Thursday, May 26, 2011

INFTH MLS Predictions

Toronto vs Philadelphia- After a very odd midweek outing against Vancouver, Toronto will be relatively fresh for the visit of the Union.

Joint top in the East, the Union will be looking to pull away from the Red Bulls, as they travel to Canada in the day's early match. However, a Union defense which has been stupendously solid this year, will have quite a job on its hands due to the brilliance of youngster Plata. Before Plata's arrival, Toronto had been missing a bit of inspiration in the final third; the Ecuadorian's ascent into the first team couldn't have been more welcome.

I'm going to go for a draw in this one, that result wouldn't be too bad for either team, Philly will see this match as a tough away assignment and Toronto know that at this anything garnered is a good return.

Prediction: 1-1

Vancouver vs New York- After frustration midweek, both team will be looking for a good result on Saturday.

Luck got just about as bad as it good get for the Whitecaps when, on Wednesday, they were denied a likely place in the Concacaf Champions League due to the weather. 1-0 up away at Toronto, Vancouver looked to be well on their way to the Canadian Championship, only for the game to be called thirty minutes in. Now the expansion side will have to start from scratch in a rematch; a huge blow for all involved at the club.

New York are going through a sticky patch at the minute, no wins in their last four games and questionable defending to boot. Concentration seems to be a major issue in the New York camp, but I think they will get over their problems and win on Saturday.

Prediction: 1-3

Columbus vs Chivas- It has been a highly interesting week for the Crew, who will have suffered from bitter sweet feelings upon seeing star man Robbie Rodgers called into the US Gold Cup squad. Rodgers didn't make the cut for the World Cup team in 2010, so the winger will be delighted to have the opportunity of playing at a major tournament for the US national team.

Last week's Super Classico defeat was a bit of a blow to the Chivas camp; they had been in fine form going into that one. However, coach Robin Fraser will take heart at the return to form of Justin Braun; he could be a key man in weeks to come.

With their terrific defensive record, and a winger buzzing with excitement, it's difficult to see past a Crew victory in this game.

Prediction: 2-1

New England vs Los Angeles- Shalrie Joseph's decision to leave the Revs and to help out Grenada at the Gold Cup has been a heated talking point in recent days. No doubt Steve Nicol's team will miss their captain, and with Feilhaber playing for the US, New England will be left with only bare bones in midfield.

LA will be effected even more by the Gold Cup. Key player Landon Donovan is set for a long time away from MLS with the United States and the breakaway candidate for MVP will be sorely missed. However, the Galaxy may take heart in the fact that they have retained the services of Omar Gonzalez; he was given the snub by Bradley and co.

LA are in great form, and rest assured Landon Donovan will want to make an impact on the occasion of his last appearance before Gold Cup duty. However, travelling coast to coast is never easy, so I'll go for a draw from this one.

Prediction: 2-2

Chicago vs San Jose- Both these teams will feel somewhat upset at the news brought to them by the newly released Gold Cup rosters. Chicago's key man Marco Pappa is set to play for Guatemala in the competition, and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski has been called up to Bradley's squad.

Those losses are likely to be pivotal, but both managers will be given ideal opportunities to blood some youth. I've always said that there aren't enough young players coming through MLS academies, but with an all time high of 32 MLSers leaving, maybe youth will get a chance.

San Jose are an inform team at the moment, so I'd tip them to scrape past the Fire, with Chris Wondolowski getting on the score sheet!

Prediction: 0-1

Houston vs Dallas- The Texas derby, and a match that really could be something special. Historically, Houston have been Texas' best team, but in recent years the balance of power has shifted.

Unbeaten since Ferreira's injury, Dallas boast a terrifically inform defense, bolstered by players like George John and Ugo Ihemelu. Men of that calibre in the back line is exactly what Dallas will need if they are to combat Davis' superb set piece deliveries.

It will be interesting to see how Houston play in this game considering they will be returning from an energy sapping midweek trip to LA. Despite defending stoutly, Houston were denied any share of the spoils in that match a result which probably compounded disappointment about the late goal conceded last week.

To be fair, Dallas are also coming off a trip to the far West too, so Houston's midweek exploits won't hand Hyndeman's side a huge advantage, but nevertheless, I see them taking all three points.

Prediction: 0-2

Colorado vs Kansas City- Just two more road games left before a match in Kansas, and two tough road games they are likely to be. Colorado showed a few signs of life midweek at New York, and if they can keep up that kind of form than victory over struggling Sporting will be easy.

Teal Bunbury has already spoken of his disappointment at not be included in Bob Bradley's Gold Cup squad, but hopefully he'll use that snub as a spur to get his season back on track. With the forward line fit, Sporting still should pose a problem to most teams; it's getting them all fit at the same time which has been tough though.

I'm going to tip Gary Smith's boys for a win here, a result which would give them only a second three point haul in their last ten outings.

Prediction: 2-0

RSL vs Seattle- After that great start, RSL seem to have fizzled out already and are now without a win in their last two. However, Seattle also enter the game on not the best foot; the Sounders lost at home to Dallas midweek.

Since Javier Morales' injury, RSL have struggled to score goals, only one in their last three, and that was against a team with just nine men on the park. Admittedly, Kreis' team has been unlucky with injuries, but they are going to still have to find a way to score without their talisman.

Seattle seem to be blowing hot and cold at the minute, one week scoring last minute winners, and the next being shut out at home. However, we all know that they have the potential to turn on at any moment; all teams boasting the likes of Fredy Montero do.

Prediction: 1-0

Portland vs DC United- One of Major League Soccer's best defenses against one of its worst, as a team with a 100% home record take on a team struggling for consistency.

It is still unclear whether Charlie Davies will be fit to play or not in this one; the striker will be keen to get back as soon as possible and prove his worth following Gold Cup rejection.

Portland have a magnificent record on home turf this season and their fast improving back four is a big reason for that. The Timbers' goals in all of their last three games have come from set pieces, so Jack Jewsbury's deliveries and Futty Danso's finishes are likely to be crucial once again on Sunday.

Prediction: 1-0

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