Tonight we see the start of the MLS season with the L.A. Galaxy road-tripping to Seattle for First Kick. While I can't say I wasn't overly disappointed with the fact that for the third year in a row Seattle was hosting the first game of the season, I do have to say I am excited to watch two of the more exciting teams in the west go at each other.
To go along with this game is the semi final game of RSL and Saprissa tonight, and I do believe that more of the league's attention will be on this game than what might be happening 800 miles NW.
Note: Now I am a RSL fan through and through, and I always hope for the best. I just feel I have to be a realist when it comes to predicting outcomes. That's why the prediction v SJ is what it is.
The breakdown of these two matches, and the rest of the week's competition after the jump.
Mostly brief thoughts on the upcoming matches and predictions.
RSL v Saprissa (CCL Semi-finals) - This game has obviously special meaning for not just RSL fans, but those across the entire league. We are seeing an MLS team go deep into this competition for the first time, AND they have a chance to go the distance. While I do see this as one of the toughest match ups RSL has faced by far in this competition I do see them coming out with a win tonight. 3-1 RSL.
Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy - Beckham healthy? Yes he is. A competent forward to replace Buddle? JPA fits that bill I think. A talented team that has the potential for a repeat at the shield? If they can mesh better than they did for the second half of last season. Seattle I see as a weaker team this year than last which is evident through their pre-season play. They lost a great player in Nyassi in the expansion draft, and while I am sure there is plenty of talent in those they picked up, I'm not sure that the chemistry needed to beat LA is there yet. LA also hasn't had much of a problem winning against Seattle. 2-0 in favor of LA.
Vancouver Whitecaps v Toronto FC - Toronto's end of season slide and the huge changes that came about because of it last year are their biggest bane to start this season. Vancouver is looking for it's first win in regular season play, and with them being home with that opening day crowd, I can't see Toronto getting any result here. With any expansion team there are questions though, and I don't see it being a pretty game. 1-0 Vancouver.
DC United v Columbus Crew - These two teams I think meet in the middle somewhere. DCU's offseason transactions made them a much better team possibly, while Columbus picked themselves apart in an effort to rebuild their core. Key players to watch in this match are Dax McCarthy (DC) and Jeff Cunningham (COL) who both need to step up and show their talent for their new teams. 0-0 with some moments of brilliance on both ends.
NYRB v Seattle Sounders - Last year it seemed that the Red Bulls were the media darling having added two ex Barca players as DPs midway through the season. Neither seemed to produce to their potential, but part of that comes down to the fact that both joined when they did. Seattle will be entering this game unhappy about losing at home, but sadly I think they will be going home after the first week of the season 0-2-0. 2-1 NY with Henry scoring.
Houston Dynamo v Philidelphia Union - With Le Toux possibly out due to injury (or at least playing in a limited capacity) Phili loses the edge I think they would have had. Last year these teams were fairly even record wise, but the telling stat was the GD. Phili scored 5 less goals but allowed the same number as Houston. Neither team made any moves that either really hurt nor pushed their team up roster wise either. 1-1.
FC Dallas v Chicago Fire - It can't help the confidence in the team you play for to lose your jersey sponsor. It also can't help to be playing the champs of the west in week one. David Ferreira will come out of the gate showing why he was the MVP last season and Chicago will continue it's downward spiral. 3-1 Dallas.
Colorado Rapids v Portland Timbers - Ego boost to Portland if they can beat the MLS champs at DSG Park for their first game as an MLS club. Will it happen? Not likely. They might know Seattle well in how they play, but the Rapids' duo at the front will make life hard on Portland. 2-0 Colorado with both Casey and Cummings netting goals.
Chivas USA v Sporting Kansas City - Wizards no more (I think they wanted to separate themselves from a certain NBA team and it's lack of success with the name) KC is my pick for having a breakout year. They had started showing promise at the end of last season, and they will ride that through this year. Chivas is rebuilding. Robin Fraser has the potential to do a lot with what he has been given, I just don't see it being done this year (at least not early). 1-0 KC.
RSL v San Jose Earthquakes - San Jose's defeat of NYRB in the playoffs last season was a bit of a shocker to me. I did not see that coming. Know what helps? Having a guy who can score the way Chris Wondolowski does. He will be a real test for RSL's back line. If they hold, RSL comes out with 3 points, if not, I think a draw will result. After a tough game on Tuesday weariness may be a factor for RSL as well. If he doesn't play Tuesday against Saprissa this will be Alvarez's debut in the Claret and Cobalt for the advantage he can give against his old team. 1-1 with Saborio and Wondo the ones with the goals.
LA Galaxy v New England Revolution - The walk in the park of the week. LA has to be grateful that they get to open for their home fans against what I consider the worst team in the league. 3-0 LA.
Thoughts on my thoughts? Leave them below in the comments.