Thursday, September 27, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

The season is winding down, but only three clubs (all in the West) have clinched postseason places. Sporting Kansas City look to be the first in the East to punch their playoff ticket when rival Chicago Fire come marching in to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Back out West, Vancouver face bitter foes Seattle in a bid to stay in the final playoff place while Dallas try to overcome Shield leader San Jose to stake their claim on the final place. It’s all going to come to a head very soon…

Sporting Kansas City (16-7-7) vs. Chicago Fire (16-8-5) 

William Schulz: This is a HUGE game for both of these teams. Sporting need all three points here to keep Chicago at bay. Unfortunately for the boys in blue, the fact this match is being played in KC works against them on paper. Kansas City have not beaten Chicago at home since moving out of Arrowhead Stadium (2008!), and Sporting have scored more goals on the road than they have at home so far. Kansas City NEEDS to win this match to stay in the hunt for the Supporter’s Shield (not to mention clinching a playoff spot), but I just don’t see it on the cards for them. Physical, ugly match ending in a draw. SKC1-1 CHI

Luke Lohr: Chicago. Forgive the pun, but they are on fire right now. The team is too good and has such momentum that they will not lose this game. My three compatriots have each chosen a draw, but right now I say that Sporting Kansas City drops the ball for this one. With such major implications for standings on the line, I’m electing to go with the side that has quietly gone and handled it’s business without the bombardment of media attention that Sporting has. For KC, Espinoza hasn’t quite had the same flair we’ve seen of him lately and Chicago’s Chris Rolfe is leading the charge for his squad. SKC 1-2 CHI

Leanne Elston: I shouldn't be, but somehow I'm still somewhat surprised when I look at the Eastern Conference table and see Chicago so far up. Watching their ascent to second place (second place! with a game in hand!) has been pretty exciting, and the only team that sits ahead of them is their opponent this week, Kansas City. Despite SKC's 2-0 win over New York at Red Bull Arena, their 0-0 draw against Montreal was a bit baffling (I'm aware that Stade Saputo is difficult to play in, but the result still confused me). I'm not sure I see SKC posting a win against the Fire, even at home. I'm calling this one as a draw. One goal each. SKC 1-1 CHI

Pedro Gomes: This is going to be fun to watch. There will be plenty of fouls on the field and shots flying around LiveStrong Sporting Park. However, in the end I don't see either team being better than the other on the night and I think this one will end in an entertaining Draw. SKC 2-2 CHI

Vancouver Whitecaps (10-12-8) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (13-7-9) 

William Schulz: Vancouver, bless their hearts, have had it rough the last two months, only managing to earn four points. Seattle have earned over four times that amount. Vancouver needs to win to stay in playoff contention, and Seattle will want to claw their way back up the Western table. I haven’t seen anything from the Whitecaps that gives me any indication they’re good enough to best the Sounders. Seattle wins with ease. VAN 0-3 SEA

Luke Lohr: Cascadia rivalry or not, no one in their right mind can see Vancouver coming out on top right now. Seattle have come alive in the second half of the season. Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero and Rosales are all going to be on the field and will likely take advantage of the disjointed midfield and defense so often put on display by the Whitecaps. Even if Brad Knighton stands on his head to make key saves, it’s likely that we see an punishing Sounders victory. VAN 1-3 SEA
Leanne Elston: Vancouver continue to fall down the rankings, now only two points ahead of Dallas. How things change -- Vancouver looked strong to start the season and Dallas looked abysmal. Now? Now Vancouver have to fight with all they've got to stay in the playoff race, and unfortunately, I can't see them getting a result against Seattle. The Sounders are simply too good and Vancouver too, well, not good. Seattle win this, and they win it with relative ease. VAN 0-2 SEA

Pedro Gomes: Yes, I understand this is a key game in deciding the Cascadia Cup and that Vancouver will be playing at home, however, Vancouver has looked nothing but desperate in the last 3 or so months. I will not be fooled by Kenny Miller's comments that he thinks the Whitecaps last draw may have stopped the rot in the team. Well I think Seattle will come in and pour a few more gallons of water on their moldy house and finally take the wind out of Vancouver's sails. VAN 1-3 SEA

San Jose Earthquakes (18-6-6) vs. FC Dallas (9-12-9) 

William Schulz: I don’t really have much to say here. Dallas desperately need some points if they want to make the playoffs, but is anyone betting against San Jose right now? No. SJ 2-1 FCD

Luke Lohr: San Jose is the best team in the league by far, but this could be a good test of their battle readiness for the playoffs. Dallas will be fighting with all their might in order to secure three points. San Jose will have to weather the storm of unpredictability and an assault by a team fighting for their playoff lives. This one will be a fun match to watch, so don’t be fooled by the standings or the records of either team. SJ 2-2 FCD

Leanne Elston: Speaking of Dallas, they've got this tough match-up against San Jose to deal with this week. Despite Dallas' upswing lately, though, I'd be shocked if they got a result at Buck Shaw. The Earthquakes went to Century Link and beat Seattle (welp, that was a crap prediction I made). There's no way they don't win at home against Dallas. 3-1, Wondo scores yet another, but Dallas at least manage to get on the scoreboard. SJ 3-1 FCD

Pedro Gomes: There is no stopping San Jose at the moment and although FC Dallas has seen a resurgence in play and a solidified defense, San Jose will prove to be too much to handle at Buck Shaw Stadium. I want to think that David Ferreira will be able to dictate the play from the center of the park but I think he will get stifled by San Jose's swarming pressure and quick counters. Chalk up 3 more points for San Jose. SJ 2-1 FCD

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