio, Marco Pappa, Omar Cummings, Pablo Mastroeni, Pablo Ricchetti, Sasha Kljestan, Sigi Schmid, Steve Nicol, Steve Zakuani, Weekend Previews, Yura Movsisyan

Time once again for another full week of Major League Soccer action as week seven is about to kick off tomorrow. Seven games this weekend with the bulk of games on Saturday evening with one lone game on Sunday afternoon.

A lot of clubs are still in need of some wins here, especially LA and Columbus who are both winless so far this season. A couple other clubs are hoping to change their luck with a win this weekend as well while others are hoping to stay on course with their current run of play so far this season.

As always feel free to leave your game predictions below.

Columbus Crew – at – Toronto FC:

1. Can the Crew finally get over the hump against their main rivals?

One thing remains the same so far this year, Columbus is not the same club it was a season ago. Main reason is the depth has come in question along with the lack of toughness that exsisted last year with a club that didn’t see a whole lot of injuries to key guys. If there is ever a time to get things going in the right direction it is on the road against your rival. Thing is with key guys possibly still sitting this one out it could be another week before Columbus gets over the hump here. That may be a week too late in the end.

2. What does Toronto need to do to get over the coaching change?

So far they’ve done things right. They had the switch late last week, got the win over Kansas City on Sunday and now they’ve had a full week under the interim boss Chris Cummins. The main thing in a coaching change is try not to change much at all in training and in the lockerroom. I really see Toronto being okay for the time being since Cummins has been there with the club all along.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

For me a guy to watch on Saturday is Columbus’s Alejandro Moreno. He’s finally healthy and as we saw last week he is finally dangerous once again for this club. Moreno is the type of guy that can be such a pest and that had been something the Crew were missing most of the start of the season. If he can get them on the board early in this one it could be a good afternoon for the Black-and-Gold.

Quick Thoughts:

The good old Trillium Cup heads north to Toronto. While Toronto is pretty hot from last week’s two home victories they still have to figure out a way to get over their main rivals in Columbus. In seven league matches the Crew have owned the Reds in each match, including the 1-1 draw earlier this year. Had it not been for the own-goal late by Gino Padula, the Crew would have walked away with their first win of the year. Crazy how own-goals have a way of hurting a club more in the following games than in the game that it happened.

Columbus needs this win in a bad way but I just don’t see it yet. Unless they get Moreno being the pest that he is and Frankie Hejduk pacing up and down the wings and in defense I just don’t know if Columbus can get the three points on the road here. I do think they are still good enough to get another draw out of this one and that’s what I am predicting. Toronto has the talent in place to win this one but offensively they still haven’t put away a club yet. Columbus is good enough offensively to stay with Toronto and I see the Crew grabbing a late goal this time around to get the road point.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Columbus 1

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FC Dallas – at – DC United:

1. What does DC need to do at home to control this game?

Basically in the middle of the pitch they need to make sure guys like Pablo Ricchetti or Dax McCarty don’t handle the possession for Dallas that much. Those are two key guys for Dallas in the midfield and when Dallas plays well like they did in the first half of last week’s game at Chivas (before the Sala red card) it was due to the possessional play out of Ricchetti, McCarty, Andre Rocha and Dave van den Burgh. Dallas has some talent in the midfield that if given the time they can create some dangerous plays for guys like Kenny Cooper.

2. What does Dallas need to do to win this game?

First of all they have to mentally get over the hump in RFK. Dallas has not won at RFK since 2005. Second of all they need to go to their goal scorer in Kenny Cooper. Getting him active early and often will go a long way against a defense that DCU has that has been shaky at times this season. Dallas has shown improvement over these last couple of games and could catch a break against a DC club that does go soft for a stretch or two during the game. If they can find the right times to defend when needed and then attack when the chances present themselves they could leave RFK a winner for once.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

DC has to be riding high off their win over New York last week. If anyone is going to carry the banner in this one for the boys in black it will be Ben Olsen. His toughness and leadership are more than enough to get the three points at home against a Dallas side that isn’t all that great on the road.

Quick Thoughts:

Both clubs could easily use the points here but I like DC in this one. They do show signs that they will go cold for stretches of the game but Dallas’s defense hasn’t improved enough with the rest of their club yet to make me want to pick them just yet here. Once the defense catches up to the rest they could be a very solid club. DC should have enough momemtum leftover from last week to carry them in this one. I see Luciano Emilio and rookie Chris Pontius having a good evening in this one.

WVH Prediction: DC 3, Dallas 1

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Seattle Sounders FC – at – Chicago Fire

1. What can the Fire do to get back on the winning track here?

Let’s not forget here that Chicago has been playing so-so soccer here lately. Two wins and four draws on the year isn’t bad but they are still the only undefeated side left in the league. With that said they host one of the best sides in the league this weekend in the Sounders FC. Chicago has to control the pace of this game from the start and not allow Fredy Montero, Steve Zakuani and Freddie Ljungberg to control the game for the visitors. This game has potential to be very wide open in the midfield with how each club plays. Blanco has to set the tone of this game early and get MLS Player of the Month for April, Brian McBride involved as early as possible. Seattle still has some questions in the back and McBride is as good as they come for testing any defense in the box.

2. Can Seattle pull one off on the road?

The Sounders have to hope that the Fire are a little more tired than they are since the Fire hosted Club America in the mid-week (Seattle had a USOC play-in game on Tuesday). Seattle has played well on the road so far this year with a win and a loss. Their loss to Chivas was a very close game for the most part so you have to think that Sigi Schmid is doing something right here. If Seattle can control Blanco, Marco Pappa and John Thorrington in the midfield they should be able to do well in this one. If not they will have more pressure on their backline.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I want to see when Chris Rolfe is on the pitch what happens with the Fire. If he starts he has the skills to be dangerous and if he comes off the bench he will have the late game speed and energy to close things out for the Fire.

Quick Thoughts:

Easily the game of the week. Two of the league’s best square off. Chicago really needs a win though to be honest. They are the league’s only undefeated club left but draws only get you so far in this league. Seattle as we all know have looked very impressive but I want to see how they handle facing another of the league’s best. It didn’t go well for them last time around in LA against Chivas.

To me this one smells like a draw. Chicago is good at home but they tend to drop games that they shouldn’t at Toyota Park for some reason. Seattle is dangerous enough to stay in games and even put home some attacks when the Chicago defense could go to sleep (think the KC game). Seattle goes up first in this one I think with Chicgo coming from behind again for the draw. Blanco won’t be tossing any more jerseies in to ref’s lockerroom this week.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 1, Seattle 1

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Real Salt Lake – at- Colorado Rapids:

1. Can Colorado put it together for a full 90 at home for once?

One thing is certain about this Colorado club, they have the talent to be really good here. Thing is they just haven’t figured it out how to do it at home yet. They dropped points at home last week to LA in a game that totally controlled. Against a rival that is playing well like Salt Lake they cannot afford to go cold for stretches of the game or RSL will get hot in a hurry as we saw last week.

2. Does RSL have any more goals left in them?

Six goal games are usually followed by one goal games. At least from what I’ve seen in the past they have. RSL has the offense to do some serious damage and the league has taken note of that for sure by now. Thing is they haven’t done it on the road yet. However with the way Colorado closed out last weekend’s game against LA, there could be potential for another outburst from this club.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Colorado’s big leader Pablo Mastroeni has to step up in this one since it is a rivalry game. If he can set the tone early for the Rapids that could be a key thing that leads the homeside to a vital victory over their rivals.

Quick Thoughts:

This one also has the makings of game of the week material. The Rocky Mountain Cup has been a very hot contest these last two seasons and I see this year being no different. I’ve said before I want to see RSL get consistent road play and with the way Colorado plays at home there is no better time to start than now. They need a big game out of Yura Movsisyan and guys like that. On the flip side Colorado needs Conor Casey to step up and lead the way in this one, just like he has time and time again so far this season.

In the end I see a Colorado going through by the slightest of margins. RSL will keep it close and physical but thanks to a goal by Omar Cummings, Colorado will see three points while RSL will be left wondering how to win on the road yet again.

WVH Prediction: Colorado 1, RSL 0

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Chivas USA – at – San Jose Earthquakes

1. Can San Jose actually turn things around here against the league’s best?

On a tight field San Jose could turn their luck around easily but it will not come easy against a Chivas club that has been proving themselves to the league over and over again this season. I thought Chivas did well to overcome last week’s loss to Toronto with the home win over Dallas. It was a good turn around after the season’s first loss. San Jose hasn’t been able to bounce back yet from defeat like Chivas has here.

San Jose has to get a better turn around out of guys in their defense. Either it’s age or injuries that are causing this bunch to be so sloppy this season. I think the key has been the loss of Jason Hernandez. Without their most stable defender the Quakes have give up a lot of goals already this season (tied for second-worst in the league).

2. Will Sasha Kljestan ever come out of his current funk?

Amazing fact that Chivas is playing so well this season without some key guys on offense and without quality play from Sasha Kljestan (no goals and no assists so far). This would appear on paper to be a good game for him to break his spell and actually do something of note for this club. I guess failing to land a deal in Europe really set him back a bit. You’d think he would kick it up even a notch more to get that big deal for this summer.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I’m watching the AmeriGoats’ Justin Braun who is back and healthy. So far Chivas has spread out their attack enough that a lot of people are scoring, I think this is Braun’s game to get on the board.

Quick Thoughts:

Normally I wouldn’t go with Chivas on the road in a place like San Jose but the way the Quakes have played so far this season doesn’t give me enough reason to pick them every week like I would like to. Chivas is too talented of a club to not get three points in this one I think and if Kljestan can join the party all the better in Chivas-land. I think San Jose can stay in this game but in the end good defense will trump bad defense and that’s why I am going with the visitors.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 2, San Jose 1

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New York Red Bulls – at – LA Galaxy

1. Will Bruce Arena’s club finally get on a winning path here?

Honestly with the way New York dropped last week’s game to DC at home I think this is an excellent time for LA to get their first win of the season. With Landon Donovan playing as well as he is this seems like a perfect game for it to happen. Plus New York’s offense hasn’t given anyone a reason to believe they will play all that well on the road anyways here. So far they haven’t scored a single goal on the road this season.

2. What needs to go right for New York?

To go right they need better play out of the midfield. It is as simple as that. Going against a fairly weak midfield in the Galaxy, New York should have plenty of chances to spread the field out and find guys like Juan Pablo Angel in the box. This club is going to want to prove that last week’s result was a fluke. And to be honest they have to prove that it was a fluke or Juan Carlos Osorio could find himself out of a job very soon.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

No other person to watch in this one than Donovan. He has carried this club on his back so much this season and I wouldn’t expect anything less in this one. With a shaky defense in New York I think Donovan could find himself in some big spots on Saturday evening.

Quick Thoughts:

This one will either be really fun to watch or just really ugly to watch. I can’t put my finger on which it will be. New York hasn’t been anything special on the road this season and LA has shown they aren’t terrible or great all at the same time this season. I think Bruce Arena’s club gets their first win on Saturday but not by much as New York makes it interesting late in the game.

WVH Prediction: LA 2, NY 1

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Houston Dynamo – at – New England Revolution

1. Will the Revs respond to their 6-0 defeat?

Losing that bad in one half is never an easy thing to swallow. It’s also never easy when you have to face a club like Houston in the following week. Just as we saw last week when you have such a young club on the field and so many key defensive injuries some goals are eventually going to pile up. I didn’t expect six that quickly though. I see the club responding pretty well for a while in this one but it has to come offensively, an area that hasn’t been that impressive by this club so far this season.

2. Can Houston finally beat New England in regular season play?

If there was ever a time to get their first win over the Revs it would be this weekend. All-time in regular season games the Dynamo have not beat the Revs, even at home. But as we all know Houston has beat New England when it mattered most in the MLS Cup twice.

To get their first win they need their big guys stepping up and making the impact early on the road while New England is still figuring out how to get over the 6-0 loss to RSL.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I think this could be a big game for Houston’s Brian Ching. One thing we all know the Dynamo do well is get free kick situations and if Brad Davis or whomever is taking the kicks can find Ching in the box it could go very well for the visitors on Sunday.

Quick Thoughts:

I can’t see a Steve Nicol club getting downed two weeks in a row in that kind of manner that they lost last week in Salt Lake. Thing is it is tough to bet on their young defense stepping back up without a veteran like Jay Heaps or Chris Albright leading the way like normal. Missing a veteran in the back and having mostly young players can be like playing with dynamite. I think Houston should be able to go in and get some road points here. I just have trouble betting on a club that is missing so many key players in the back.

WVH Prediction: Houston 1, New England 0

  • sdm

    Really looking forward to the Fire-Sounders game. To me, this has the potential to be a very special game. Last weekend will be hard to top, but I'm still pumped up about some of the matchups tomorrow. Can't wait.

  • sdm

    Really looking forward to the Fire-Sounders game. To me, this has the potential to be a very special game. Last weekend will be hard to top, but I’m still pumped up about some of the matchups tomorrow. Can’t wait.