- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 20, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 30, Features
We’re really getting down to crunch time here in Major League Soccer. Just a few weeks left on the regular season with all 10 playoff spots still to play for today. MLS heads into another busy weekend, starting today with a big game in Portland.
1. Is any lead in the standings safe? Right now, no. It seems each week we’re getting a new leader in the East and some shuffle in the West. The more this happens the bigger the playoff race continues to get. Not to mention as we head into October, the playoff positioning will begin to be even bigger as teams gun for the home field advantage once they clinch a berth.
2. Friday night lights. If there is one team that teams don’t want to face on the road, in the playoffs, it has to be Portland. That rapid fan base and energy there will surely be a sight to see come playoff time if Caleb Porter’s group makes it that far. Colorado heads to JELD-WEN Field tonight for a big clash with the Timbers on NBC Sports. This is one of those games where everything matters for both sides.
Colorado has shown well over the last couple of months while the Timbers have played it a bit too casual with the amount of draws that they own. The Rapids need to find a way to get Edson Buddle and Gabriel Torres on the field at the same time and working well together. Not an easy task to do this late in the season.
Portland on the other hand has to find a way to get their offense stabilized with someone stepping up to take control of it. Either Ryan Johnson be that go-to scorer or someone else on the team. Either way, the score by committee thing won’t cut it this late in the season.
3. Sounders hope to hold on. Just when Seattle gains the top position in the league, the schedule rolls over and they have a trip to LA up next. Seattle has proven that they have the talent to go far in this league right now but they need to over come some old demons right now to prove that they can make it all the way. Getting over the hump against LA is certainly one of those old demons.
4. Is New York ready for primetime? I’ve asked this a lot this season about the Red Bulls but it seems fitting to ask it yet again. Can they be the team that most believe they are? Or will they stumble yet again after showing well for the last couple of weeks? Seriously, looking at their results this season, they’ll go on a nice spell of wins and then drop an inexcusable game to someone like Chivas USA or draw a Toronto. MLS contenders don’t do things like that, but New York certainly has done it enough this season.
I bring this up since they have done well these last three weeks against so-so competition. They’ll get a desperate Dallas team at home this weekend. A win against the Hoops on Sunday will cement them in my mind as a MLS Cup contender out of the East but anything less than that and I’ll continue to look at them for what they truly are, a good team that just struggles to put it all together from game-to-game.
Colorado Rapids at Portland Timbers: Big point grab for both sides. Colorado doesn’t have the games in hand on anyone to slip up right now, so they need all three if they can get them. Portland needs to do more than draw here. Yet somehow I still feel like the way things have gone, this one will end level.
WVH Prediction: Portland 1, Colorado 1
Vancouver Whitecaps at Montreal Impact: Montreal dropped a big one last weekend at home to Columbus and cannot afford to do the same two weeks in a row. The Whitecaps still have a shot at the playoffs though their chances don’t seem all that great these days. Impact should bounce back in this one.
WVH Prediction: Montreal 2, Vancouver 1
Sporting KC at Toronto FC: Hard to imagine what Toronto side shows up for this one. I’ll take SKC on the road just about any day.
WVH Prediction: Sporting KC 2, Toronto 0
D.C. United at New England Revolution: One of the final tuneups before the US Open Cup for United. Ben Olsen feels his club is finally healthy here, sad to see that it took until this point in the season to get them there. New England knows United can play the spoiler here so they’ll do just enough to get by in this one.
WVH Prediction: New England 1, D.C. 0
Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew: An underrated rivalry here between these two squads. Chicago finally reach the playoff line last week but can they hold on to it for another week? I think a draw seems most fitting with these two squads with the way they’re both playing at the moment.
WVH Prediction: Columbus 1, Chicago 1
Chivas USA at Houston Dynamo: This should be an easy one for Houston but they can’t bank on that right now. Chivas has shown lately that they can play with anyone in this league, not to mention they are in spoiler mode.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, Chivas 1
San Jose Earthquakes at Real Salt Lake: I have to think that RSL will bounce back this weekend at home against San Jose. The Quakes have looked better lately but their double duty this week will prove to be too much for them as they hit the road for this one.
WVH Prediction: RSL 2, San Jose 1
Seattle Sounders at LA Galaxy: The big one on the weekend. A lot of star power on both sides of the ball for each club. It is also one of those rare games that we’ll get six DPs on the field potentially at the same time. This one will come down to who creates the most chances and who takes advantage of them. Both teams love to counter too, so that will be entertaining to watch.I like LA in this one though, simply because they’re at home.
WVH Prediction: LA 2, Seattle 1
FC Dallas at New York Red Bulls: Which NY team shows up for this one is my question. Dallas can push the envelope in this one as much as they want to but look for New York to do just enough on offense to beat a sometimes sloppy Dallas back line.
WVH Prediction: New York 2, Dallas 1