- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On June 14, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 16, Features
The weekend is here, time to dive back into some Major League Soccer action as most of the league is in action this weekend.
1. Clash of heavyweights in the Rose City. The biggest clash this weekend has to be Portland hosting FC Dallas tomorrow afternoon on ESPN. Both teams met a month ago in Frisco to the tune of a 1-1 draw that lacked a little punch for both sides. Portland came out with some reserves in that match while Dallas was without three key members of their roster for the game. Fast forward to this meeting and the two clubs come in about even on who will be missing for injuries or international duty.
No one expected either of these clubs to be where they are today. Portland has a 12-game unbeaten run going on but I’m still not convinced that anyone is taking them serious enough here on the season. Part of that is due to their record, seven draws at this stage of the season is a little crazy. Most teams only have two or three draws with one or two having four at the most so far. But seven shows you something else about this team. They aren’t losing but they also aren’t winning a ton either. Their last two wins were over Chivas USA and D.C. United too. Not exactly beating quality clubs these days.
Dallas on the other hand struggled a bit through May with injuries. They do seem a little more fit going into this one and will really only be without Blas Perez. That may be okay given how Kenny Cooper scored two goals in Open Cup play this week and Eric Hassli continues to be well over due for his first Dallas goal.
2. Wooden Spoon battle. So much to talk about with the D.C. United-Toronto FC match this weekend. Much more than we really should give time for obviously. Each squad is still struggling on the season and both have so many injuries and issues to deal with that I don’t have the time to even list them all out.
No, the story really here is Ryan Nelsen and Kevin Payne coming back to D.C. to face their old club. That is the headline for this one. Honestly, that story line does little for me but I’m an outsider for both teams here so that may be why.
3. Mark Watson begins his time as San Jose boss. He does have the interim tag on his place card but Mark Watson knows these next few months are an audition at the very least. If he does well as manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, he’ll get the gig for 2013 and beyond. His first task is to take his bang of misfit toys to Colorado to face a Rapids squad that is unbeaten in their last six. For me it will be interesting to see how this veteran group of players in San Jose rally around their new interim coach. Sometimes when a coach is canned in the middle of the year it sparks players to do more, and other times it sparks players to just quit on the season. Time to figure out which one it will be for this team.
4. Double duty for some. One interesting aspect of this weekend is the fact that 10 clubs had to deal with US Open Cup play on Wednesday only to turn around and have to play on Saturday. That is a short turnaround for most any time. Most teams went conservative in the midweek match with a mixture of reserves and starters. While FC Dallas put out mostly starters. The line up juggles will certainly be a talking point this weekend.
FC Dallas at Portland Timbers – This one will come down to who has the legs by the 70th minute. Both had to deal with Open Cup matches this week and each used a good amount of starters in it. For Dallas to win they have to get set pieces and corner kicks. Of their 27 goals this season, 11 have come from Michel’s free kicks or corner kicks. Portland has done well with their fluid style of game and if they can allow Darlington Nagbe time on the ball, he’ll work his magic to help them out offensively. I think both teams could win this one but it will likely end level.
WVH Prediction: Portland 1, Dallas 1
Toronto FC at D.C. United – Two of the worst teams in the league going head-to-head. United did get a win in the Open Cup this week while Toronto hopes to get Designated Player Danny Koevermans back in the lineup. I’m sticking with the home side in this one though. Should be a tad wild at times given how bad both sides are but it could also end up being the most talked about match of the week.
WVH Prediction: D.C. 2, Toronto 0
Montreal Impact at Columbus Crew – The Impact have the luxury of no Open Cup match this week to deal with unlike the Crew who had to play yesterday in Chicago. Not only that nugget but they also lost a key defensive player in Glauber too. The quick turnaround plus facing one of the league’s best clubs won’t help matters out for a struggling Columbus side.
WVH Prediction: Montreal 2, Columbus 1
San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids – First match for Mark Watson is a dozy. How is club responds to Yallop’s exit and his promotion will be key. To be honest I don’t like their chances all that much in Colorado against a Rapids team that is playing very well these days. Not to mention this is still the same San Jose team that loves to go down early and claw their way back for a draw. I just don’t see it happening in this one.
WVH Prediction: Colorado 2, San Jose 1
New England Revolution at Vancouver Whitecaps – Had this one been on the east coast I would feel better about New England’s chances. But given the Open Cup match this past week and then having to go cross country on short notice is never easy to do. Vancouver does still have some injury issues that may counter the jet lag for New England though. Injuries for one side plus jet lag for the other spells a draw for me.
WVH Prediction: Vancouver 1, New England 1