Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MLS Week 4 Preview

Three weeks are now in the books and the MLS season is chugging along. Last week many of the leagues' teams were evenly matched, but this week can the top teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences extend their leads. Or will parity reign supreme and cause congestion in the league.

Vancouver will host New England Wednesday night at Empire Field. Both come in off of draws, but the momentum has to be with Vancouver after their stellar come from behind draw against Sporting KC last weekend. New England gave up an early lead to draw 1-1 against Portland in Foxborough. Vancouver will have striker Eric Hasseli back from suspension and should push the New England defence harder than they've been pushed this season. New England still lacks an out and out goal scorer, but their defence should keep this one close.
Prediction: Vancouver 1-0 New England

FC Dallas will play their second consecutive Friday night match this time hosting the hottest team in the league the Colorado Rapids. Colorado will most likely be without Conor Casey after he tweated a hamstring last weekend. But Colorado's addition of Caleb Folan in the off-season should see them not miss a step. FCD is not the team they were last season. There are no goal scorers on the pitch and the defence has been dismal. I've been extremely umimpressed with Brek Shea at centreback and see the Colorado attack dominating this match. Colorado is the best team in the league and they will continue their run of good form.
Prediction: FC Dallas 0-2 Colorado Rapids

Chicago goes to Seattle to kick off Saturday's action. Chicago had a bye week in week 3 after a solid offensive display against Sporting KC in week 2. This game will be a measuring stick for both clubs. If Chicago can get the win it show they are a real force in the East, but a Sounders' win would prove this team is headed in the right direction. Seattle looked good against San Jose this past weekend, and if they continue to play without Fredy Montero this team will improve. They've relied too heavily on the Columbian this season and he hasn't contributed as in previous seasons. Seattle has a better midfield and at the same time I've been extremely impressed with the Fire's attack this season. The Fire's attack is better even if Seattle has Montero in the starting 11. If Chicago can dominate the midfield it will be a long day for the Sounders' defence, but if Mauro Rosales is heavily involved like he was last week Seattle should do well.
Prediction: Seattle Sounders 2-2 Chicago Fire

Philadelphia has been consider the East's dark horse early on this season. However, their early games have come against two of the league's lesser teams. Last week they were out played by an LA team who is still struggling to find their best form. The next three weeks will be a big test for the Union, and I don't think they'll pass. Only two goals in three matches and only one by an attacking player doesn't bode well. New York were denied by Tally Hall time after time last week despite bombarding Houston's goal. New York should handle Philadelphia in this one and get back on track. The team is gelling after the acquisition of Dwayne De Rosario and the loss of Tony Tchani and Danleigh Borman. The Red Bulls will also need Bouna Coundoul to stop making stupid mistakes.
Prediction: Philadelphia 1-3 New York

New England will play their second match in week 4 as they return from the Pacific Northwest to host Real Salt Lake. Though Salt Lake played on Tuesday night in the Champions League and also had a long trip I can't see anything but a RSL win. New England will get very few attacks and will hope to hit RSL on the counter. However, RSL should take the fight to the Revs. Shalrie Joesph my be implored in a more defensive role to mark Javier Morales. Even then RSL has too many good players for New England to stop.
Prediction: New England 0-2 Real Salt Lake

DC United come off a 4-1 spanking at the hands of Colorado to host LA Galaxy. DC United is still gelling with the new talent that was acquired in the off-season. They'll need Charlie Davis to be fit for this one if they want to have a chance of beating LA. I'm afraid week 1 may have been a false down for United. LA hasn't overly impressed this season, but is good enough to beat a DC team that is still trying to find itself.
Predictions: DC United 1-2 LA Galaxy

Chivas USA is still the worst team in the league. The backline was better last week in Toronto. But this team is so hard to predict. Early last week they were beat handily by Portland in a US Open Cup play-in match. This team has no identity and has no style of play. Nothing about this team is remarkably positive, despite getting a point last weekend. Columbus is on the upswing, however. Last week's match against FC Dallas was a total team performance and with some better finishing two weeks ago versus New York and this team would be near the top of the East. If Eddie Gaven is deployed in the centre of midfield this team should dominate a slightly improving Goats' backline. Chivas obviously doesn't have the attack to over power an improving Columbus defence. Last week they look completely different than the team in week 1.
Prediction: Chivas USA 0-2 Columbus Crew

San Jose has played some outstanding football this season, and Chris Wondolowski is proving me wrong by showing last season was no fluke. I still think TFC got a good deal in Tchani and Borman from New York. San Jose is slightly favoured on my part. Their passing has been good, and they've been creative as well. I've was impress with Bobby Convey's return to form over the past year or so and believe he deserves a call up to the national team. He is still only in his mid-20s. TFC will need to limit the mistakes at the back and hope Javier Martina, Alan Gordan or Maicon Santos can challenge the 'Quakes defence and excellent goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Prediction: San Jose 1-1 TFC

Houston hosts Vancouver in the final game of the weekend. Houston maybe without Brian Ching, but they should be used to life without the striker as much as he is injuried. Vancouver should get something from this and will have their flair players of Camilo and Chiumento running at Houston's defence. But with their second game in a week and point is a good result.
Prediction: Houston 1-1 Vancouver

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