Well after a few teams got last weekend off Major League Soccer is back to full strength this week, that means 9 matches and once again a good spread out of time on Saturday, starting at 1:30pm MT and continuing all day. So let's take a look at what should be a great weekend of action:
Columbus Crew at Philadelphia Union - 1:30pm MT - NBC Sports
Yawn, OK let's get this right on national TV we get winless Philly against 2 win Columbus, wow what a reward for soccer fans around the US. I get the market size thing, but really I doubt anyone expected these two teams to be struggling this much when they scheduled it. The Union have scored just two goals so far this year, the same amount as exiled striker Sebastien Le Toux, and I am not sure where on their roster they think the goals will come from this year, of course the Crew have scored just 4. The Crew have two wins, Montreal and Toronto, neither are sides that inspire awe. I just don't know if this match will be very exciting but I am going to give the win to the Union 2-1 as the excitement of hosting Chelsea for the MLS All Star match motivates the Union.
This could be one of the more exciting matches of the weekend, New England has two wins in their last 3 and DC United has 3 straight results, both are teams that will need every point this as they fight for one of the playoff spots. I think the Revolution showed that they could be a very entertaining team in the preseason but the question is how would they deal with the regular season. Well so far it is a mixed bag, they dominated the LA Galaxy but struggled at FC Dallas. DC United was looking to just add some pieces and continue their rebuilding project, but can this team be more than a hot rookie and Dwayne De Rosario? Again more questions than answers, I think this one will likely end up as a 1-1 draw.
the rest of the weekends action after the jump:
Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders - 2:00pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live
One has to wonder which version of the Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders will fans see in this one? Last week the Rapids abandoned their more free flowing style of the early weeks and tried to simply slow down RSL, it didn't work very well so what will they try against the Sounders this weekend? For the Sounders can they find some offense outside of David Estrada, or can they find a way to get him back on the scoreboard? The Sounders have played very solid defense, giving up just 2 goals in their first 4 matches, but without Mauro Rosales again this week can they find someone to help them find a way to score goals? I think they will Brad Evans and Fredy Montero both are due for a big match, I think the Sounders get a 2-1 win at home.
Chivas USA has won both of their road matches so far in 2012, they haven't won at home but can they make it 3 in a row on the road, which would equal their number of road wins from last season? Toronto has yet to win a match in league play this year and some believe another loss could lead to some big changes being made (again) in Toronto. I am kinda shocked that the Red's haven't pulled it together yet, they have some very good players but it looks as if they just lack leadership and teamwork on the pitch and I don't know what it will take for them to get their act together. Chivas is actually a team with a good record at BMO field they are 2-2-1 and I think they will find a way to get a result today, going with a 1-1 draw as Toronto gets their first points of the 2012 season.
This match features the two teams in second place in their respective conferences, while almost everyone has their attention focused on RSL vs SKC, this could be the match that actually ends up the most exciting of the weekend as some of the most lethal scorers in MLS will be on the pitch. San Jose's Chris Wondolowski has 6 goals on 21 shots so far this year, impressive but New York will have two guys that good or better in Kenny Cooper who has 6 goals, and Thierry Henry with his 7 goals. This one should be a fun, fast paced and high scoring match, The Red Bulls have yet to keep a clean sheet and have given up 8 goals in 5 matches, the Quakes who have scored 8, have only given up 2 goals so far this year. I think this one is going to end up a 2-2 draw.
Montreal Impact at FC Dallas - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live
After giving up 10 goals in their first 4 matches, the Impact have started playing a bit better on defense and have given up just a single goal in each of their last two matches. FC Dallas has scored in every match they have played but in 4 of their 5 it has been just a single goal. Those facts have me thinking this one could be an interesting match as the Impact look for their first ever road win in MLS and FC Dallas look to get themselves another win to go with last weekends 1-0 win over New England. Dallas continues to deal with some injury issues and shuffling of their lineup, but I think they will find a way to get the result at home, this one ends up 2-1 for Dallas.
You can check out my full match preview of this one here. Short version is 1-1 draw.
Perhaps no two teams need a win worse than these two, the Galaxy lost just 5 matches in all of the 2011 regular season and head into their 4th match of the year with 3 loses already. Portland is coming off 3 straight losses, including back to back home loses. For LA there are some big questions with injuries as David Beckham, A.J. DeLaGarza and Michael Stephens are all questionable for the match, and up top many feared that Buddle and Keane would run away with the scoring crown this year, but it hasn't been so. Keane has a respectable 3 goals, but has missed some that people thought he should have been able to score, Buddle has been fairly quiet so far this year with just a single goal, but he has committed 15 fouls in 258 minutes (anyone want to tell me why he doesn't have a yellow card yet?). Portland made some off season moves that left them without proven goal scorer Kenny Cooper and added to moving Jack Jewsbury to a more defensive role have left the Timbers with some real question marks. They will need a big match from Kris Boyd and Darlington Nagbe to get a result at the Home Depot Center. This one is hard to pick but I think the Galaxy might just wake up after their back to back poor performances, look for LA to get a 2-1 win in this one.
So it is week 6 of the MLS season and both of these teams have played just 3 matches, oh we have to love the logic of this new unbalanced schedule that the minds at MLS gave us. So after last weekend off the Fire will play host to the Dynamo whose last match was March 23rd. Houston starts their year with 7 on the road as they await the opening of their new stadium and they have 2 wins in their first 3, which equals their total number of road wins all of 2011. This is a team build on defense first and foremost and I expect that is exactly what we will see from them on Sunday. I don't know what to think about the Fire yet, they have scored just two goals in 3 matches and both by Dominic Orduro, but clearly this is a team still trying to find their identity on the pitch as their rebuilding of last year continues. I have to think this one ends up a 1-0 win for the Fire, no idea why but why not.
OK there you go, all the matches of the weekend previewed and picked for your pleasure, hopefully I do better than my 2 of 7 record from last week, wow that was ugly.
OFF MY SOAPBOX