MLS Weekend Preview: Week 6

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 6

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 30, 2010
  • 2010 Week 6, Weekend Previews

Can Juan Pablo Angel lead New York to their first win at D.C. United since 2005? (Getty Images)

Yes week six in Major League Soccer is another full one. All 16 clubs will be involved in eight matches on one single day. It was craziness last time this was on the schedule so don’t expect anything less.

But the more interesting factor in all of this is some schedule congestion for some clubs. With the league taking a couple weeks off in June for the World Cup it meant the league had to compensate for it early on with some tight schedules. Throw in some US Open Cup dates for some teams and you’re talking about a lot of miles on some teams over the course of two weeks.

Six clubs will have to deal with this congestion. In a span of eight days those six will play three league games, while two of them have already played one USOC game this past week. In other words two clubs will be exhausted while the other four won’t be high on energy as well.

Here’s a rundown on those facing a tough stretch coming up:

New England – Dallas, Chivas USA, at Columbus.
FC Dallas – at New England, at Houston, D.C. United.
D.C. United – New York, Kansas City, @ FC Dallas.
Los Angeles – Philadelphia, at Colorado, at Seattle.
Chivas USA – at Chicago, at New England, Houston.
Houston – Kansas City, Dallas, at Chivas USA.

It’s worth noting that D.C. and Dallas played in the USOC the other night, which puts their total up a bit over the others. Plus New England and LA play clubs at the tail end of this stretch that will be a bit fresher. Some clubs also got lucky and won’t have to play next Saturday.

So some tired legs will be on the field but maybe not so to start this weekend in some places. It will be interesting to see exactly how some clubs adapt to these tighter schedules. We’ve seen its not been pleasant to some clubs so far.

Let’s get down to the previews and predictions shall we? As always feel free to leave your thoughts and predictions on this weekend’s action in the comments section below.

New York Red Bulls – at – D.C. United

United got their first win of the year this week in an USOC game against Dallas. They looked pretty good too, and now with Lucano Emilio on his way back to the club things at least offensively could be on the rise. New York hasn’t played pretty but they’ve gotten results and what I always say about good teams they find ways to win no matter what. New York is doing just that, even if I don’t think they’re all that great just yet.

Don’t expect a pretty performance out of either side as D.C. will be a bit gassed and New York has never really done well in RFK Stadium (their last win there was back in 2005). The Atlantic Cup is never pretty anyways. Part of me leans Red Bulls with another gritty win thanks to Juan Pablo Angel and Joel Lindpere but another part of me thinks D.C. could be turning a corner. I like history and I’m basing some of this off that, this one will end in a draw.

Player to watch out for: Andy Najar – The homegrown kid is proving to folks all around the league that homegrown talent is worth taking some chances on here. He’s young but he’s going to be the lifeblood of this club moving forward.

WVH Prediction: D.C. 1, New York 1


FC Dallas – at – New England Revolution:

Another club that will be a bit gassed this weekend is FCD. They take their show to New England, a place they never really do too well in. The Revs are still missing Shalrie Joseph who is out on an extended leave with the club. Steve Nicol will have to continue to call on some of his youth to step up in this one.

Dallas likes to play an extra body in the midfield, something Colorado employed last week on the Revs and saw success with. The thing is Dallas hasn’t seen the same kind of success with their midfield yet this season. For the most part its coming down to the creative end for settling up quality chances and to the defensive end for not putting pressure on the backline. Dallas holds good possession but has trouble doing anything with it and going against a club like New England they’ll struggle to make the most of those chances.

I like the Revs in this one with Marko Perovic and Zach Schilawski providing the sparks necessary to win this one.

Player to watch out for: Perovic – He was a bright spot in the Revs loss to Colorado last week, I see him growing into just the player Nicol needs in the midfield with Joseph out.

WVH Prediction: New England 2, Dallas 1


Chivas USA – at – Chicago Fire

Both teams come off big wins from last week, Chicago handled the Dynamo at home while Chivas took care of San Jose. This one will be a big midfield battle as Chicago likes to build on long possession to get their attack, Chivas is fairly similar in their style through the midfield as well.

I liked what I saw out of Chivas last week as Sacha Kljestan looked like the man we’ve seen him be in the past and not the one that disappeared for most of the 2009 season. But right now the Fire are looking good with a couple wins in a row under their belts. Marco Pappa has looked like a new leader in the midfield for Chicago and guys like Collins John and Logan Pause are all the better for it.

Player to watch out for: Patrick Nyarko – His speed on the wings and up top may be too much for Chivas to handle, if he gets loose it will be a long night for the visitors.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 2, Chivas 0


Kansas City Wizards – at – Houston Dynamo

Boy this one lost a little luster with the injury to Geoff Cameron last week. Dominic Kinnear will once again have to re-do his lineup to make up for it. Likely Brad Davis will be called to handle more of the ball in the middle of the field rather than on the wings like he is used to.

This will be a good test for how good KC actually is here. The field is a bit bigger than their home pitch but it should translate well for them in what they like to do in space with Ryan Smith and Kei Kamara. I don’t see either team ending up with all three points though. Robertson Stadium is a tough venue even for some of the best clubs and the jury is still out a bit on how good KC really is here. A draw sounds like the most likely result.

Player to watch out for: Lovel Palmer – He will have to be the shutdown man in the midfield for the Dynamo. If he can provide a little spark in the offense then the Dynamo will be all the better for it too.

WVH Prediction: Houston 0, Kansas City 0


Toronto FC – at – Real Salt Lake

I believe this was a game that RSL fans circled on their calendars when the schedule came out. They knew if they could get to this point in the season without any big injuries or issues that they’d be fine. Why? They are about to have one of the longer stretches of games at home with seven out of their next nine at Rio Tinto Stadium. For a club that fails to win on the road, this is a make or break time for them as defending champions.

Who’s to say Toronto can’t steal some points though? Well, unless Dwayne De Rosario carries this club on his back on both ends of the field it just won’t happen. I know DeRo has done it time and time again for this side so far this year but RSL is a whole other animal at Rio Tinto. RSL will also have both Robbie Findley and Javier Morales back to spark the attack. Not a good sign for a visiting side that has given up nine goals on the road so far this season.

Player to watch out for: O’Brian White – He’s helped carry the offensive load with DeRo this year but he has to do a bit more on the road to help out. I like his speed and skill against RSL’s backline. All he has to do is create fouls in or around the penalty box and TFC could be alright in this one.

WVH Prediction: RSL 3, TFC 1


Colorado Rapids – at – San Jose Earthquakes

The last two games against one another in 2009 were wild 1-1 finishes at the end of the season. That was in the final few weeks of the season that those results came in and honestly I wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen again here this weekend. Why? At Buck Shaw Stadium we’ll see Colorado return to its less consistent ways in the midfield on a small pitch while San Jose will hope to bounce back from their loss to Chivas USA.

San Jose likes to play a little tighter in the midfield which should slow down the Rapids’ attack a good bit. Plus I’m not entirely sure Colorado is a real contender here this season anyways. They look good one week but not so good the next. I just see that pattern here in this one as the two sides end in yet another draw.

Player to watch out for: Bobby Convey – At home this year he’s been a changed man from what we got out of him in 2009. His play in the midfield will dicate how the Quakes do in this one.

WVH Prediction: San Jose 1, Colorado 1


Philadelphia Union – at – LA Galaxy

This may be one of those matchups that feels like a sure bet this weekend. An expansion side going cross the country to face the top team in the league. Philly also had a game this week in the Open Cup in a 2-1 loss to New York. Peter Nowak used a few regulars in that one but now has a tougher task ahead of his young club – taming the Galaxy.

Here’s the thing if the Union don’t shoot themselves in the foot they may look alright in this one but more than likely the Galaxy will find ways to expose this young club for what they are, an expansion team. I’d be utterly shocked if LA didn’t manage an easy three points in this one but they could come out expecting the result and make a tougher time of things than they need to. I just think in the end it won’t matter and they’ll dominate this one. With no Sebastian Le Toux for the Union I just see no real offense coming from Nowak’s side.

Player to watch out for: Juninho – He’s been a handful in the midfield for other clubs to deal with and I see him picking apart this expansion side.

WVH Prediction: LA 2, Philadelphia 0


Columbus Crew – at – Seattle Sounders FC

Lots of question marks surround the Crew in this one, the biggest being do you play Guillermo Barros Schelotto on the turf at Qwest Field? I have a feeling they won’t and Columbus will look a good bit different for it. We know the Crew are the better team with GBS in the lineup but without him they’ll look more like a normal club in the league. But GBS isn’t the only issue for the Crew, as they may be without Chad Marsall, Gino Padula and Emmanuel Ekpo.

Seattle should benefit from these players being out for the Crew. They’ve done a decent job so far at playing against quality sides this year but this will be a true test if they can break down some of the bench players for the Crew. If they fail to do that they could be in serious trouble. The thing is I believe Sigi Schmid’s side will be just fine here.

Player to watch out for: Steven Lenhart – He’s a beast but I’m not sure he realizes it yet. He could cause some serious issues for the Sounders if he finds himself open in space.

WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, Columbus 1