- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 26, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 22, Features
What is that? The end of July on the calendar? Yep. The 2013 Major League Soccer season will finish up its fifth month of the season this weekend as they push into their mini All-Star break next week in Kansas City.
The league is back on a full schedule this weekend with only FC Dallas getting the time off, but they’ll be busy hosting a Brek Shea-less Stoke City on Saturday.
1. Montreal respond or SKC pull ahead? The big one for me this weekend is Sporting KC traveling to Montreal to face a struggling Impact side that is winless in their last five. While Montreal has two games in hand over Sporting in the standings, it is SKC that has a four point lead on the Impact going into the weekend showdown. This is clearly one of those games that SKC could use to spring board their run up the standings to contend with Real Salt Lake for the Supporters’ Shield.
So far the two have split their season series, but this is the first meeting at Stade Saputo. Montreal hasn’t been defending well lately though their 0-0 shutout against Dallas last week may suggest otherwise. I still see the Impact as a contending team here that lacks an element or two in the final third of the field. Marco Di Vaio has been great this season but no one else outside of him has really stepped up to become the club’s second best scorer.
Sporting KC on the other hand brings a fairly balanced attack. You know they’re going to pressure you from both sides of the field and give how poorly Montreal has done against teams that spread them out and go against them with pace, this one could get ugly early if the Impact aren’t careful.
2. RSL hope to prove their worth in NY. One of the easiest ways to get noticed in this league is beating New York in New York. Or in this case, in New Jersey. Real Salt Lake hits the road this weekend to see if they can out muscle Thierry Henry and company at Red Bull Arena.
Salt Lake has been hot these last couple of month but can they keep it up going into August? New York is the perfect place in my mind to prove their worth in that regard. They’ll still be without key players like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Tony Beltran for this one but their depth lately has been the key to their success. Not to mention Javier Morales’ MVP form over the last two months.
New York won’t be an easy team to beat at home though. Throw in the fact that RSL got stung last weekend at home against Sporting KC, and it could mean that we could see RSL fall again if they don’t step up to the plate early enough.
3. Can Colorado upend LA? This is also going to be a good one in the Mile High City. The LA Galaxy hit the road and more importantly Pablo Mastroeni faces his old club this weekend. The Rapids are a team that are on the verge of being a contender in the Western Conference but they need a big win over a good team to get them there. This would certainly be that big win, even though I would rather see them pull it off on the road.
LA has been doing just enough lately to get by, thanks largely in part due to their young core of players. Marcelo Sarvas has lead the midfield in Landon Donovan’s absence. Rookie homegrown forward Gyasi Zardes has been proving he is indeed the real deal that he said he would be back in January. And Bruce Arena’s defense has been humming along better as of late.
Colorado continues to be a head scratcher for me though. They have the talent across the field and I love what Oscar Pareja is doing with that club but something still feels off about their playoff chances. Maybe it is their defense. Maybe it is the lack of a true number 10 in their attack. Or maybe it is the lack of a true scorer up front. I don’t know but something feels off yet I am still intrigued by their chance here in this one against LA.
Columbus Crew at Toronto FC: Isn’t this a rivalry game? Sure why not. I declared the Crew done last weekend after their late collapse at home to New England. Going from one point and a draw to no points and a bad loss in the matter of two minutes in stoppage time will do that to you. Still, saying that, they’ll likely get a point this weekend in Toronto.
WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Columbus 1
Sporting KC at Montreal Impact: If Montreal can do what they did against Dallas and spread out SKC before SKC spreads them out, then they’ll have a good shot in this one. This one really could go either way in my mind after seeing how their last two went. But I’m taking form over history in this one and that means SKC rides out another tough road win.
WVH Prediction: SKC 2, Montreal 1
Real Salt Lake at New York Red Bulls: How will RSL handle the loss from last week will be key. I think a quick start from them will be the most telling sign but New York is a strong home team so it won’t be easy. I think Henry and Tim Cahill step up and do enough to win this one at home.
WVH Prediction: New York 2, RSL 1
Philadelphia Union at Vancouver Whitecaps: A very, very interesting match up here. Two good teams squaring off for the only time this season. Not to mention you have Camilo’s hot feet going against a Union defense that has shown some leakiness this season. I’m taking the home side in this one.
WVH Prediction: Vancouver 2, Philadelphia 0
D.C. United at New England Revolution: Jay Heaps knows that his club is only two points back of a playoff spot right now. Every game is big for them here on out. They’ll step up and get three points because of that.
WVH Prediction: New England 2, D.C. 0
LA Galaxy at Colorado Rapids: Colorado needs a big performance in this one or else their playoff chances may shrink a good bit. LA just needs to play their game in order to win this one I think. At the end of it though, I see this one ending on level terms.
WVH Prediction: Colorado 1, LA 1
Chicago Fire at Houston Dynamo: This one could arguably be one of the better games this weekend. Chicago still needs points to stay in the playoff hunt while Houston needs them to hold off teams like Chicago and New England. The Dynamo need to find a way to cool off the Fire’s attack. This one could come down to the very end on a late goal too.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, Chicago 1
Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes: San Jose still believes they have a shot at the playoffs here but I’m not buying it. Portland knows they can possibly get the Supporters’ Shield lead this weekend with a result and will be pushing for it. This one could be very physical too but fun to watch.
WVH Prediction: Portland 2, San Jose 1
Chivas USA at Seattle Sounders FC: I see Chivas battling in this one but not for the full 90. Seattle just needs to remain focused here on getting three points or else their playoff hopes will begin to fade fast.
WVH Prediction: Seattle 3, Chivas 1