Friday, April 6, 2012

Week Five Picks

The week has already begun and my picks are already turning on me. I got RSL correctly over Montreal (the gimmie game of the year thus far) and was seconds away from guessing the Dallas-New England match correctly but Ugo Ihemelu had to score a late goal to give Dallas the win. So I got one out of two right.

With a full slate of seven matches set for Saturday, here's hoping the late goals go my way.

Montreal vs Toronto FC

These two Canadian cities have a natural rivalry and now it will spill over into an MLS match. Toronto FC visits MLS's latest entrant in a match that is a budding derby. I suppose it should be a derby given the cities' histories but I'm hesitant to label this as such given the poor state of Toronot FC and the newness of Montreal. Still, it should be a heated affair and Toronto FC should be desperate for a result since they've had nothing to show for their league efforts thus far. Montreal played much better against RSL than they did against New York which gives the club hope coming into this affair. Look for Montreal to gain their first-ever MLS victory.

Columbus vs New York

A rematch of the 2008 MLS Cup final, the Red Bulls visit the Crew in a match that promises... nothing. Columbus may be one of the league's least interesting teams, yet the Crew still manage to get results. Columbus left BMO Field with maximum points a week ago and fared well against Montreal at home. New York meanwhile boast Player of the Month Thierry Henry and seem to be a handful thus far. Still, be wary of New York on the road until they can actually prove something away from home. I see a listless draw.

Sporting KC vs LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy are all but dead, right? Possibly. The dynasty may be crumbling at a much faster pace than anyone expected. This match may not feature David Beckham (hamstring) nor Landon Donovan (quad). Even with Robbie Keane there, if the other two DPs are out then the Galaxy suddenly look mortal. They've played that way thus far this season, and to put up another such effort in this situation is asking for trouble. Sporing KC are the league's top team right now bar none, having gotten maximum points from all four of their games. But can KC really start the year off with five consecutive victories? I say yes. Sporting KC beats the Galaxy in a closer match than many will expect.

San Jose vs Vancouver

The Whitecaps are on the verge of making history. With a clean sheet - or even, with just 60 minutes worth of scoreless soccer - Vancouver will set the league record for most minutes to start the season off without conceding a goal. At first glance, that appears impressive. But look at who the 'Caps have faced - Montreal, Chivas USA, DC United and Philadelphia. Those aren't exactly teams with great offense. San Jose meanwhile has done remarkable this season, trashing Toronto FC on the road and then stealing a victory at Seattle. Chris Wondolowski will end Vancouver's streak and hand them their first loss of the season. San Jose wins this.

DC United vs Seattle

It's fairly early in the season but DC United have already shown they can get blown out, they can play a gritty (and dull) scoreless draw and can blow out another team. They're running the whole gamut here and it's barely April. Seattle meanwhile continue being one of the top contenders, despite losing to the 'Quakes. Seattle now face adversity and to have to do so on the road could make for an even greater challenge. They should do enough to get a point. Look for this one to end in a draw.

Real Salt Lake vs Colorado

The first of three installments of the Rocky Mountain Cup comes at us on the weekend, and it comes at a good time. Both teams have done well of late. RSL escaped a Wednesday night home match with three points as they got past Montreal as expected but the club certainly had an emotional letdown after the weekend's thrilling come-from-behind victory at Jeld-Wen Field. Colorado also enter this match with a home win, having beaten Chicago 2-0. RSL have won five consecutive Rocky Mountain Cups and their quest for number six will begin with a win.

Portland Timbers vs Chivas USA

Chivas USA's defense is building up a repuation of being stingy. The club has allowed three goals in four games and it should have been less than that. Also, the clean sheet at RSL speaks well for the team's defense. But the attack is all but pathetic as there is nothing going on up front. Portland will give Chivas space and if Chivas cannot score on the Timbers, something must change. Portland is a difficult team to figure out. The club has talent, no doubt, but the mentality seems fragile. Against the Revs, the club just did not show up. RSL put two late goals past Portland a week ago to steal that match, and suddenly the Timbers find themselves on a two-game losing streak. But facing a team with as weak an attack as Chivas will help. Portland wins this one.

Season Totals: 6-5

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