- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 6, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 28, Features
September has already proven to be a wild month so far in Major League Soccer. Coaching changes, front office firings and of course there is the action on the field.
1. Same old story in Toronto. I didn’t touch on this much yesterday but as you all know by now Kevin Payne is out in Toronto as their GM and President. Tim Leiweke didn’t say on Thursday if he would remove Ryan Nelsen from his head coaching duties but insisted on finding a GM who knows and understands the salary cap in MLS. Not to mention he wants to avoid the big missteps that took place under Payne, like the failed pursuit of Diego Forlan and many other player moves that just left wondering what the heck was going on there.
If anyone can do it in Toronto it is Leiweke. He already has a short list of names that he wants to go after in Toronto, including some folks out of Salt Lake City, who seem to be doing well with a certain rebuilding project this season.
2. International absences. This is yet another FIFA week where MLS does not break for on the calendar. Instead, teams are left to deal with a slew of key player absences on a vital playoff impacting weekend. You should expect these absences to play a big part in several games, none bigger than FC Dallas-Vancouver. The Hoops are without Blas Perez and Kenny Cooper (suspension), leaving them with the thought of having to start Eric Hassli instead. Hassli has been out of shape and not even a third of his former self.
3. Can Will Johnson’s return lift Portland? One key miss over the last few weeks in Portland has clearly been Will Johnson. Without their general in the midfield, the Timbers have looked like a shell of their normal self. Not to mention some bad results took place in the process. Portland is still in a good position to reach the playoffs but they need wins, not draws here. Johnson is the guy to help them do those wins and keep the pressure off a defense that continues to run through injuries.
4. Colorado ready for prime-time? The Rapids failed to extend their nine-game unbeaten run last weekend in Kansas City. But this weekend they get a trip to LA to face the Galaxy, who will be without Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane. The big three will be away on international duty, leaving Bruce Arena with the task of mixing and matching his lineup yet again. LA has proven to be able to get by for a game or two without those players so far this season and at home stand a good chance to do so again. But can the Rapids show up and insert themselves firmly into the playoff picture with a win? Oscar Pareja seems to think they can and they may not get a better shot at it.
Columbus Crew at Sporting KC: So the midweek result was a good one for Brian Bliss’ first game in charge but heading on the road to Kansas City is never an easy task. The youth movement up front looked good and the Crew should get Federico Higuain back from suspension too. But don’t expect him to help lift the Crew on the road here.
WVH Prediction: SKC 2, Columbus 1
Vancouver Whitecaps at FC Dallas: International call-ups wreck this game to its’ core. Both teams need the result in a bad way right now but I don’t expect either to take it.
WVH Prediction: Dallas 1, Vancouver 1
Chicago Fire at Seattle Sounders: Seattle is looking good at the right time folks and with another home match to show off, they should continue to gobble up the points.
WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, Chicago 1
Colorado Rapids at LA Galaxy: If the Rapids can snag an early goal, which they are known to do, it could put pressure on a young group of Galaxy players. The thing is, LA is tough to beat at home and I think they’ll come away with the result in this one.
WVH Prediction: LA 2, Colorado 0
Toronto FC at Portland Timbers: Perfect time for the Timbers to get back on track here with a visit from lowly Toronto.
WVH Prediction: Portland 3, Toronto 1
New York Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo: I was certainly caught off guard by the midweek loss at Columbus but I don’t see Dominic Kinnear’s team dropping two games in a row like that. Not during a heated playoff race.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, New York 0
Montreal Impact at New England Revolution: The potential absence of Juan Agudelo up top for New England poses an interesting question, who will score? I like Montreal and where they are going right now.
WVH Prediction: Montreal 2, New England 1
D.C. United at Chivas USA: The one game of the weekend that has the least meaning. United will be eliminated with a loss in this one and that will probably be what happens here.
WVH Prediction: Chivas 3, D.C. 1
Philadelphia Union at San Jose Earthquakes: One interesting matchup to close out the weekend. The Union have looked solid defensively as of late and they’ll need to rely on that against a desperate Quakes club.
WVH Prediction: San Jose 1, Philadelphia 1