MLS Weekend Previews: Week 25

MLS Weekend Previews: Week 25

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 17, 2010
  • 0 Comments
  • 2010 Week 25, Weekend Previews

Stephen Lenhart and Columbus host the Seattle Sounders this weekend. (Getty Images)

Week 25 in Major League Soccer heads towards the weekend. After two straight night of decent games the league heads towards the busy weekend slate as nearly all the games this weekend have some sort of playoff implications to them. San Jose got a big win on Wednesday while Dallas and New York tied in their game last night in Frisco.

Its also been a busy week on the trade front. I know I’ve been quiet about things due to some personal issues going on for me here. But now that the league roster freeze deadline has come and gone teams are either geared up for the playoffs or preparing for next year in some cases.

We have six quality games this weekend and like I mentioned above they all have heavy playoff implications on them. A couple teams have a chance to be “in” based on math (one has to wonder when exactly the league will say these teams are in or not).

So let’s get down to it here.

Saturday

Chicago Fire – at – Real Salt Lake

The Fire is a pesky enough team that could end RSL’s amazing home streak. I do believe that but at the same time I don’t see RSL going down easy here this weekend even though they have some tired legs due to the CCL game earlier this week. The Fire are desperate for points after coming up real short in two games last week. They still have two games in hand against nearly everyone in the league but so far they haven’t made the most of it and trying to start now in Salt Lake won’t be easy.

RSL will have to find ways to create their offense with Javier Morales (suspended) and Fabian Espindola (injuried) out for this one. A lot of the pressure there will fall directly on guys like Robbie Findley who have to step up down the stretch for RSL to have a shot at a repeat this season. Alvaro Sabario has been great this season but he needs help from Findley to create chances and to finish them.

The Fire will have to lean on Freddie Ljungberg in this one but they should get Marco Pappa back for this one which will do wonders for their attack.

I think RSL finds a way to continue their amazing 23-game unbeaten run here but it won’t be easy. Chicago will keep this one close but I just have trouble picking against RSL at this point at Rio Tinto.

Player to watch out for: Logan Pause – If he can contain Sabario the Fire have a good shot at getting at least a draw here.

WVH Prediction: RSL 2, Chicago 1

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Seattle Sounders FC – at – Columbus Crew

Both sides will have some tired legs in this one due to the midweek CCL games. Seattle¬†especially¬†since they were on the road for their game in Costa Rica. Columbus had little problems with their CCL game against Joe Public and I think they’ll lean on that performance to keep things going in league play.

Columbus was able to rest plenty of their regulars too which is good news for the Crew faithful going into this encounter with their old coach Sigi Schmid. The Sounders did sit a few regulars as well but losing in Costa Rica all but ends their run in this year’s CCL tournament for the Sounders.

This one will come down to the midfield battle. Columbus will want to erase their horrible performance in LA from a week ago with a solid effort in this one. Possession will be key for both clubs and so will wing play. Each like to spread it out in their attack and Seattle probably has an edge as far as the speed goes. How Columbus stops Fredy Montero will also be key, look for rookie Shaun Francis to have the fun task of marking him tomorrow night.

I’d like to take Columbus but part of me feels this one will end level. Remember Seattle found a way to win in Columbus last year so they know how to do it. A tie just seems more likely this year.

Player to watch out for: Andres Mendoza – The newcomer for Columbus looked very dangerous last week in LA. Hopefully he gets more minutes this week.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 1, Seattle 1

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Toronto FC – at – Houston Dynamo

Boy its been one hell of a week for Toronto. Not only have they dropped some games in the past week but they also canned their coach and GM. I think this is the game they start to turn the ship a bit. Houston is no easy out but I like a team playing with loads of emotion, even on the road.

Houston will be happy that they are getting a tired Toronto team in town though. TFC’s brutal schedule hasn’t been kind to the Reds but then again Houston hasn’t exactly been setting the league on fire lately either. They are just 1-5-4 in the last 10 league games.

This one will come down to who handles the emotion better. If Toronto can channel their emotions in this one I think they’ll get a result but if they don’t get their attack going early enough with that emotion look for Houston to pounce all over them. Geoff Cameron will have to handle his old teammate Dwayne De Rosario in this one which will be an exciting matchup to see. I’m calling to upset with Toronto though, something just feels right for that pick. I may be crazy but why the hell not.

Player to watch out for: Danny Cruz – Look for the youngster to take over for the newly departed Brian Mullan on the wings. His energy could be exactly what Houston needs in this one.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Houston 0

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New England Revolution – at – Colorado Rapids

Think Colorado is thinking playoffs with all the moves they made this week? I believe so. Adding veteran Brian Mullan to their midfield was a good move, and I honestly believe they got the better end of the deal when they dealt for Mac Kandji from New York. I expect both players to be involved in this one in some way for Gary Smith.

New England could be a trap game for the Rapids, even at home. The Revs are hanging on by a tiny tread at this point for the playoffs. Their defense will have to really step up in this one as they are going against one of the hotter offenses in the league right now.

Omar Cummings and Conor Casey are finally looking like the duo we know they can be. Cummings has really come on strong lately for the Rapids too. It will be interesting to see how Kandji fits into the equation with those two now.

I like Colorado in this one as they’ve shown this week that they’re making a serious playoff push here with the recent changes to their roster. I think the Revs will play them tight but Colorado edges them out due to their offense in the end.

Player to watch out for: Cory Gibbs – A homecoming of sorts for Gibbs who was with the Rapids last year before getting traded last winter to the Revs.

WVH Prediction: Colorado 3, New England 1

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D.C. United – at – LA Galaxy

The classic old rivalry isn’t what it used to be with United not up to the level that they once were. Though last week’s shocking road win for D.C. makes this one a little more interesting as LA could be on a let down after last week’s dominating victory over Columbus.

LA will look to just continue the form they had last week against the Crew though. Playing with more energy lately the Galaxy should get on the board early and often against a weaker D.C. defense. United will pose some issues for LA up top with youngster Andy Najar but I still believe an east coast team in the cellar travelling west like this is never a recipe for a win. Go with LA, its the simple pick here.

Player to watch out for: Edson Buddle – His league-leading 14 goals is only two less than what D.C. has scored all season.

WVH Prediction: LA 2, D.C. 0

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Kansas City Wizards – at – Chivas USA

Probably the trickiest matchup of the weekend in my opinion. Kansas City was looking good until their schedule got changed and they had last week off. Then Chivas USA came out last week and delivered a strong performance at home in a 2-0 win over New England.

Playoff hopes are still there for both squads but draws won’t cut it for either at this point. KC is sitting five points back of the eighth and final spot while Chivas is eight points back. Each need those three points as much as the other. KC has never won on the road against Chivas USA either.

Each will look to get their offenses going early as Kei Kamara has to be involved often for the Wizards to do well in this one. The same goes for Justin Braun for Chivas USA. Look for Shavar Thomas to go one-on-one with Braun for KC. The two have played together before so that matchup will be worth watching.

I think in the end KC gets another road draw out of this one. I like what they’ve done in recent weeks but I think the week off could be more of a momentum killer than anything else for Peter Vermes’ club.

Player to watch out for: Ryan Smith – He has to make good decisions in the midfield and keep the attack going on the wings.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, KC 1

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