MLS Weekend Preview: Week 8

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 8

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 8, 2009
  • 2009 Week 8, Bobby Convey, Brian Ching, Chris Rolfe, Dane Richards, Dave van den Burgh, Dwayne De Rosario, Frankie Hejduk, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jamison Olave, Juan Pablo Angel, Kenny Cooper, Luciano Emilio, Macoumba Kandji, Maykel Galindo, Nat Borchers, Pablo Campos, Pat Noonan, Preki, Rodney Wallace, Ryan Johnson, Steve Nicol, Stuart Holden, Weekend Previews
Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff will try to keep Columbus winless. (Brian Stevens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff will try to keep Columbus winless. (Brian Stevens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

Week eight has already kicked off with a bit of a bang with two draws on Wednesday night in Kansas City and in Salt Lake City. The RSL-LA draw was something to talk about for sure while the DC-KC draw was pretty much expected.

Time to shift focus to the weekend however as we have plenty of games on the menu to keep us going. Seven games this week, on three straight days. We have all conference battles except for one match tonight in New York with San Jose and the Red Bulls. Also this weekend we have a couple rivalry games like in Texas between Houston and Dallas. And in the east we get to see a lovely battle with Chicago and New England, two clubs that really don’t like one another.

As always feel free to post your score predictions for this weekend’s action below.

San Jose Earthquakes – at – New York Red Bulls

1. What can San Jose do to turn things around in Giants’ Stadium?

One thing going against San Jose so far this season is not sloppy defense or poor offense it is injuries killing Frank Yallop’s bunch. The loss of Jason Hernandez early on hurt the defense in a big way while having Darren Huckerby out for some time hurt the offense just as bad. Right now it is time for Yallop to step up in the locker room and get his troops back to square one here. He also needs guys to step up on the field like Bobby Convey or Romario Corrales.

In this game they face a Red Bull club that is also just as bad as they are this season so getting on the board early will definitely help. Offensively they just need a spark out of anyone at this point. If someone like Ryan Johnson or Pablo Campos can find a way through the Red Bull defense, which has been very shaky this season we could see a surprise tonight in the Meadowlands.

2. Is this the right time for New York to get things going this season?

One would think that this is the perfect time for Juan Carlos Osorio’s bunch to turn the page on this season and get their act together for once. So far this season we just haven’t seen enough solid play for 90 minutes to think they can do it though. While San Jose is just as bad as they are they haven’t been able to beat bad clubs like themselves this season (the loss to LA proved just that a couple weeks ago).

Mainly what needs to go down is some better control in the midfield. No one is servicing the ball into Juan Pablo Angel like last season, which has lead to many questions about this club’s offense. It mainly comes down to quality of service from the wings I think. They just haven’t gotten that so far this season. With how poorly San Jose has been in defense this season this could be the right time for Dane Richards to have a big game.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I’m watching New York’s Macoumba Kandji in this one. He has all the tools and skills to be super dangerous here. I think its a matter of him realizing that too here. Once he and Angel get on the same page consistently this club will really start piling on the goals…and maybe the wins.

Quick Thoughts:

Honestly it is hard to pick a west coast club that is playing so poorly coming over to the east coast to play. Then again both clubs have given us very little reason to believe in them so far this season. Each sit near the bottom of the table with near identical records on the year and even the same goal differential on the year. And oddly enough neither club knows how to score on the road. I think with that the advantage has to go to the homeside, which lucky enough for New York means they should win this one. And in reality they should win this one.

While I am picking the Red Bulls to get their second win of the year I doubt it will be too convicing here either. I also wouldn’t be at all shocked to see a 0-0 result out of these two. Especially considering the fact that New York only has five goals on the year (one of which was an own-goal).

WVH Prediction: New York 1, San Jose 0


Kansas City Wizards – at – Columbus Crew:

1. Once again, will the Crew finally break through here?

Honestly this looks like the one for you Crew fans. At home against a club that played in the midweek and expended themselves a bit at home in the process. Yeah, it could be the one but will it be. A lot needs to happen and the biggest is for the Crew to close out the game if they get the early advantage. Too many times this season the Crew have gone up early and fallen late due to poor defense or sloppiness in general.

Defensively they should be able to get a better pickup once Frankie Hejduk is back in the lineup for good. Hejduk is said to be fit enough to go on Saturday and that should lift this club a lot with their veteran leader back in the lineup.

2. What can KC do to keep Columbus out of the win column again?

For the visitors they need to control the midfield and shut down Gulliermo Barros Schelotto. Easier said than done but the Wizards have been able to slow him down a decent bit before. Secondly they need better service into their attack and better finishing. I wasn’t overly impressive with how they handled DC on Wednesday night for the better part of the game. They had a decent attack but nothing that would really set them apart in the east. I am starting though to think this club is one good striker away from being a really title contender.

Rattling the Crew early also won’t hurt in this one. Emotions could be high for the Crew since they are still searching for that first win so getting under their skin could go a long way.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I’m looking out for Columbus’ Pat Noonan on Saturday. I honestly feel he is due for a goal or at least an assist with the way he’s been playing as of late. He’s finally fit and I think once he and Alejandro Moreno link up together it could be a good combination going forward for the Crew.

Quick Thoughts:

Yes, I am drinking the Kool-aid that this is the game for the Crew to get their first win. For one they are throwing a big bash to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Crew Stadium and a lot of key guys are coming back to the lineup. Some stars just seem in line but if anyone would ruin it I think the Wizards are very capable of pulling it off. I just think the Crew are too hungry for a win at this point to let another slip by.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, Kansas City 1


Toronto FC – at – DC United:

1. With Dwayne De Rosario back in the line up, how does TFC stack up against DC?

Without DeRo the Reds looked pretty good, in fact they sort of turned their season around after a bad two game spell against Dallas. Now that DeRo is fit again the club is continuing to play well. Both clubs are coming off a midweek game where each played fairly well so each should be just as tired as the other when it comes to Saturday’s game. The thing for Toronto is, DC has owned them in the past at RFK Stadium.

Toronto needs to work the ball through DeRo early in this one. He has to be the X-factor that controls this game for them or DC will take full advantage of TFC just like they always have at RFK.

2. How can DC control this game from start to finish?

Something DC failed to do on Wednesday was close the game out. That’s been a problem here and there for them so far this season, closing out games. And with Toronto not being a pushover these days finishing out the game in a good manner is a big thing right now for DC, especially since they are the leaders in the east right now.

Keeping the ball in the midfield and getting good runs out of the back from guys like rookie Rodney Wallace will definitely go a long way. We saw on Wednesday that when Wallace makes his runs he can be very dangerous for DC.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I think a big game could come from DC’s Luciano Emilio. He didn’t go the full 90 on Wednesday so he could be fully ready for Saturday’s game. That’s a good thing too as he’s done fairly well over these last two years against Toronto.

Quick Thoughts:

This one really has game of the week potential written on it. Toronto is playing some good soccer these days and DC is right up there with them. Hard to believe that these two are contending for the top spot in the east right now.

I think in the end DC gets the best of Toronto. RFK has never been a friendly place for the Reds and right now I just don’t see that changing. Toronto has been decent on the road so far this year but until they can prove they can win in places like DC it will still be hard to take them very seriously on the road. This one will be tight but in the end DC marches on with a win.

WVH Prediction: DC 2, Toronto 1


New England Revolution – at- Chicago Fire:

1. Does Chicago continue to get draws here or will a dose of New England be the cure?

Let’s face it the Fire are in a little bit of a rut right now. Yes they aren’t losing a game but they also aren’t winning at the same time. That’s a problem no matter how you look at it, especially when they aren’t closing out games that they should win.

But if last year is any indication, the Fire playing New England is something the Fire look forward too. Maybe the Fire have been overlooking the past few games for this weekend’s clash with the Revs. It comes at a good time too since the Revs are still very banged up and are in a bit of a funk due to the major injuries on their roster.

2. Can we even expect New England to be competitive in this one?

Last year the Fire spanked the Revs all over the place during the regular season and even in the playoffs. With the amount of key guys still out to injuries it is hard to look at New England seriously here right now. I do love a Steve Nicol coached club but right now he is struggling to find a way out of the pile of injuries that is club has, which is understandable.

But to the question, they will be competitive in this one. Its a rivalry game for one and you know Nicol is posting scores from last year in the locker room this week to get the guys pumped up.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

No one more to watch than Chris Rolfe for me. For some reason Rolfe has had New England’s number in the past and I doubt that will change at all this season.

Quick Thoughts:

Its really hard to pick New England right now. I want to but I just know it would be a waste of a pick with the amount of injuries this club has. Its a shame too because when healthy they are still a very good club. Thing is they don’t have the depth to do much right now and offensively they just aren’t scaring anyone. On the flip side Chicago has as good of an offense as anyone in this league and defensively they are pretty sound right now.

I think this one goes to the homeside pretty easily. Still too many key guys missing all over the field for Nicol and in the end Chicago just has more talent on the field.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 3, New England 0


FC Dallas – at – Houston Dynamo:

1. Is this the time that Houston starts to turn things on here?

I think last week was a good indication as to how well Houston will start playing here. They controlled a lot of the game against New England and even though this is a rivalry game I still think Dallas has a very small shot at beating Houston in Houston. Stuart Holden is proving he can carry the load for the Dynamo in the middle and really that is something great to finally see.

2. How can Dallas sneak in and get the three points?

Luck may be one way but in all reality they need better midfield play. They have guys getting balls in the box but not to Kenny Cooper and not in ways that allow this club to be good on offense. Its kind of like having too many chefs in the kitchen. Its just messy. Plus defensively Schellas Hyndman still hasn’t figured out which combination of players works well enough to hold teams off.

Let’s not forget Houston has practically owned Dallas in this series. Only one Dallas win in three years between these clubs.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

If Dallas is to get any sort of success in this one it may have to come from Dave van den Burgh. He’s been a big lift to this club on the wings so far this year and I’m sure folks in New York miss his service too. Dallas needs a big game from him is they want to get on the board in this one and come out with any kind of points.

Quick Thoughts:

The El Capitan series kicks off for 2009 but it just doesn’t have that same bang to me as it has in recent years. Maybe it is the lack of De Rosario for Houston that is doing that to me or maybe it is because Dallas is a tough club to get behind these days. I don’t know what it is but its a good rivalry nonetheless even if Houston has won most of the games in it.

I think Houston will start to roll here with this game. They showed a lot of promise last week in their win at New England and I think it will continue this week at home against Dallas. I see Houston getting on the board early with Brian Ching and never looking back from that.

WVH Prediction: Houston 2, Dallas 0


Real Salt Lake – at – Chivas USA

1. What will it take to knock off Chivas?

RSL is a club that can do it really. They get Javier Morales back in the midfield after his suspension and that will help. The thing is I’m still not totally convinced this club can do anything of note on the road. Three games on the road this year for RSL and they haven’t even mustered a single goal. That isn’t very good. Its showing that their defense really isn’t as good as advertised. Against a club like Chivas that exposes weaknesses easily RSL has to clamp down in the middle of the park in order to shut Chivas down.

The thing that Chivas is doing well right now is spreading their attack out to multiple people. Plenty of guys have goals this season for this club and that is always tough to defend. On any given night one guy could be the hot hand and as a defender that can be very tough to defend. RSL has to get more out of guys like Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave. But in all reality they need a bigger game out of Kyle Beckerman and Clint Mathis in the midfield.

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

From the start Chivas just needs to continue playing their style of soccer. Its worked for them through eight games and there is really little reason why it won’t continue to work tomorrow night. Preki has gotten the most out of this bunch so far this season and I wouldn’t expect anything different now that some veterans like Sacha Victorine are coming back. Plus it doesn’t hurt if Sasha Kljestan continues to improve on his form. I thought last week he got himself involved a lot more and that can only lead to bigger and better things for this club if he continues to show interest here.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I think a guy to watch has to be the AmeriGoats’ Maykel Galindo. He will likely be coming off the bench still but look for him to be a second half sub that could give this club a boost late in the game. If he can regain that form he had two seasons ago this Chivas club could go from really good to something amazing.

Quick Thoughts:

Another potential game of the week here leads me to wonder if we will ever see RSL show up on the road this season. Chivas has been a very good home club these last couple of seasons while RSL has stunk up the place outside of Salt Lake City. Plus was anyone really that impressed with the way RSL finished the game at home against LA on Wednesday? I know they didn’t get a call go their way but still if you can’t close out LA at home then something must be up.

I’ll keep saying it, until RSL shows me they can do it on the road I won’t pick them when they are visiting. Plus this is a big stretch for Chivas I believe. They’ve made it this far and I know Preki will want them to continue pushing forward in attack and continue getting these wins. I like Chivas is this one. It will be close but I think Chivas at home in a physical game should do it.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 2, RSL 1


LA Galaxy – at – Seattle Sounders FC

1. Will LA continue to improve on the last two results?

Four points in the last two games would normally mean a club is doing something right. Plus not to mention how Bruce Arena’s club got the draw on Wednesday. That should be a big boost going into Seattle on Sunday. They need to carry that momentum into Qwest Field in a big way and get the expansion Sounders off their guard early in this one. LA is showing they have a decent club right now. Let’s not forget here that they haven’t lost a lot of games this season…but they’ve again only win a single game too. If they can rattle the Sounders early with something from Landon Donovan they could see another positive result.

2. What will Sigi Schmid do without Fredy Montero?

Well Montero is suspended for this one from his cheap shot a week ago. Probably a good thing too because he really hasn’t done a lot for this club in recent weeks in my opinion. Schmid needs to get more out of guys like Nate Jaqua anyways. More than likely rookie Steve Zakuani will be in place of Montero and we will see a decent amount of offense through him. Which hasn’t been a bad thing so far this season.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I want to see more out of Seattle’s Sebastian Le Trox here. So far he’s been involved a lot in the attack but has only produced an assist on the season. I’m still waiting for him to break out a little bit and start scoring some here for the Sounders. Against a young defense like LA it could be a good time for that.

Quick Thoughts:

This game will probably be more competitive than most think. LA’s defense is really starting to come together I think but that’s only if the young three (Gonzalez, Franklin, and DeLaGraza) play well and on the same page as veteran Gregg Berhalter. Like I said if they can get under the skin of the Sounders early and take the crowd out of it as well they could be in for a good battle.

In the end however I think Seattle takes the points from this one. Seattle has a few more weapons up top and defensive are better in the midfield than LA is right now. It will be tighter than most think but I see Jaqua sticking it to his old side.

WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, LA 1