clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Major League Soccer - Week 23 match previews

OK, it is another weekend of every team in league action and that means lots of matches for us to watch on TV and live. I will be doing shorter previews again as there just isn't as much time as I would like to do the in depth previews, I am going to take them in the order they will be played:

Kansas City Wizards - 7-9-5 26pts at Philadelphia Union - 5-11-5 20pts - 1:30pm MT Direct Kick

This is a huge match for both teams, the Union are looking to show their fans at PPL Park that they are starting to get things figured out as a team and that Sebastien Le Toux is good enough to lead this team and make himself a real MVP threat.  The KC Wizards are riding back to back wins for the first time since weeks 1&2, they are currently out of a playoff spot but they only trail San Jose for the final spot by 3 points. 

Injuries are going to hurt the Union as Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno, and Shea Salinas are all listed as questionable, those players account for 11 of the Union's 25 goals and 15 of their 25 assists.  For the Wizards the question will be who will step up to fill in for Kei Kamara who is gone for national team duty, and the most likely answer is Birahim Diop who has 2 goals and 1 assist in his first 175 minutes for the Wizards.  This is going to be a tough match and will likely come down to the ability of the 3 Philly injured player to contribute, with them this could be a Union win, but I am going to pick this one as a 1-1 draw.

Los Angeles Galaxy  - 13-5-4 43pts at Chicago Fire - 6-7-6 24pts -  2:00pm MT Telefutura

There may be no bigger match this weekend, as these two teams both are at a point where this match could be a turning point for their season.  For the Fire, they went out and spend money to get Freddie Ljungberg and Nevy Castillo, but are still sitting out of the playoffs.  For this match Freddie is suspended for yellow cards, and the Fire will also be without Marco Pappa and Deris Umanzor who are both on national team duty.  The LA Galaxy have had their worse run of form so far this season and are coming off back to back losses for the first time this year, they still lead the West and the race for the Supporters' Shield but teams are closing in on them on both fronts.

The Galaxy may have some great young defenders in Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez but the reality is that since Gregg Berhalter has been out LA has struggled on defense, and being a team that was built around their counter attacking off of defensive stops their who gameplan has been impacted.  Can Bruce adjust and get LA back to their winning ways?  If the Fire lose this match they will have 24 points with 10 matches left, the "magic number" of 42 would mean they would need 18 points of 30 possible points, not impossible but to be honest unlikely.  I think this one will end up in a 2-2 draw, and hopefully Brian McBride who announced that he will retire at the end of the season will find a way to get the Fire the win.

more after the jump:

Columbus Crew - 12-5-5 41pts  at DC United - 4-15-3 15pts - 5:30pm MT Fox Soccer Channel

On paper this is the most lopsided match of the weekend, but matches aren't played on paper.  The Crew are fighting to keep in front of New York in the East, while trying to catch LA to claim their 3rd straight Supporters' Shield, and a win would help them in both situations.  DC United is just looking for things to build on, and having lost to the Crew in a midweek US Open Cup battle both teams are going to be ready for each other.  I feel bad for Ben Olsen, who was appointed the interm coach a few weeks ago, that would be like be named captain of the Titanic just after it hit the iceberg.

DC United is still fighting injuries as Barklage, Rice, Wallace, and Zayner are all listed as out, then toss in that one of their new DP's signings Branko Boskovic is on a national team call up, as is Dejan Jakovic.  All of this means that the defense that has allowed the most goals (36) will be short handed yet again.  DC's hopes are going to be pinned on Andy Najar, Pablo Hernandez, and Danny Allsopp and the hope that they can find the back of the net.  The Crew are going to be missing some big pieces as well, Robbie Rogers and Emmanual Ekpo are both out with injuries, Adam Moffat is suspended for yellow cards, and Emilio Renteria is on a national team call up.  So the question for Columbus is can Steven Lenhart continue his recent scoring form?  Sorry this is an easy pick but I am going with an upset for this one and a 2-1 win for DC United.

Seattle Sounders - 9-8-5 32pts  at New England Revolution - 6-12-3 21pts - 5:30pm MT Direct Kick

This is a match that @ZombieJaqua would love, as it will feature the teams that clearly are the walking wounded of MLS.  Here are the injury lists: New England  OUT: FW Zak Boggs; GK Preston Burpo; FW Taylor Twellman; DOUBTFUL: MF Jason Griffiths; FW Edgaras Jankauskas; PROBABLE: MF Nico Colaluca; DF Cory Gibbs and Seattle OUT: FW Blaise Nkufo; MF David Estrada; MF Brad Evans; DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado; FW Pat Noonan; MF Peter Vagenas; PROBABLE: MF Nathan Sturgis.  If injuries weren't enough both teams have lost players to national team callups, the Rev's have lost Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally, while Seattle loses Sanna Nyassi.

For the Revolution this is a must win match, after losing their SuperLiga final on Wednesday they must win out at home if they want a chance at the playoffs, they have 3 home matches after this and 5 on the road and a home loss will all but eliminate them.  The Sounders have won 5 of their last 6 matches, but a majority of those have been at Qwest field, now a chance to get a road win and move themselves closer to securing a playoff spot.  It is all about Montero for Seattle as he has 4 of their last 5 goals, and 10 goals and 9 assists on the season.  For me this is one that could be a trap match for Seattle, who are riding high and I am going to pick this one has a 0-0 draw.

Toronto FC - 7-8-6 27pts  at  FC Dallas - 9-2-10 37pts - 6:30pm MT Direct Kick

If Toronto wants to make the playoffs they will have to find a way to improve their road form, they are 1-7-1 and no team has fewer points (4pts) from their road matches, and only one team, DC United, has fewer goals on the road than the 7 of Toronto.  FC Dallas haven't lost a match since May 20th, the longest current streak in MLS and with 3 wins in their last 4 matches they put themselves not only in the playoff hunt but in the hunt for both first place in the West but in the hunt for the Supporters' Shield.

This match could be really ugly, first is the fact that the stands will likely be fairly empty as FC Dallas barely average 10,000 fans a match.  Second is the fact that TFC's roster has been gutted, international callups will mean no Nana Attakora, Dwayne De Rosario, or Julian de Guzman, injuries mean no Chad Barrett, Amadou Sanyan, or Emmanel Gomez.  That means the players behind 16 of the 22 Toronto goals won't be in the lineup, and for a team that has struggled on the road it could be nasty on Saturday in Dallas.  Now FC Dallas are going to be missing a couple players themselves, Atiba Harris and Daniel Hernandez are both suspended for yellow cards, Ugo Ihemelu and Dax McCarty are both out with injuries, but FC Dallas should be able to add to their number of wins and pull this one out in an ugly 4-1 win.

New York Red Bulls - 11-7-4 37pts  at Real Salt Lake - 11-4-7 40pts - 7:00pm MT Direct Kick

Clearly the biggest match of the weekend and already previewed in depth, click here to read the full preview

Chivas USA - 6-11-4 22pts   at Colorado Rapids - 8-6-7 31pts - 7:00pm MT Direct Kick

Chivas will need a win to even think they can make a run at a playoff spot, while Colorado's recent form has them back looking like a playoff team.  I have to be really honest and say that I don't care about this match at all, these are the two teams that a RSL fan hates more than any others.  Colorado has put together a decent run two wins in their last 4 which has turned their season around, while Chivas is coming off a win over DC United last weekend, but a loss midweek in US Open Cup action.

Colorado should have little problem with the hodge podge lineups used by Chivas, as this is clearly a match where the Rapids will play as a team that uses the collective strength of their players, while Chivas relies on the individual performances of players to get their results and most often that means Justin Braun, who accounts for 8 goals and 3 assists which is almost half of the offense for the team.  Colorado should win this match, but if they drop their guard they could be in trouble, but I have to pick this as a 2-1 win for the Rapids.

San Jose Earthquakes - 8-7-5 29pts  at  Houston Dynamo - 6-11-5 23pts - Sunday 6:30pm MT Direct Kick

Ah I love it when the real Quakes (who moved to Houston and rebranded) play the new Quakes, it just is a matchup that is always full of emotion even though few players on either roster were part of the original team in San Jose. Both of the team will be missing players due to injury, suspension and national team call ups, for San Jose they are without; Andre Luiz, Ike Opara, Joe Cannon, and Ramiro Corrales is listed as doubtful, then Bobby Convey is suspended and Ryan Johnson is on national team call up.  Houston will likely miss Brian Ching who is listed as doubtful, Lovel Palmer and Francisco Cobo are both on national team call ups.

The Quakes are a solid road team with a 3-4-3 road record, while Houston is iffy at home with just a 5-3-3 record. For the Dynamo they simply aren't the same team without Brian Ching and they really still lack anyone to be a stand out forward.  San Jose is beat up, short handed and without their on field leader and yet I have to consider them the favorite in this match, but I am going to hedge my bet and call this one a 1-1 draw.

OFF MY SOAPBOX