MLS Thursday Night Preview: Double Dip

MLS Thursday Night Preview: Double Dip

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 20, 2010
  • 0 Comments
  • Thursday Preview

Hans Backe is hoping his club can stay in first place in the Eastern conference with a win over the undefeated Columbus Crew. (Getty Images)

We have two games tonight on a week where things seem a little bit lighter (only five games this weekend). Things get started tonight with two games on the menu, one of those on national TV (ESPN2). Three of the four clubs in action tonight are in the top part of the standings with the other club hoping to jump up in the standings with a huge upset tonight.

For lack of better terms tonight is a big statement night for these clubs in Major League Soccer. LA is hoping to show the league that they will be fine without Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan while Dallas is hoping to show that they are one of the better clubs in the league. New York is going to try to put their current issues aside while the Crew will face a stiff test of a two-game week.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and predictions below in the comments section.

Columbus Crew – at – New York Red Bulls

Just as mentioned above the Crew have a real depth battle going on this week. For starters they will have a game tonight and then a game Sunday at Kansas City (boy who did they piss off to have two road games in one week?). Then they found out the other day that they’d be without their main man Guillermo Barros Schelotto who was suspended for an elbow to a Chivas USA player in last week’s game. Ouch.

New York probably needs this result more than the Crew at this point. In recent weeks they’ve been slipping and are starting to look like an average side once again and not a conference-leading one. Their offense has been held in check the last two games and their defense has given up five goals (four of those coming to San Jose when they were down a man early on in the match). Injuries have been an issue and a few key guys are in question for this contest tonight.

I think its safe to say the Crew will likely be pushing for a draw in this one. If Schelotto was available I’d say differently but with their biggest offensive threat out of the way they’ll have to rely more on their wing play than anything else. Which is a good thing too because they have really good wing play. But wait a second, one of their main stars on the wing will be missing too with Robbie Rogers being at the US Men’s National team World Cup training cam. Again depth will be called into issue.

To beat New York you do have to spread them out and do a good job placing lots of bodies in the midfield. Both Seattle and San Jose did that and saw success against them. The only team to pack the midfield and not beat New York was Dallas who probably should have gone away with at least a draw.

I think New York bounced back in this one. They’ve always had the Crew’s number at home and even though I felt like a draw earlier in the week with this game I’m leaning New York now. Hans Backe needs to get more out of Juan Pablo Angel and company. Their defense will also have to pick it up a notch.

Player to keep an eye out for: Steven Lenhart – He’s really the main guy tonight for the Crew. If he can find ways around Mike Petke and rookie Tim Ream the Crew could stay undefeated.

WVH Prediction: New York 1, Columbus 0

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LA Galaxy – at – FC Dallas

Don’t expect a huge crowd for this one, no Donovan, no Beckham and probably some rain in the forecast will lead to a very low gate number. Plus its a midweek game so there you have it.

LA is hoping to stay undefeated despite the loss of Buddle and Donovan their two top offensive producers this season. The thing about the Galaxy is they are fairly deep. While I don’t expect them to run up the score just yet I do think they’ll still be competitive here while those two are gone.

Expect the Galaxy to go to a defend-to-attack kind of mode here without Buddle and Donovan. In the past when their offense is lagging they’d tend to do sit back and play to long ball situations or counter attacks. With Dallas doing a good job keeping possession here I’d say it won’t be as easy to sit back as much as they’d like.

The thing riding for the Galaxy right now is their defense, which has only given up two goals in nine games this season. Dallas does a good job creating chances with Jeff Cunningham, Atiba Harris and Dax McCarty but they do not do a good enough job putting those chances away. Going against a quality defensive side like LA it won’t be any easier.

I think this one goes to a draw, just seems to be the way things are going for Dallas this season anyways. Cunningham will have to be a difference maker but I see the backline with Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin being too much here. Both get a goal but that will be it.

Player to keep an eye out for: Donovan Ricketts – He’s the most unsung hero for the Galaxy right now, as long as he’s healthy and good to go I look for him to have a big game tonight.

WVH Prediction: Dallas 1, LA 1

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