This may be one of the more boring weeks of this season. Looking at it from the beginning of the season and a San Jose vs Colorado Rapids match up would have seemed like a great choice to tune into, even a few weeks in Columbus vs New England could have been an exciting prospect as well.
Things being as they are now though the match ups this week seem fairly lopsided overall. There are a few exceptions and I think this week may be where we see some teams fall into a status where their post season prospects are completely dashed and it might be time to start tooling with the line ups to see what is going to help next year.
More after the jump
Saturday August 13th
Seattle Sounders FC vs Chivas USA - At the start of the year I'd have called this game an easy win for whoever is playing Chivas, but Chivas has made a decent run of late and has given Seattle's coach trouble over the years. Sigi Schmidt has won only 2 games against Chivas, and has flat out lost 5 (this accounts for his pre-Seattle time too). What Seattle does have working in it's favor though is it's current play. They have won 3 of their last 5 with a draw and a loss making up the other two in that time. The loss coming against Houston who tend to make life tough on anyone travelling to them, compounded by travel for CCL play.
Chivas on the other hand is a tough one to track what is going to happen in general. Seeing them each week you get a sense that they are slowly building into a team to be considered a threat to anyone. While they have lost to Dallas, they have also beat Houston and tied SKC and New York. They have kept themselves in the playoff race and with some good play from themselves and some luck in the results of the East they may make it through as a wild card. In the end being at home is going to benefit the Sounders much more than it does Chivas, ending 2-1 in favor of Seattle.
Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC - Which RSL team shows up? That's my question. While I was more than happy with the win against NYRB I also have to take into consideration that the previous two were atrocious showings by the claret and cobalt. If the play stays consistent with last week we should see an absolute trouncing of Toronto who has struggled to find it's identity all year and the constant switch of players and other staff doesn't help any. However if the impatience and break attempts come too often or too fast the chances of coming out with a full three points go down dramatically. RSL can tire Toronto out easily enough if they keep to their possession oriented style and wait for their chances to build more than forcing them in they will come out on top, otherwise a draw is likely (not a bad result on the road, but they are better than a draw against Toronto). They can also take advantage of Toronto's league worst (by 11!) goal differential of -22 and this will also be their chance to begin catching up to L.A. in the standings while the Galaxy take a bit of a breather. 2-0 RSL.
New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire - Overall I think this game will be better than it appears just looking at who is playing. Neither team has done well (NY has won only 2 in 17, Chicago 2 in 22), New York just looks better because of their wins up at the front of the season. I think this game will be a tough battle between both looking to atone for their play as of late and Chicago does have history on it's side as they have played well over the years when in New York having won 11 games to NY's 3. In the end a 1-1 draw.
D.C. United vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC - I am torn on what to say about this. Part of me really thinks this will be the most boring game of the weekend, and another part says this could be the surprise of it. Vancouver's back line is in serious need of help, and scoring is in general a problem for them, at least consistent scoring. With 2 games of the season (out of 23) making up around 1/3 of their total goals for the year I have to question the ability to finish of this team.
D.C. on the other hand is doing a bit better overall but is in no way a force to be reckoned with, especially at home. With only two wins at RFK this season they can't inspire confidence there even against the worst team in the league. Dwayne DeRosario has perhaps found a great place for him to play though, since joining the club he has been the only scorer, now if only he could get some help to finish out the games.
Philadelphia Union vs FC Dallas - Easily the best game of the weekend. Both teams are doing very well as of late and neither seem to be letting up. Two of the best keepers in the league, two great defenses, two mid fields with great ability to move it around the field and help two great front lines create great chances. With Philly signing Freddy Adu so recently I question if we'll see him on the field this weekend but if either it's a desperate chase or a comfortable lead it may happen. Dallas on the other hand has got to be counting on Brek Shea to continue the inspired play he has shown lately. His time on the field Wednesday for the US vs Mexico game was the best of the night to me. Plus side for him, didn't have to travel after the game as he was already in Philly (this is not known for sure, just assumed...). Philly's home record is what stands out for me as the difference in this game. Having lost just one so far this year I give them the nod in a close 3-2 battle.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids - San Jose just can't catch a break this year. It doesn't help that Wondolowski has not been quite the scorer that he was last year, though his late season surge also pushed his team in and I suppose it's possible to have the same happen again this year. Colorado though, can't say I am happy about these next few words but... they actually have come out and been a great team this year. Some missteps along the way have left them in a vulnerable position still but you cannot discount them at all each week. In the end it's that ability to win lately that is going to keep them in a game that San Jose is going to want to win in order to keep their post season prospects alive. 2-2 draw.
Sunday August 14th
Houston Dynamo vs Portland Timbers - Portland makes it's first trip to Houston and it is not the best time for a Pacific Northwest team to be heading there. With temperatures reaching 99 on Sunday and Houston's oppressive levels of humidity it will be tough to slog through for them I think. Houston has easily been the better of two when it comes to play this year. Their biggest problem being the inability to win away from home. As that's not a problem for this game, and Portland has only done marginally better away from home this battle will come out as a 2-0 Houston win.
There they are for your enjoyment/perusal.