We have a light scheduled this weekend for MLS Soccer Week 6 as our first Friday match kicks off tonight…
D.C. United at Sporting KC (8:30 p.m. EDT)
D.C. United will be without injured star Dwayne De Rosario, who did not travel with the team to Kansas City. Also sidelined are midfielders Nick DeLeon and John Thorrington. It has been three years since D.C. United won against Sporting Kansas City and I don’t see them getting the win on Friday. I will lay the price and look for Sporting Kansas City to get the home win.
The Play: Sporting KC to win and under 2.5 goals.
Prediction: 2-0 Sporting KC
FC Dallas at Toronto FC (5 p.m. EDT)
It’s just a matter of time before FC Dallas hits the skids. However, they are winning right now and that counts for something; but not this week. Toronto drew with a better L.A. Galaxy at home last week and will probably dismantle this over-rated Dallas team in Ontario.
The Play: Three of the four wins FC Dallas currently have came at home. They did tie the Revs in a snoozefest last week on the road, but Toronto is a different team.
Prediction: 3-1 Toronto FC
Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew (7:30 p.m. EDT)
Philly succumbed to a great goal by Thierry Henry last week after Conor Casey had nailed his first goal for the Union with a classic near-post header, yet a chronic case of ball-watching by Amobi Okugo left Henry free to strike the winner.The Crew’s last outing was a 2-1 against D.C. United on the road – which was impressive. Columbus most recently after a win are 4-1-5 and 4-4-2 after playing D.C. United. Philadelphia most recently after a loss are 5-2-3 and 1-2-3 after playing New York.
The Play: This series typically has been all about the home team. The Crew should be fresh as well. All things point to the Crew to walk away from this one easily. But, something isn’t right with the odds then? This is our Dog pick of the week as we look for the Union to upset the Crew on their home field.
Prediction: 2-1 Union in a upset
Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids (10:30 p.m. EDT)
Portland and Colorado kept each other winless by tying 2-2 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last week, where goals by Dillon Powers and Hendry Thomas staked the Rapids to a 2-0 lead wiped out by Will Johnson’s dual strikes. Each team converted a penalty kick and Edson Buddle made his Rapids debut. Normally when RSL is on the road like they are this week, going against them is usually a strong bet, but the Rapids have caught the injury bug. Two of the last three meetings between the teams in Colorado have ended in ties.
The Play: Both teams are mediocre this season on the pitch and the standings. A pass on this one might be wise as we’re not sure what teams your going to get. However, under 2.25 goals at -110 currently seems strong. Risk takers can go for the draw at +220 for value.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers (10:30 p.m. EDT)
The Houston Dynamo are one of the best plays in MLS – when they are at home. On the road, it’s a different story.
The Play: Most will go after the positive pay-out for either Houston or Portland to win, at current betting odds. We know the stronger team is Houston, but we’ll take a draw in this one at +225.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Vancouver Whitecaps at San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 p.m. EDT)
Houston embarrassed the 2012 Supporters’ Shield winners last week by scoring twice in the first half on goals by Will Bruin and Gilles Barnes and throttling the Quakes’ attack for most of the game. San Jose most recently after a loss are 5-5-0 and 3-2-5 after playing Houston. Vancouver most recently after a loss are 1-3-6 and 0-1-4 after playing Chivas USA. San Jose welcomed back Alan Gordon with some minutes last week and this team is slowly putting itself back together. They haven’t looked good all season, but this might be a good home turnaround game.
The Play: There should be some goals in this one – so over 2.5 goals looks pretty appealing. The home team has won the last three games in this series. We’ll play the statistics and take the Quakes in this one – although it sometimes takes them 88 minutes to make it happen.
Prediction: 2-1 San Jose
New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire (5 p.m. EDT)
You have to think this is a must-win game for the Chicago Fire. The Red Bulls are veteran enough to know when to strike on a weaker opponent and snatch up some valuable points on the road.
The Play: If you are successful on other plays on Friday/Saturday and want some action on the last match for the weekend, go for it. Otherwise, pass on it as this one is a tough one to call.
Prediction: 2-0 New York
Several teams have been hit hard by injuries heading into this week. After two weeks of low-scoring affairs (a travesty called rivalry week with almost more games ending in a draw than goals scored), we think there are some great plays this weekend and to look for some goals to be scored…
LA vs. Toronto
Kick-off 2 p.m. EDT
BMO Field / Toronto, Ontario
Toronto and Los Angeles will both be trying to pick up a win on Saturday when they battle at BMO Field. Last time out, Los Angeles (2-1-0) won over Colorado 1-0. Toronto (1-0-2)lost to Montreal last week 2-1. Toronto most recently after a loss are 1-4-5 and 0-1-2 after playing Montreal. Los Angeles most recently after a win are 5-3-2 and 5-3-2 after playing Colorado.
The Play: Toronto FC have not defeated the LA Galaxy in league play since 2008, but the teams met in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals a year ago with TFC winning the series with a 2-1 win in Carson, following a 2-2 draw in Toronto. When the Galaxy defeated TFC 4-2 last Sept. 22 at The Home Depot Center, it was the first time since 2009 a team had won in the regular season series. They had played to four consecutive draws in between. This is the only league meeting between the teams this season and this is the home opener for Toronto. Historically, in Five meetings in Toronto, the home team has just 1 win and 3 goals while the Galaxy has 1 win and 2 goals. There have been 3 draws. We’ll take the statistically play here with a draw and a low-scoring affair as both teams have pretty solid defense.
Prediction: 1:1 draw
Philadelphia vs. New York
Kick-off 3:30 p.m. EDT
Red Bull Arena / Harrison, New Jersey
The Red Bulls and the Union will both be gunning for a victory this week. Philadelphia (2-0-1) comes off a 1-0 win in their last outing against New England. The Red Bulls (0-2-2) dropped a road loss to Montreal 1-0. New York most recently after a loss are 3-5-2 and 1-1-1 after playing Montreal. Philadelphia most recently after a win are 4-0-6 and 0-3-4 after playing New England.
The Play: The New York Red Bulls will be looking for their first victory in five games, and they could once again be at less than full strength. Thierry Henry remains a question mark with an MCL sprain, and his frontline partner Fabian Espindola picked up a hamstring injury at practice on Tuesday. Tim Cahill, New York’s other Designated Player, only arrived back from World Cup qualifying duty with Australia late Wednesday night, and no decision has been made about his availability. The Red Bulls have won the last four meetings between the clubs, including a clean sweep of the three meetings a season ago. New York hasn’t allowed a goal to Philadelphia in 224 minutes and they have never won at Red Bull Arena. However, we do find it strange that oddsmakers have them the favorite here with so many question marks and injuries and the Union has +390 on the tag to win. We’ll take the hometeam to get their first win in this one, but not confidently.
Prediction: 2-1 Red Bulls
FC Dallas vs. New England
Kick-off 4 p.m. EDT
Gillette Stadium / Foxboro, Mass.
New England and Dallas meet on Saturday in Foxboro. Last time out, Dallas (3-0-1) won over Real Salt Lake 2-0. The Revolution (1-1-1) look to build in this match upon Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Kansas City. New England most recently after a draw are 3-4-3 and 2-0-8 after playing Kansas City. Dallas most recently after a win are 4-1-5 and 3-4-3 after playing Real Salt Lake.
The Play: These two teams have 61 total goals combined in 18 matches when played at New England. That’s a compelling stat. This is the only league meeting between the teams this season, and both teams haven’t been impressive but they have been better than many first thought. FC Dallas last won at Gillette Stadium in 2003, a 2-1 victory. The Revolution have won seven of the last eight meetings in Foxborough, with one draw. We’ll take the Revs at home in this one, but we really like over 2.5 goals at -114 for a solid value pick.
Prediction: 3-2 Revs in a shootout – it may even be 4-2.
Portland vs. Colorado
Kick-off 6 p.m. EDT
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park / Denver, Colo.
Colorado and Portland meet Saturday in Dick’s Sporting Good Park. It’s Portland’s (0-2-1) first action since a 1-1 draw against Seattle. Colorado (0-1-3) comes off a 1-0 loss in their last outing against Los Angeles. Colorado most recently after a loss are 3-3-4 and 4-3-3 after playing Los Angeles. Portland most recently after a draw are 1-3-6 and 3-1-1 after playing Seattle.
The Play: No snow in the forecast this weekend – so that’s good. We typically like the over 2.5 goals when you see two winless teams meet early in the season. With decent weather and average defense on both teams, this looks like a solid play for this match at +101 on the moneyline. Also, Colorado got more bad news this week as Ecuadoran defender Diego Calderon is expected to miss 4-5 months after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee on Thursday. The Rapids have won all three meetings with Portland at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, including a pair of 3-0 decisions last season. For value, take the home team in this one to win as the Timbers have never won in Denver.
Prediction: 2-1 – Rapids get first win at home, but it won’t be pretty.
San Jose vs. Houston
Kick-off 8:30 p.m.
BBVA Compass Stadium / Houston, Texas
Houston and San Jose will meet Saturday on the pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium in a battle of MLS rivals. It’s San Jose’s first action since a 1-0 win against Seattle. Dominic Kinnear’s squad in Houston played most recently against Vancouver, emerging with a 2-1 win. Houston (2-0-1) most recently after a win are 3-3-4 and 2-0-1 after playing Vancouver. San Jose (2-1-1) most recently after a win are 3-4-3 and 3-2-5 after playing Seattle.
The Play: Houston just does not lose at home. However, that doesn’t mean they win all the time. San Jose hasn’t looked good nor have they played well, but they have this knack to squeeze out the impossible – especially at the end of games. Teams have figured out a cherry-picker named Wondo, and Houston is too good to allow him any space. Let’s face it, he’s really not all that good, which is why he isn’t called up for national team duty much anymore and most of goals come from PKs. Houston is a well oil machine that may be looking passed this one a bit. At +225, throwing a little on the draw might not be a bad idea.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
Montreal vs. Sporting KC
Kick-off 8:30 p.m. EDT
Sporting Park / Kansas City, Kansas
Sporting Kansas City return home with the task of cooling off the hottest team in Major League Soccer when the Montreal Impact come calling at Sporting Park on Saturday afternoon. Sporting have played to back-to-back scoreless draws, the last at New England a week ago. The Impact are a perfect four wins from four starts to open the new season, coming off a 1-0 home win against the New York Red Bulls.
The Play: Kansas City has been a nightmare to bet on this year. We still believe that this team will be in the mix at the end of the season for the Supporters Shield, but they have been wildly unpredictable and at times some big babies. Traditionally, these two teams split in the regular season – each winning on the other team’s home soil. We’re thinking vice-versa this year. Sporting KC must find a way to win and they’ll do so in a big statement game this week against a surging Montreal team. This win will get the hometeam back on track, but the weather may be a factor in this one with a chance of rain and thunderstorms.
Prediction: 2-0 KC
Seattle vs. RSL
Kick-off 9 p.m. EDT
Rio Tinto Stadium / Sandy, Utah
Real Salt Lake and the Sounders will meet Saturday. Last time out, Seattle lost to San Jose 1-0. RSL last to Dallas 2-0 last week. Real Salt Lake (1-1-2) most recently after a loss are 2-4-4 and 4-4-2 after playing Dallas. Seattle (0-1-2) most recently after a loss are 2-8-0 and 4-4-2 after playing San Jose.
The Play: Seattle is notoriously atrocious on the road the last few seasons. However, RSL is probably one of the bigger disappointments this early part of the season. Toss up game as we believe the Sounders will try to sneak one away with a point. Eddie Johnson is the X factor in this one.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Vancouver vs. Chivas USA
Kick-off 10:30 p.m. EDT
Home Depot Center / Carson, Calif.
CD Chivas USA and Vancouver are set to renew hostilities on Saturday when they meet at The Home Depot Center. Vancouver comes off a 2-1 loss in their last outing against Houston. It’s Chivas USA’s first action since a 4-1 win against Chicago. Chivas USA (2-1-1) most recently after a win are 1-5-4 and 5-3-2 after playing Chicago. Vancouver (2-0-1) most recently after a loss are 2-3-5 and 1-2-0 after playing Houston.
The Play: Undefeated in three games in impressive fashion, Chivas USA will face a real test when they play host to Vancouver this week. Odd stat, Vancouver has never lost to Chivas in their short history (Vancouver has won three of the five matches – including two games a year ago – with a pair of draws). Oddsmakers are looking for low-scoring affair, and we agree. A scoreless draw won’t be shocking in this one, but we’ll put one each on the board. Not a bad play at under 2.5 at -120, but the draw is appealing at +205.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Here’s a quick snapshot of current Golden Boot candidates this season after results from the fourth week of action…
MLS LEADING SCORERS
G PLAYER (TEAM)
4+1 Mike Magee (Los Angeles)
3 Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
3 Robert Earnshaw (Toronto FC)
2+1 Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA)
2+1 Marco Di Vaio (Montreal)
2+1 Jackson (FC Dallas)
2+1 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)
2+1 Josh Williams (Columbus)
2 Jack McInerney (Philadelphia)
2 Fabian Espindola (New York)
2 Claudio Bieler (Sporting KC)
2 Ryan Johnson (Portland)
Due to the International break, we determined that it was too unpredictable to make solid picks for this week’s MLS action. Our advice, lay off and enjoy the games!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here are today’s predictions….
FC Dallas vs. Houston
Kick-off 1 p.m. EDT
BBVA Compass Stadium
Steve Morrow’s squad played most recently against CD Chivas USA, emerging with a 3-1 loss. A combined four goals made over bettors happy. Dallas is 1-0-1 on the year so far and Houston is 1-0-0, coming off a tough loss to Santos in mid-week Concacaf action. Dallas most recently after a loss are 1-5-4 and 2-3-5 after playing Chivas USA. Houston most recently after a win are 4-3-3 and 1-4-5 after playing D.C. United.
The Play: Houston will come in and dominate this match. We also like under 2.5 goals for value.
Prediction: 2-0 Houston
LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA
Kick-off 5 p.m. EDT
Home Depot Center
Los Angeles and Chivas USA are set to renew hostilities in the SuperClassico on Sunday when they meet on the pitch at The Home Depot Center. LA is playing good ball right now even without Landon Donovan and are undefeated on the season right now and advanced this week to the Concacaf Champions League semis. Chivas is still a work in progress and this will be the biggest crowd they see on “home” turf all season. Los Angeles most recently after a win are 5-2-3 and 5-4-1 after playing Chicago. Chivas USA most recently after a win are 1-4-5 and 5-2-3 after playing Dallas.
The Play: LA has owned Chivas in the Superclassico and we see no reason why they won’t again.
Prediction: 2-0 LA
MLS has introduced Rivalry Week, showcasing the league’s best rivalries all on the same weekend. A record 4,200 traveling Toronto FC fans are expected to make the trip to Montreal to watch the game against the unbeaten Impact at Olympic Stadium, where a crowd of more than 30,000 is expected, according to Soccer America. Ten hours of consecutive coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network will conclude Saturday night with the Cascadia Cup match between Seattle and Portland. The weekend slate concludes Sunday with the SuperClasico between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. Six of the nine weekend games will be televised nationally.
New York vs. D.C. United
Kick-off 12:30 p.m EDT
Red Bull Arena
Harrison, New Jersey
The Red Bulls just seem to find a way to lose or to give up leads late in the game. There’s some chemistry issues with Henry and some others on the field – off-field comments by the French star doesn’t help in the locker room either. However, he’s always a viable threat when it comes to scoring no matter what team he’s facing. DC United scraped a home win away late against RSL last week and still haven’t shown much to us on offense. This rivalry is always a tough match and with a big national TV stage, this could be an entertaining early-season battle. New York is 0-1-1 on the year – D.C. United: 1-0-1. New York most recently after a loss are 3-4-3 and 3-2-5 after playing San Jose. D.C. United most recently after a win are 3-2-5 and 2-3-5 after playing Real Salt Lake.
The Play: Over 2.5 goals has huge value in this one – currently at even on the money line. Yes, we know rivalry games usually are low-scoring, but the Red Bulls back line looks out of sorts at times and plays a little too high – giving DC the opportunity to lobbed through balls and use their speed. The Red Bulls, well, Henry is finisher and is looking to get in the scorers column. Every Red Bulls game this season has gone over so far, and every DC game has gone under so far.
Prediction: 2-2 Draw
Sporting KC vs. Chicago
Kick-off 3 p.m. EDT
Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City is 1-0-1 and Chicago is 0-0-2. The fire is desperate to right the ship with two disappointing losses in a row to start the season. This is KC’s home opener and quite honestly hasn’t looked as good they potentionally could be. Something isn’t clicking for Sporting, and it’s showing the on the pitch. The Fire, well, we’re just not sure what’s in the Kool-Aid there right now. After a loss, KC is 3-4-3 and 1-7-2 after playing Toronto. Chicago most recently after a loss are 5-2-3 and 4-3-3 after playing New England.
The Play: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Chicago will be doing everything they can to get their first W. KC will look to bounce back after a disappointing performance last week with a capacity crowd behind them. We find it hard to believe that KC will drop two in a row especially at their home opener, and is a pretty good value at -102. However, that line also suggests that there isn’t too much confidence in this team right now. I think you’ll see caution from both teams in this game to start, so the under 2.5 goals looks like a nice value play.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Montreal vs. Toronto FC
Kick-off 4 p.m. EDT
Battle Canada used to mean nothing (except for those north of the boarder), but with both teams looking to stay unbeaten, it should be an interesting and pretty physical game to watch.
The Play: Both teams can score, but the under 2.5 goals is the favorite picks by cappers right now, so we’ll lean with them on this one at -119 currently. It’s going to be cold, but will be rocking crowd on hand.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw in tough battle.
Philadelphia vs. New England
Kick-off 5 p.m. EDT
Philadelphia comes in at 1-0-1 while New England opened with a surprise victory at Chicago last week to remain unbeaten. Philly is a team that has potential. The Revs have little to no star power on the starting XI, but play nicely as a team. Philadelphia most recently after a win are 4-0-6 and after playing Colorado are 0-3-2. New England most recently after a win are 2-3-5 and 2-2-6 after playing Chicago.
The Play: Take the home team in this one. Not really much of a rivalry if you ask us as the Revs have never beaten the Union. Over is tasty as well.
The Prediction: 3-1 Union.
Columbus vs. San Jose
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. EDT
The come-back kids did it again last week, as the Earthquakes sealed a victory against the Red Bulls in extra time off a PK. But, they didn’t play well and haven’t played well this season. The Crew are the Crew – you get what you get. They are consistently good but not great. Columbus is 1-0-1 on the season as well as San Jose. Columbus most recently after a loss are 5-3-2 and are 0-3-0 after playing Vancouver. San Jose most recently after a win are 3-3-4 and after playing New York are 4-1-5.
The Play: Weather will be a factor with rain/show in the forecast. This favors the hometeam, in our opinion. Take the Crew to edge this one out, but a draw wouldn’t be suprising.
Prediction: 2-1 Crew.
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado
Kick-off 6 p.m. EDT
Rio Tinto Stadium
Real Salt Lake 1-0-1 on the season dropping a late goal last week to a good D.C. United team on the road. It’s a different story in Rio Tinto Stadium and this team has a lot of weapons as well as a strong midfield and backline. Colorado is winless in their only two matches so far and they are in trouble. This is a young team with a lot of spark (probably should have beat Dallas in Week 1) and it’s hit-or-miss with what team you get. However, in rivalry games with the Rocky Mountain Cup on the line, veteran leadership will overcome youth. Real Salt Lake most recently after a loss are 2-3-5 and 1-4-5 after playing D.C. United. Colorado most recently after a loss are 3-2-5 and 2-0-3 after playing Philadelphia.
The Play: It’s the top play of the week for us. Take RSL at Rio Tinto to win.
Prediction: 2-0 RSL
Seattle vs. Portland
Kick-off 8 p.m. EDT
The Portland-Seattle rivalry is widely considered the best in North American soccer as the battle for the Cascadia Cup on Saturday night will be loud. Sounders are coming off a solid win against a B-Squad Tigres in this week’s midweek CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal – advancing to the semis. They played well, but it wasn’t the better Tigres squad that traveled to CenturyLink field earlier this week. Port
The Play: Portland will treat this like their super bowl while the Sounders may be a bit tired from playing earlier this week. We’re taking the dog in this one with the Timbers sneaking one away in a very entertaining match in the rain. Fire up the chainsaw!
Prediction: 2-1 Timbers.
Here are our results from the second week of MLS action. Once again we were strong on over/under picks going 5-3. We had a tough weekend on straight-up going 2-6 overall. For the season so far, we are 5-12 straight up and 11-6 on over/unders.
Colorado 1 – Philadelphia Union 2
Our Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Chivas USA 3 – FC Dallas 1
Our Prediction: 3-2 Chivas
San Jose Earthquakes 2 – New York Red Bulls 1
Our Prediction: 3-1 Red Bulls
Toronto 2 – Sporting KC 1
Our Prediction: 2-0 KC
DC United 1 – Real Salt Lake 0
Our Prediction: 2-1 DC
Chicago 0 – New England 1
Our Prediction: 1-0 Fire
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – Columbus Crew 1
Our Prediction: 2-2 Draw
Portland Timbers 1 – Montreal 2
Our Prediction: 3-1 Timbers
Week 3 Schedule
Saturday March 16
New York vs. D.C. United 12:30 pm NBC
Sporting KC vs. Chicago 3:00 pm NBCSN
Montreal vs. Toronto FC TBD
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado 5:30 pm NBCSN
Philadelphia vs. New England 6:30 pm
Columbus vs. San Jose 8:00 pm
Seattle vs. Portland 9:00 pm NBCSN
Sunday March 17
FC Dallas vs. Houston 1:00 pm ESPN2
LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA 5:00 pm UniMas
It is the second week in the MLS season this weekend with six matches on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Both Columbus and Montreal stayed on the West Coast after their opening day wins in anticipation of matches at Vancouver and Portland on Saturday. The Whitecaps were also victorious on Week 1, while the Timbers played a 3-3 draw with New York. New England, the only idle team on Week 1, opens the season Saturday at Chicago, one of four teams to hold their home openers this weekend. MLS’s three Concacaf Champions quarterfinalists, Houston, LA and Seattle, are off this weekend.
TORONTO vs. KANSAS CITY
Kick-off 1:30 p.m. EDT
Former D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen has a defensive mindset for Toronto FC who will host Sporting Kansas City at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon. Sporting KC got the pants beat off of them in the first half of last week’s Philly win, but played in the second half in the way we think they are capable of playing this season. They have so many weapons and can quickly score, as they proved last week.
The Play: After grabbing a road win last week, we don’t see any reason why Sporting KC can’t do it again. We do anticipate a low-scoring affair, so the under 2.5 goals might be the best play here. Take the visitors heavy and the under light – parlay the two for an even bigger payout.
Prediction: 2-0 KC
COLORADO vs. PHILADELPHIA
Commerce City, Colorado
Kick-off 6 p.m. EDT
The Rapids open at home against Philadelphia this week. Forecasts are calling for up to as much as a foot of snow! The Rapids should have won or at least tied FC Dallas last week, but are still no where even close to being a contending team. The Union did what they did best last year – blow leads and disappoint fans.
The Play: The weather will be a factor in this one. Probably best to sit this one out with your wallet. If you must play, -130 opening line on the under 2.5 goals could be of value.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
D.C. UNITED vs. REAL SALT LAKE
Kick-off 7 p.m. EDT
This should be a good and entertaining match. This is DC’s home opener after dropping a tough loss to a good Houston team, who is idle this week after beating Santos in the waning minutes of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League first leg match. RSL pulled a solid road win off a depleted San Jose team – who is usually a lock at home.
The Play: We’ll lay the points with the home team as DC proved last week to once again to be a playoff contender this year. RSL will give them a fight and expect to see some goals in this one. Value prop is to take Chris Pontius to score first.
Prediction: 2-1 DC
CHICAGO vs. NEW ENGLAND
Kick-off 7:30 p.m. EDT
This is the opener for the New England Revolution as they were off last week. They will be facing a Chicago Fire team that was atrocious last week losing 4-0 to the LA Galaxy. This humiliating loss will scare folks who will be over-reacting to this team after last week’s performance. This is a match that the Chicago Fire needs to win to get back on track and the Revs are so-so at home.
The Play: We will go with the home team pulling out the W, but it won’t be pretty.
The Prediction: 1-0 Fire
VANCOUVER vs. COLUMBUS
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. EDT
Both teams were solid in their openers last week and appear at least on paper to be pretty evenly matched. Toss up.
The Play: For a good value pick, draw could be a nice 2:1 payout. Over looks appealing as well opening at +110.
Prediction: 2-2 Draw
PORTLAND vs. MONTREAL
The Timbers never-say-die attitude inched out a draw with a mediocre Red Bulls team last week at home. Montreal pulled the upset of the week in Seattle by defeating the Sounders at Century Link field – a tough task for even the league’s elite squads.
The Play: Both teams will be pushing the ball and throwing caution to the wind to get a win this week. The heart displayed by the Timbers at home last week puts a soft-spot in our hearts. We think this is perfect let-down game for Montreal who had high emotions all this week from a big win. The Timbers came up just short in a home-open win by drawing with New York. We’re leaning with the home team on this one and get the chainsaws fired up.
Prediction: 3-1 Timbers
CHIVAS USA vs. FC DALLAS
Kick-off 5 p.m. EDT
Chivas once again disappointed a meager crowd at the Home Depot Center last week falling to a good Columbus Crew team. FC Dallas did everything but put a brick wall in front the net on Saturday to escape with a 1-0 win against Colorado. Both teams will look to appease fans in this bottom-of-the-barrel match on Sunday.
The Play: Let’s just say it, both teams aren’t good. But, when two really bad teams meet, it usually provides good entertainment. This is Chivas’ shot to grab a much-needed win and look for this team to go full force at Dallas with what they have on the roster – which isn’t much. The visitors, who did nothing but play defense the last 40 minutes of the game against Colorado will try to push the ball forward as well. Normally we like unders with Dallas, but that’s only at home. Take over 2.5 goals in this one and expect a shootout.
Prediction: 3-2 Chivas, but a draw wouldn’t shock us.
SAN JOSE vs. NEW YORK
Santa Clara, California
Kick-off 10 p.m. EDT
Injuries are hurting the Earthquakes right now and missing the Bash Brothers up top with Wondo – who showed last week why he doesn’t get much playing time on the national team. They will look to rebound, but there’s something in the air in Santa Clara that’s not inspiring the team to fight to the last whistle like we saw last year. This is a prime game for the Red Bulls to send last year’s Supporter’s Shield winner to the bottom of the conference standings (a place they haven’t been in a while).
The Play: Both teams give up goals and both have elite strikers. Go over 2.5 goals in this one and take the visitors.
Prediction: 3-1 Red Bulls, but it will be close until 50-60th minute or so.
Here’s our results from the first week of MLS action. We are 3-6 straight up on picks and 6-3 on over/unders.
Sporting KC 3 – Philadelphia Union 1
Our Prediction: 2-2 Draw
Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – Toronto FC 0
Our Prediction: 2-0 to the Whitecaps
Houston Dynamo 2 – DC United 0
Our Prediction: 2-1 Houston
FC Dallas 1 – Colorado Rapids 0
Our Prediction: 1-1 Draw.
Chivas USA 0 – Columbus Crew 3
Our Prediction: 3-2 Chivas
Seattle Sounder 0 – Montreal Impact 1
Our Prediction: 2-0 Seattle
LA Galaxy 4 – Chicago Fire 0
Our Prediction: 1-0 Galaxy
Portland Timbers 3 – N.Y. Red Bulls 3
Our Prediction: 3-1 Red Bulls
San Jose Earthquakes 0 – Real Salt Lake 2
Our Prediction: 2-1 Quakes
Have a great week! Check back on Friday for this coming week’s predictions.
Pretty solid results on the first day of MLS 2013 yesterday. Hope you fared well.
So far, we are 2-4 straight up on picks, but we were 5-1 on over/unders. You’re welcome for the big Vancouver play. Winner straight up and winner on the Asian play – that was a our call for the best pick of the weekend yesterday along with over in the Crew/Chivas game (although we got the winner wrong, the over was the best play). Hope that worked out for you.
Let me tell you though, some of our losses on the picks included draws for Union/KC and Rapids/Dallas. Philly easily could have been up 3-0 at halftime, but failed to finish at key moments. Rapids lack a goalscorer and just pummeled Dallas in the second half who did everything they could to kill the clock out and get the 1-0 win. Oh well, that’s soccer. We still called Under 2.5 goals as a solid play in the Dallas match, so we won’t be greedy.
Here are our picks and plays for Sunday, March 3, 2013 — share a comment or thought. Let us know how you did on Saturday.
Well, the question lingers: Can LA do what no other MLS team has ever done – that’s a three-peat? Houston and DC have come close in the early years of MLS, but let’s face it, it’s a different league now and we’re looking at a different LA team as well. Veteran Italian keeper Carlo Cuducini has been acquired to replace Josh Saunders, who latched on with RSL as a free agent after his contract expired. David Beckham is gone and coming off the bench right now at PSG – and doing well. Landon Donovan is finding his chi and plans to come back in late March. In our opinion, the guy deserves a break and we’ll see what he brings back to the squad when he does return. Beckham drew fans and TV viewers during his six seasons; his incredible delivery brightened up matches, as did his occasional spats with referees and opponents. He’ll be missed. But there’s still entertainment value in Mike Magee, Donovan and Robbie Keane weaving their combinations, Juninho stepping up to smash a shot or play a through ball, and Omar Gonzalez dominating the back line. The Galaxy, like the Yankees, is a team to be loved or hated, and always monitored.
Chicago made the playoffs last year, but fell to a stronger Houston team. A 17-11-6 record is the best season the fire has had since 2003 and now coach Frank Klopas has a the tough task of getting this team just being a playoff team to a contender. He made some smart moves this offseason to sure up the midfield after Marco Poppa left and has some strong weapons in the middle of the field. They still lack a true striker who can put up double-digit goals in a season. This lack of threat hopefully will be filled by some of player moves made this offseason. Tough middies and defenders will make the Fire a tough out every single week.
The Galaxy went an entire season unbeaten at home in 2011 only to start last year extremely slow after the MLS Cup hangover wore off. The off-field distractions may due that one again for the Galaxy, but we do expect them to pull off a win at Home Depot Center. This should be an entertaining match with outstanding combination play. We like the Galaxy to start where they ended last season in a closer battle than many think. The X-factor in this game is Mike Magee – if he plays well, the Galaxy will win.
Prediction: 1-0, but don’t rule out a draw so easily.
In their second MLS season the Portland Timbers vaporized the expectations created by an unforgettable 2011 campaign of frenzied sellout crowds and spirited performances. A stumbling start prompted the firing of head coach John Spencer. After an eighth-place finish (8-16-10, 34 points) guided by interim coach Gavin Wilkinson, owner Merritt Paulson dipped into the college ranks to hire Caleb Porter away from Akron.
There’s a long list of those who departed the Red Bulls this offseason along with Marquez, Teemu Taino, Jan Gunnar Solli, Sebastian Le Toux, Kenny Cooper, Joel Lindpere, Wilman Conde, Victor Palsson … this list goes on and on. This is a new team once again, but held together by some vets who will be just fine. Tierry Henry is still an elite player, Dax McCarty is one of the most underrated midfielders in the league, and Tim Cahill are back and ready to go. The Red Bulls lost three preseason games to MLS opposition, including one played in a snowstorm. Home or away, weird stuff happens, but those results are worrying even though they’d been unbeaten prior to heading west. But, this is the regular season and this will be a different team when the whistle blows.
We love the Timbers to come out strong and impress their rowdy fan base. This game will be closer than people think through the first half just due to adrenanine. Look for a 1-1 halftime talley as veteran ballers step up for the Red Bulls in second half and put up 1 quick one to start the second period and then solidify it about the 74th minute with a third to escape with a road win. Normally we would consider the weather in Portland a factor, but with the exception of a few places in the U.S., the weather has been cold and crappy just about everywhere – a couple of months from now that will matter more.
Prediction: 3-1 Red Bulls
An astonishing mark of 22 goals scored after the 75th minute, including 10 in stoppage time, confirmed the determination and resilience of the team assembled last year by head coach Frank Yallop and general manager John Doyle. They rescued four wins and six draws after conceding the first goal in 16 games, and were 3-3-4 after trailing at halftime. Both marks were league bests. But are they too much of a fluke? We’ll have to see in 2013 as most of the same players return to start a new campaign. Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, and league MVP and scorer for 2012 Chris Wondolowski all return to action on Sunday. This is an exciting team that provides a lot of entertainment and goals (both for and against), and don’t quit until the final whistle. They do, however, fall behind way to easy. Hopefully, the offseason cured that approach to playing in this league. This team could be a contender once again.
RSL lost four games at home last year, the most since moving into Rio Tinto Stadium full-time for the 2009 season. That’s still a solid record but a slide in the wrong direction. Espindola’s streaky performances and volatile temperament could be frustrating, yet his explosiveness also broke open games in which RSL had stagnated. That element will be hard to replace, as will be the enthusiasm and support of former owner Dave Checketts, who sold his majority interest in the club to partner Dell Loy Hansen a month ago. Getting rid of Espindola, Olave and Johnson would cripple a lot of teams, but they still have a solid core with Kyle Beckerman leading the middle and new keeper Josh saunders in the net and Robbie Findley back in an RSL uniform. We may see a more dynamic era at RSL now, but they do tend to hang deep and play slow out the back.
We may see a more dynamic era at RSL now, but they do tend to hang deep and play slow out the back; something you just can’t do again San Jose and let’s face it, the Earthquakes just don’t lose at home. Have to side with the quakes, but just as most of their games last year, it’ll be close until the end. Maybe pass on this one if you’re playing.
Prediction: 2-1 Quakes, but would sit this one out with my wallet.