- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On October 14, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Season Predictions, 2011 Week 31, Features
The all important second-to-last week in the regular season for Major League Soccer. Six playoff spots are still up for grabs and a few clubs could clinch those berths this weekend. MLS is getting exactly what they wanted with this new playoff format, excitement down to the very last week. More than likely the final two playoff spots won’t be decided until next weekend.
It will be a full slate of games this weekend, stretched across three days. Some games more meaningful than others naturally. On a side note I hope to next week get back into my expansion draft lists. I have a couple clubs already put together but just need to make a final touch or two on them. I also plan to possibly go back through my preseason positional rankings and revisit them. Could be fun.
Okay, time to get down to the picking. Feel free to leave your picks below as well.
Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids: This one will be tense and interesting to watch. Rivalry games like this one tend to be physical and emotional for some of the players involved. The past couple of season this late in-season match tended to let us know which of these two would be getting into the playoffs or not. That likely won’t be the case this year as RSL has already clinched and Colorado is just a point or so away from doing the same. Without Kyle Beckerman this game loses a little of it’s energy. I feel in the end it comes down to a draw as Colorado lacks consistency from game-to-game and RSL is trying to get out of a four-game funk.
WVH Prediction: Colorado 1, RSL 1
Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers: Boy this one will be entertaining. A must-win for each side. John Spencer is probably pretty excited to face his former club and get a win against them in hopes of staying alive in the playoff race. I’d expect a physical match out of these two as Houston will want to flex a little of their muscle and force the Timbers to chase this game as long as they can. Neither team can really afford to drop points in this one but I think the home crowd does help Portland along as the game goes on and lifts them to a big win here.
WVH Prediction: Portland 1, Houston 0
New York Red Bulls at Sporting Kansas City: Another do-or-die match. New York could feel safe with their position right now but I can’t imagine they are too comfortable. With games in KC and next week at home against Philadelphia, they know points have to happen. They can pass KC with a win but more than likely they are just looking to remain in the hunt. Expect KC to push this game to the limits here with their speed up front. We’ve seen New York have issues with defending speed in the past but if they can control the midfield game – they should be able to keep this one close. Getting a big game out of Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards could be the biggest thing for New York. I’m not sure if KC has an answer for Luke Rodgers in the back either, not to mention that Thierry Henry guy. This one feels like a draw.
WVH Prediction: SKC 2, NY 2
Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union: I have a feeling we won’t see a full-fledged Toronto side in this one. They have an all important game next week in Dallas in the CCL and will likely concentrate more on that than this game. Saying that really helps Philadelphia in this one as they look to potentially widen the Eastern Conference race with a win. The Union really are on a hot streak anyways. Their win in Seattle last weekend was a strong one and showed that Freddy Adu can certainly be a handful for any MLS club here. While the two clubs are vastly different then their previous meeting, gotta point out that this Union side did rack up some goals against this Toronto side. Expect that again.
WVH Prediction: Philadelphia 3, Toronto 0
Chicago Fire at DC United: The Fire will be without Pavel Pardo, Cory Gibbs, and Dan Gargan due to suspension. Both teams will be gunning for three points after stumbling badly on Wednesday. I think the Fire’s season is more over than United’s but both still have a chance at the playoffs here. I’d expect Ben Olsen to flight a fire of some sort under his club after this loss in Vancouver. They feel due to win one here.
WVH Prediction: DC 2, Chicago 1
Columbus Crew at New England Revolution: Columbus have been a different (and better) team as of late with the return of Eddie Gavin to the lineup. New England on the other hand is just hoping to send their fans off with a win and some positive momentum for 2012. At this point the Revs could end up being the worse club in the league this season if they fail to win any of their last two games. But saying all of this I see the Crew doing well in this one and getting one of those three auto-bids from the Eastern Conference.
WVH Prediction: Columbus 2, NE 1
Vancouver Whitecaps at FC Dallas: I’d imagine Schellas Hyndman will rest a couple players for next Tuesday’s CCL game with Toronto after his club clinched a playoff berth the other night in Chicago. Vancouver is a tricky club right now to face for anyone, but on the road it could be a different story for the Caps. They haven’t particularly played well away from home this season. Facing a veteran side like Dallas may also be a bit much for the young Caps.
WVH Prediction: Dallas 1, Vancouver 0
San Jose Earthquakes at Seattle Sounders FC: Again, tip of the hat to the Sounders faithful for selling 60k+ tickets for this one. Very impressive. While Chris Wondolowski is gunning for a second straight Golden Boot award, his club just isn’t nearly on the same level as the Sounders are. Kasey Keller will have a very fond farewell.
WVH Prediction: Seattle 3, San Jose 1
Chivas USA at LA Galaxy: LA has an important CCL match to deal with next week as well so I’d expect them to have a very mixed bag of starters and young players in this one. It isn’t vital for them to get points at this stage with the Supporters’ Shield wrapped up and the home field advantage completely their’s for the playoffs. It is a rivalry game so let’s just call it a draw. There really isn’t a whole lot to lean on in this one with the way things have gone this season for each side here. If Chivas were still in the playoff hunt it would be a different story.
WVH Prediction: LA 1, Chivas 1