- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 9, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 24, Features
Now that the international transfer window is closed for Major League Soccer, I feel as though the playoff race can officially begin now. All the watches going on over the last week are now over so let’s get down to the what we should expect in a busy weekend in MLS.
1. Dempsey debut. Last week it was all about if and when his signing would become official. Now it is all about when he will step out on to the field for the Seattle Sounders. You have to smile a little bit when you look at the schedule and see that the Sounders head to Toronto for the first game of the weekend. It could be a fantastic scene at BMO Field with Dempsey making his debut and given how well the Reds have actually played these last couple of weeks.
The big thing to see will be exactly how good Dempsey makes this Seattle team. Right now they are points away from a playoff spot but a player like Dempsey can certainly change that in a hurry.
2. Gabriel Torres finally lands in Colorado. It is amazing to see that the Colorado Rapids are the last MLS team to sign a Designated Player but I think the wait for their fans will be worth it. Panama forward Gaby Torres is a great signing for the club and the league for that matter. He’s at the right age for a signing like this, just 24-years old. He tied Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski at the Gold Cup this year for most goals scored and even netted two against Mexico in the group stage of that tournament.
But will this addition be enough to keep the Rapids afloat in the crowded Western Conference? It is too early to tell but adding that kind of spark plug to the attack is certainly going to help Oscar Parjea’s club out. The big thing they need to hope for is that clubs behind them with games-in-hand don’t catch up in the coming weeks.
3. Double duty for some. This week saw not only the US Open Cup return for semifinal matches but Champions League group stage kick off. That meant San Jose, Montreal, and KC were all involved in heated Champions League matches. Salt Lake, Portland, D.C. and Chicago went all in for their USOC semifinal matches as well this week. Plus, let’s not forget the LA Galaxy in the International Champions Cup too.
Tired legs could be an issue for these clubs. LA at least has an extra day to deal with before they face a struggling FC Dallas team on Sunday evening. But how well teams like Montreal, KC, Salt Lake and D.C. manage after getting big wins this past week. Same can be said for those clubs who lost their midweek games as well.
The Champions League returning certainly is going to be an interesting story to watch unfold this fall for the five MLS squads involved. How they handle the extra games and travel is key and will play a big part in the playoff race.
4. Spell over in Dallas? Currently FC Dallas is on a nine-game winless run that includes a league-high 450 minute dry spell in their attack. They aren’t shooting the ball well which means they aren’t scoring. Seeing this club up close the way I do has shown me a thing or two about what they are all about and right now they look like a group of players that need to get back on the same page. That or something drastic has to happen like benching a star player for a game or two to send a message. Something. Facing LA this weekend won’t be easy but Dallas does have a slight advantage against LA at home, not to mention the fact that LA has been dealing with friendlies for a week now. Switching back to league play may be tricky.
Seattle Sounders at Toronto FC: I think this could be a bigger test for Seattle than some will give credit for. Toronto has played better lately and could pose a threat at home to the Sounders. I think as long as Seattle doesn’t rely totally on Dempsey to run the show, they’ll be fine. But I see a slight stumble starting out.
WVH Prediction: Toronto 1, Seattle 1
New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew: Sometimes when your backs are up against a wall you fight hard, that is what I am hoping to see out of the Crew in this one. The thing is, I’m not expecting it.
WVH Prediction: New York 2, Columbus 1
San Jose Earthquakes at Vancouver Whitecaps: Travel will be an issue for the Quakes, having to go from Montreal to Vancouver in one week. I see the Whitecaps doing just enough to beat Chris Wondowloski and the Quakes in this one.
WVH Prediction: Vancouver 2, San Jose 1
D.C. United at Philadelphia Union: Hard to believe it but United has more wins this year in the USOC than in league play. Maybe they can change that against the Union. Or maybe not. Either way, this one will be an ugly battle.
WVH Prediction: Philadelphia 1, D.C. 0
Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire: Two clubs having to deal with the double-dip this week. I believe the Fire will respond to their USOC loss and handle business at home in this one against a Montreal team that has been struggling in league play for two months now.
WVH Prediction: Chicago 3, Montreal 1
New England Revolution at Sporting KC: For some reason, I am calling an upset in this one. This isn’t a game KC should lose but they haven’t exactly been great at home this season in my eyes. New England will also be a tad fresher too since KC was on the road in the CCL.
WVH Prediction: New England 2, SKC 1
Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake: I feel as though no one is really talking about the Dynamo these days. That is probably perfect for Dom Kinnear. I see the Dynamo pushing Salt Lake around in this one but up until the very end really. This one screams draw to me.
WVH Prediction: RSL 1, Houston 1
LA Galaxy at FC Dallas: Dallas should win this game but given the way they’ve played lately, they won’t. Can’t win if you can’t score and Dallas isn’t doing any of that at the moment. LA with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane on the same page will be enough to get a road win here.
WVH Prediction: LA 2, Dallas 0
Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA: Could be an interesting game to end the weekend in MLS. Chivas hasn’t been horrible lately but do they have enough to beat a talented team like Colorado? On the flip side, can Colorado look good away from home too? So a draw it is.
WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, Colorado 1