Thursday, October 4, 2012

Three For Three: MLSR Predictions

It feels like every week two teams at or near the top of the Eastern Conference clash, doesn’t it? Well this week will offer no change, as the Chicago Fire travel to Red Bull Arena to reclaim second place. Out west, Real Salt Lake travel to Los Angeles to jockey for better playoff position against the Galaxy. For the third matchup, we here at MLS Reserves have opted to take a break from playoff intensity to hop on the Cascadia bandwagon where Seattle will host the Timbers.

New York Red Bulls (15-8-8) vs. Chicago Fire (16-9-5)

William Schulz: There is more on the line here for New York, as Chicago have a game in hand. Chicago will want to bounce back after last week’s defeat, while New York will hope to repeat their success. I’m a bit on the fence about this one. My head says these two play an entertaining game that ends in a draw, but my gut says the Fire win this one late. What the hell, why not? NYRB 1-2 CHI

Luke Lohr: After the tepid display put on by the Fire against the Union, it's unlikely they'll be able to take on New York with any real chance. Unless the Fire can figure out how to get in sync and quickly, they'll not only be out gunned by the Red Bull attack, they'll likely be embarrassed. New York put on a display against an admittedly weak side in TFC, but it was the team movement and guile of Henry that impressed so much. The Fire don't have a chance if the same New York team shows up. NYRB 2-1 CHI

Leanne Elston: This is yet another important match-up at the top of Eastern Conference table, and one that is going to be fun to watch. Despite New York's 4-1 triumph over Toronto and Chicago's 2-0 loss to Kansas City last weekend, I think this game has draw written all over it. Chicago is undoubtedly a strong side and I don't see them getting nothing out of this. New York, meanwhile, tend towards inconsistency, and they are facing a tougher opponent than Toronto this week. One goal for each side, and one point for each side. NYRB 1-1 CHI

Pedro Gomes:
This will be a fun game to watch. And who would have thought this would be such an important game in the Eastern Conference playoff race at the start of the season. The Chicago Fire has put together a very good run and although they hit a bump last weekend I don't see them stuttering much in the remaining games. The Red Bulls are notorious for giving up early goals and I think the same will be true against Chicago. And although they put up a great score line against Toronto there were moments when they were being outplayed by Toronto and I could see a better team like Chicago taking advantage of that. At the end of the day the teams will end up splitting these points. NYRB 2-2 CHI

Los Angeles Galaxy (15-11-5) vs. Real Salt Lake (16-11-4)

William Schulz: These two haven’t met since Los Angeles was just coming out of its first-half rough patch that saw them linger toward the bottom of the Western Conference table. Since then, the Galaxy have become much more consistent, while RSL haven’t really had a sustained run of form all season. The 4-0 win against Chivas last week was the result of poor opposition rather than quality from the claret and cobalt. I think the revitalized Galaxy are simply too much for Salt Lake to handle, especially at the Home Depot Center. LA 2-0 RSL

Luke Lohr: Right now, Los Angeles is just too good. Looking at their past ten matches, it's hard to imagine where they were when they started the season so poorly. The Galaxy might be the hottest in Major League Soccer right now and RSL will have their work cut out for them when they try to stay that. Nonetheless, Salt Lake does have the talent and team cohesion to get the job done, it's simply a matter of which Salt Lake side shows up. LA 2-1 RSL

Leanne Elston: Remember when the Galaxy were at the bottom of the Western Conference? Yeah, it seems like forever ago. Back then I would've felt confident choosing LA to lose to Salt Lake, but now I'm predicting that RSL get zero points from this game. LA is the stronger team right now, and at home, they'll be extremely difficult to beat. RSL will put up a fight, but as has been somewhat typical of RSL lately, it's not going to be enough. LA 2-1 RSL

Pedro Gomes: Los Angeles currently has only 1 loss in their last 13 matches along with only 3 draws. Real Salt Lake on the other hand has been anything but consistently dominant. Don't let a 4-0 score line against Chivas USA fool you, RSL are not that good and Los Angeles truly is. This will be a victory for LA and another hard loss for RSL at the end of the night. LA 2-1 RSL

Seattle Sounders FC (13-7-10) vs. Portland Timbers (7-15-9)

William Schulz: Seattle are trying to climb back up the Western Conference to improve their playoff seed, but the mountain looks a little too steep in my opinion. Portland on the other hand only have pride to play for at this point. I believe playing for pride in a rivalry game in your own house can be enough to get you a win, but on the road in front of Seattle’s massive crowds it just won’t be enough. Timbers fans may want to look away. SEA 3-0 POR

Luke Lohr: The Cascadia Cup will be all that Portland could use to define itself in a positive light after this year, but it's unlikely they'll get even that. The Sounders are simply too good for the awful team that Portland has become. Rivalry or not, it's likely that Seattle's class will show through and put them up beyond the reach of the Timbers. SEA 3-1 POR

Leanne Elston: I'll be very surprised if Seattle doesn't win this, especially when they'll be in front of their home fans. Portland has certainly improved recently, but they're not going to be a real match for the Sounders. The Cascadia Cup is staying in Seattle thanks to a convincing Sounders win. The Timbers will give their fans some consolation with a goal, but in the end, they're not coming away with much more than that. SEA 3-1 POR

Pedro Gomes: Seattle will win the game and retain possession of the Cascadia Cup. Although Portland has seen a resurgence in form and quality of play I think Century Link will be too much for them to handle. Seattle struggled away at Vancouver and didn't look their usual selves. This will change once they get back to the familiar confines of Century Link and they will once again find their groove. Look for Eddie
Johnson to be very active again up top. SEA 2-0 POR