Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Three for Three: MLSR Predictions

The writers of MLSR take their picks in what we think will be the three most important matches of the upcoming week. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below. 



Philadelphia Union (5-9-2) vs. Sporting Kansas City (10-5-3)
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal

William Schulz: The Union is a team on the rise, while Sporting is struggling to find its early season magic. That being said, I expect this to be a close, hard-fought match. I don’t expect Kansas City to make the same mistakes they made in the 4-0 loss earlier this season, especially if Bobby Convey is well enough to play. Sporting also have the added incentive of hosting the final should they beat the Union. This isn’t a popular opinion (and I may be a little biased), but I have to give the nod to KC. PHI 0-1 SKC

Luke Lohr: It seems as though Philadelphia has begun a renaissance since Peter Nowak has departed and it's a good thing too. Philadelphia fans deserve a competitive as they are among the best in the league. The Union will continue their resurgence with a Freddy Adu led attack while Sporting Kansas City's woes will continue to confound their fans. It's unclear what is going on with SKC but they are clearly not in sync. Three players selected to the All-Star roster is fantastic, but it comes at a time where more distractions could cost them and at the moment, I don't see them rebounding just yet. This is a match between two teams headed in opposite directions. Philadelphia takes it in a dull 1-0 match. PHI 1-0 SKC

Leanne Elston: Philly have clearly turned a corner under John Hackworth, and it will not be easy for Kansas City to get the win at PPL Park. I see it being a close affair with chances for both sides; Kansas City will rue their missed opportunities when the Union eke out the narrow 1-0 victory. SKC simply won't be able to get clicking for this match, while the Union will be feeling extra confident after two wins in their last two matches. PHI 1-0 SKC

Pedro Gomes: Philadelphia has really begun to click as of late. It appears that John Hackworth has clearly let the Union players be more dynamic in attack and has given them confidence to go forward and take risks. This new philosophy has begun to take shape and the Union have shown a very good attacking and creative element to their game while still maintaining a solid defensive effort each time out. Meanwhile, Sporting KC's offense has begun to sputter and they have not been able to force as many turnovers and put the same amount of pressure on their opponents as they had earlier in the year. This one all depends on how many subs each team decides to trot out there but i see the Union bench and starting eleven being too much for Kansas City. PHI 2-1 SKC



Seattle Sounders FC (8-5-6) vs. Chivas USA (5-7-5)
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal

William Schulz: Seattle has finally returned to winning ways, and I think that confidence will carry over. Chivas has shown they are capable of upsets, but I just don’t think they can manage one of this size and significance. Enjoy the Cup Final, Seattle. SEA 3-1 CHV

Luke Lohr: Sounders fans are certainly within their right to be upset, but their team has been impotent for many of the recent matches. However the 2-1 win over Colorado does offer them hope. Still, a defeat to a weak Rapids side does little to quell concerns. Chivas USA hasn't looked particularly dangerous of late either. A 0-0 draw with Vancouver would seem positive to some, negative to others. Really though the issues with Chivas USA go beyond just finishing or defensive lapses. Team chemistry just doesn't seem to be there. Neither team is really in sync or playing exceptionally well. Consider this match between two under-performing, unimpressive teams where Seattle's superior talent seems them through. SEA 2-1 CHV

Leanne Elston: Maybe Seattle has looked a bit out of it in league play lately, but the Open Cup is a whole other competition (duh) and I expect the Sounders to continue their run. Chivas is a good side -- better, actually, than I was expecting them to be -- but I can't see them winning this. Again, it will be a close one, but ultimately Seattle will come out on top. SEA 2-1 CHV

Pedro Gomes: This will be a tough match-up. Despite Seattle's victory over the weekend I still see them struggling to find the right partnership up front and their mid-field needing a little more time to get it back in gear. However, I do not see Chivas being able to mount a serious amount of offense on the day and at the end Seattle's march to another Open Cup will continue. SEA 1-0 CHV


San Jose Earthquakes (11-4-4) vs. Real Salt Lake (11-6-3)
MLS League Play

William Schulz: This one should be an absolute joy to watch. These are two of the best teams in the league right now, and I expect an exciting performance. Salt Lake have struggled a bit recently, and San Jose hasn’t ever really stopped rolling. San Jose will once again have an opportunity to win late, but this time Rimando and Salt Lake prove too much. SJ 2-2 RSL

Luke Lohr: This is THE match to watch for MLS fans this week. The two Western Conference powers are likely to put on a show. While San Jose's over-achieving squad is on an impressive tear in the league, I think that if any team is to shut them down right now, it'd be Salt Lake. After returning to their winning ways against Portland, we can expect RSL to look to avenge their loss to SJ earlier in the season. Saborio and Wondolowski will be on the hot seat to continue scoring, but the likely battle will be won in the midfield where Kyle Beckerman must assert himself in order for RSL to win. San Jose will try to open up their players on the flanks and use speed to break the RSL backline. One thing is certain; we're in for a fun one. SJ 1-2 RSL

Leanne Elston: This one has to be entertaining, doesn't it? I'd be shocked if it ended in a 0-0 draw or 1-0 victory for either side. I'm expecting goals all around and shared points at the end of the night. It might be too easy to say RSL go ahead and the Quakes come back to tie it up, but this match has got that sort of feel to it. With RSL looking a little lost lately and San Jose being, well, San Jose, I'm envisioning another battle right to the end. SJ 2-2 RSL

Pedro Gomes: I see this as being a very entertaining match. Both sides will play their game. Real Salt Lake will try and own possession once again and pass the ball around in order to find that final pass that will unlock the San Jose defense. Real Salt Lake will go ahead in this match but I see the Earthquakes battling back once again and forcing a couple of mistakes in the back of the Salt Lake defense. Look out for a couple of cards to fly in this match and I wouldn't be shocked to see a penalty called in favor of San Jose to tie it late. SJ 2-2 RSL


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