- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 28, 2014
- 0 Comments
- 2014 MLS Season, 2014 Week 4
Major League Soccer rolls into the final week of the month of March, thankfully this could be the first weekend of the season without snow in the forecast for anyone. But you know Mother Nature has a sense of humor so that could always change by kickoff tomorrow.
Anyways, time to get down to some of the main topics for this weekend along with some predictions that are sure to go very wrong.
1. Bradley vs Beckerman. I have to say, I am really looking forward to the Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC match this weekend. Two solid teams so far this season, squaring off against one another. I think both clubs are still finding their way here in this early part of the season. Toronto has looked good in two games this year but going to Salt Lake is never easy for anyone.
The real matchup in this one is Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman. While these two may not be marking one another all match, they will be key in determining who wins this game. I can’t stress enough what a quality defensive/holding midfielder like these two does for a team in this league. It is such an underrated position and these two are some of the best that the league has to offer in it.
2. Can Porterball return in Dallas? Three games in for the Portland Timbers and only two goals to show for. At the same time no wins for Caleb Porter’s side as well, just two draws and a loss last weekend in Colorado. So what will give this weekend as the Timbers square off against FC Dallas, a team that appears to be on the incline so far this season? The loss of Hendry Thomas (red card) and Andrew Jacobson (ankle) are surely going to show what this Dallas team is made of here. If they can put together a solid result at home against this Timbers’ squad without those two, you can bet more people will take notice of what Oscar Pareja is doing in North Texas.
But the real question is about the Timbers here. Can they find their form here in this one? Last year against Dallas they dominated possession in the three regular season matchups and had little trouble blasting by them in the US Open Cup in Frisco. I don’t see Portland as a team that has issues right now after three games, I just see a giant that is waiting to come out of it’s slumber.
3. Is United ready to turn the corner? Two games in for D.C. United this season and the talk really has been about how little they have actually improved from last year. No goals have been scored despite the additions up top and the defense has already given up four goals. But a home game this weekend could be what they need to turn the tide. At the very least fans are patiently waiting on that first goal and just based on what we saw in Toronto last week out of Ben Olsen’s group, they appear to be a team that is just waiting to have a big weekend.
Chicago Fire at D.C. United: Like I said above, I think this could be the weekend that D.C. comes out of their shell and finally makes some improvement. Though I don’t know if it will be in the form of a win just yet. The Fire are a tricky bunch to figure out at this stage in the season. At times they look like a potential playoff contender and at other times they look like a team that will struggle all season long. So this one screams draw for me.
WVH Prediction: D.C. 1, Chicago 1
Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union: So will the Impact finally look more like themselves with Marco Di Vaio back this weekend? I’m honestly not counting on it just yet. Their midfield still needs some work to help create chances for him and that defense has a ways to go here. Philadelphia will be able to find ways to control this game and keep the chances for Di Vaio minimized.
WVH Prediction: Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1
Sporting KC at Colorado Rapids: Colorado is another tricky team to figure out as they’ve been helped out a bit this season so far from the officials in getting penalty kicks to help them score. I’m not saying that is an excuse but I want to see more from this squad in the open field. KC will give them fits with their pressure up front but this is a game that could very well be decided in the center of the park. Right now, that is a push for me.
WVH Prediction: Colorado 1, SKC 1
Houston Dynamo at Vancouver Whitecaps: The Dynamo finally get their first real test of the season here, and it comes off a bye week too. Vancouver looked great in the season opener at home but hasn’t played nearly the same on the road in the last two games (something to keep a watch on this season). This one will be won or lost in the midfield as well, and that edge has to go to Houston right now. As much as I like what Vancouver has going for them, their attackers up front are just too hot and cold for my liking.
WVH Prediction: Houston 2, Vancouver 1
Portland Timbers at FC Dallas: Tricky game for FCD as I mentioned above with their injuries and suspensions. How Pareja copes with that will really determine how this game goes for them tomorrow. Portland needs to find ways to get Darlington Nagbe more active in the attack. He typically does very well against Dallas. But how will the Timbers be without Donovan Ricketts in goal too? Plenty of good story lines in this one but I think it ends level.
WVH Prediction: Dallas 1, Portland 1
Toronto FC at Real Salt Lake: Game of the week right here by a long shot. I really want to see how Toronto does on the road again. They handled Seattle and that crowd with stunning results two weeks ago but playing at elevation can be tricky, especially for someone like Jermain Defoe, who may not be used to it. I see RSL controlling this one and making it difficult for Toronto to get goals from Defoe. It will be tight though, but very entertaining to say the least.
WVH Prediction: RSL 2, Toronto 1
Columbus Crew at Seattle Sounders FC: The Sigi Bowl is in Seattle this year. Columbus is off to a nice start this season with two wins. They face their first real challenge on the road however in Seattle. I like what Seattle was able to do last weekend in Montreal, by really taking it to the Impact and their defense. While I think Columbus is far better in the defense than Montreal is, Seattle still has too much talent up top to stop.
WVH Prediction: Seattle 3, Columbus 1
New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes: Both teams need a result this weekend and something tells me this one could be a bit wild and decided late (obvious statement given that San Jose is involved, I know). New England hasn’t looked all that great and going to the opposite coast to battle a determined San Jose club is never an easy out. I want to see more from New England’s midfield here. They haven’t shown me enough to support them this season. San Jose should win this one no matter what.
WVH Prediction: San Jose 2, New England 0
Chivas USA at New York Red Bulls: Chivas remain on the road after dropping a bad one a week ago in Dallas. Going to New York won’t be any easier though. Thierry Henry and company know they need to break out of their early season funk and this is just the game to do it.
WVH Prediction: New York 3, Chivas 1