Well the holiday weekend is hardly over and we have two Major League Soccer matches on Wednesday:
A battle of two teams with 5 wins and 5 losses each, but the paths to get there have been very different for each of them. New York started the season as one of the surprise stories of the first 6 weeks of MLS as the team that finished with the worst record in 2009 was 5-1-0 to start 2010, but 4 straight losses have New York looking like a very average team. The Red Bulls allowed only 4 goals in their first 5 matches, while scoring 8, but in their last 4 matches they have allowed 11 while only scoring 3. Houston has perhaps one of the strangest streaks going in MLS, after a week 1 tie with FC Dallas, the Dynamo have gone w-l-w-l-w-l-w-l-w-l, including a home loss to expansion side Philadelphia last weekend. These two teams have faced each other 8 times, each have won 2, and 4 times the result has been a draw.
New York comes into the match with 2 players suspended for Red Cards against New England on Saturday, both Roy Miller and Carlos Mendes will get the day off. Andrew Boyens is at the World Cup with New Zealand, and Nielsen, Robinson, da Luz, Kandji, Goldthwaite, and Chirgadze are out with injuries. The end result is that they are left with 18 players so everyone will dress for the match who can. Their -8 goal differential over there last 4 matches has to be a major concern for the Red Bulls, almost half of their goals have come from Juan Pablo Angel (5) so it is a sure thing that Houston will be focusing their attention on him.
Houston is going to win the match, I mean how after 10 matches of wins followed by losses can you pick against such a trend? Their streak hasn't been impacted by home or away matches, as the Dynamo have a 2-2-0 road record with just 3 goals scored and 6 allowed. Houston has only 3 players on their injury list, we know that Cameron is out, Chabala is listed as doubtful, while Eddie Robinson is questionable. One has to believe after giving up a last minute goal against Philly at home on Saturday, that Houston will be looking to take advantage of the short handed Red Bulls. Houston wins 2-1.
more after the jump:
Columbus tasted their first defeat of the season as the LA Galaxy beat them 2-0 at home, now they head out to California to face a San Jose team that lost their first match in May. Now both teams will be looking to prove that they are good enough to still be considered one of the elite teams in MLS. For the Crew it was the first match this year that they didn't score a goal in, and for San Jose it was the first match in May where they allowed a goal. So which team will step up and regain their winning ways?
The Crew's defense will be without Hejduk and O'Rourke as both have injuries, The Crew defense actually had been impressive on the road as they have allowed just 4 goals in 4 matches while compiling a 2-0-2 record, can they continue to be that stingy without their leader and enforcer? On offense it was supposed to be the breakout year for Steven Lenhart, but after 9 matches he has just one goal and one assist. It is old reliable for the Crew, as GBS has 4 goals and 2 assist to lead the team, and defender Andy Iro has contributed two game winning goals as well. So who will step up to score against a very stingy Quakes defense?
Until Saturday when Chad Barrett scored against San Jose and Dwayne De Rosario scored two against the Quakes they hadn't allowed a single goal at home since their 3-0 loss to RSL on the opening weekend. You have to wonder if they might shake up their backline by bringing rookie Ike Opara who started several matches earlier this year. They have plenty of available size with Bobby Burling's 6'5" frame and Opara is 6'2". On offense 8 players have found the back of the net for the Quakes, lead by Chris Wondolowski's 5 goals, and the Crew will need to keep an close eye on Bobby Convey, who hasn't found the back of the net yet but has 6 assists. I think these teams are going to battle to a 1-1 draw this time around, just a note this is an upset pick as only once in 31 meetings have these two teams battled to a draw.
Houston 2 - New York 1
San Jose 1 - Columbus 1
OFF MY SOAPBOX