Friday, June 10, 2011

INFTH MLS Predictions

Philadelphia vs RSL- Dominating Philadelphia over the last few weeks, has been the form of winger come forward Danny Mwanga. After a quiet goal scoring start to the season, Mwanga has found the golden touch, and he scored an absolute stunner last week to salvage a point against Colorado.

After thinking that they were back in the groove, RSL were shocked midweek by a late Columbus turn around, which left them leaving Ohio without a point to show for their troubles. Certainly, Jason Kreis will be hoping that his team can see through the ninety minutes this time around, and not suffer from a lack of concentration.

Prediction: 1-1

DC United vs San Jose- Both teams are hot, and both are on month long unbeaten streaks, something has got to give. Despite losing Chris Wondolowski to Gold Cup duty, the Earthquakes scored two late goals last week to topple the Dynamo, a result which lifted them to within a point of the Portland Timbers.

DC seem to have shored up defensively in recent times, Perry Kitchen is continuing to shine, and it is unfortunate that fellow defender Jakovic was ruled out of the Gold Cup with injury. Up front, Josh Wolff has taken on a little more of the goal scoring responsibility, Charlie Davies is on a bit of a drought.

I'm going to predict a draw in this one, the teams are very evenly matched, and neither seem to have acquired a losing habit.

Prediction: 0-0

Houston vs Chivas USA- This year, both these teams have been outshone by their near neighbors. Chivas have languished in the Galaxy's shadow, while Houston have had to bear listening to limitless hype over Dallas' performances minus Davide Ferreira.

Houston have struggled on the road all season long, so they will be happy to have a home fixture to look forward to this weekend, though Chivas USA proved at Red Bull Arena that they are no pushovers, even on the road. Cam Weaver has been in excellent for for the Dynamo this year, and he has had to be, Will Bruin's goals have dried up after a promising start, leaving Weaver with the goal scoring burden.

Since his return, Mondiani has been excellent for Chivas, scoring the winner last week, a fitting accompaniment to a great performance.

Prediction: 2-1

Portland vs Colorado- Portland road woes have continued in recent weeks, so John Spencer will be relieved that his side now face a significant run of home games.

As the defending champions, Colorado are guaranteed to make it tough for Portland, and their defending on set pieces will be crucial. Portland have scored a whole plethora of goals from free kicks and corners; defenders like Futty and Brunner have been particularly profitable.

Last week, Colorado surrendered a lead to draw one-one with the Philadelphia Union, a habit that they will not want to transfer into this match. If Smith's men do take the lead, they will be put under huge amounts of pressure, and they must keep a more steady resolve than they did last time out.

Prediction: 2-1

LA vs Toronto- One of the best teams in the league against one of the worst in the league, LA vs Toronto is likely to be a decidedly one sided affair.

Last week, LA lacked fire power without Landon Donovan, and received boat loads of criticism, with last year's reliance on Edson Buddle cited as proof that over reliance is a recurring theme in the LA camp. However, against one of the most leaky defenses in the league, I am sure that Beckham, Lopez, Barrett and Angel will have enough to break through, and make Saturday's match up a very comfortable evening at the Home Depot Center.

The area effected least by Gold Cup call ups for LA is the back four, where Omar Gonzalez remains intact after receiving Bob Bradley's snub. That defense may well be tested tomorrow evening, Joao Plata and Maicon Santos are forwards capable of doing damage.

Prediction: 4-1

Seattle vs Vancouver- Another edition of the "Cascadia Cup" this match up is guaranteed to be a fiery affair, lets only hope that it is a better game than Portland-Seattle.

For me, the Cascadia Cup is fast becoming the most enthralling rivalry in MLS, the fans of all three clubs seem to really care, and the atmospheres at all three grounds are simply spectacular. While rivalries in Texas and LA are occasionally epic, I am often left wondering whether anyone involved really gives a toss about the final result.

Due to their home backing and Vancouver's long, long winless streak, I'm going to predict a Sounders victory, though personally I'd love to see the Whitecaps defy the odds and come up with an upset.

Prediction: 3-1

Columbus vs Chicago- Midweek, Roger Warchyza's side claimed a significant victory, nabbing all three points at home to RSL, and catapulting into the Easter Conference top three. A flurry of late goals was enough to win that match, so Warchyza will be hoping for a more consistently impressive display on Sunday.

The Fire are winless in twelve (though they have drawn a fair few) a run which led to the sacking of manager De Los Cobos. Under the stewardship of new manager Frank Klopas, Chicago will be looking to burst Columbus' midweek born bubble, and finally snap that winless streak.

Both teams are missing clutch players due to Gold Cup responsibilities, Pappa is absent for the Fire, and Robbie Rodgers is away for the Crew. I'm going to go for another draw in this one, that seems to be Chicago's result of choice and Columbus don't strike me as a team capable of putting together a cohesive winning streak.

Prediction: 2-2

Dallas vs Sporting- After the excitement of that home opener, Sporing are on the road again, and they are guaranteed to find it tough against one of the best teams in Major League Soccer.

Since Ferreira's injury, Dallas have been rock solid at the back, and terrific upfront, with Castillo and Shea particularly prominent. Last week, FC Dallas kept yet another clean sheet, and I reckon they will fancy themselves again, albeit against a dangerous forward line.

Hopefully, the enthusiasm of that home opener can carry over to Texas, though I imagine Sporting KC will feel a little flat after only managing a 0-0 draw. Certainly, I fear for Kansas City in this one, they are up against tough opposition, and still must feel extremely road weary.

Prediction: 3-0

Read more by "The Chairman," David Yaffe-Bellany @ Red Flag Flying High and EPL Talk

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