Friday, June 3, 2011

INFTH MLS Predictions

Los Angeles vs DC United- This match could tell us quite a lot about the LA Galaxy. Without Landon Donovan, they will be up against it playing a team which ended Portland's fabulous run of home form last weekend.

DC were handed a boost heading into this game, as star striker Charlie Davies was declared fit to play in what will likely prove to be one of DC's toughest examinations this year. Obviously, a rather porous DC back line led by Kitchen and Jakovic will be pleased about Landon Donovan's absence, but they still will have plenty to deal with. Beckham's position atop the MLS assist making leaderboard has been very well publicized, as has Lopez' ascendance into the first team.

If DC can perform to the same level that they did in Portland last week then they could have a decent chance of salvaging something from this game. However, if they let their concentration slip then they will be punished severely.

Prediction: 2-0

Toronto vs Kansas City- The stars are fit, the home opener is just one game away and Kansas City are ready to get their season back on track. Boasting the worst record in MLS, KC are in quite a predicament, but with stars like Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara and Omar Bravo fit and raring to go they should pose any defense in the league problems.

Toronto meanwhile, have no home opener to look forward to as a way to relieve themselves of their problems, the dire straight that they find themselves in is unlikely to disappear.

Considering Sporting's terrible away form, Toronto should feel fairly confident heading into this one, but the one thing that must surely have been lacking since last weekend's humiliating defeat to Philly is confidence.

Prediction: 2-2

New York vs Columbus- After a chastening last few weeks, the Red Bulls are unlikely to find things the slightest bit easier against Columbus. With a whole plethora of Gold Cup stars gone for the best part of three weeks, the Red Bulls must quickly find a way for a new look line-up to work, or risk being left in Philadelphia's dust.

Columbus have capsized defensively in the last few weeks, surprising considering their early season prowess in that area. After conceding only three in seven, they have let in seven in three, a remarkably dreary statistic. To make matters worse, Robbie Rodgers is set to be gone for a lengthy period while playing for the USA, that won't help the Crew in the attacking third.

If Columbus DP Andres Mendoza can deliver the goals that he did last week, then the Crew might have a chance. However, even a weakened New York line-up should be too much for Columbus.

Prediction: 3-1

Dallas vs New England- They're the form team in MLS, and that is with their best player sidelined. Yes, the rise of FC Dallas this season has been as dramatic as it has been surprising, even without Davide Ferreira they remain the team most likely to challenge the LA Galaxy for the Western Conference title.

New England were handed a slightly double sided boost midweek, when Benny Feilhaber withdrew from the US squad. While Nicol will be able to keep the American under close eye, the reason for his withdrawal was injury, so it's not as though he won't be missing any action for the Revs. Adding to the Revolution's midfield crisis is Shalrie Joseph's Gold Cup participation, his energy in the middle will be sorely missed.

With the form of Castillo and Shea in mind, as well as the back up of a water tight defense, it's hard to look past an emphatic Dallas victory.

Prediction: 3-0

Chicago vs Seattle- A massive game for Chicago, Seattle's visit marks the debut of new manager Frank Klopas. After a terrible run of results, Carlos de los Cobos was sacked on Monday, ushering in a new era at the Chicago Fire.

There is no question about it, Marco Pappa's international obligations could have a really negative effect on the opening weeks of the Klopas regime. Arguably the Fire's only decent performer this season, Pappa's creative influence will be sorely missed, someone will have to step up or the Fire are likely to struggle.

Coming off a stunning away win at the Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend, Seattle will be bursting confidence. However, the Sounders have been notoriously inconsistent this season, and I wouldn't be surprised if they fail to perform at Toyota Park.

Prediction: 2-1

Colorado vs Philadelphia- The defending champions have been anything but convincing this season, but Jamie Smith's Rapids are still a difficult team to play away from home.

Last week, the Union really put on a show for their travelling fans, finding the net six times away in Toronto. It is unlikely that that form will be replicated on Saturday, but if players like Mwanga, Mapp and Ruiz can continue to score goals then the champs could be in for tough night.

Encouragingly for the Rapids, they are beginning to get their key men back. Conor Casey returned from injury last week, though Omar Cummings will be unavailable with an ankle problem.

Prediction: 1-1

RSL vs Vancouver- Now under the stewardship of Tom Soehn, Vancouver will look to build on a draw midweek and capitalize on RSL's poor form.

Real Salt Lake have been on a tragically bad downward trajectory since disappointment in the Concacaf Champions League, and Kreis is likely to find it challenging to get his team's season back on track. Javier Morales' injury has left the team devoid of creativity in the final third, and with Olave suspended they are unlikely to be water tight at the back.

Coming into this game without suspended front man Eric Hassli, Vancouver will look to forwards like Salgado and Camillo to step up their play. Salgado has shown a decent amount of promise, and Camillo will be high on confidence following a fine goal midweek, so maybe a second consecutive Rio Tinto shot could be on the cards.

Prediction: 2-1

Chivas vs Portland- Last weekend was a huge disappointment for Portland as their unbeaten home record was obliterated by DC United. John Spencer said after the match that his team had received the beating their performance deserved, and you can be sure that any lapses this week will not be tolerated by the fiery Scotsman.

Chivas have the disadvantage of coming into this game after midweek action, but that shouldn't really have any great effect on them. At home, Robin Fraser's men will fancy their chances of victory, but they won't be taking Portland at all lightly.

I think I'll go for a Chivas win in this one, they've been unlucky in a few games of late, so I see something finally going their way this time.

Prediction: 2-0

San Jose vs Houston- Another of the teams affected by the Gold Cup, it will be interesting to see how San Jose do without Chris Wondolowski. Last year's golden boot winner was just clicking into gear when the call up came, perfect timing for him, not so much for the Earthquakes.

Houston have been struggling to win games of late, the goals have dried up for Will Bruin, and Cam Weaver can't seem to put together any really cohesive sequences of scoring. At the back, Houston remain fairly average, they really haven't kept enough clean sheets this season.

I think I'll tip San Jose for the win in this one, even without Wondolowkski they should maintain confidence following some impressive form of late.

Prediction: 2-1

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