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Major League Soccer - Week 16 (Sunday & Monday) match previews

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Well this week Major League Soccer will have 3 national TV matches on Sunday and Monday as the US celebrates the 4th of July.  So let's take a look at the matches:

Houston Dynamo at Colorado Rapids - Sunday 7pm MT - ESPN2

Well you expect the defending MLS Cup champions to be better than 5-5-7 with a -2 goal differential, and historically you expect the Houston Dynamo to be better than 4-6-7.  The Rapids have just 1 win since they beat Houston back on May 4th, it doesn't get better for Houston who have won just once since that encounter as well.  Both teams are 1-2-2 in their last 5 matches and both have given up multiple goals in their last two matches.

For Houston the questions are on both sides of the ball, first who will score with regularity for them? Will Bruin has 4 goals and 1 assist but three of those goals came in one match, while Cam Weaver also has 4 goals and 1 assist, he has just one goal in their last 10 matches. Perhaps the upside is that Brian Ching appears to be healthy and got his first goal of the season last week for the Dynamo.  On defense I thought it would be Tally Hall who would be one of the big stories of the year, I mean he hadn't given up more than 1 goal in a match thru the first 8 matches of the year, but now his GAA is 1.29 and the Dynamo have just 2 clean sheets on the season.  It will be a tough challenge as they head to Denver with a 0-3-5 road record, one of 5 MLS teams without a road win so far this year.

The Rapids got to visit the White House last week, and hopefully with that behind them they can focus back on what they need to do on the pitch.  A 1-0 win at Portland is their only win since May 4th, and in their last two matches they have been outscored 7-2 by LA and Columbus.  Now I know that injuries have cause a lot of issues for the Rapids this year and defending the MLS Cup is no easy task, but for a team that had 3 straight wins to start the year to have just two wins in the 14 matches since then isn't impressing anyone.  I am not sure who will provide the offense for them now that both Omar Cummings and Conor Casey are healthy, but when the number two offensive weapon on your team is Jeff Larentowicz, it is clear you have some issues to deal with.  For me it looks like the lack of a real creative offensive midfielder is hurting their attack this year, with Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni in the midfield you have two guys who focus on defense first.  Clearly they expect the offense to come from long balls over the top or from their outside midfielders, Jamie Smith and the no longer suspended Brian Mullan.  I don't see it, so I think this one ends up a rather boring 1-1 draw.

more after the jump:

New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake - Monday 6:30pm MT - ESPN2

Trips to Rio Tinto Stadium haven't been very kind for the Revolution, they have been here twice without scoring a goal, while giving up 11 goals to RSL.  For RSL they have only had one big offensive show at Rio Tinto this year, a 4-1 beat down of the Los Angeles Galaxy, but last week they got their scoring mojo going again with a 3-1 win over Toronto FC, and I expect they will be looking for more.  The Rev's are 0-6-2 on the road with just 5 goals scored and 13 goals allowed, while RSL are 5-1-2 at home with 13 goals scored and just 5 allowed.

For me the question is how will the New England midfield do, with the always dangerous Shalrie Joseph, the physical Pat Phelan, and Benny Feilhaber all looking to spark the lowest scoring offense in MLS (13 goals scored in 17 matches), will they try to attack or will the Rev's follow the tactics of many teams and simply look to bunker down and try to counter attack? For RSL it is about keeping their offense firing as Alvaro Saborio got his first two goals of the MLS season last weekend and will be looking for more,  and can 17 yr. old Luis Gil get his first MLS goal?

I think this one ends up 2-0 or 3-1, you can look for a more detailed match preview Monday morning.

Seattle Sounders at Los Angeles Galaxy - Monday 8:30pm MT - ESPN2 

Well the Galaxy remain the top team in MLS with their 9-2-8 record and they are unbeaten at the Home Depot Center with a 4-0-4 record, but the Sounders are the hottest team in MLS with 3 straight wins and are just 4 points behind LA in the standings. The Sounders have multiple goals in 4 of their last 6 matches, while LA has clean sheets in 5 of their last 7 matches (including a match where Mike Magee played in goal).

It will be Brian Perk in goal for LA due to the injury of Donovan Ricketts and the red card suspension of Josh Saunders, this will be the first MLS action for @perk89 and you have to believe the Sounders will be looking to make it an unpleasant one.  For the Galaxy the return of Landon Donovan, 8 goals and 1 assist, will be a welcomed one and hopefully he will be able to lead the Galaxy in their domination of Seattle.  LA has won 5 of the last 6 times these two teams have faced each other, the only Sounders win was in last years US Open Cup. They faced off at Qwest Field earlier this year in the opening game of the MLS season, one which saw a 58th minute goal by Juninho stand for the Galaxy to pick up the 1-0 win.

The Sounders have found a way to get wins by using the goal scoring by committee method of play, as 13 different players have scored at least a goal for them this year.  They are lead by Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez who both have 4 goals on the season.  Goals have come from all over the pitch for the Sounders, as 3 defenders have found the back of the net for them, Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni, and Jeff Parke all have scored a single goal for them.  Seattle hasn't been great on defense with 18 goals allowed in 19 matches, but they have allowed just 4 multiple goal efforts against them, and haven't allowed more than 2 goals in any matches this year.  

With David Beckham likely out of the match, I have to give an edge to Seattle but I don't think it will be enough for a win, so I am going with a 1-1 draw in this one.

OFF MY SOAPBOX