MLS 2011 Week 31: Midweek Picks

MLS 2011 Week 31: Midweek Picks

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 12, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Season Predictions, 2011 Week 31, Features

Chicago faces Dallas in a must-win game tonight. (Getty Images)

It is coming down to the nitty-gritty in Major League Soccer. Week 31 kicks off tonight with two matches that have a lot on the line in terms of playoff implications. One is a rivalry game while the other could go a long way in determining possibly the number 2 pick in January’s SuperDraft or whether or not DC United gets into the playoffs this season.

Again, a lot is on the line.

FC Dallas at Chicago Fire: This one is a biggie. The Brimestone Cup hasn’t been that great over the last few years as Dallas has kept it all to themselves. But this year could be different. They tied their first meeting back in March and given the way Dallas has played over the last month and a half, you have to figure this could be the time it goes back to Chicago. Maybe. Chicago is coming off a bummer of a loss in the US Open Cup final last week to Seattle and while their form has been good as of late, they will be without key midfielder Marco Pappa.

This game for Dallas is all about getting their confidence back up. The team was given a long break last week to recover and regroup. It will be about getting the early goal and going from there. I believe the longer this one drags out as a scoreless tie, the better it is for the Fire. Dallas hasn’t shown the ability to close out a game in recent weeks and teams are taking advantage of it with late goals.

Chicago will be the desperate team in this one since they absolutely have to win this one in order to keep their playoff dreams alive. A loss does them no good. I think in the end it stays level. Dominic Oduro will cause issues for Dallas if he is healthy.

WVH Prediction: Chicago 1, Dallas 1

DC United at Vancouver Whitecaps: Another must-win game for an Eastern club. United have a game-in-hand at the moment and this is where they must use it to their advantage. Three points tonight gets them just two shy of a playoff spot and puts even more pressure on Houston, New York, Portland and Columbus.

Vancouver is basically playing for 2012 at this point. I mentioned at the top that this could go a long way in deciding if they end up with the number 2 pick in the January SuperDraft or if they win and move up the standings/down the draft order. With a game in hand they can pass New England in the standings for the bottom spot in the league with a win tonight.

DC hasn’t shown the maturity as of late to take advantage of the games-in-hand here. I think they could stumble again on the road in this one if they aren’t careful. Vancouver did just beat RSL 3-0 at home (yes with some questionable calls).

WVH Prediction: Vancouver 1, DC 1