Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

New York Red Bulls (9-5-5) vs. Chicago Fire (9-6-4)

William Schulz: Chicago is only one point behind New York in the standings, making a win very important for the men in red. However I don’t think Chicago has what it takes to win this one. I expect New York to score first thanks to their explosive offense, but their shaky defense will concede an equalizer. The two sides will have to share the points…this time. NYRB 1-1 CHI

Luke Lohr: New York has the added firepower and confidence of an astounding front line. Their offense is incredible and I don't see the Chicago back line being a major threat to them. For the Red Bulls to sustain their good form, they'll have to shut down the dynamic attack of Pavel Pardo and Marco Pappa. Chris Rolfe is no slouch either. I look at this as being an offensive affair and which goalkeeper can keep the other team out. Sean Johnson in good form versus the emerging Ryan Meara. This one is going to be fun. NYRB 3-1 CHI

Leanne Elston: I don't know about everyone else, but for me Chicago sort of sneaked up into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Only one point separates them from New York, and the Red Bulls will surely be keen to, you know, not let Chicago surpass them. I can see both teams struggling with this one, and even though Chicago haven't exactly been high-scoring lately, I won't be surprised if New York can't quite get the job done either. In the end I see this one ending in a less-than-exciting 1-1 draw. NYRB 1-1 CHI

Pedro Gomes: New York is facing two must win games in order to stay competitive among the tight-knit Eastern Conference as well as stay within contention for the Supporters Shield and I believe they will get one of those victories against the Chicago Fire. Chicago has been struggling as of late to find an offensive rhythm and I don't think traveling to Red Bull Arena for a 1 PM kick-off with expected temperatures in the mid 90s will help them in this endeavor. I see this match being played at yet another sluggish pace with a flurry of lateral and backward passes in order to maintain possession and save energy. All in all this will be a snoozer with the only saving grace being that many of the typical supporters will be working and will not have to witness this live. NYRB 1-0 CHI

Vancouver Whitecaps (8-6-6) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (8-10-2)

William Schulz: I’m not sure anyone can predict this one. Neither team can decide if they want to play like a real contender on a regular basis. Vancouver is playing at home after a five match road trip, including a 3-0 loss to LA. LA on the other hand seems to be headed in the right direction, at least offensively. Close game, but I’m giving this to Vancouver. The Galaxy’s star-studded offense can’t bail out their inconsistent defense EVERY game. VAN 2-1 LA

Luke Lohr: Right now the Whitecaps are just too inconsistent to predict. Meanwhile, the Galaxy are turning in results worthy of title contenders. Despite the Whitecaps' addition of Kenny Miller, the ranks just don't stack up toe to toe. Expect the Galaxy to turn in a hard fought win, giving further credence to their status as a threat to San Jose for top squad. VAN 2-3 LA

Leanne Elston: The Whitecaps are going to be feeling like they need a win. This will be their first home game in a while, and it's the perfect time for them to get back to winning ways. The Galaxy, meanwhile, pretty much just continue to utterly baffle me every week. I see this being a rather close one, actually, but somehow Vancouver is gonna get the three points and LA will simply regroup ahead of the SuperClasico (is it super? is it classic?) at the HDC on Saturday. VAN 2-1 LA

Pedro Gomes: The Los Angeles Galaxy have 3 wins in their last 5 matches and I see them adding yet another W as they travel to Vancouver. I think the Galaxy team that many expected to see early on this season is finally coming to light and Vancouver will have their hands full in trying to contain them. Couple this with a Vancouver team that seems to still be trying to get all of their newly acquired pieces to fit together and I can't see them putting on a concerted offensive effort to challenge the Galaxy. This has potential to get out of hand for the Whitecaps if they don't keep their shape and composure in the back. VAN 1-2 LA

New York Red Bulls (9-5-5) vs. Philadelphia Union (6-9-2)

William Schulz: New York have a must-win match on Wednesday, whereas the Union only play a friendly. I expect Philadelphia to come in the better rested side, and I expect them to take advantage of a tired Red Bull squad. Both teams need to win this one, but I expect the Union to pull out of their post-semifinal funk and take the three points. NYRB 1-2 PHI

Luke Lohr: Despite the Union's improved output, they are no match for the New York Red Bulls. Sebastien Le Toux will be one to watch for sure, but when you go player for player, the Union are simply out-gunned. Not only that but New York is playing as a team of late and that is most dangerous of all. I expect to see Philadelphia put up a worthy fight from a team who is genuinely improving, but ultimately fall short to a superior foe. NYRB 2-0 PHI

Leanne Elston: See, despite the tough schedule, it wouldn't surprise me for New York to be uninspiring on Wednesday and then come out and cruise to a win over Philadelphia. I'm tempted to peg the Union to win this one -- I'm a DC United fan, I'm tempted to peg New York to always lose -- but somehow I just see the Red Bulls getting this one. And with four wins in their last five games, Philly have to stumble a little, right? Well, maybe not. Who knows? I don't. But I'm still saying 3-1 for New York. NYRB 3-1 PHI

Pedro Gomes: Philadelphia will face a tired and physically drained New York Red Bull team for what will be the second consecutive mid-afternoon kick-off for the Red Bulls. I believe the combination of 3 matches in 7 days, aging players, a shallow bench, and a limited philosophy of substitution by New York will eventually catch up to them. The Union will have the benefit of young fresh legs to give them plenty of energy to harass the New York defense. The revelation of Antoine Hoppenot and Jack McInerney will eventually prove to be too much for New York to handle and I see this match being tilted in favor of Philadelphia. NYRB 1-3 PHI

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