So it's been a while since I have done one of these. Life had gotten nutty and promises to continue that trend in even greater quantities in coming weeks, however today seems to be the calm before the storm so I wanted to push my opinions on the willing masses.
Last week saw the spanking of Seattle by Man U., Colorado running roughshod over New York then turning around and barely making it against New England, and a dive that is apparently going to cost RSL Saborio for a week. On the subject of the dive I have to say that the MLS Disciplinary Committee needs to learn what consistency is. Charlie Davies had been proven once before to be diving for PKs, and rightfully his dive against RSL cost him $1000. Saborio does it and first time caught/getting the benefit from it is suspended plus the $1000 fine? Come on guys, can't be that tough to keep it consistent.
More after the jump...
Friday July 29th
Philadelphia Union vs Colorado - Several games have been played this week already but this is our first actual MLS league game and I have to say easily the game of the week, and deserves it's only game of the night and on FSC status. Philly being tied for the lead in the East and Colorado in 5th in the West seems a touch lopsided initially but both are tied for points. Where the disparity in this match comes in is the recent records. Philly has managed 2 wins and 3 ties in their last 5 (9 pts), where Colorado has managed to get the two wins and two ties, but has dropped one as well (8 pts). Well that's not bad you might be saying, there's only a one point difference between their accumulation for that time. True, but Colorado also played one more at home and while there could not pick up more than 5 pts in those 3 games where Philly managed the same in 3 away. In the end though, with 31 points Philly also has 4 games in hand on the Rapids and (more importantly for their playoff aspirations) New York who sits a point behind them.
In the end coming home to their own crowd and an overall great performance against Real Madrid their confidence has to be high and I see Philly pulling 3 points out tonight 2-1.
Saturday July 30th
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Los Angeles Galaxy - This game has the potential to be the highest scoring game of the weekend and not in favor of the home team. Vancouver has been a mess for a while now with only 1 pt out of their last 5, LA on the other hand has been nothing short of dominating. This will be more like the MLS All-Stars against Man U. than anything else and we all saw how that turned out. LA wins 3-0.
Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders FC - I really think that had this game been a few weeks ago that the momentum would be fully in favor of Seattle, however after the last week or so of travelling and the face smash that Man U put on them it may be more evenly matched than it would appear. Look for Houston to try and take advantage of the fatigue levels that Seattle has to be sitting on after their trip to Panama, but if they don't I think Seattle will settle for a tie. Houston needs to be hungry to win this still and can't just expect it to come to them. Houston's real hope lies in Tally Hall not being discouraged by the 3 balls that got past him on Wednesday in New York. Draw 1-1.
Sporting Kansas City vs New England Revolution - KC is on a great run currently that has them showing what everyone thought they had before the season started. Not having a home for a while really wore on them and now they are making up for it. New England has had troubles finding ways to win with just one in their last 5, but they have also put up some great results against top teams (RSL, Colorado) while away from home. It seems as though there is just one missing piece before New England is able to really shine, but finding it seems to be something eluding them. If they find it in this game then they can come out with a result, but if not KC is going to really run over them. 3-1 SKC.
San Jose vs D.C. United - Saborio dove last week, it's pretty plain at this point, but I think the bigger tragedy of that night is how San Jose just gave up. They quit 58 minutes in and were pummeled for the following 32. How they react to that this week is probably the biggest factor in this game. If they have let it fester in them this week it's going to be a fairly easy game for D.C. to pick up 3 points on the road. They were struggling with keeping bodies on the back line as it was and now with Burling out for the red card suspension it's not going to get any easier. D.C. has struggled to put numbers in that W column lately and this could be their chance, an important one away from home. 1-1 draw ends it though.
Portland Timbers vs Toronto FC - Oh Toronto you poor poor souls. The losing streak is at 4 right now, and plainly enough that's going to continue to 5. Much better teams than you have gone into JELD-Wen and it hasn't turned out pretty for them. That being said though, Portland has not been on much of a performance streak themselves. What started as quite the magical season for the new expansion team has recently reverted to the season we expect from an expansion year. This week may be a gift though and if Portland comes out, pushes TFC well they can easily get past them and perhaps move up in line with San Jose in the standings. 3-0 Portland.
Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew - For the fourth time this year RSL meets up with Columbus, a team who even before this year there was little love shared between. Columbus looks like they may end up relying on their backup keeper who after a poor mistake last week in a friendly against Newcastle managed to get a red card. In his defense it was one of those times I looked at the play and wished that the rule for touching outside the box could be dropped to a yellow. The unlucky bounce/roll that caught him just was not the same as someone with the intent to do that. The real downside to this? Hesmer missing. Nothing puts the crowd behind RSL when Columbus is in town more than being reminded of his comments a year and a half ago.
Both teams are playing well, though lately Columbus has dropped two and they have also not had the best of luck at Rio Tinto for the last two years. Their scoring has suffered and going down a goal early will end up being a bigger hole than normal. Real Salt Lake on the other hand is beginning to show what they had at the beginning of the year, and perhaps a reminder of that time facing the team that helped them move into the semi finals of the CCL will be a great boost for a team that is about to enter a very travel heavy end of year run. Jamison Olave's injury while out with the MLS All-Stars is concerning but Chris Schuler has shown himself to be very competent every time he has stepped in for The Verb or Borchers this year. The real hole will be up front. I hope that Jason Kreis starts Gil over Alexandre as the energy and movement that Gil brings will give Columbus more problems than the big man. 3-1 RSL at the end.
Sunday July 31st
FC Dallas vs Chivas USA - The goats are undefeated in 5, the hoops in 3. Which one is more surprising? Chivas of course. Robin Fraser's system is beginning to come together, and I don't think people have been expecting it. For this game though, playing against Dallas they are going to struggle. At best a draw can be gained, but Dallas narrowly missed a win in New York last week, and outside of a great goal by Henry they would have picked up all 3 pts. Brek Shea has been a beast, and I'm thinking that's not going to stop anytime soon.
I checked out a stat today though and the result surprised me. It was Dollars Per Point. Basically I took each teams total player salaries (as they stood on the PDF on mlsplayers.org) and put it up against their current points. Dallas is spending less per point they have earned than any other team in the league at $90,318. Comparison of other teams and their place in that list may come later, but for the performance Dallas has put on this year I can be colored impressed. 2-1 Dallas.
Take care folks, enjoy yourself some summer football. Come stop by the north tailgate lot if you are at the game early and visit. Just send a msg to @scottdevey on twitter for our location.
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