Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

Houston Dynamo (10-5-7) vs. New York Red Bulls (11-6-5)

William Schulz: Last week New York showed they still have some bugs to work out. Houston is one of the last two clubs that remain unbeaten at home this season. The explosive Red Bull offense should provide a couple of spectacular goals, but I think their defense remains shaky. It may take until stoppage time, but I think Houston find an unorthodox late winner and maintain their outstanding home form. HOU 3-2 NYRB

Luke Lohr: New York is in better position than they've been for a long time, but they still manage to shoot themselves in the foot time after time. Despite the loss to Montreal, they show an impressive ability to score goals. Houston for their part is extremely strong at home and will likely not take a loss. This match has a entertaining draw written all over it. Expect goals, bad goals and confusion...perhaps a bit of a scuffle too. This match ends three-three with New York feeling as though they let points slip away with silliness in Houston. HOU 3-3 NYRB

Leanne Elston: Even though New York are still at the top of the Eastern Conference (38 points, with Houston and Kansas City tied on 37), it feels to me like Houston is the stronger side right now. The Dynamo are strong at home, and the Red Bulls are coming off a disappointing road loss to Montreal; I can't see New York righting many wrongs in Houston. I'm tempted to predict a draw for this one -- the Red Bulls will surely score in this game, at least -- but I'm gonna go with the win for the Dynamo. An exciting one, probably, but in the end Houston will pull through. HOU 3-2 NYRB

Pedro Gomes: The Dynamo and Red Bulls are the only two MLS teams with an unbeaten home record so far in 2012 and I don't see that changing for the Dynamo. In Montreal, the Red Bulls showed that they can still struggle offensively and defensively on the road. And with the new addition of Tim Cahill and some returning injured players it will be too much movement for them to handle on the road. I see the Dynamo exploiting the lack of cohesion and chemistry on the Red Bulls and finding a way to get on the board. However, the sheer talent on the Red Bulls roster will find a way to stay in the game and tie it up in the end. HOU 2-2 NYRB

Montreal Impact (8-13-3) vs. Philadelphia Union (7-10-2) 

William Schulz: In my opinion, this is a match that neither side can afford to lose if they want even a sniff of the playoffs. Montreal have played more matches than any other team in the Eastern Conference, there is no room for mistakes. Philadelphia are in a slightly more advantageous position having played the fewest in the East, but need to start piling up positive results in a hurry. Both clubs have been unpredictable all season and both find themselves in improving form ahead of this clash. But I think the Impact are just too good at home, and get all three points in spite of a tenacious Philadelphia side. MTL 2-0 PHI

Luke Lohr: Two bad teams with unsure futures. The Impact are proud and resilient, particularly after their win against New York. The Union are still a lost team who lack leadership (outside of Valdes) and firepower. This match will be a bore on both ends of the field with little creativity and worthwhile soccer. The standings will see Montreal climb but all in all, neither team is set to make a run for the playoffs. MTL 1-0 PHI

Leanne Elston: These are two teams that I can't quite seem to figure out. For both of them, it's a back-and-forth of winning and losing with not a lot of drawing; these teams haven't tied an MLS game since May 12th (Montreal 1-1 Los Angeles) and May 19th (Philadelphia 1-1 Dallas). Going into this one, Montreal and Philadelphia both won their last game, but I see the Impact taking the three points at home. I think the Union will score, but Montreal will be just one better. MTL 2-1 PHI

Pedro Gomes: I think this is going to be a tough defensive battle. Montreal's addition of Alessandro Nesta showed instant dividends as he was able to lock down the Red Bulls offense this past weekend. I see more of the same happening against the Union who won't be able to take advantage of shoddy defense from Montreal. The wildcard are the fast and crafty forwards that the Union currently have and if the Montreal back line can keep up with them. In the end I think the veterans in the back from Montreal will hold firm. MTL 1-0 PHI

Seattle Sounders FC (9-5-7) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10-10-3) 

William Schulz: Another match-up between two clubs seemingly on the rise, though both of these are already in playoff position (and I don’t think that will change). I think the difference maker in this one is the fact that Seattle have a CONCACAF Champion’s League the Wednesday before, and I expect Seattle to make a real push in that competition this season. Los Angeles, on the other hand, play a friendly against Real Madrid that night meaning their key players will be better rested come matchday. LA take this one. SEA 0-2 LA

Luke Lohr: The Seattle Sounders are doing well and their half-hazard duo of Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson is still a threat. LA welcomes back Omar Gonzalez and sees the return of it's designated players. The Sounders have made roster moves to bolster their ranks but it will be in vain versus a Galaxy side that is arguably the best in the league. A weakened side still disposed and shut out FC Dallas on a difficult night. LA wins this one and Seattle fans continue to wonder why Sigi Schmidt can't get consistency out of his team. SEA 1-3 LA

Leanne Elston: Every game in MLS is tough to predict (have I gotten anything right so far?), but this one feels particularly difficult. You have Seattle -- further behind in the standings than they'd like but perhaps finding their way again, with an Eddie Johnson who seems to be on a mission to make us all get over our somewhat arbitrary dislike of him. And you have LA -- sneaking up to within a point of third place Seattle, with a team that finally seems to be consistently clicking. This is an entertaining match-up, and I'm not sure either side comes away with the win. SEA 2-2 LA

Pedro Gomes: Both the Sounders and the Galaxy are riding a bit of a high over their last few results. I think Eddie Johnson is finally coming into his own and is showing the league again the talent that he has. The Galaxy are also starting to gel and get results from tough match-ups but I think that a packed Century Link Field is going to give the Sounders all the boost they need to win the three points at home. SEA 2-1 LA

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