Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

Another week, another round of crucial matches with playoff implications! Sporting travel to New York in a clash for top of the East, but if they aren’t careful Chicago may just take the top spot themselves! The Fire won’t have it easy, as the Columbus Crew come to town looking for a way back into the playoff race. Out west it’s a battle between first and (distant) second as San Jose travel to Seattle and try to move one step closer to the coveted Supporter’s Shield.

 

New York Red Bulls (14-7-7) vs. Sporting Kansas City (15-7-6) 

William Schulz: Full disclosure: I’m a Sporting fan, and I don’t feel good about this one. There is little creativity in SKC’s attack, and it’s really starting to hurt them. New York are a very good team right now, and haven’t been beaten at home this season. That said, Sporting have been very good on the road this season. This will be an entertaining match, but I’m leaning toward a draw. NYRB 1-1 SKC

Luke Lohr: While the battle for the Eastern Conference wages on, Chicago has quietly crept up the table. This match allows two competitors for the top rankings the opportunity for three points. A tie for either team could pave the way for Chicago to take over with few games left. Expect each team to battle for the early goals. At present, the New York Red Bulls are the team in form. After a furious comeback against the resilient Columbus Crew, New York is riding high. Sporting meanwhile struggled to contain Houston. This one ends with the Red Bulls taking three points. NYRB 3- 1 SKC

Leanne Elston: Kansas City still don't look to me like the team they want to be, even if they are sitting atop the Eastern Conference table. Away to New York, I don't see them winning. The Red Bulls have been in fine form, and three points would push them ahead of SKC, which is a prospect surely at the back of their minds. Kansas City will struggle to create chances, and New York will assert their dominance. NYRB 2-1 SKC

Pedro Gomes: New York and Kansas City will be fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and I think on Wednesday night Kansas City will get hit with an old school sucker punch at Red Bull Arena. New York is still undefeated at home this season and even though Sporting Kansas City may have an outstanding road record there is something about home cooking that just brings the Red Bull player's best out of them. New York responded very well after going a goal down against Columbus at home and showed their true potential. The team as a whole is appearing to be meshing better and performing better on the field. Kansas City's best chance at eking out a draw or possible victory will be to go at the New York defense fast and often. Quick counter-attacks have been New York's weakness for a while and if Sporting can exploit that they may still have a chance. But not likely. NYRB 2-1 SKC



Chicago Fire (15-8-5) vs. Columbus Crew (12-10-6) 

William Schulz: The Crew have fallen out of playoff position, while Chicago has rocketed to second place in the East. Chicago is starting to roll, but I don’t think they can put in the kind of defensive effort necessary to keep Columbus off the score sheet. The Crew need this one more, but I really can’t look past Chicago for this one. Three points for the home side. CHI 2-1 CLB

Luke Lohr:  Chicago wins. Simple as that. After being humbled by New York, the Crew grit we've come to expect of late has tapered off a bit. Only heroics from their goalkeeper kept them in the match against the Red Bulls and Chicago put down a wild Montreal side. CHI 2-1 CLB
Leanne Elston: Having now fallen behind DC United in the standings, Columbus will certainly come out fighting against Chicago, even after playing a midweek game. But away to Chicago, I'm not sure I see them getting all three points. I'm gonna go with a draw for this one, with a couple of goals for each side. CHI 2-2 CLB

Pedro Gomes: Chicago has become a very patient and deadly offense int he second half of the season. Their attack seems to be content with moving the ball from left to right until a seam or lane opens up for a good through ball or cross. I see more of this patient build-up leading to trouble for Columbus. O and don't forget if that doesn't work they can always just use incredible amounts of speed up top with Patrick Nyarko or Dominic Oduro to toast the Columbus back line. CHI 3-2 CLB



Seattle Sounders FC (13-6-9) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (17-6-5) 

William Schulz: This should be a good matchup, although there is little on the line. The ‘Quakes hold an 8 point lead over second place Seattle, and both teams are making the playoffs. I want to say Seattle can get what the result they want (a win) at home, but is anyone really going to bet against San Jose at this point? I’m not. SEA 1-3 SJ

Luke Lohr: The third of three incredible matches this weekend really offer intrigue. This match could determine the Supports Shield. San Jose has the opportunity to engrave themselves amongst the great teams in MLS history. They'll need goals from all fronts and Wondolowski to work some magic. Of late, Wondo has been assisting more than scoring, but with Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson wearing those Sounders jerseys, fireworks are likely. Expect Century Link Field to be that much more electrified and goals to cause an uproar no matter which side scores them. This one ends with San Jose making a league statement and shutting down the high flying Seattle side. SJ 2- 1 SEA
Leanne Elston: Boy, these are some important matches this weekend, eh? Yet again, I think the home field advantage is going to play a significant role this time around -- if this match were going to be at Buck Shaw, I'd probably give it to the Earthquakes. But in Seattle, after only drawing Portland in their huge rivalry game, I think Seattle take this one. It won't put them past San Jose, of course, but with LA knocking on the door, every point is vital. The Sounders eke out the win. SEA 1-0 SJ

Pedro Gomes: I think this game will be packed full of energy and excitement but unfortunately I don't think it will come with a clear winner. Although San Jose is traveling to Century Link Field to face a tough opponent with a packed house i don't think that type of stuff has really bothered San Jose all year. Their game plan will be to slow the game down and patiently build-up their attack and wait for their opportunities. I can see this getting very physical with plenty of cards as San Jose looks to keep momentum out of Seattle's hands. The one good thing is there will be a few Goal of the Week possibilities that come out of this match. SEA 2-2 SJ


STANDINGS:

1. Pedro – 17/35 – 48.6%

2. Leanne – 16/35 – 45.7%

3. Luke – 14/35 – 40%

4. William – 12/35 – 34.3%

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