- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On June 28, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 18, Features
Time to break down a few times before we head into the weekend predictions.
1. Zusi re-ups in Kansas City. Last night Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman tweeted out that star midfielder Graham Zusi has signed an extension with Sporting KC for multiple seasons. You can certainly say that this was a smart move by the club (and the league) to keep this player here for years to come. But more importantly it was a smart move to keep their bottom line protected in the event that a European or Mexican club comes calling with big bucks. FC Dallas did this a while back with Brek Shea and the end result seems to be working for them as they were able to get a solid transfer fee for the player. Zusi is 27-years old so the window is closing on a big move abroad but I’ve been told there has been solid interest in him overseas. If he makes the World Cup squad next year and shines the way he has this year in qualifying, you can expect some clubs will be lining up to get him.
2. California Clasico at Stanford Stadium. Even though the San Jose Earthquakes will have a shiny new stadium in the near future, there is something about playing this game in front of 40,000 at Stanford Stadium that really makes sense to me. It was a fun time last year between these two clubs as the two sides traded plenty of goals. The rivalry in this one shouldn’t take a back seat to the way either side is playing at the moment. LA is off a win over their other rivals Chivas USA while San Jose is slumping big time. Both teams will want to use this game as a springboard to their summers. LA needs a win simply to keep afloat in the Western Conference race while San Jose just needs to find a way to get their heads above water here.
3. Is Toronto turning the tide? The last couple of weeks have been interesting out of Ryan Nelsen’s Toronto club. They got a road draw in one of the most unlikely places last week in Houston and before that they got three points over bottom of the table mates D.C. United. Four points is nothing to laugh at when you are Toronto as they aren’t use to seeing that kind of production against conference foes in back-to-back games. This weekend Toronto hosts a club that has lost five straight trips to BMO FIeld, red-hot Real Salt Lake.
RSL has a midweek clash in the USOC that saw them use a fairly strong lineup in their win over lower division club Carolina. Does Salt Lake have the gas for this trip left to stay above. Toronto will have to show that the last two weeks have been building blocks for them going forward. They are finally getting healthy and are showing well in spots but then again it hasn’t been against one of the top teams in the league.
4. Rut-busting in the Big Apple. Man, look at the Sunday matchup for MLS. Houston at New York. That should be a great one. But neither team is coming into this match with any momentum. New York was doing well until the schedule caught up with them and they had a little time off, not to mention last week’s blowout loss in Philadelphia didn’t help matters out. Houston hasn’t been themselves for weeks thanks to international call-ups and injuries. So, what do we make of this game? Well, for starters, it is a perfect chance for one of these clubs to break free and get some momentum in the final week of June. Seeing how the Red Bulls are at home in this one, in my mind, all they need to do is control the ball and keep Houston from getting it to their wide players.
5. Silly season ahead. The MLS window for summer deals is approaching fast. But one other window is closing as well. Teams have until July 1 to waive players and not see any salary cap hits from it. After July 1, those players contracts are solid for the rest of the year and if they waive a player after that, they still have to pay up. So what does that mean going into the weekend and next week? Simple, we’re going to see a slew of last minute waives, trades and deals this weekend. Since the beginning of the month, nearly a dozen players have been cut from their clubs – mostly players that never saw the light of day or ones that just didn’t pan out. Don’t be shocked if Friday sees a slew of waived players as teams make roster adjustments going into the weekend. You just gotta love this time of year.
Real Salt Lake at Toronto FC: One team is rested while the other is not. One team is at home while the other just played on Wednesday on the other side of the continent. One team is at the top of the table while the other is near the bottom. So which wins out? Yeah, this is a draw.
WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, RSL 1
FC Dallas at Philadelphia Union: Dallas is another team that had a tough midweek game that saw plenty of starters play in the USOC. Philly has never beaten Dallas and this certainly will be there best chance. I think this one will come down to how Philly handles the direct play of Dallas. They’ve struggled in this department against teams that play direct (think Montreal) this season. Still, tired legs will have a factor in this at some point.
WVH Prediction: Philadelphia 1, Dallas 1
Colorado Rapids at Montreal Impact: Trading Pablo Mastroeni was a tough move but I think it has done more harm than good for this season in the locker room for the Rapids. Colorado does match up pretty well against Montreal but the Impact are too strong up top with Marco Di Vaio.
WVH Prediction: Montreal 2, Colorado 0
Vancouver Whitecaps at D.C. United: Are the Black-and-Red about to go on a winning streak? I think it can be done but they have to stop red-hot Camilo and Kenny Miller first. That will be a tough task, even at home. It should be a close one though.
WVH Prediction: D.C. 1, Vancouver 1
Columbus Crew at Sporting KC: Time for this SKC squad to turn things up. They have Dom Dwyer who is red-hot these days from playing down in the USL-Pro with Orlando. Time to tap into whatever mojo he has and run with it.
WVH Prediction: Sporting KC 3, Columbus 1
LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes: Rivalry games are always a toss up and you can bet San Jose will rely more on their physical play to dictate how this one will play out. Some how I see this one being entertaining all the way until the end too. I just like LA and their skill up front to quite the 40,000 fans on hand early on in this one.
WVH Prediction: LA 2, San Jose 1
New England Revolution at Chivas USA: A tricky game for the Revs who had to deal with a USOC match on Wednesday. Throw in the cross country trip, and that will really complicate things for Jay Heaps’ club. Still, defense wins out more times than not and Chivas has little of that.
WVH Prediction: New England 1, Chivas 0
Houston Dynamo at New York Red Bulls: Like I mentioned above, one of these teams will need to break through their current rut here in this one. I just think the home side will do it.
WVH Prediction: New York 2, Houston 1