Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

Sporting Kansas City (12-7-4) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (10-5-7) 

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final 

William Schulz: I could go on about how each of these clubs is doing in league play, but I am a firm believer in the “magic of the cup”. This match is going to be decided by the immaterial, and I believe the immaterial is stronger for Sporting Kansas City. Roger Espinoza is finally back from the Olympics where he played some of the best soccer of his career so far. LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will be packed to the rafters. Here’s where my bias comes out: Seattle expects the Cup, Kansas City wants it. I just cannot wait for this game. SKC 2-1 SEA

Luke Lohr: I said on the latest “Off The Bench” that I think Seattle takes this one. I fully expect it to be a heated match and it also has the potential to be the MLS Cup Final as well. However, I don’t see Sporting Kansas City as having the depth or consistency to take it that far. For this match, Seattle simply has more skill position for position and after their destruction of the LA Galaxy, it’s hard to argue against them. Also in their favor is that they’ve won this tournament on the road before at DC United. For Sporting’s part, they are at home and will have a serious crowd supporting them. Nonetheless, I don’t think it will be enough. Seattle wins this one 2-0. SEA 2-0 SKC

Leanne Elston: This is difficult to predict, and not just because matches between MLS sides are basically always tough to predict. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, I might have been inclined to pick Kansas City to win this, but right now, I think Seattle are the stronger side. They've been more convincing to me lately in league play, and their track record in this competition will give them tons of confidence going in. Of course, Kansas City have the advantage of playing at home in front of thousands of fans who want this title badly -- but unfortunately for them, I still see this going Seattle's way. A close one, but hopefully a good one. SKC 1-2 SEA

Pedro Gomes: Yes! The US Open Cup Final is here people. Although I may still be in the minority here I am genuinely excited about this match. It has everything we could ask for. Two teams who are taking it seriously, a great atmosphere in Kansas City, and the chance for Seattle to make history. And I think Seattle will do exactly that and win their fourth consecutive Open Cup. Kansas City is struggling we all know that. They are having a tough time finishing chances and their mid-field doesn't have the same bite. Seattle on the other hand is looking better each day and just made some key additions to the time that will surely help. Eddie Johnson and Freddy Montero are rounding out into form and I just don't see the Kansas City defense being able to stop both of these talented strikers on the night. SKC 1-3 SEA

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

William Schulz: To be honest, I’m not really looking forward to this one. If the Red Bulls want to be top of the East come season’s end, these are the matches they can’t afford to lose. That said, I’m just not sure anyone is going to stop Houston right now. I expect this match to be a lot closer than last time around. New York still won’t have what it takes to win, but they’ll earn a point. NYRB 2-2 HOU

Luke Lohr: Odd to be calling the same match we predicted last time out but it's so important to the East how could we not? In the last match up Houston won at home, but now we’ll see the Red Bulls at home. For their part, New York is a different team at home, Simon Borg said as much on the latest ExtraTime Radio. It’s true though, New York is a team that seems to flick a switch on and off when they feel they want/need to win and don’t. I see this match going the opposite way of the last one with Houston losing. Houston has done well to get to the top of the East, but depth is a serious issue to make a run for anything and their lack of individual match ups will show their deficiencies against the talent that New York has. NYRB 2-0 HOU

Leanne Elston: Hey, this looks familiar. These teams played each other just a week ago, with Houston coming out the winners at BBVA Compass Stadium. I don't think this game is going to end quite the same way, though. For one, New York will be back at their own home stadium, and they'll be wanting a bit of revenge. I'm gonna go for an exact reversal of the last match -- this time New York will get the 2-0 win, and their offense will be clicking. Houston is obviously a tough side to beat, but New York will be making sure this weekend that nobody forgets they want to win the East. NYRB 2-0 HOU

Pedro Gomes: New York looked atrocious last week when they visited BBVA Stadium. However, I don't see this form continuing as they have too many veteran leaders on the field and too many talented players surrounding them. The Red Bull game plan will be ugly, slow but effective as they will try and slow up the Houston Mid-field with plenty of chippy fouls and maintain as much possession as possible. The Red Bulls may play like garbage on the road but they are still undefeated at home this year and I don't see that changing against Houston. NYRB 2-1 HOU

Vancouver Whitecaps (9-7-7) vs. Real Salt Lake (13-8-3) 

William Schulz: Man, what is wrong with Salt Lake lately? They certainly aren’t looking as strong as they have been, and at this point I think the home loss to Colorado last week will be a bit demoralizing. Vancouver have made some changes in the transfer window and now have what it takes to be a front runner in the Western Conference, and they’re going to prove it here. All the points go to the home side this go around. VAN 1-0 RSL

Luke Lohr: It’s hard to bet against Vancouver right now considering the talent they’ve amassed lately. Real Salt Lake is so hard to predict right now because as Pedro and I have said on they latest podcast, you never know what you’re going to get. When RSL is on, they’re almost unstoppable, when they’re off it’s tragic. Vancouver is a very talented squad that’s beaten the league leading San Jose Earthquakes and then lost to some of the worst in MLS. How do you point to anything but parity with these squads right now? For the time being though, Vancouver is the better side despite the standings. VAN 1-0 RSL

Leanne Elston: These sides met not too long ago and RSL were the ones who bagged the three points. This time, though, the game will be on Vancouver's home turf and they'll be looking to take advantage of an RSL side that put in an uninspired loss on the road to Colorado last week. Vancouver will want the three points so they can move more solidly into the top of the Western Conference, but I don't see RSL letting them get quite that. I'm predicting a draw in this one, with both defenses working hard to keep the opponent's offense off the board. Still a couple goals in this one, but not a bunch. VAN 1-1 RSL

Pedro Gomes: This is an intriguing match-up. Vancouver has probable been the most active team in the summer transfer window and Real Salt Lake has not made any real changes to their line-up. However, I feel as though Real Salt Lake could have benefited from and addition or two on defense and the mid-field. I don't see a lot of offensive opportunities coming from this match as Real Salt Lake has struggle a bit offensively and Vancouver will still be getting their new acquisitions to gel on the field. A draw seems like a likely and acceptable result for both teams at this point. VAN 1-1 RSL

So what do you think? Are we crazy or dead on? Let us know on Twitter or in the comment section what your thoughts are. 

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