Category Archives: Weekend picks
Swansea 2 West Ham 0
Aston Villa 2 Everton 1 (I know, I know)
Manchester United 3 Fulham 0
Norwich City 3 Queens Park Rangers 2
Southampton 1 Wigan 3
Sunderland 1 Reading 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2 West Brom 0
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1
Stoke City 1 Arsenal 1
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 2
Last week’s record: 5-3-2
Arsenal 3, Sunderland 0
Fulham 2, Norwich 1
Queens Park Rangers 2, Swansea 0
Reading 0, Stoke 0
West Brom 1, Liverpool 1
West Ham 2, Aston Villa 2
Newcastle 2, Tottenham 1
Wigan 1, Chelsea 3
Manchester City 5, Southampton 0
Everton 1, Manchester United 1
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
There are no matches Saturday featuring top sides clashing, so the best we can do is either Kansas City (10-2-5) hosting Houston (6-6-5) or Seattle (7-6-5) hosting Colorado (7-1-9). KC had a weird match in midweek against Montreal, being dominated for most of the time, falling behind, then scoring three goals late in the second half. Despite the win, it wasn’t a great performance. Houston have failed to catch on fire after opening their new stadium, and it’s difficult to see them getting three points here. Seattle are winless in nine, and Colorado is coming off a disappointing home defeat to Vancouver. It’s difficult to understand why the Sounders are so disjointed- Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales have been healthy lately, though neither has performed particularly well. They just look like a team lacking in confidence. The Rapids are creating a lot of chances, but not scoring many. They’ve never beaten Seattle in Seattle. Other matches include Real Salt Lake (10-3-6) – winless in four straight, but getting Jamison Olave back, probably – against Portland (5-4-7), who haven’t been very good, but beat San Jose in their last match; Dallas (3-6-9) hosting league leaders San Jose (11-3-4); and Chivas (5-4-7) welcoming Vancouver (8-5-4). Both Portland and Chivas can pull level on points with Colorado for the final playoff spot with a win and a Colorado loss.
The best match on Sunday is Chicago (8-4-5) against the Galaxy (6-2-10). The Fire are undefeated in their last four (3-1-0) and within touching range of the Top 3 in the East. The Galaxy looked to be back on the path to the playoffs before blowing a two-goal lead against the Earthquakes and then losing at home to the Union of all teams. They’ll be without David Beckham for this match, who was suspended, finally, for antagonizing the referees. The Red Bulls (9-4-4) are traveling to wherever New England (5-4-7) plays (Boston? Who knows?). A win coupled with KC’s failure to win would put New York back in first in the East. That will probably largely depend upon whether or not Thierry Henry is off this week or not, since he seems to just call in and let the team know when he’ll be playing. The other two matches involve non-playoff teams. The Union (4-2-9) host surging Toronto (2-4-10) – as surging as a team with two wins can be – and struggling Montreal (5-3-11) host Columbus (6-4-5). The Impact just announced the signature of Italian great Alessandro Nesta, though it’s doubtful he’ll be match fit for a while. With all the new signings of experienced, classy players, expect the Impact to be very good the last 10 matches or so, though they might be long since out of the playoff hunt by then.
Alright folks, the first round is done. Sorry I didn’t get in the final two days of highlights, but they were mostly anticlimactic anyway, except for maybe the disallowed Ukraine goal and the two very good goals from Balotelli and Ibrahimovic. Anyway, on to the quarterfinals! All times Pacific.
Thursday, June 21
Czech Republic vs. Portugal. (11:45 a.m., ESPN) Probably the least expected – and also least boosted by star power of the four games. Which is amazing, considering His Hair Gel is playing. Yes, I mean Cristiano Ronaldo. Nonetheless, it should be a good match. Portugal is favored, but the Czechs have been very good since their tourney-opening thumping at the hands of the Russians. Since neither team could really be called an offensive juggernaut, what happens is pretty much down to how successful the Czechs (and right back Theodor Gebrie-Selassie, who has been quite good so far) contain Ronaldo. The winner of this takes on the winner of Spain-France. Prediction: I want to pick the Czechs, but I just can’t. Portugal 1-0.
Friday, June 22
Germany vs. Greece. (11:45 a.m., ESPN) The other big shock of the tournament so far, with the Greeks coming back to knock off the heavily favored Russians. If they pulled off the upset again, it would be a really really really big upset. It’s not impossible, but this is an aging Greek team, not as defensively sound as in the past, with arguably the worst forward pool in the competition. Germany, meanwhile have stars at every position and are probably the most unstoppable attacking force in the tournament. But hey, it could happen, right? The winner takes on the winner of England-Italy. Prediction: Germany 3-0
Saturday, June 23
Spain vs. France. (11:45 a.m., ESPN2) This is the one game in the quarterfinals that is on ESPN2 – we can only presume that the Tennessee high school girls’ championship is on at this time. The media seemed pretty shocked that France, which was basically qualified by this point, didn’t seem all that upset to lose to Sweden in their final match, thus ceding the group to England and meaning France takes on Spain. Here’s the thing, though: France would probably have to play Spain at some point in the tourney anyway, and the winner takes on either the Czechs or Portugal, far less daunting than a possible semifinal date with Germany. So in a way, it makes sense. the defending champs haven’t lost a match yet, but aside from a 4-0 win over hapless Ireland, they haven’t been convincing. Prediction: France pulls the upset, 2-1.
Sunday, June 24
England vs. Italy. (11:45 a.m., ESPN) As kind of noted in the Spain-France preview, I thought people’s reactions to the seeding from Group D was curious. England fans cheered wildly with news that they were getting Italy instead of Spain in the quarterfinals. It’s true, Spain would probably beat England, but Italy are also very good. There is a question whether an England team with a not quite fit Wayne Rooney, an underperforming Ashley Young, and well, Andy Carroll (I think Danny Welbeck is decent, so I’m not including him) will be able to break down an organized Italian defense. They struggled to do just that against France (no shock there) and Ukraine, and both teams were inept defensively in the match with Sweden, so this will be the English team’s first chance to show they can score goals against a good defensive team. Italy aren’t high scoring, but Andrea Pirlo has played well, and their rotating cast of forwards has shown at least one guy can pop up and put the ball in the back of the net. Prediction: 1-1, Italy wins on penalties.
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
Good news, soccer fans: Your favorite sport returns tomorrow when the MLS ends its self-imposed FIFA break MLS break. What have you been up to for the last two weeks? Playing golf? All times Pacific, as always.
Several matches of interest on Saturday. Two have to do with new coaches. Philadelphia (2-2-7) host Eastern Conference leader DC United (8-3-4) in one that’s less interesting for the matchup, and more interesting for seeing what new Union coach Tom Hackworth does with a squad ravaged by old coach Piotr Nowak. That starts at 4. Another team with a new coach is Toronto FC (1-0-9) – now being led by Tom Mariner. Will they improve now that the Aron Winter era is over? They’re visiting Kansas City (8-1-3) at 5:30, which is the easiest match for a struggling team. If you love the “Texas Derby” between Houston (4-4-4) and FC Dallas (3-4-8) – at 4:30 p.m., you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, you might ask why you would want to watch two struggling teams. The only other real match of note on Saturday is Vancouver (6-4-3), coming off a thumping victory over Houston, taking on Colorado (6-1-6) at 4 p.m. If Colorado were to win, they’d overtake the ‘Caps for 5th in the conference. Other matches include: Montreal (3-3-7) opening their new stadium against Seattle (7-3-3) at 4:30 p.m.; New England (5-1-7) hosting Columbus (5-3-4) at 4:30 – the Revs leapfrog the Crew with a win; and Chivas (4-3-6) hosting Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake (9-2-3) at 7:30 p.m.
Two matches on Sunday. The first sees Chicago (5-3-5) hosting New York (8-2-3) at 2. It’ll be interesting to see if the Red Bulls can keep their recent hot streak going after the long break. If they can win the game and United lose or draw, they’ll be back in first in the East. The Fire are mediocre, but that’s good enough to make the playoffs in the MLS. In the other match of the day, the Galaxy (3-2-8) host Portland (3-4-5) at 4 p.m.. Neither team is playing too will. There were rumors swirling around that LA coach Bruce Arena was being replaced, but I haven’t heard anything about it today, so I imagine it’s untrue. I guess we’ll see. I feel like I say this every day, but the Galaxy need to start winning at some point if they have any hope of making the playoffs. You’d probably have to roughly estimate that they need 39 points from their final 21 matches to make the playoffs, which will be hard to do. Portland are in a similar boat, though a win would put them five points ahead of LA with a game in hand.
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
With the Euros starting in about 10 days, and to a lesser extent, the Olympics, it’s pretty likely that I’ll spend less time on MLS action for most of the month – which is just as well, since they insist on not stopping league matches for hell or high water, even if everyone else is watching something else. Nonetheless, all times Pacific, as always.
Most eyes will be on the U.S.-Scotland friendly (5 p.m.; on NBC Sports Network, whatever that is – look for it online), which is good, because there are no crucial crucial matchups on Saturday. Real Salt Lake looks to jump back into first, at least temporarily as they take on FC Dallas (6 p.m.), who really are starting to look like one of the league’s worst teams. The only other team within spitting distance of first in either division who are playing Saturday is Seattle – they travel to L.A. to take on Chivas (7:30 p.m.). Seattle has been struggling lately, and Chivas have looked much improved. Speaking of the other L.A. team, the defending champs visit Houston (11:30 a.m.) David Beckham is playing, surprising those of us who half-expected him to be suspended (as other players would have been) for criticizing the officiating in the Galaxy‘s horrendous collapse at home to San Jose on Wednesday. Beckham’s non-suspension continues the league’s long-running policy of not doing anything that will upset such a big star, even if he deserves it. In other matches of note, suddenly the Crew are playing well, and they host the Fire, who have also been playing pretty well, at 4 p.m.; DC United look to continue to rise up the standings when they host New England (4:30 p.m.), and Portland hosts Vancouver (7 p.m.) Oh yeah, Colorado takes on Montreal at 6 p.m., and Toronto hosts Philadelphia at 1:30 in a match no one wants to watch. Trust me, don’t watch it!
Only one match Sunday, but it’s a doozy: Kansas City takes on San Jose (1:30 p.m.). The Earthquakes looked dead and buried against the Galaxy last week, even though LA was down to 10 men, but then rallied to score three late in the second half and win. They’ll still be without Chris Wondolowski, but if they can build on that performance, they have a good shot against KC, who have yet to shake off the doldrums of their recent 0-1-3 run, though the 2-2 draw against Colorado last week was at least a better performance.
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
Vancouver 2 Seattle 2. Fredy Montero scores a late equalizer in this match to give both teams a share of the points. It was a nice goal by him too, though not particularly great defending on the part of Vancouver. Alain Rochat had a nice run and finish (more poor defending) to open the scoring for the Whitecaps, before Eddie Johnson (!) equalized. Camilo scored the other goal for Vancouver on a free kick that eluded everyone and went in. Both teams played OK, though it always felt like Seattle were going to tie it up. Prediction: 1-1
Montreal 1 New York 2. Disaster for Montreal, who lose on a Dane Richards goal despite playing against 10 men for much of the second half. The big talking point in this match was probably referee Ismail Elfath, who gave two penalties and sent a player off, but in his defense, it was his first MLS match ever. Which begs the question: Why does the MLS have referees who have never ref’ed before? Anyway, Bernardo Corradi, who is pretty much a designated penalty-taker and doesn’t do a whole lot else, scored the opener – on a penalty – for Montreal, before Kenny Cooper tied it with his own penalty. Victor Palsson was sent off for two yellows, and they were soft yellows but also dumb fouls. New York has won five straight, four without Henry. Prediction: 2-2
DC United 3 Toronto 1. More sleepy defending (and opportunistic finishing from Dwayne DeRosario) sends Toronto to their ninth straight loss. Seriously, why is Aron Winter still in charge of this team? It’s one thing to say your defenders made some mistakes, it’s another to make really obvious, preventable ones for nine straight games. Fire him, he’s not a good coach. DeRo had two goals, Hamdi Salihi scored the other for DC, and Danny Koevermans, god bless him for playing on this team, scored for Toronto. Prediction: DC 2-0
New England 2 Houston 2. Saer Sene scores twice for the Revs, but Luis Camargo’s nice volley gives Houston a point. The other goal was from Will Bruin. I have to make a complaint about Matt Reis, Revs goalkeeper. I know he’s been playing in the MLS since 1974, but I have seen him come out on more than one occasion and attempt to claim a cross or corner and have it bundled in by the opposing team. For some reason, MLS announcers never take him to task for this, but a good goalkeeper doesn’t leap out of position numerous times, leaving the other team to head into an empty net – or give up three feet of space at his near post for the opposing player to volley the ball into for a draw. With someone else in goal, Houston wouldn’t have scored in this match. Thank you, that is all. Prediction: New England 2-1
Dallas 1 Philadelphia 1. Blas Perez (Dallas) and Gabriel Gomez both score “sensational” headers (according the MLSsoccer.com) in this match. Actually, neither header was sensational, they were simply headed goals, but thank you, MLS for being creative with your adjectives. A blah match between two poor teams. New Union signing Michael Lahoud, who I famously referred to as “Rhymes With No Good” Lahoud, should’ve been sent off. Prediction: Dallas 2-1
Colorado 2 Kansas City 2. Colorado rallies from two-down against a Kansas City team that was clearly pretty worried about hanging onto their lead in the second half. Teal Bunbury briefly reminded people why he was considered a player-to-watch for the U.S. as recently as last year by scoring twice in the first 15 minutes, but goals from Tyrone Marshall and Kosuke Kimura earned the Rapids the draw. In truth, 75 minutes is a long time to hold onto a 2-0 lead when you’re playing in someone else’s park, so both teams will probably be happy with a point. Prediction: 1-1
San Jose 1 Columbus 1. Aside from a brief stretch in the first half where the Crew took the lead, San Jose was by far the better side in the match, but it took former Yavapai College striker Alan Gordon’s late goal to earn the Quakes a point. The goalscorer for Columbus was another former Yavapai College player – Justin Meram. Speaking of Meram, with goals in back-to-back matches and general fine attacking play, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become more and more talked about in the league. He certainly offers more than many of the Crew’s sad collection of attacking players. Columbus also benefited from a poor performance from Chris Wondolowski, which hasn’t happened much this year. Prediction: San Jose 2-0
Chivas USA 1 LA Galaxy 0. Jose Erik Correa, who was far, far better than any of the Galaxy’s attacking players, and scored the winner on a penalty after LA’s David Junior Lopes had blocked his goalbound shot with his hand (and was sent off). After this match, I shall henceforth refer to the Galaxy as “LA’s Gals.” Not to get too statty, but of the Gals’ 329 completed passes, only about 40 percent were in the Chivas defensive half (compared to more than half for Chivas). What that means, essentially, is that the Galaxy passed the ball around their back four a lot and did little else. Prediction: 2-2
Portland 2 Chicago 1. A Logan Pause own goal gives Portland three points against Chicago. The Timbers scored first on an Eric Brunner goal, and then the Fire equalized through Jalil Anibaba. After the match, Chicago defender Dan Gargan referred to Jello-When Field as “a shoebox,” but seemed to ignore the fact that no one cares what Dan Gargan thinks about anything. Prediction: 1-1
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
Abbreviated, sorry. All times Pacific, as usual.
Vancouver (5-2-3) v. Seattle (7-1-2). (2 p.m.) A disappointing draw in the first leg of the Canadian Championship against Toronto was not the way the Whitecaps hoped to follow the crushing defeat last week at New England. Seattle struggled to create chances against RSL in their last match, ending their winning streak. Prediction: 1-1
Montreal (3-3-5) v. New York (7-1-3). (4:30 p.m.) The red-hot Red Bulls take their four-match winning streak into Montreal, where the Impact have quietly begun to play like an MLS team and are undefeated in their last four. Prediction: 2-2
DC United (6-3-4) v. Toronto (0-0-8). (4:30 p.m.) DC United easily beat Colorado in midweek, and now take on league-worst Toronto, who they beat in Toronto’s last match. Don’t expect much to change here. Prediction: DC 2-0
New England (4-0-6) v. Houston (3-3-3). (4:30 p.m.) After a 4-1 win against Vancouver, the Revs are tied with Houston (albeit with one more match played) for the final playoff spot in the East. The Dynamo aren’t scoring very many goals. Prediction: New England 2-1
Dallas (3-3-6) v. Philadelphia (2-1-6). (5:30 p.m.) Dallas have had players sent off in three of their last four matches, none of which they’ve won. For the Union, Piotr Nowak is continuing his bizarre deconstruction of what was once one of the East’s best teams – this time exchanging captain Danny Califf for Chivas’ Michael “Rhymes With No Good” Lahoud. Prediction: Dallas 2-1
Colorado (5-0-6) v. Kansas City (7-0-3). (6 p.m.) As I’ve mentioned endlessly on here, Colorado have been the ultimate up and down team, only conceding one goal in five wins, and giving up 13 in six losses. KC have lost their last three, but they’re bound to turn it around at some point. Prediction: 1-1
San Jose (7-2-2) v. Columbus (3-2-4). (7:30 p.m.) The Quakes have stumbled a bit the last two weeks in losing one and drawing one, but Chris Wondolowski continues to put the ball in the back of the net, which should be good enough to beat struggling Columbus – though the Crew looked much better last week against Dallas. Prediction: San Jose 2-0
Chivas USA (3-1-6) v. LA Galaxy (3-2-5). (7:30 p.m.) Chivas have been terrible all year, but made some astute trades to pick up US National Team forward Juan Agudelo and defender Danny Califf this week. Will it be enough to beat a Galaxy team that is struggling but always seems to find a way to win this match? Umm…I don’t know. Prediction: 2-2
Portland (2-3-5) v. Chicago (4-3-2). (4 p.m.) I hate to predict so many draws, but I just don’t think the Timbers are playing well enough to beat Chicago, but conversely, I don’t feel like the Fire have been clicking enough to just automatically pick up three points. Prediction: 1-1
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
All times Pacific, as usual.
Montreal (3-2-5) v. LA Galaxy (3-1-5). (1 p.m.) The expansion Impact take on the defending champs in this match. Since the MLS has shifted the playoffs this season (I love how it changes every year), now the Top 5 teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, which means that the Galaxy are five points away from playoff qualification, instead of 2 in the old format, while Montreal are currently the No. 5 seeded team in the East. Did anyone expect that Montreal might be favorites for this match? When will the Galaxy start turning it on? Will they? Prediction: Montreal 2-1
Houston (2-2-3) v. DC United (5-3-3). (1:30 p.m.) Houston emerged from their season-opening 7-match road streak with a respectable 8 points, and if Sporting Kansas City’s season after their 10-match opening road trip (also for a new park) is any indication, Houston should be fighting for the No. 1 seed in the East by the end of the year. But we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, this is probably the marquee matchup for the weekend, if for no other reason to see what the new park looks like. United are off to a good start, but expect emotions to be running high for the Dynamo. Prediction: Houston 3-1
Columbus (2-2-4) v. Dallas (3-3-5). (4:30 p.m.) This is a matchup between two teams underperforming so far this year. Columbus have been poor defensively and punchless in attack, and Dallas have been mostly good, but can’t seem to score when Blas Perez isn’t on the pitch – hence their last two defeats. He should be back today, and after outplaying Seattle but losing, Dallas has to feel they can win this game. Prediction: 1-1
New England (3-0-6) v. Vancouver (5-2-2). (4:30 p.m.) In the mostly mediocre East, the Revs know that if they can pick up a few more points from their matches, they should be able to finish ahead of teams like Montreal and Columbus. With that in mind, they have to pick up at least a point against a good, but not great, Whitecaps team. Vancouver beat Edmonton in midweek in the Canadian Championship (and if the world is just, will beat Toronto in the final in a couple weeks), but need to keep shutting teams down if they want to compete for a Top 3 spot in the West. Prediction: 1-1
Chicago (3-3-2) v. Kansas City (7-0-2). (5:30 p.m.) About one-third of the way through the season, the Fire are in the playoff mix and are looking to extend their undefeated streak to three matches. Doing so will require beating Kansas City, who are better based on their record, but have lost their last two. In both cases, Kansas City had more possession but failed to score. They have to be wary taking on a Fire team that, though not prolific, has the ability to score on the counter. Prediction: 1-1
Seattle (7-1-1) v. Real Salt Lake (7-2-3). (7 p.m.) Houston’s home opener aside, this is probably the marquee matchup of the weekend, and will (at least temporarily) leave one team in first place in the West, if not the MLS in general. The Sounders are the hottest team in the MLS and feature its hottest striker (Fredy Montero). RSL have been chugging along without being overwhelmingly impressive, but Alvaro Saborio has been better lately, which makes them a more threatening team. Prediction: Seattle 2-1
Philadelphia (2-1-5) v. New York (6-1-3). (9:30 a.m.) This is the ESPN game of the week, though you have to think with the Union struggling and New York missing Thierry Henry and (probably) Rafa Marquez, it isn’t quite what they had in mind. Nonetheless, New York has won three in a row, all by shutout, which is pretty amazing, considering what a disaster they were earlier in the season. This is turning into a bit of a grudge match between these two teams, so anything could happen, though Union goals have been hard to come by this season. Prediction: New York 1-0
San Jose (7-1-2) v. Chivas USA (3-0-6). (4 p.m.) After a tough, late loss to Vancouver last week, the Earthquakes look to get back on track against woeful Chivas. With Chris Wondolowski (11 goals) in a vein of goal-scoring form you rarely see in the MLS, and Steven Lenhart (4 goals) playing well, it’s hard to see Chivas getting anything out of this. Prediction: 3-0
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
A note on team records: Typically the MLS displays team records in a Win-Loss-Tie format. I don’t. It might seem strange, but I choose to follow the format that other leagues across the world use, which is Win-Tie-Loss. The theory behind this is, it shows how teams are getting their points (3 for a win, 1 for a tie) instead of just a conventional won-loss record. That’s all, thanks.
All times Pacific, as usual.
Chivas USA (3-0-5) v. Chicago (2-2-2). (8 p.m.) For those keeping score, Chivas’ loss to Colorado ended their streak of three straight wins on the road. They’ll now seek to end their other streak, which is four straight losses at home. Without scoring. All by a 1-0 margin. They’re taking on Chicago, who have been fairly middling so far, but have the talent to be a playoff team, though they haven’t necessarily shown it. Chris Rolfe also might make an appearance in attack for the Fire, though they’ll be without suspended defender Jalil Anibaba and coach Frank Klopas. Prediction: Fire 1-0
Toronto (0-0-7) v. DC United (4-3-3). (1 p.m.) Toronto’s quest to open the season 0-0-10 continues with a visit from DC United, who were on a 7-match undefeated streak until they gave up five goals to San Jose on Wednesday. Neither team is great defensively, though at least United can score goals, which should have them as the favorites in this match. Prediction: DC United 3-2
Seattle (5-1-1) v. Philadelphia (2-1-4). (1:30 p.m.) The Sounders play their third match in a week, taking on the struggling Union. It’ll be interesting to see if coach Sigi Schmidt elects to rest any starters due to the team’s busy schedule, though of course MLSsoccer.com doesn’t have roster news updated yet, so I can’t make a prediction based on that. Fredy Montero finally scored for Seattle on Wednesday, and Eddie Johnson now has two goals in two matches. Celebrate, Seattle fans – he might not score again this year. OK, I’m just kidding. Johnson is a perfectly serviceable MLS forward, even if he scored 2 goals in 71 matches in England. Prediction: Seattle 2-0
Vancouver (4-2-2) v. San Jose (7-1-1). (4 p.m.) This is shaping up to be one of the better matchups of the weekend. When these two teams met, oh, a couple weeks ago, Vancouver controlled much of the match and took the lead before conceding three second half goals and losing. Since then, though, San Jose have been playing considerably better – and Vancouver has too, aside from a 3-1 loss to Kansas City. With both Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski (as usual) scoring goals for fun, it’ll be a big test for the Caps. Prediction: 1-1
LA Galaxy (3-1-4) v. New York (4-1-3). (5 p.m.) After eking out a draw at home to Dallas, the Galaxy laid an egg at Seattle, as Bruce Arena’s decision to play a squad missing Buddle, Keane and Beckham had predictable results. Or maybe even worse than predictable. New York finally kept a clean sheet in a win over New England, but Thierry Henry was injured, so the pressure will be on the team’s defense to an even greater degree in this match. The Galaxy have gotten fairly poor performances thus far from Buddle and Landon Donovan, but it’s their defense – still missing Omar Gonzalez – which is of a far greater concern. Prediction: LA 2-0
Sporting Kansas City (7-0-1) v. Montreal (2-2-5). (5:30 p.m.) Kansas City’s 7-match winning streak ended at Portland, then they had a week off, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of form the team is when they come back for this match. Montreal beat Portland soundly on the weekend and have improved greatly since the start of the season. It’s hard to see them leaving Kansas City with anything but a loss, though. Prediction: KC 2-0
Real Salt Lake (6-1-3) v. New England (3-0-5). (6 p.m.) RSL have been reasonably prolific in attack even though Alvaro Saborio has yet to get going, but they’ve conceded a lot of goals (and red cards). New England ended their three-match losing streak by beating Colorado in midweek, but look like they’ll probably be missing the playoffs again this year. Prediction: RSL 2-1
Portland (2-1-5) v. Columbus (2-1-4). (7:30 p.m.) The Timbers, last in the West, take on Columbus, second-to-last in the East. Portland beat Kansas City to end their four-match losing streak, but then created virtually nothing in losing at Montreal. Columbus have lost three of four and are dealing with continuing injury problems in defense and at forward, where they’ll likely start Justin Meram and Emilio Renteria, probably not a recipe for a goalfest. Prediction: Portland 2-1
Dallas (3-3-3) v. Colorado (4-0-5). (4 p.m.) Dallas have yet to lose at home this year and take on a Colorado team that routed Chivas last weekend before struggling to a loss at New England. Dallas are still waiting on David Fereira (Is he ever going to come back?) but have been producing some decent results – or at least picking up some points – since getting trounced by DC United a few weeks ago. Conor Casey will probably be available for at least a few minutes in this match for Colorado. Prediction: Dallas 3-1