Well it has already been a busy week for MLS with 3 Wednesday matches and Fridays venture on ESPN Desportes, we saw New England get a 2-1 over Colorado, Seattle top the Galaxy 2-0 and San Jose beat DC United in a wild 5-3 match, Chicago got a 93rd minute goal to pull out a 2-1 win over Chivas USA. So if the rest of the weekend action can live up to that, it should be a great time to be a MLS fan.
Two of the biggest reasons why DC United is sitting in 2nd place in the East are Dwayne DeRosario and Maicon Santos, both who were in recent years part of the TFC roster but were deemed to not fit Aron Winters master plan. Well Aron you are 0-7-0 with just 6 goals scored and 16 allowed, you might want to stop tossing talent to the curb and chasing your dreams. DC in their 3rd year of rebuilding with Ben Olsen in charge is looking like a lot more dangerous team additions of Nick DeLeon and Danny Cruz have added width and speed to their attack and Robbie Russell has lent leadership to the backline. The DC defense will be tested as TFC is starting to get healthy and with Reggie Lambe, Joao Plata and Ryan Johnson up top it will be a real battle as I think both team will find the back of the net in this one. DC will be tired from a cross country midweek trip and a high energy match against San Jose, so this could be an upset as I pick TFC to pick up their first win of the season 3-2.
Philadelphia Union at Seattle Sounders - 2:30pm MT - NBC Sports
The Sounders looked good in their midweek match against a less than full strength Galaxy team, they dominated possession, created chances, finished, and defended. If they can do that again then the struggling Philadelphia Union could be in for a long day, but the Union have done fairly well against Seattle since joining MLS and hold a slight 2-1-1 edge. Philly will likely look to fight more for possession than LA did but I expect them to play a fairly defensive match as well, and I just don't think Zack MacMath will be able to make some of the saves that Bill Gaudette was able to. Look for Fredy Montero who finally found the back of the net, to be looking for more and more in a hurry. Sounders pick up a tough 2-1 win.
more after the jump:
The Whitecaps have flown under the radar after the first couple weeks of the season, but have worked their way into 4th place in the West on the strength of recent back to back wins. San Jose has ridden 4 wins in their last 5 matches to not only the top spot in the West but the top spot in all of MLS, with 22 points from 9 matches. For San Jose it is about good defense and the leagues best offense, 20 goals scored and just 9 allowed for a +11 goal differential. Some times it is Chris Wondolowski, some times it is Steven Lenhart, the duo account for 14 of the teams 20 goals, and with Thierry Henry on the sidelines this is the most dangerous duo in MLS. For Vancouver we all expected a lot of offense from them, but it has been their defense that has given up just 6 goals this year that has been the real story. Just how good is their defense, well Lee Young -Pyo and Jay DeMerit both have more goals than DP forward Eric Hassli who has yet to find the back of the net. Three of the Whitecaps 4 wins have come from 1-0 score lines, but when they faced San Jose last month it was a 3-1 loss, can they extract some revenge at home? Going with a bit of an upset in a 2-2 draw.
I always love it when the league and ESPN hype this as some huge rivalry match, the disconnect from what is important to the fans is clear for both. Still at full strength it would be an interesting match, but for New York we know that Thierry Henry is out, as is most of their defense, and for LA well you never know who will play as David Beckham, Robbie Keane and others sat out their midweek match at Seattle without having injuries listed. I expect both will play or fear a hit squad from ESPN. I expect that this match could be exciting if either side wanted to play offense but LA's usual tactic of defend and counter will be tested against a New York team that is being forced to play a more defensive style due to injuries. I can see LA being forced into the role of aggressor and not liking it one bit in this match. Still you have to think that neither team is happy with their defense that this one could see some goals scored, how about a 3-2 win for the Galaxy?
This match could get ugly in a hurry, first both sides aren't going to back down from physical play, but from there the differences couldn't be more stark. Montreal is a hodgepodge of a team put together from a variety of sources and still looking for something to turn them into a real team. Sporting KC is probably as complete of a first team as you can find in MLS, good keeper, solid defense, dedicated midfield and forward who love to play, and it shows in their 7-1-0 record. SKC got a week off after the first loss of the season and you have to believe that the rest as they had 8 guys who had played 685 minutes or more already this year. Montreal is coming off a 2-0 win over the same Portland Timbers that beat Sporting two weeks ago, but then had a tough midweek match in the Canadian Championship series. I just don't see this one ending 11 vs 11, and I don't see a way Montreal gets anything but a loss in this one, 3-1 for Sporting.
You can check out my full match preview here, short version is with RSL likely getting their first choice starting XI back, this could be a big match for RSL 3-0.
Columbus Crew at Portland Timbers - 8:30pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live
Well I can say I am surprised by the struggles of one of these teams, but both find themselves with a lot more losses and issues early in the season than they would have expected, both teams have just a single win in their last 5 matches and just two ins on the season, both have -4 goal differentials, and both are stuck on 7 points while the top teams in their conferences have over 20. For the Crew it was a ton of off season turn over again, but his group hasn't found a way to make it work yet, for Portland not so much turn over but something has changed as the Rose City crew simply haven't looked very good this year at home or away. I have a feeling this is a match that either side could win by simply playing 30 decent minutes of soccer, and from what I have seen this year that is more likely going to come from Portland. So at home the Timbers pick up a 2-1 win.
These two teams find themselves battling to unseat Vancouver for 4th place in the Western Conference, both have played 9 matches and both have 12 points, both are dealing with injury issues and both have the potential to play some really exciting soccer. Will it be Blas Perez who will find some room against the Rapids defense, or can someone for the Rapids expose the defense of FC Dallas? Both teams have given up 12 goals this year, but like many teams the Rapids have struggled in Texas, they are just 5-18-4 in Dallas. Add in that the Rapids had a midweek match in New England, and I am going with FC Dallas in a 2-0 win.
OK there you go a quick look at all the MLS action. Now get to your TV and watch the FA Cup, by the way LFC for the win 2-1.
OFF MY SOAPBOX