Friday, April 28, 2006

MLS 2006 Week 5 Predictions

Welcome to week 5 and a full lineup of matches. All 12 MLS teams will see action over the weekend, but only one of them will air on ESPN2.

The fun thing about week 5 is that it is far enough into the season that people start expecting and/or needing results. For example, at least two coaches must be worried about what will happen if they don't get some points (New York and LA). This could cause games to open up or for them to fall into stalemates. Either way, we should know more about the rest of the season by Monday.

Anyway, here are the predictions.

Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
Saturday - 4:00pm ET

This should be a no-brainer, but with the recent form of LA, one cannot be sure. LA is off to a bad start and now they get to go on the road. As the team showed last year, they have trouble winning away from the Home Depot Center (3-10-3 during 2005) and there has been no indication that things will change for 2006. Cornell Glen needs to keep finding the openings that get them goals, but the real thing LA needs to improve on is late penalties. They cannot keep giving up free kicks near their box during the final minutes of the game. Real Salt Lake has the talent in Jason Kreis to make LA pay for giving them a late opportunity. Even without free kicks, if Eddie Pope can tie up the Galaxy's front line, then Real will have a chance. Still, Salt Lake needs to find the goal more then once a match. The sad thing is, I think this will be a sloppy match that will make for some blah TV.

Mike: RSL 1-1 LA
Wife: RSL 3-1 LA


DC United vs. FC Dallas
Saturday - 7:30pm ET
TV: Direct Kick (DK), MLS TV

Another week, another chance for FCD to take down the top team in the East. Last week they were able to topple KC while playing a man down for 25-minutes, put playing DC at home might prove to be a tougher test. For Dallas, Kenny Cooper must keep surprising teams, but Carlos Ruiz also has to get into this one. If Ruiz hopes to hit the 20-goal mark this season as he predicted, he needs to start finding the net soon. Dario Sala has looked good in goal, but the backline is shaky (and it might be shakier with defender Chris Gbandi sitting out due to last week's red card). For DC, they are bringing it together all over the pitch. Ben Olsen and Brian Carroll are taking control in the middle, allowing Christian Gomez, Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno to get it done up top. They could still use a bit more tuning on defense, but Bobby Boswell and Brandon Prideaux are doing okay. All and all, I think this is going to be a thrilling game from start to finish, and I think FC Dallas will find a way to pull it out. I say this because they have been able to frustrate everyone else they've played while sneaking in goals when needed. DC will be the biggest test to date for the team but I think they will find a way. It's a shame this one will not be on ESPN2.

Mike: DC 2-3 FCD
Wife: DC 2-3 FCD


Columbus Crew vs. KC Wizards
Saturday - 7:30pm ET

I'm still shocked by the Crew's win over LA last week, but I have a feeling things will get back to normal on Saturday when they welcome KC to town. Last week the Wizards played a bit better then Dallas, but they could not finish their shots. Are they still getting use to their 4-3-3 lineup like Josh Wolff claims or is Eddie Johnson too busy planning his career in Europe to focus on such tasks? I'm not trying to knock Eddie, but he has seemed a bit distracted of late. On defense for KC, Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia should be able to handle the Crew's Kei Kamara. There is no reason the Wizards should lose this one, so they won't.

Mike: Crew 0-2 KC
Wife: Crew 1-2 KC


Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo
Saturday - 9:00pm ET

With Jean Philippe Peguero gone from Colorado to New York, who is suppose to give the team an offense spark? Dedi Ben Dayan is getting over an injury but is still not 100%. Fabrice Noel is questionable, meaning Clint Mathis might need to start and when was the last time he was a threat throughout an entire game. For the Dynamo, they have a hopped up Dwayne De Rosario in their midfield and striker Brian Ching, who can find just about any ball with his head, leading the charge. In front of the net, they have the always-strong Pat Onstad holding their defense together. This is a recipe that has served the team well in the past and it should not be stopped by the likes of the Rapids.

Mike: Rapids 1-3 Houston
Wife: Rapids 1-0 Houston


Chivas USA vs. New York Red Bull
Saturday - 10:00pm ET

Everyday seems to bring more confusion to the Reds. Who is getting fired, who is getting traded, where are they going to play, etc. As they displayed last week, off the pitch troubles are not staying off the pitch. Has anyone seen midfielder Amado Guevara? I seem to recall him being very vocal over the off-season, but I haven't heard much of him lately. Youri Djorkaeff has been a bit of a bright spot for the team, but that is not enough to make New York a threat. If it wasn't for Tony Meola between the posts, I think every game for the Bulls would be a whopping like last week. Still, they are playing Chivas, so who knows. The Goats are much better then last year, but they still find ways to give up goals late. Good news for them, John O'Brien has looked strong in scrimmages over the last week and might be a factor on Saturday. If O'Brien can team up with forward Juan Francisco Palencia, then Chivas will beat the Bulls.

Mike: Chivas 2-1 NY
Wife: Chivas 1-1 NY


New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
Sunday - 3:00pm ET

New England head home for the first time this season after a week off, but will it be enough to wake this team up? The only people playing close to their expected level are Clint Dempsey and Matt Reis. They need Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan, Michael Parkhurst and Shalrie Joseph to shake off whatever funk they have fallen under and start finishing plays. The Revs have done a good job of getting the ball into the opponent’s third, but then they have nothing. For the Fire, Chris Rolfe needs to keep hot with Justin Mapp supporting him. If Jim Curtin can contain the attack without giving up penalty kicks, the Fire might be able to get yet another difficult road point. Still, New England is going to break out at some point and a home opener is a very good place to do that.

Mike: NE 2-1 Chicago
Wife: NE 2-1 Chicago


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