- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 18, 2012
- 0 Comments
- 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 20, Features
Holy moly, a full round of games today. Major League Soccer is taking advantage of the summer months with extra games and tonight we have seven of them (eight if you count a World Football Challenge match with Seattle and Chelsea).
Games like tonight will really be a huge factor in the playoff race that is certainly heating up with each passing week. The top five in each conference are trying to pull away from the rest of the pack. In the East, Houston has a six point advantage over the next clubs in line while out West, LA has a four point advantage. Games mean a ton now as we head into those all important final months of the season.
As for the task at hand, here is how I see tonight shaking up.
Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls: A weird 1pm kickoff during the hottest part of the year makes no sense in my eyes for this game. It’s not even a national TV game to give it a decent excuse either. Teams will battle the heat and each other. Chicago has to find a way to spread out New York and eliminate the amount of service Thierry Henry is allowed to have. The Fire have had a good record against the Red Bulls since 2008 going 6-1-3 in that span. This one really could go either way in my mind. A scoreless draw seems likely, as does a shootout. Let’s just hope no one gets heat exhaustion here.
WVH Prediction: New York 0, Chicago 0
Portland Timbers at Chivas USA: Another local start time (1pm PT) – one that isn’t getting talked about nearly as much as the New York-Chicago game. Neither team have played well as of late and now that Chivas’ focus on the US Open Cup is over, they can hope to regain some quality play in their regular season. In all honesty this one seems like a crap shoot given Portland’s form and Chivas’ lack of quality play at home this season. If Kris Boyd and the Timbers can get on the board first then I think it is all in their favor. If not, this one screams a draw.
WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, Portland 1
Colorado Rapids at Toronto FC: The Reds must move on fast without Danny Kovermans. Losing their best player to a season ending injury is never easy to deal with. They have to go from searching for a top-level defender to finding another striker to step in. At least they are on good form overall and host a team that hasn’t played well in the last two months. Colorado has lost five out of their last six and have looked rather dreadful in that time. First one to score wins in this one as I think one goal will do it.
WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Colorado 0
New England Revolution at Montreal Impact: The Impact were riding high for a few weeks and have now crashed back down to expansion club lows. This one could be tight given how New England is defensively at times and how well Montreal scores at Stade Saputo. I think the Revs are just too much offensively right now for the Impact’s patch-work defense that is still a few weeks from being anything worth writing about. Saer Sene and Jerry Bengtson look to continue to get on the same page and get the goals the Revs need to stay in the playoff hunt.
WVH Prediction: New England 2, Montreal 1
Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo: This one is certainly tricky to predict. Both sides are coming off nice wins last weekend and Houston is unbeaten at home so far this season. I see this game coming down to tempo and who can sustain it for 90 minutes. Sporting relies on a high-tempo attack while the Dynamo will use the compact field to their advantage. Service will play a huge part in this one and I love what the Dynamo have on the wings.
WVH Prediction: Houston 2, Kansas City 1
LA Galaxy at Vancouver Whitecaps: A big potential playoff series preview here. LA has to continue winning here as they do have a collective of clubs right on their tails. Vancouver is in the same boat as they sit firmly in the forth spot out West but that isn’t a comfortable spot to be in at all. Last week was a rough one for the Caps with two road losses. LA has always played Vancouver well and will certainly be pressed to do the same. This one comes down to defenses and Vancouver has one of the better ones in MLS. I think this one ends level given the Caps lack of striking at the moment but it could be a fun one to watch.
WVH Prediction: Vancouver 1, LA 1
FC Dallas at San Jose Earthquakes: Late game on the night, a 10pm kick for those watching here in Dallas on NBC Sports. Dallas finally got off the slump last weekend in Colorado and now have the tough task of trying to get one by San Jose on the road. That won’t be easy considering how many goals (5) San Jose put up on RSL last weekend at home. These two played a scoreless draw a couple weeks ago in Frisco and I’d expect a similar contest tonight at Buck Shaw Stadium. In the end San Jose is still to good and Dallas has very little offense to show for.
WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, Dallas 0