Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

The FIFA International dates make for slim pickins as far as Major League Soccer is concerned, with only four matches taking place this weekend. While these matches may lack the “grandeur” of the last few weeks (one has no playoff implications whatsoever), it gives us an opportunity to focus on some struggling clubs we’ve overlooked to this point in the season.

New England Revolution (6-14-7) vs. Columbus Crew (12-8-6) 

William Schulz: These are two teams headed in completely opposite directions. The Crew have clawed their way back into the playoff contention after winning four straight, and the Revs haven’t won in almost two months (!). The last time these two met it was a 4-3 thriller, but I expect a calmer showing this time out. The result, however, will be the same with the Crew claiming another three points. NE 1-2 CLB

Luke Lohr: How is it that New England have added so many pieces and still cant seem to win. After such promise in pre-season, Revolution fans have been treated to another season of lackluster play. Columbus on the other hand has been on a steady rise towards the top of the Eastern Conference. Months ago, I might have chosen the Crew to draw this match in mediocre fashion. Now though, with the rise of Federico Higuain, this match leans heavily in favor of Columbus. NE 1- 3 CLB

Leanne Elston: Columbus have really heated up the Eastern Conference playoff, moving past DC United into fifth place with a game in hand. And their steady climbing in the standings is no fluke -- they are the real deal now. New England, meanwhile, have gone from potentially very interesting to definitely, well, not. A match against the Crew isn't going to be the time when the Revolution get out of their slump. I do expect Columbus to give up a goal, but their offense is much stronger than New England's. NE 1-3 CLB

Pedro Gomes: Columbus has really turned a corner after the summer with their new acquisitions of Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain. They have added a much needed spark into the Crew's offense. And even Mirosevic in the midfield is benefiting from playing with players who can create space for him to operate and play passes into. New England on the other hand has really taken a dive in form in the past month or two. And now with the loss of Saer Sene I don't see them recovering offensively for the rest of the season. NE 1-3 CLB

Colorado Rapids (8-17-2) vs. Portland Timbers (7-13-6) 

William Schulz: Ah yes, the “Battle for the Basement”. Neither has been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but realistically 2012 is over for both of these clubs. Both teams have been poor for some time, making it difficult to declare a winner. In fact, I just don’t see a winner in this at all. COL 1-1 POR

Luke Lohr: Which team is worse? The Rapids have a once powerful tandem with Casey and Cummings. Portland...well they don't even have that. Still, neither team screams win in this category. Count this as another boring match where one team scores and thinks it's the World Cup.   COL 1-0 POR

Leanne Elston: It took a quick glance at the standings for me to even realize that Colorado are at the bottom of the Western Conference, but I still think they're going to top Portland in this one. The Timbers, as we know, aren't great on the road, and I'm not sure they're going to be able to grab points here. I think the Rapids are going to look to make some things right after losing to Portland not so long ago, and I'm gonna go for a reversal of that previous scoreline. COL 1-0 POR

Pedro Gomes: This is an interesting reverse fixture for these two teams. Although Portland played very well at home and kept a clean sheet against the Rapids in the previous matchup I still want to see if Portland can play well away from home. Unfortunately i don't think they are going to prove me wrong in this matchup. I see Colorado bouncing back very well at home and handing the Timbers yet another road loss for the season. COL 2-1 POR

Houston Dynamo (11-7-9) vs. Real Salt Lake (14-10-4) 

William Schulz: This is the best matchup of the week in my opinion. Salt Lake still isn’t being all they can be, and Houston have slowed their table climb considerably. That said, Houston is still unbeaten at home, and Real aren’t playing well enough to be the first to travel to BBVA and win. I can’t really separate these two. HOU 1-1 RSL

Luke Lohr: Well this is certainly the match to watch. After defeating DC United in dramatic fashion, Real Salt Lake are looking to get something started and build momentum. The Dynamo too are a dangerous team who have the potential to challenge New York and Sporting KC for the Eastern Conference. This is two teams ripe with potential going at it. Expect each team to fire and all cylinders for a match that is not to be missed. HOU 1-2 RSL

Leanne Elston: Real Salt Lake still, to me, aren't playing like the team they could be playing like. They gave DC United a lot of room to play in their last match, and if DCU had taken better advantage of their chances, they might have come out of Rio Tinto with three points. I think Houston, at home, will be much more dangerous. I can't see RSL getting the win, and I think the Dynamo will manage to grab all three much-desired points. HOU 2-1 RSL

Pedro Gomes: I see draw written all over this game. Houston is still undefeated at home and I don’t see that changing even with Salt Lake coming to town. Houston will be looking to bounce back from their tough loss to Chicago earlier and Salt Lake just hasn't looked as dominant on the road this year. I see these teams splitting points all the way. HOU 2-2 RSL

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