Friday, May 12, 2006

Weekend Previews

MLS Preview Week 7

Last week I went 3-2 and this week I am already 1-0. This week is the first of about 10 weeks without those MLS players who have been called up for their National Squads for the 2006 World Cup. I truely feel that this entire seasons final standings are going to damn near be dictated by those call-ups. The teams that have not been affected at all should be able to create the most coheisive chemistry in relation to the other clubs that are missing regular starters. FC Dallas comes to mind as one of those clubs that will benefit from the call-ups. Clubs like the LA Galaxy are on the opposite end of this idea. They have lost their playmaker (Donovan) and when he was marked out of matches, there wasn't a single other player who stepped up, which is a reall, really bad sign for the defending Chumps.

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo
FC Dallas are hosting the Houston Dynamo for the second straight weekend, after losing to them last week 3-4. FC Dallas are coming into this match after a mid-week home 1-0 victory over the MLS defending Chumps LA Galaxy. Carlos Ruiz scored the game winner with an unassisted goal in the 20th minute. Houston has had all week to rest up for this match, but are heading into Pizza Hut Park without MLS leading scorer Brian Ching, who is now training for the World Cup with the US National Team. They will still have Dwayne De Rosario, who, besides Ching, is on the inside track for the MLS MVP. If this match is anything like their first one, this should be game of the week.

FC Dallas 3 - 2 Houston Dynamo

New England Revolution vs. Chivas USA
So the question will be this - Can the Revolution beat anyone that doesn't have the name Galaxy on their jersey's? New England are coming off a 4-0 pasting of the defending Chumps, LA Galaxy, whom their only other victory has come off of as well. Chivas USA play in LA, so the Revs are hoping that their powers against the other LA club carry over to Chivas. This will be the first of about 10 matches without Clint Dempsy, and if everything goes for him as I feel they will in Germany, he might only be back in New England for maybe 3 more matches as he should be snapped up by a Bundesliga or an EPL club. Chivas USA are still trying to prove that they can beat an MLS club that isn't RSL. If Razov is 100% for this match, they might have a chance to do something, but they will still end up on the short end of 3 points.

New England Revolution 3 - 1 Chivas USA

Red Bull New York vs. Chicago Fire
Bunch of Bull are still trying to prove that they can win against an MLS club, which after Saturday, they will still be asking that question. Red Bull New York have really got to do some soul searching right now. The only player on their roster who has shown up mentally for half their matches has been Tony Meola and he has been damn near helpless in most of his matches, thanks to a defense that has more holes than the Titanic did when it sank. Chicago is on the down side of their 10 match marathon road trip as their home stadium is completed. Considering that they haven't been home yet, their record of 1-1-3 isn't that bad and they should be able to pick up a second victory in NYC.

Red Bull New York 1 - 2 Chicago Fire

Columbus Crew vs. Colorado Rapids
Columbus is the latest MLS club to take a spin on the 3-point slot machine that is RSL, winning 1-0 in Utah last weekend. The Crew have lost only once in their last four matches and as they are at home, they should be in good shape to come away with some points from this match, even though they seem to be trying to set a new MLS record for the number of injuries to their players. Colorado are rolling into Columbus fresh off of a 2-1 home victory over previously undefeated DC United. With Jovan Kirovski continuing to score goals, the Rapids should be able to move up the ladder in the West, assuming that they are able to compensate for Mastroeni being away with the US National Team.

Columbus Crew 1 - 1 Colorado Rapids

LA Galaxy vs. rEal Salt lake
Ah, just what the doctor ordered, a visit from the 3 point slot machine of MLS, RSL. LA has been on the losing end of two straight shutouts, losing by 5 goals in those matches. As they are now without Landon Donovan and Chris Albright, they will need every gift that the MLS schedule can provide them, which this visit by RSL is one of those gifts. LA must come away with 3 points from this match, failure to do so will be catostrophic for this club. I said previously that the matches right now don't mean anything in the long run of MLS, well, this match does for LA. If they fail to take maximum points from RSL this entire season, their other matches will become that much more difficult to get results from. As for RSL, all they seem to be doing right now is trying to pad Jason Kreis' MLS goal record and set a new record for consective matches without a victory, because they are probably scared that Red Bull New York will give them a run for their money this year for shittiest club in MLS. God RSL sucks right now.
LA Galaxy 1 - 0 RSL

DC United vs. Kansas City Wizards
DC United return home after getting a hangover from the thin mountain air in Denver and completely screwing up what should have been 3 points in the bag and a nice trip home. Instead Nowak decides to try out a new formation and that formation started a player whose sole job on the side should be to enter in the 60th minute and run the hell out of the tired oppositions defenders. Now that they are at home, United should be able to learn from their mistakes, return to the line-up (minus Ben Olsen, on US National Team duty) and formation that had them undefeated and be able to defeat the Wizards. Kansas City are coming in with a record of 4-1-1 and are first in the Eastern Conference. this will be a different KC team than the one that had been playing for Bob Gansler up to this week, as he has lost his star defender as well as his starting forwards to the World Cup. Gansler isn't a stupid coach, so he will be bringing a decent squad with him into RFK, however as this is the first test of his new look side, he might just build a bunker side and hope to leave with a point.
DC United 2 - 1 Kansas City Wizards

FA Cup Preview
Liverpool vs. West Ham
Liverpool hope to gain one piece of silverware this season as the face West Ham in Cardiff, Wales at the Millenium Stadium. Having won the Champions League last season, truely anything other than that trophy is a let down. They did finish two spots higher in the EPL this season and if they pickup the FA Cup, they will have a major trophy for the second straight season. Will Benitez's men be able to muster up one more spirited peformance after just about the longest season one club could have?

West Ham are trying to finish off their season with an FA Cup victory to complete their 9th place finishing in the EPL. As Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League Qualifying stage, West Ham automatically gain the UEFA Cup entry alloted to the FA Cup winner, which gives them hope for next season. As the Hammers are having injury problems for several key players, Ashton and Etherington, things are not looking good for the Hammers to take the FA Cup.

Liverpool 3 - 1 West Ham


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