Friday, May 20, 2011

INFTH MLS Predictions

Philadelphia vs Chicago- Following a series of disappointing results, Philadelphia will be looking to rebound against the Chicago Fire.

After a brilliant start, Philadelphia are winless in three and their early season form is beginning to fade into the distance. Chicago meanwhile, have no early season form to reflect upon, their results have been fairly mediocre all season. However, they did come from two behind to draw at Toronto last weekend, an encouraging result, but a win was what was really needed.

At the back, there is no doubt that Philadelphia are as strong as any in MLS, but up front they are well off play off standards. Danny Mwanga, Carlos Ruiz and Seba Le Toux have failed to gel, four goals between them so far tells the whole story. I'm going to go for a tight home win in this one, the Union are capable of grinding out results, and they may well do that on Saturday.

Prediction: 1-0

Houston vs New York- Defensively, these two teams couldn't have contrasted more last weekend. While the Houston Dynamo ground out an impressive 0-0 draw at RSL, New York were unable to maintain composure while defending set pieces, and were beaten 3-2 by a Justin Braun inspired Chivas USA.

Certainly, Hans Backe will have worked hard on set pieces mid week, for a team weak in that respect, the very worst opponent to be facing is Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis. Davis is Major League's Soccer's top assist maker, and is beginning to develop a relationship with rookie forward Will Bruin, his whipped left foot deliveries could cause the NYRB back line all kinds of problems.

Unfortunately for the Red Bulls, Thierry Henry is a slight doubt for this game, the Frenchman is in fine form, but he injured his hamstring against Chivas last week. Obviously, New York's hugely successful attack will be integral to their chances, the form of Henry, Rodgers, De Ro (who is returning to his old club) and Agudelo could prove decisive.

Prediction: 1-3

Chivas vs LA- The Los Angeles derby, the Super Classico, whatever you want to call it, it is destined to be an exciting match. Going into this game, both teams are on form, Justin Braun's hat trick propelled Chivas to a win at New York, while Donovan's form has boosted LA to a series of impressive results.

There is no doubt about it, LA are the in form team of Major League Soccer, Beckham, Donovan and Angel are gelling magnificently, and all three look capable of grabbing a goal. However, the Chivas back line, headlined by experienced professionals like Heath Pearce, is beginning to improve, and Robin Fraser will be confident in his side's ability to keep out the rampant Galaxy attack.

It is difficult to predict anything other than a Galaxy win from this one, they are absolutely flying at the moment, and are certainly my early season picks for MLS Cup glory.

Prediction: 1-3

Seattle vs Sporting KC- After all the shenanigans following Seattle's last home match, Zhiggi Schmidt will be pleased  to progress towards the Sounders' next match.

Sporting were once again the losers last weekend, as they crashed to a 4-1 loss away at the Home Depot Center. To be fair, that was always going to be a difficult game, but having taken the lead, Peter Vermes would have hoped for his side to put up more of a fight.

Seattle are usually strong at home, but last week's home draw with the Portland Timbers was highly disappointing. However, I still suspect that the Sounders will come out as the victors this time around, Sporting's road weary troops shouldn't pose too many problems.

Prediction: 2-0

San Jose vs New England- Facing a Revolution team travelling all the way from the East coast, San Jose will be hopeful of another home win. Chris Wondolowski is picking up some form, and with Khari Stephenson always capable from range, San Jose should be favorites for the win.

Most of the news surrounding the Revs midweek revolved around Sharlie Joseph and whether or not he will leave Nicol's team to play for Grenada at the Concacaf Gold Cup. Personally, I believe that players should represent their country at every opportunity, though I admire Joseph's commitment to his club side.

Prediction: 3-1

Portland vs Columbus- At home, Portland have been unplayable this season, roared on by their home support, players like Cooper, Alhassan, Perlaza and Futti have been superb at Jeld-Wen this year.

However, a defensive minded side like Columbus has the potential to frustrate the Timbers, though they probably lack the attacking impetus to cause the Portland back line any serious problems.

Midweek, John Spencer got into a bit of a war of words with Zhiggi Schmidt and the Seattle Sounders, but the former Chelsea man will be full focussed on Saturday's match, and I imagine his side will claim the three points.

Prediction: 3-1

Dallas vs Real Salt Lake- After an injury to Morales compounded Concacaf Champions League disappointment, RSL have faded a bit, and they will be facing an in form Dallas side on Sunday.

Since the injury to Davide Ferreira, FC Dallas have gone from strength to strength, the side currently reside at second in the Western Conference. Players like Shea and Castillo have stepped up in the absence of Ferreira, and I suspect that they will play a crucial role against RSL.

Given the differing levels of form boasted by the two teams, this game is easy to call, however, RSL should never be written off, and with that in mind I think I'll go for a draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Colorado vs Toronto- Going into this game, I just wonder whether Toronto's exertions in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship will have an effect on their performance in Colorado. A last minute Maicon Santos goal handed Toronto the initiative in that particular competition, one that will be settled later this week against Vancouver.

Colorado have faded tragically after their terrific start, but they still should have enough to qualify for the playoffs. Last week the Rapids drew 1-1 in a controversial match at RFK, and I think that manager Gary Smith would have been just about satisfied with that result.

Given Toronto's midweek exertions and Colorado's home field advantage, I'm tipping Smith's team for victory, though they'll have to watch out for Toronto's dynamite youngster Plata.

Prediction: 2-0

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