Major League Soccer Week 11 - Previews and Picks

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Well there is no Real Salt Lake match this weekend in MLS (only their exhibition against BYU) but there are 9 matches in MLS this weekend and some key Western Conference matchups, so lets get started:

Seattle Sounders at Vancouver Whitecaps - 3:00pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live

Not only is this a clash between the #3 and #4 teams in the Western Conference it is one of those Cascadia matches were as we saw last year just about anything can happen. Both sides are coming off losses that broke up multi match win streaks, so we know both teams are playing fairly well. The Sounders have played dominating defense so far this year allowing just 4 goals to be scored against them in their first 10 matches, while the Whitecaps have been evenly balanced with 10 goals scored and 11 goals allowed. Normally the home field advantage would be a big factor in a match but with the Whitecaps having played so many matches in the last couple weeks (this will be their 6th match in May) I think that negates a home field advantage. The question is can the Whitecaps defense withstand the Sounders attack, can the likes of Jay DeMerit and YP Lee deal with Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero, and the rest of the Sounders? I don't think they can but I am going with a 2-2 draw in this one, but wouldn't be surprised if the Sounders get the win.

New York Red Bulls at Montreal Impact - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live

At the start of the season this one would have been considered a fairly lopsided match between an expansion team and one of the power teams of the East, and while the Red Bulls have finally lived up to the hype and lead the East, the Impact haven't been a typical expansion team and have actually gotten themselves into contention for a playoff spot with 4 straight results. The question is can the Impact take advantage of their home turf advantage, where they haven't lost (2-0-2) to get revenge against the Red Bulls who beat them 5-2 earlier this season? If you doubt the ability of the Impact, consider this, they went to KC and beat Sporting and were the better team in a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Red Bulls looked a bit iffy after 3 straight 1-0 wins as they had to come from behind against the Union last weekend in their 3-2 win. Can the NYRB backline provide Ryan Meara with the support a rookie keeper needs, or will Bernardo Corradi and the Impact offense rule the day? Even with the turf I have to pick the Red Bulls to get a 2-1 win.

the rest of the weekends matches after the jump:

Toronto FC at D.C. United - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live

Two teams clearly headed in different directions, United find themselves in 3rd place in the East with 6 wins already this season, they struggled to get 9 all of last year. On the other hand there is Toronto FC who still have yet to get a point in MLS action, their 0-8-0 record is setting the mark for worst ever start to a MLS season and their -12 goals differential says it all, they don't score many goals and give up way too many. Both sides will be dealing this injuries that will impact how they play and likely the outcome of the match, so which team can find a way to go beyond circumstances? Both teams played midweek matches, but I have to give a huge advantage to DC United, the reality that former TFC star Dwayne De Rosario is controlling matches the way he does is enough to make me pick DC as 3-1 winners in this one.

Houston Dynamo at New England Revolution - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live

This is interesting as the MLS staff all picked the Revolution to win the match and if you look at history you understand why, all time the Rev's are 6-2-4 against the Dynamo. The Revolution have looked great at moments and very average at other moments, but Houston who stared their season with 7 straight road matches have just looked very average all year long. Houston's 3-3-3 with 8 goals scored and 9 allowed is as average as you can get, still you must always remember Brad Davis and what he is capable of. For the Revolution is has been the story otf two new players this year as Lee Nguyen and Saer Sene have fired up the imagination of The Fort. I think this one has all the trademarks of a typical Dynamo match, lots of defending and which team can capitalize on a mistake? I am going with a 1-1 draw in this one.

Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live

Two teams in chaos and for both teams much of the chaos is self imposed, The Union continue to make trades that leave the fans baffled as this week it was captain Danny Califf traded to Chivas USA for Michael Lahoud and allocation money. For FC Dallas it is a combination of injuries that have impacted their choices all year and the self destructive behavior of their players on the pitch, 4 red cards already this year for FC Dallas and while the FCD game notes mention the 3 players that MLS has suspend after the fact of Dallas matches, they fail to mention that their own players have been suspended twice, including the 3 games that Brek Shea was suspended for kicking a ball at an official. Still I have to imagine that the Union players have to wonder who is next to be traded, and while that might motivate some, I would much rather play on a team dealing with injuries and mistakes than one where you have to do everything on egg shells. I am going for a 2-1 FC Dallas win.

Sporting Kansas City at Colorado Rapids - 7:00pm MT - Altitude

A month ago this would have been a very anticipated match for MLS, both teams stared the season fairly well, but recently the decline of Sporting KC has been epic as the team that started with 7 wins has lost 3 straight matches, and the Rapids well they seem more unimpressive than anything thing else with a 5-6-0 record. It is interesting that neither of these teams has a draw yet this year. The Rapids have been good at home with a 3-1-0 record and 9 goals scored while allowing just 2, SKC are 3-2-0 on the road with 6 goals scored and just 4 allowed. Both teams would prefer to play an open style of play but I think that the Rapids with so many player changes and a new coach are going to find themselves trying to hold on as Sporting try to get get back to their winning ways. Injuries will impact the Rapids as they are missing Anthony Wallace, Pablo Mastroeni, Marvell Wynne and Omar Cummings, for Sporting the suspension of Roger Espinoza could play a role in their midfield. I just don't see SKC continuing to lose but not sure they can win this one? Gut check 2-1 win for Sporting KC.

LA Galaxy vs Chivas USA - 8:30pm MT - ESPN2

I do laugh how ESPN drools over this self proclaimed "Super Classico" each year, perhaps no time has it been more hallow than this year when it will feature the 3-6-1 Chivas USA against 3-5-2 LA Galaxy. One thing is clear Robin Fraser and Chivas USA have been willing to deal with their issues as they boosted their backline this week by picking up Danny Califf from the Union and should spark their offense by getting Juan Agudelo from the New York Red Bulls. LA on the other hand sent David Beckham to the UK for the torch relay, and know that they will be losing Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan to national team duties coming up. The Galaxy own this rivalry 14-3-5 over the years and won both matches 1-0 last year. Still I am going with what might be a minor upset as I think Chivas USA will get a 2-1 win.

Columbus Crew at San Jose Earthquakes - 8:30pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live

This should be a 3-0 win for the Quakes, lets be honest the Crew aren't very good this year (3-4-2) and San Jose is one of the surprises for most people with a 7-2-2 record. Still this is why they play the games, you never know what can happen on the pitch, but the question will be can the Crew find a way to stop the second best offense in MLS as San Jose has 22 goals, with Chad Marshall I would give them a chance without him, not so much. I think Chris Wondolowski and San Jose have too much offense for the Crew to deal with, this one ends up 3-1 San Jose.

Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers - Sunday 5:00pm MT - Galavision

The Fire have been playing well with just one loss in their last 5 matches, while the Timbers have just one win in their last 5 matches. Still the energy at Jeld-Wen Field is usually enough to keep the Timbers in most matches, the question for Portland is can they finish off a match? Portland have given up 6 goals in the final 15 minutes and stoppage time, and they have yet to score a late goal. Chicago has scored 3 goals in that final portion of matches and have given up just a single late goal. For the Fire it is the P's (Pappa, Pardo, Pause, and Puppo) who along with speedster Dominic Orduro who are their difference makers. The Timbers have a number of guys who could be game changers but just lack consistency, Darlington Nagbe, Kris Boyd, and Diego Chara need to step up if the Timbers are going to get out of the Western Conference basement. I am going with the home team in a 2-1 win, but not confident in the pick.

Sorry about this being so late, forgot to set the auto-publish and got caught up in the PK shootout that ended with Chelsea FC winning the UEFA Champions League.

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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