Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 4 MLS Picks

One of the outlets I did a lot of work for over the last couple of years was a gambling site. It was actually pretty cool. I would write up match previews in a specific format and then I'd make a pick.

I picked every MLS game for that site from 2008 all the way through last season - regular season, playoffs, MLS Cup. Now, unfortunately, that's over. Having to pick all the games meant I had to stay abreast of what was going on around the league.

We're three weeks in now and I haven't picked a game, and this makes me sad. So I will try and pick the weekend's games here.

DC vs FC Dallas

DC United have yet to win this season while FC Dallas are coming off a tough loss at KC. I expect FC Dallas to come out focused and determined to not let another match slip through their fingers, but I don't think that DC will lose this. Therefore, I see a draw.

Toronto FC vs Columbus

Toronto FC will be in the midst of a difficult stretch. The club will have played San Jose at home on March 24, will have hosted Santos Laguna in a CCL semifinal on the 28th, then will have this home game just four days before playing at Santos. Oh yeah, and Torsten Frings is hurt. And, oh yeah, Toronto's form has been miserable in league. The Crew wins this edition of the Trillium Cup.

New York vs Montreal

Poor Impact. Their hopes were high going into the season but now the team is finding out that life in MLS for expansion teams is difficult. Their fragile confidence has been shattered after a come-from-ahead draw to Chicago at home and a bad loss to Columbus on the road. No goals in two road games... make that no goals in three road games. New York takes this one handily.

Philadelphia vs Vancouver

Easily the most-anticipated matchup of the weekend. I mean, it's Sebastien Le Toux's return to Philly for chrissake. Will that make it the best game of the weekend? Maybe, maybe not but I think it makes this the most difficult game of the weekend to pick. On the one hand, Le Toux may come out fired up and might be ready to score two or three goals on Philly. But at the same time, that feeling may make you look away from the facts - Vancouver, for all they've improved, still aren't a proven team (they will need more than just a 1-0 win at Chivas to change that for me) and that makes them unreliable. As a general rule I don't like to take unreliable teams to win road games. So I'm calling this a draw.

Seattle vs San Jose

The 'Quakes put three past Toronto FC but don't be fooled. That had as much to do with Toronto FC adjusting to life without Torsten Frings and their focus on the CCL as it did with San Jose's own attacking prowess. Seattle are strong and at home and perhaps they will run out of magic at some point soon up at Century Link but I don't see it happening this weekend. Seattle wins this one.

Portland vs Real Salt Lake

Dear Portland... what was that? The Timbers put in a miserable performance against what I feel is the worst team in the league in New England, allowing an early goal and putting exactly zero past Matt Reis. Portland's woes on the road continue, but that of course means nothing as they return to Jeld-Wen Field. RSL had their own troubling loss but RSL played well enough to at least get a point away from their match. RSL are more sound and more settled and that will equate to success. RSL takes the full three points on the road.

LA Galaxy vs New England

Don't be fooled. The Galaxy aren't the juggernaut they were in 2011 and they have traditionally struggled against New England, even at home. A year ago, the Revs stole a point from the Galaxy's home opener and New England has won three of their last six matches vs the Galaxy at Home Depot Center. New England will surely try and exploit the Galaxy's woeful central defense, which has been a part of the Galaxy having allowed eight goals in four games across all competitions. New England will play the Galaxy tough and will get a draw from this game.

Colorado vs Chicago

What matters more - Colorado's awful showing from a week ago or Chicago's strong four points? Chicago certainly has more momentum and with Dominic Oduro on a scoring streak the Fire appear poised to challenge. However, consider this: Chicago are 1-3-1 vs. Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park and have won just three games all-time at Colorado. The Rapids will bounce back with a win.

Chivas USA vs Sporting KC

Sporting KC are on a tear. They've bested all competition thus far, whether it's been at home or on the road. Their offense was supposed to produce these kinds of results as CJ Sapong and Kei Kamara from the start of one of the top attacks in the league. Teal Bunbury will return to give Peter Vermes another piece to the puzzle. But Chivas USA came off a potentially defining victory that if nothing else gives the team a load of confidence entering this match. Will that be enough to topple mighty KC? No, but I think it will be enough to earn a point. Look for a draw from this match.

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