Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three for Three: MLSR Predictions

San Jose Earthquakes (10-3-3) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (7-5-4) 

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal

William Schulz: San Jose is in much better form going into this quarterfinal, but I think Seattle’s loss to Portland Sunday jostled the team in a way only a rivalry can. I expect an exciting, high-scoring game from kickoff through the end of extra time. That’s right; I think this one goes to penalties. The Sounders claim this one and start to bounce back. San Jose 3-3 Seattle AET

Luke Lohr: San Jose has been unstoppable in league play but the Sounders always bring something special when they play in the US Open Cup. Count on the Sounders to come out swinging in defense of their trophy. Seattle will be especially motivated after a frustrating loss to the Timbers in league play. Expect the Earthquakes will likely rest one or two as they've been in some heated battles thus far. San Jose 2-3 Seattle

Brad Snook: It's tied 1-1 after extra time. San Jose wins 4-3 in penalties. This game will feature at least one red card, probably after one of the Sounders punches Lenhart in the face after diving in the box to earn a penalty kick to tie the match. Seattle doesn't know how to handle playing a road match in the USOC, and loses in penalty kicks to the Earthquakes. As a side note, I hope Seattle starts the guy from the Amazing Race in goal again. San Jose wins in penalties

Leanne Elston: It'll be hard-fought on both sides, definitely. Seattle goes up first, but San Jose come back, first to tie it up and then to score the winner in extra time. I can see San Jose wanting this one more, and their mental strength has been huge this season. Seattle may be the defending champs, but goonies never say die. San Jose 2-1 Seattle

Pedro Gomes: It won't be pretty but I believe that Seattle will continue their history of good Open Cup play and find a way to edge out a victory against San Jose. The key for Seattle will be containing the big hard-nosed strike force of Steven Lenhart and Super Sub Alan Gordon. I envision a lot of continued wing play by San Jose with plenty of service into their big men in the box. The Seattle defense will have to close down the flanks and not let Lenhart's antics draw another questionable late game call in the box against them. I also feel as though this might be the break-out game Eddie Johnson fans have been waiting for and I see him earning a late game winner. San Jose 1-2 Seattle

Montreal Impact (5-8-3) vs. Toronto FC (1-10-2)

William Schulz: Toronto has been playing better and better under their new manager, and a win is waiting in the wings. Unfortunately I don’t think that win will come this week against the Impact. The Impact have all the confidence in the world right now thanks to their new stadium, and I think they claim all the points in this clash. Montreal 3-1 Toronto

Luke Lohr: This match has a lot of question marks surrounding it. Both teams have been steadily improving and in TFC's case, has played some great soccer. The issue with Toronto is focusing for the entire 90 minutes and holding a lead. Montreal has little to lose being an expansion team, but valuable points are up for grabs and expect that Montreal rides the amazing crowds at Saputo Stadium to win a convincing victory. Montreal 4-2 Toronto

Brad Snook: Montreal is like that sneaky-cute new girl in school.  At first no one is really sure what to think of her, she initially struggles to make friends, and she keeps hanging around always making the guys with girlfriends take a second look.  Take off those glasses and that awkward sweater, and before you know it she has snuck into to one of the more attractive girls on the market, threatening to sneak into the playoffs of your heart. Montreal 2-1 Toronto

Leanne Elston: Nobody comes out on top in this one. Toronto can't overtake the Impact at their new stadium, but Montreal can't beat Toronto, either. Both teams want the win, but they have to settle for a point each. For Toronto, it's another unattainable three points. Montreal 1-1 Toronto

Pedro Gomes: A few weeks ago I don't think anyone would have cared about this match, but with Toronto's recent changes both on and off the field and Montreal's improved play and new stadium I see this match living up to all the pre-season hype. This is the match that will prove which team's recent improvement in play is legitimate. Is Saputo Stadium truly the Impact's "fortress" or was the 4-1 spanking of Seattle a fluke? And is Toronto's new 4-4-2 the difference in their ability to create and score more goals? These are the question they will be looking to answer. Oh and don't forget Toronto and Montreal hate each other something fierce, so that will be fun to watch too. Montreal 3-2 Toronto

San Jose Earthquakes (10-3-3) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (6-8-2)

William Schulz: This one should be gooooooood. LA is (for the moment) bouncing back and San Jose are the current kings of the conference. I’m really excited for this matchup, but think the points end up split this time around. I’m calling for a high-scoring draw with no fewer than two goals in the last twenty minutes. San Jose 4-4 Los Angeles

Luke Lohr: It's hard to see the Earthquakes losing given their remarkable form of late, but the Galaxy have seemingly awoke from their slumber. Both recently defeated a powerful team in Real Salt Lake and will likely put on a show for the fans. The questions of the match largely revolve around the LA Galaxy. If their back line can hold out against Wondo and co. then they have a chance, but their forwards will have to keep putting the ball in the back of the net. The Earthquakes however are a known quantity throughout. LA knows who to mark and how to mark them, whether they do it or not is another story. It's all about which LA team shows up. This match has draw written all over it....but an exciting draw. San Jose 2-2 Los Angeles

Brad Snook: The Galaxy have only recorded one clean sheet this season, and it came two weeks ago in their match against the anemic Timbers offense.  They must be feeling good coming from two goals down on the road to beat Real Salt Lake last week, but inevitably San Jose will do what it seems like San Jose always does and this it score a goal in the final 10 minutes of the match by Wondolowski/Gordon/Lenhart to split the points. San Jose 2-2 Los Angeles

Leanne Elston: LA are on the up and they'll manage to grab this win over the Quakes. I don't expect the Galaxy to let themselves repeat what happened in May, and San Jose can't win every match after the 75th minute. San Jose 1-2 Los Angeles

Pedro Gomes: LA's performance in Real Salt Lake showed a lot of heart and a resurgent offensive ability but if San Jose can avoid any defensive lapses like Real Salt Lake gave up I don't see LA being all quite put together yet to overcome this down defensive unit. LA's defense is still struggling and they will struggle once again trying to keep Wondolowski and Lenhart off the board. San Jose will shut down and frustrate the Galaxy for the win. San Jose 2-1 Los Angeles

What do you think? Think the writers got it right? Let us know on twitter and in the comment section. Luke (@MLSReserves), Brad (@TheMarkingBack), William (@SportingTulsan), Leanne (@LeanneElston) and Pedro (@MLSSuperSub). Enjoy the games!

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