Friday, May 6, 2011

INFTH MLS Predictions

Portland vs Philadelphia- The interesting thing about this game is that these two teams are polar opposites. On one side, Portland is an entertaining, attacking side prepared to outscore the opponent, whereas Philadelphia are a solid, defensive team, that have already ground out a number of 1-0 wins this season.

With Timber Joey in the background, and a screaming home support, Portland are a formidable team at Jeld-Wen field. They have won all three of their home games so far this season, including last week's scalp against Real Salt Lake.

Missing for this match will be key defender Danny Califf, and that will come as a real blow to the Union, the central defender has forged a strong partnership with new import Valdes. Upfront, Philadelphia will be looking to Seba Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz for some inspiration, but at Jeld-Wen Field, I think the dynamic Portland attack of Alhassan, Perlaza and Cooper will provide enough to beat Philadelphia.

Prediction: 3-1

Real Salt Lake vs Chivas USA- RSL will look to put a disastrous week behind them as they face in form Californian side Chivas USA.

After a winless run to start the season, Fraser's men have won their last two, and the feel good factor is beginning to return to the Goats. However, last year's star man Justin Braun is still yet to score, and you would have to think that without him finding the net on a regular basis Chivas will be unable to succeed this year.

In players like Beckerman, Borchers and Olave, RSL have the leaders capable of steering the team out of their early season slump. Obviously, shaking off the pain of Concacaf Champions League disappointment will be a tough task, but I think Kreis' men are good enough to get the job done here, and start that long road to recovery.

Prediction: 2-0

Toronto vs Houston- Over the past few weeks, Houston had been in great form but they were brought crashing down to earth with defeat at home to Colorado. That loss was particularly hard to take, seeing as the Rapids had gone through a bit of a slump before hand.

Toronto have been all over the place the season, and Aron Winter must be one of the leading candidates to win the sack race. Defense in particular has been a real shambles this year and if the Winter doesn't figure something out soon, Toronto could see another year fly by the wayside.

Brad Davis, Will Bruin and Cam Weaver will all be licking their lips ahead of this one, they must all fancy their chances of scoring against what is a porous back line. Though Toronto were boosted by reaching the Canadian Championship Final in midweek, I think they will lose this one, they are simply a mediocre team.

Prediction: 1-4

New England vs Colorado- This match has the potential to be one of the better clashes of the week, the Revs will be looking for redemption after losing at Chivas and Colorado seem to have turned their fortunes around with victory over the Dynamo.

After adding a slew of players, New England appear to be on track to a solid season, Lekic and Feilhaber both look particularly promising. Meanwhile, the services of MLS stalwarts such as Shalrie Joseph and Matt Reis will continue to bolster the squad, and help Nicol's team reach the playoffs.

Colorado's forward line has underperformed in recent week, goals from Casey, Cummings and Folan have been hard to come by after a great start to the season, and you would have to think that without them the Rapids will stand no chance against New England.

Prediction: 1-0

Columbus vs Seattle- One of the best stories of the 2011 season has been the Columbus Crew. Shorn of Schelotto, and with the future of Robbie Rodgers anything but certain, the Crew looked set for a struggle, especially after an anemic opening day showing in DC.

Since then, the Crew have gone from strength to strength, shutting teams out with ease and racking up the wins. Last week, Rentaria was the hero, scoring twice to down Vancouver, and Crew fans will hope that both he and Rodgers are on song for the match against Seattle.

After a hugely emotional couple of days that culminated in an energy charged win over Toronto, Seattle were beaten by a resurgent DC side in midweek. Contributing to that loss, and a largely uninspiring start to the season, has been the form of star man Montero. However, though the forward has yet to show his potential this season, I think he may be up for this one, and if there is one man who can break through Marshall, Hesmer and co., it's Montero.

Prediction: 1-2

DC vs Dallas- I must admit, I was really impressed by the way FC Dallas overcame LA despite the injury to Davide Ferreira. That break had the potential to derail Dallas' season but the way they responded was really inspiring.

DC meanwhile, look to have rediscovered the winning habit with victory over Seattle midweek, courtesy of a goals from Wolff and Davies. Ben Olsen will be hoping that that strike duo continues to score goals on Saturday, and that what has been a less than solid defense begins to maintain concentration.

Dallas will be riding a huge high after last Sunday's victory, with Shea and Castillo both deserving plenty of plaudits. Shea's runs from deep and Castillo's tricky forward play will be crucial to breaking down the DC defense, and, despite the loss of Ferreira, I see Dallas scoring more goals on Saturday.

Prediction: 1-3

Chicago vs Vancouver- Apart from the play of Chaves and Pappa, not much has gone right for the Chicago Fire this season. A leaky defense has led to several losses, and the side just don't look like one capable of competing in the playoffs.

After a bright start, the Whitecaps have petered off, making a win in Chicago imperative. David Chumiento has been a revelation in midfield this season, and his ability to provide a move's finishing pass, will be crucial to Vancouver's chances this weekend.

I'm going to go for a home win in this one, though it is difficult to tip Chicago to win anything, their form of late has been frightful.

Prediction: 2-1

Los Angeles vs New York- Angel vs Henry, Donovan vs De Ro, call it what you will, this match is by far the marquee game of the weekend's MLS action.

Juan Pablo Angel facing off with former employers is the main story line, with debate still raging about whether the Colombian will celebrate if he scores. Last season, New York won this fixture 2-0 (with JPA on the score sheet) as a tired LA side began to crumble, but the match should be significantly different this time around.

Hans Backe is expected to start Rodgers and Henry upfront, and Teemu Tainio is also set to return, after missing the second half of last week's win against Sporting Kansas City. With star players like Donovan, Beckham, Henry, De Rosario and Agudelo all likely to be on show, this game has the potential to be one of the most watched this year in MLS, so lets hope that it lives up to the hype.

Prediction: 1-1

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