MLS Weekend Preview: Week 9

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 9

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 15, 2009
  • 2009 Week 9, Albert Cedades, Amado Guevara, Andre Rocha, Brian McBride, Chad Barrett, Chris Rolfe, Claudio Lopez, Conor Casey, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Darrius Barnes, Dave van den Burgh, Dwayne De Rosario, Edson Buddle, Fabian Espindola, Fredy Montero, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jorge Rojas, Josh Wolff, Kenny Cooper, Kevin Alston, Luciano Emilio, Maykel Galindo, Nate Jaqua, Nick LaBrocca, Steve Ralston, Weekend Previews

Hard to believe we are nearly a third of the way through things here already this season. For some clubs this will be the one-thirds mark of the season. Others are still catching up in the played games department, that’s what you get when you have an unbalanced schedule.

Anyways, another load of games this weekend all mostly on Saturday with the usual lone Sunday game. San Jose gets the lovely task of having the week off, a good time for them too since they are in need of a break to find their form here this season.

Plenty of good games to talk about here this weekend. Chicago at Toronto is an interesting clash in the east but the game of the week has to be Chivas hosting DC, a meeting of the two conference leaders.

As always feel free to post your game predictions below.

Chicago Fire – at- Toronto FC:

1. What does Chicago need to do to start winning again?

All these draws have to mean something here for Dennis Hamlet’s group. They aren’t losing but they also aren’t winning. Going to Toronto won’t be easy either right now with the way TFC is playing right now. Thing Chicago has to get through their heads is that they are better than what they are playing right now. Closing out games is a big deal in any sport, especially soccer and right now the Fire just aren’t putting a full effort in 90 minutes.

I think if they rely on the fact that Toronto had a game in the midweek against Montreal in the Canadian Cup and hope that they are a little gassed from that. Chicago is deep enough to be able to run a few fresh legs onto the pitch late in the game and really mess with the other club. Defensively this club just needs to lock down the Reds and control the ball in the midfield with Blanco spraying balls all over the pitch for Chris Rolfe and Brian McBride.

2. How can TFC keep rolling here?

The Reds are now unbeaten in their last four league games and last six overall in all competitions. They’ve been playing a lot better due to the fact that they’ve finally figured out how to have both Amado Guevara and Dwayne De Rosario on the pitch working together. It hasn’t hurt that they’ve gotten some big plays out of guys like Danny Dichio and Chad Barrett too. If they are to beat Chicago and put an end to their unbeaten mark here on the season they have to continue to play their style of game. They weren’t satisfied with the win over Montreal the other night which means they are starting to get real hungry here. For TFC fans that is a good thing because this bunch is talented enough to keep rolling here.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I know I’ve mentioned him a couple times before this season but watch out for Chad Barrett. He may miss a bunch of easy goals but if you saw the goal from the other night he really still has a lot of talent to offer. That goal against Montreal may have saved his season with the club in my opinion. He needed a goal like that more than his club did.

Quick Thoughts:

For some reason I like Toronto in this one. While I think Chicago is deep enough to have a little more energy in this one, I just think TFC will be high enough from the win the other night over Montreal to beat Chicago here. The Fire haven’t really played well lately and need some sort of kick to get going again and a loss may just be that. This will however be one of the better matches this weekend you can mark that down. Toronto finds some way to score in the first half and holds on to the lead for the rest of the game.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Chicago 0


Colorado Rapids – at – New England Revolution:

1. Can New England keep the momentum up from last week’s result and slow down the Rapids’ attack?

Thankfully for you Revs fans your club is slowly breaking out of it’s funk here. Getting guys like Steve Ralston and rookie Kevin Alston back in the line up totally helped last week and as you saw they are still good enough to get quality results without key players. The thing is I still have concerns for your defense doing against someone like Conor Casey, who has been a beast against weak defenses this season. He will be a big task for guys like Darrius Barnes and Jay Heaps. If they slow him down and also neaturalize the midfield attack from the Rapids they could see three points.

2. Did the week off do more harm than good for Colorado?

I am a bit concerned for Colorado who got a great win two weeks ago against rivals RSL and then had to sit last week out with the buy week. They had huge momemtum from that win but I am worried that they won’t have it to carry over to this game in New England. The thing they have to do is just start their attack from the start in this one. Finding ways to get Casey the ball in space and in the pentalty box will be key. New England has also given up a load of goals on set pieces this season so it will be interesting to see how Colorado attacks their defense around the offensive third of the field. If they can work Terry Cooke into the attack on set pieces they could steal three points here.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

I’m looking at Colorado’s Nick LaBrocca in this one. He was given the keys to the midfield by manager Gary Smith in the win over RSL and the offense from the Rapids saw a big improvement in the process.

Quick Thoughts:

This inter-conference clash should be an interesting one to watch. Both clubs need a momentum starter here (yes even the Rapids need it, I do believe the week off killed whatever momentum they had) and they also need the three points to stay in contention in their respective conferences. I figure this one will be fairly tight for a while but I do see each getting on the board. I kind of thing it will end in a draw though because defensively I do think New England can slow Colorado down enough to not give up a lot of goals at home but offensive they just lack the punch to put up a bunch of goals here.

WVH Prediction: New England 1, Colorado 1


Houston Dynamo – at – New York Red Bulls:

1. Which Red Bulls club will we see tomorrow?

I was pretty quick to say that after the 4-1 win over San Jose that we should get too crazy here about the Red Bulls being back. They were never that great to begin with. I would imagine the offense does have a new life here after the four goal outburst. The thing is they played a weak defense last week and now face on of the better defenses in the league in Houston. While clubs have scored on this Dynamo club this season I wouldn’t think they’d give up four in the same manner as the Quakes did last week. Houston is however still looking for their first win at Giants Stadium.

The thing is consistentcy is key in this league and so far the Red Bulls have been anything but that. They need another huge game from Albert Cedades in the middle of the park. His expereience should be a big difference maker for the homeside.

2. What does Houston need to do to score in this one?

Houston needs to get their set pieces and attack from the wings. New York is still very suspect in the defense and I would imagine Houston could get a couple goals on counter-attacks or set pieces if the Red Bulls aren’t careful enough with the ball in the midfield. While the Dynamo attack isn’t scary it is still dangerous enough to win games.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

While Jorge Rojas and Cedades will get a lot of attention in the midfield for New York a guy like Seth Stammler becomes very tough to break. Some will agree that as Stammler goes the Red Bulls will too this season. He’s a steady player in the midfield for this bunch and can be a big part of this club’s winning too.

Quick Thoughts:

This may be the most underrated match of the weekend. If New York is on the verge of turning their season around then it will be the game of the weekend. Neither club got off to a good start this season but Houston has been playing extremely well lately and defensively have been the toughest team to score on in the past month. New York will pose a big challenge for that mark and will likely get one by Pat Onstad in this one. I do however like Houston to stay with the Red Bulls in this one. While New York has some quality experience in the midfield with guys like Cedades and Rojas I just feel that Houston is more experienced in actually playing well for 90 minutes. It will be a draw, a very close draw indeed. Houston battles from behind to get a road point.

WVH Prediction: New York 1, Houston 1


Seattle Sounders FC – at – FC Dallas

1. Things looked better for Dallas late against Houston, will it carry over against Seattle?

Houston is as tough defensively as any club gets in this league. While Seattle isn’t nearly as tough as Houston they are probably just as good defensively as the Dynamo. Sigi Schmid’s bunch play in typical Sigi-fashion, tight and compact in the back which leads to less attempts on goal and few chances. Dallas is a club that has already struggled to get attempts on goal lately so this will be a big challege for the likes of Kenny Cooper and company.

Dallas can’t afford to come out flat from the start or Seattle will gobble up early chances against a defense that is the second worst in the league right now.

2. What do the Sounders need to do against Dallas’ midfield?

One thing is certain, if you beat Dallas in the middle of the field and control the possession you will beat them. Seattle already does a good enough job at controlling the pace of the game and not giving up a bunch of silly turnovers in the midfield. Dallas on the other hand does the exact opposite. Too many times the Red Stripes will get the ball in the midfield and immediately give it right back to the other club. Seattle is too good of a club right now to not take advantage of those mental breakdowns.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

This could be a big game for wing players for FC Dallas with Seattle not having James Riley in the back (suspension from last week’s red card). Dave van den Burgh and Andre Rocha could see a little more free space. If they can spray some balls into the box because of some open pitch it could be a good evening for the homeside.

Quick Thoughts:

Sadly enough I doubt a lot of people here in Dallas will come out for this one. Though you can play Plinko at halftime which has to be a draw in itself if you ask me. But as for this game goes I think Seattle is just too good of a club right now to not win this game or at least get some points here. They need three points in a big way to stay on course with Chivas in the western standings and to hold off up and comers like Houston. Dallas defensively and in the midfield will dictate whether or not they will win this game. Turnovers are going to be key and Dallas just gives the ball up too much right now. Should be a fun game to watch though. Seattle goes up early with goals from Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero and never looks back.

WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, Dallas 1


Kansas City Wizards – at  – Real Salt Lake

1. Should we expect another turnaround at home for RSL?

So far as we all know RSL has been great at home and terrible on the road. However in their last home game they had a wild finish with the Galaxy in that crazy 2-2 draw a week ago. This club hasn’t really looked all that great in a couple games but they do have the likes of Javier Morales back in action. The thing they need to do in this one is not let Kansas City play their style of game. They allowed LA to do that briefly last week and they lost points for it in the process. Kansas City is dangerous enough behind Josh Wolff and Claudio Lopez to steal three points here.

2. Will Kansas City be able to come into Rio Tinto and do what only a couple have done? Win?

Both clubs are in a bit of a slide right now but Kansas City is still a very tough club to figure out. The Wizards are one of those few clubs that have gotten points at RSL over the past couple years. For them to do it again this season they need to get Josh Wolff back into the attack more and in the box to test a defense that has been a bit shaky as of late. If they can rattle RSL in the midfield and in defense you could see a couple easy goals for the visitors on Saturday.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

I am curious to see if Jason Kreis stays with Yura Movsisyan up top or if he makes the wise move to Fabian Espindola like some would like him to. Espindola is a tough cookie up top to stop and could pose a big problem to a young Kansas City defense.

Quick Thoughts:

I want to like the Wizards in this one but it is hard to go against a club that plays so well in their home stadium. RSL should bounce back from their three game slide in this one with a win behind the likes of Kyle Beckerman and Espindola. Offensively this club hasn’t looked the same since that 6-0 beating of New England a few weeks back. If they can even get half of that spark back they will be fine against the Wizards.

WVH Prediction: RSL 2, KC 1


DC United – at – Chivas USA:

1. What can DC do to beat Chivas?

Chivas has been one tough club to beat this year. Only Toronto was able to slow them own enough to get three points away from them. Thing is the club hasn’t had to be too flashy or amazing to be where they are right now. DC on the other hand has had to fight their way to the top of the eastern standings and their lead is not nearly as nice as their counterparts on Saturday. For United for come into the Home Depot Center and get even a point they have to be very organized defensively and not allow any little mistakes to happen. Chivas is too good at taking advantage of little mistakes in the midfield and scoring off of them.

While DC is leading the league in goals right now they are also giving up a lot of goals. Something Chivas does not do right now. DC has to get their attack going early and catch Chivas off guard. One thing I do know about Chivas is they aren’t a club that comes from behind often.

2. How does Chivas hold off the DC attack?

Simple enough you frustrate their attack in the midfield. You don’t allow DC to create quality chances for guys like Chris Ponitus and Luciano Emilio. You also keep a tight defense to neutralize runs from players out of the back like Rodney Wallace. Tom Soehn’s bunch will bring a lot at you but Chivas is one of the best at slowing those kinds of runs down. We’ve seen them do it against Seattle and also against clubs like Columbus and Dallas.

3. Player to keep an eye on.

Maykel Galindo is starting to get more minutes by each game for Chivas USA. The more the better as he is starting to get loose in the attack and that is good for Chivas fans. Galindo is a speedy player that could come off the bench in this one. In a late game that is tight he may be a real difference maker for the homeside.

Quick Thoughts:

Obviously the game of the week right here. Two clubs that are playing extremely well face off in an early season clash. DC hasn’t lost in five straight now while Chivas is continuing to show their impressive form week after week with their eight-point gap on the rest of the standings. This one will probably be very physical from the start and I look for Chivas to try and control the tempo of the game as well. Chivas can’t let up for a second, espeically late since DC has scored five of their league-high 15 goals in the last 15 minutes of the game. A draw sounds likely here even though Chivas has an impressive home record right now.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, DC 1


Columbus Crew – at – LA Galaxy:

1. Both clubs are starting to win, but who has the edge right now?

Both finally got off the mark here in the past couple weeks and got the first win of the season. Amazing that despite their records LA hasn’t lost in six games and Columbus hasn’t lost in five. I will however give the slight advantage to Columbus here since it was last week that they got their first win of the year. The monkey is finally off their back and they should start winning more games here.

2. What does the Crew need to do to pick up some points here?

One thing is certain, another win and the Crew are very much in the thick of things in the eastern conference. This is certainly a good time to start a winning streak as the Crew have been a very tough club for the Galaxy to beat in recent years (partly due to Sigi Schmid when he was there). I think the Crew just have to play their tough style of play and rattle the very yough Galaxy defense early and often in this one. As long as Gulliermo Barros Schelotto controls the pace of the game in the middle for the Crew they should be fine in this one.

3. Player to keep an eye out for.

One guy I am going to watch for is LA’s Edson Buddle. He is finally getting healthy here this season and that should mean more offense for this Galaxy club that desperately needs someone else to go to soon when Landon Donovan leaves this summer for national team duty.

Quick Thoughts:

At first glance I was thinking this would be yet another draw for these two sides but I think the Crew have to be hungry now that they have their first win of the season. It didn’t come easy but you know veterans like Frankie Hedjuk will rally this club together to get another win. I like the Crew to keep their momentum up from last week’s win over the Galaxy.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, LA 1

  • SDM

    I think TFC will get the better of Chicago, But…..I'm not sure if Wynne will be available because of injury. If he's not, that could make things much more interesting. Also, I would be shocked if FCD actually scored on Seattle, even without James Riley in the back.

  • SDM

    I think TFC will get the better of Chicago, But…..I’m not sure if Wynne will be available because of injury. If he’s not, that could make things much more interesting. Also, I would be shocked if FCD actually scored on Seattle, even without James Riley in the back.

  • Dave

    SDM is right, Wynne is supposed to be out this game. But Attakora has been playing great lately. He's also been playing a lot, so as long as he's not too tired from all the games I'm not too worried about Wynne being out. Right now I think TFC has the best group of young players in the league. Cronin, Frei and Attakora are all having a HUGE part in our success this season.

  • Dave

    SDM is right, Wynne is supposed to be out this game. But Attakora has been playing great lately. He’s also been playing a lot, so as long as he’s not too tired from all the games I’m not too worried about Wynne being out. Right now I think TFC has the best group of young players in the league. Cronin, Frei and Attakora are all having a HUGE part in our success this season.