Friday, May 13, 2011

INFTH MLS Predictions

Toronto vs Chicago- For Toronto, last week was another to forget as they crashed to a galling 1-0 loss at the hands of a Ferreiraless Dallas. That defeat, courtesy of a Jason Hernandez penalty, consigned Toronto to seventh in the East, one place and three points above their opponents, the Chicago Fire.

Chicago are still looking to recover from the departure of Blanco and McBride, a process that is likely to take more than just one season. Marco Pappa has been by far their best player this year, and if one man can steer them out of their current slump, it's the Guatemalan.

At home, Toronto probably have the edge, but player like Pappa and Chaves will be looking to take advantage of their leaky defense.

Prediction: 2-2

New England vs Vancouver- Vancouver have a slight disadvantage in this match, as they played midweek against the San Jose Earthquakes. That outing proved relatively successful, as a late David Chiumiento goal earned a share of the spoils for the Whitecaps.

However, this match away in New England is likely to prove very tough as the Revs look to get back into winning ways following a loss to Chivas USA and a draw against Colorado. Certainly, New England are hardly short of the personnel necessary to defeat Vancouver, Lekic, Feilhaber and Joseph will all pose danger on Saturday.

Vancouver have proved this season that they are capable of turning it on, think back to their 4-2 opening day win over Toronto, or their epic comeback in a 3-3 draw with Sporting. However, the Whitecaps have yet to turn their goal frenzies and late dramatics into a cohesive run of results, and that pattern will continue here.

Prediction: 2-1

DC vs Colorado- With every passing game, it is starting to seem more and more likely that one Charlie Davies will force himself into Bob Bradley's Gold Cup squad. Though still a little way off top form, Davies has proved that there is still life in him after the accident, and all will be wishing him well for the upcoming tournament.

However, for now, Davies should solely be concentrating on DC United and how best to defeat the visiting Colorado Rapids. We all know that Ben Olsen's side has the attacking fire power, but their defense anchored by Jakovic and Kitchen still appears weak, something that the Rapids will be looking to pounce upon.

DC have been hugely inconsistent this season, making their results increasingly difficult to predict, but in this one the signs don't look good, as a rejuvenated Colorado are well enough equipped to pray on United's defensive instability.

Prediction: 2-3

FC Dallas vs Philadelphia- They're not very fun to watch, and they're certainly not dynamic in attack, but the Philadelphia Union seem to have picked up a knack of grinding out wins. Wednesday's draw with LA illustrated everything that has defined the Union thus far, as the team held out defensively, and found a goal against the run of play to grind out a result.

However, this time around they will be facing a team in red hot form, a streak remarkable to due to the absence of their key player. Since Ferreira's injury, everything has been clicking for Dallas, three straight wins and the potential for a fourth on Saturday.

Both teams will be eying a win, but I'm going to go for Dallas, their home form should see them through to the finish line.

Prediction: 2-1

Real Salt Lake vs Houston- For RSL, this is an absolutely crucial game, and it should tell us a lot about how RSL will fare this season without key man Javier Morales. Morales was the third in a line of injuries to star players which has left MLS decimated, and he could be a huge loss for RSL.

Houston lost last week, unexpectedly, at Toronto, an embarrassing defeat coming against one of MLS' poorer sides. However, coach Dominic Kinnear will expect his side to bounce back, despite the difficult venue of Saturday's match. Star striker Will Bruin will have a tough task on his hands getting through Olave and Borchers, but in Brad Davis he has the perfect man to tee him up.

I'm going to go for home win in this one, expect the Rio Tinto crowd to be roaring on their team, helping them to move through a difficult period.

Prediction: 2-0

LA vs Sporting- Sporting KC have played on a road a lot this season, and they will know that away trips don't come much harder than this one. LA are in fine form at the moment, despite their unlucky draw in Philadelphia. David Beckham, who was rested against the Union, should be returning, and his play, combined with Donovan's form is likely to overpower Kansas City.

It was always going to be a strange season for Kansas City, but they certainly would have hoped for more from this initial run of away games. However, Livestrong Park is not far from opening day, and expect KC to fly up the rankings as the home games begin to stack up.

Prediction: 3-0

San Jose vs Columbus- Midweek, San Jose were denied what would have been a precious win, as a goalkeeping error let them down in a 1-1 draw with Vancouver. That loss will come as a huge frustration to all involved with the Earthquakes, but at least Chris Wondolowski's goal hinted at a return in form for last year's star man.

After a long period without conceding a goal, the Crew have finally cracked at the back, but they are still scoring enough goals to win games, and a playoff spot in the East looks extremely likely. Rentaria is in fine form at the moment, and the men from Ohio will be hoping for a couple more goals from him against San Jose.

I'm going to go for a draw in this one, though quite honestly I wouldn't be surprised if either side were to come out on top, San Jose need a win, and the Crew's strong run will end eventually.

Prediction: 1-1

Seattle vs Portland- In arguably the game of the week, Major League Soccer's two loudest sets of fans will be pitted against each other at Qwest Field.

At home, it's difficult to see Seattle losing, especially given Portland's poor away form, but it will be interesting to hear the noise around the ground, as the Sounders support attempt to put pay to any claims that the Timbers' following is the rowdiest.

Fredy Montero may finally have returned to form for Seattle, and he will be crucial in breaking down a Timbers back line which is already much improved from earlier in the season, and I think his inspiration could be the difference between the two sides.

Prediction: 2-0

New York vs Chivas USA- There is no doubt about it, New York are the form team in MLS, coming off a run of wins as well as a credible 1-1 draw in Los Angeles. However, Chivas are beginning to find their feet in 2011 too, as a couple wins straight was followed up by 88 minutes of stout resistance against RSL, which eventually came to nothing.

Unfortunately for the Goats, key man Mondiani has picked up a hefty suspension following a tackle on Morales, certainly not good news for Robin Fraser. He will be a big loss for the next four games, and Chivas will miss him at Red Bull Arena.

After a war of words with Landon Donovan, Luke Rodgers should be fired for action against Chivas, and with Henry hitting form as well, that pair makes up a formidable partnership. Hopefully for NYRB, Teemu Tainio will be welcomed back from injury, but even without him, an easy home win is on the cards.

Prediction: 3-0

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