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MLS Weekend Preview: March 8

All times Eastern

Saturday

Toronto vs. Sporting Kansas City, 1:30 p.m. Toronto looked considerably more organized and solid against Vancouver than they have in years. Sporting got off to a slow start and then thumped Philadelphia on the road. Prediction: Kansas City is probably just too good for a Toronto team lacking creative players.

Colorado vs. Philadelphia, 6 p.m. For me, the two key items about this match are: 1. It might be snowing and awful in Denver, which could make for an interesting match. 2. Referee Ismail Elfath has given four red cards and six penalties in eight matches. Expect him to affect the game too much. Prediction: Both teams are struggling, but expect Colorado to be the better team.

DC United vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. DC defended solidly and offered little attacking threat in a loss in Houston. Dwayne De Rosario will miss this match. RSL were better than expected against San Jose. Prediction: Draw

Chicago vs. New England, 7:30 p.m. Chicago were hammered at the defending champs last week. The big question is: Will they come out looking for blood against a youthful Revs team with a lot of new players who will be playing their season opener? Prediction: Chicago wins

Vancouver vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m. Despite the loss of captain Jay Demerit to a serious injury, the Whitecaps were comfortable in shutting down what is an admittedly woefully weak Toronto attack. Columbus crushed Chivas on the road, though the disorganized state of the home team played into that. Prediction: Draw

Portland vs. Montreal, 10:30 p.m. On the bright side, Timbers defender Mikael Silvestre can’t possibly get any worse than he was in the season opener. Also, the Portland attack looks bright. Montreal upset Seattle on the road and should be a tough bet for any team, at least til the oldies run out of steam. Prediction: Portland gets its first win

Sunday

Chivas USA vs. Dallas, 5 p.m. Chivas added a couple more players without MLS experience after the debacle against Columbus. No one went to that match. This could be another horror show. Dallas barely, barely held off a mediocre Colorado team. If the attack ever gets going, they could be a good team. Will it happen in this match? Does it matter? Prediction: Dallas wins or a one-sided draw

San Jose vs. New York, 10 p.m. This match has San Jose blowout written all over it, except the Quakes could be missing yet another forward. If Chris Wondolowski’s finishing is up to his customary level, they should win. If not, it could be another long and disappointing night. New York’s defense is a mess, but they have options in attack. Prediction: Draw

MLS Weekend Recap: May 19-20

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

MLS Weekend Preview: May 19-20

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

Abbreviated, sorry. All times Pacific, as usual.

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

MLS Weekend Preview: May 12-13

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

All times Pacific, as usual.

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

MLS Weekend Recap: May 4-6

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

Since I’m a bit late on this, I’ll eschew my normal roundup for one giant block of roundup text.

Friday

On Friday, Marco Pappa’s late strike gives Chicago a thoroughly deserved three points against Chivas, who aren’t any good, as I keep saying. Chivas took the lead through a Juan Pablo Angel penalty, then Austin Berry scored on his debut. The Goats (Boy, are they! *high fives bros*) are still winless at home, though they finally scored, I guess.

The marquee matchup on Saturday was probably Vancouver hosting San Jose. And guess what? Vancouver won! Eric Hassli scored a late goal after Chris Wondolowski’s opener (what is this, 11 goals now?) and Gershon Koffie’s equalizer. Koffie had a bit of a barnstormer of a game. With San Jose’s loss and Kansas City‘s loss at home to Montreal, courtesy of goals from Felipe and Patrice Bernier (a penalty), that means there could be a change atop the OLS rankings this week, hint hint. It was a pretty dreadful performance by KC. The losses by San Jose and Kansas City also meant that Seattle would get back into the Supporter’s Shield race by beating Philadelphia, which they did, 1-0. Real Salt Lake also boosted their chances by beating New England 2-1 in a match marred by horrendous refereeing. Will Johnson and Fernando Cardenas were both sent off, and neither should have been. Alvaro Saborio had his season opener, scoring twice after Blake Brettschneider made my “Brettschneider at forward? New England are never going to score” comment look dumb. Also Saturday was DC United‘s predictable victory over Toronto (who are now 0-0-8), and New York‘s 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy, who really are pretty lousy.

The lone match on Sunday saw Colorado take advantage of two red cards in the space of three minutes to Daniel Hernandez and Blas Perez to beat Dallas 2-0.

MLS Weekend Preview: May 4-6

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.

Friday

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

MLS Weekend Recap: April 30

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

Montreal 2 Portland 0. Montreal scores two late goals, one through a fairly harsh handball call and the subsequent penalty from Bernardo Corradi, and the other after backup keeper Joe Bednik failed to deal with a Davy Arnaud cross and Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored. Montreal dominated the match, which has prompted me to do a writeup on the Timbers’ struggles, which I’ll post some time this week. Hopefully today. Prediction: 1-1

New York 1 New England 0. Thierry Henry scores his league-leading ninth goal, then goes off injured, and against all odds the Red Bulls keep a clean sheet. Who knew? I didn’t watch this match – sounds like I didn’t miss much, but Red Bulls fans have to be happy that the team’s ongoing defensive miscues came to a halt, however temporarily. Prediction: New York 3-2

Philadelphia 1 San Jose 2. Steven Lenhart scores two goals off headers, one late in injury time, to help San Jose overcome a Gabriel Gomez equalizer in the 83rd minute. The second goal came off a nice bit of juking from Marvin Chavez before crossing – amazing what he can do when he’s not flopping to the ground like he’s been shot. The Union didn’t actually play too badly, which makes you worry about the safety of Piotr Nowak’s job, if they keep losing, since he was suspended for this match. Prediction: San Jose 2-1

Columbus 0 Vancouver 1. A dreadful match is won on Lee Young-Pyo’s free kick, which was either meant or accidental, depending on who you talk to. Columbus dominated possession, but failed to score, which leads me to believe that either the Whitecaps defense is great (it is good, though), or that Vargas is the second coming of Andres MenD’oh!za in the penalty area for the Crew. Prediction: Columbus 2-1

DC United 3 Houston 2. A fairly-barnstorming match where Dwayne DeRosario gets his firsts goal of the season, Maicon “Maybe I’m Not As Worthless As Jeremiah Always Says” Santos scores twice, including the winner, and United win two matches in a row for the first time since 2010. Will Bruin scored twice for Houston, the second one being basically bobbled into the net by DC keeper Joe Willis. Is it time to get Bill Hamid back in the starting lineup? Prediction: DC 2-0

Chicago 1 Seattle 2. Despite the Fire being the better team for most of the match, Seattle takes the lead through an Arne Friedrich own goal (What? MLS awarded an own goal? Heresy!) before Eddie Johnson’s head probably exploded with the realization he had put the ball in the back of the net. Celebrate it, Seattle fans, because it might not happen again in 2012. Chicago pulled one back after a Marco Pappa scored with his corner kick – not intentional. Seattle is a good team, so Chicago fans need not worry too much about this loss, it’s just every other loss or draw they should worry about. Prediction: 2-2

Colorado 4 Chivas USA 0. Finally Chivas back up all the complaining I constantly do about how bad they are with a performance that lives up to expectations. The Rapids got second-half goals from Tony Cascio, Kamani Hill (two) and Jeff Larentowicz, and probably could’ve scored six or seven. My analysis isn’t totally accurate, actually – the teams were fairly even in the first half, but the second half was a nightmare for Chivas. For Colorado, Conor Casey finally got into a game, which has to have Omar Cummings breathing a sigh of relief. Prediction: Colorado 3-1

Real Salt Lake 3 Toronto 2. I actually felt a bit sorry for Toronto after this match, because they were decent and probably deserved a point. TFC only made one horrible glaring defensive mistake to give up a goal, which is a step in the right direction. And sadly, this performance probably gave Aron Winter a couple more weeks as manager, which means they could start the season 0-0-10. Oh, goals were by … *looks at stats* … for RSL, Kyle Beckerman, a Richard Eckersley own goal and Johhny Steele (the winner in injury time). For Toronto, Eric Avila had a great match, scored and hit the post, and Donnell Henry also scored . Prediction: RSL 3-0

LA Galaxy 1 Dallas 1. Pat Noonan (What? He’s still alive?) scores a late goal for the Galaxy to give them a point. Brek Shea scored the first goal on a penalty. A dull match. I don’t think the Galaxy are even in first gear yet, just puttering along in neutral down a slope. Luckily, the MLS’s “Everyone makes the playoffs” policy will probably see them slide in at No. 8 or something. Prediction: 2-2

MLS Weekend Preview: April 28

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

All times Pacific, as usual.

Montreal (1-2-5) v. Portland (2-1-4). (11 a.m.) The Impact are looking for their second win of the season against a Portland team that ended a four-match losing streak last week by beating first-place Kansas City. Montreal play decent football, but give away too many fouls and are struggling on defense. Portland haven’t played too bad this season, but have given a few bad goals away late in matches. A win in this match would get Portland back in the playoff hunt. Prediction: 1-1

New York (3-1-3) v. New England (2-0-4). (12:30 p.m.) The Red Bulls come into this match after giving up four goals to DC United last week in a horrendous defensive display. They’re still missing Teemu Tainio, Roy Miller, Rafa Marquez, Wilman Conde and Juan Agudelo (who probably wouldn’t be playing anyway, but still) to injury or suspension. Which means that the Connor Lade-Marcus Holgersson-Victor Palsson-Stephen Keel (if he’s fit) defensive nightmare gets another match to show they’re not as horrible as they’ve looked. New England have looked good at times this year, but don’t yet know how to win. I think they’ll struggle to stop New York. Prediction: New York 3-2

Philadelphia (2-1-3) v. San Jose (5-1-1). (4 p.m.) The Union got three points last week against Chivas USA, but did it despite having two players (and coach Piotr Nowak) sent off and not necessarily playing well. San Jose have been the best team in the Western Conference so far. Missing Gabriel Farfan and Keon Daniels, I have a hard time seeing Philadelphia putting together enough in attack to win this match. Prediction: San Jose 2-1

Columbus (2-1-3) v. Vancouver (3-2-2). (4:30 p.m.) The Crew, who haven’t won their last three matches, take on Vancouver, who returned to winning ways by beating Dallas (somewhat fortuitously, I should say). The biggest problem the Crew have had so far this season is their defense. Julius James has yet to play a match, and Carlos Mendes, who would probably be James’ replacement, has also been injured. The Whitecaps still aren’t scoring goals, but they’ve been mostly solid on defense. Prediction: Columbus 2-1

DC United (3-3-2) v. Houston (2-2-1). (4:30 p.m.) United haven’t lost in their last six matches, but still have yet to win back-to-back games. Since 2010. This is actually a pretty good chance for them to do just that. Houston have been playing reasonably well, but are winding up their 7-match away streak to start the season, so will probably be a bit tired. Prediction: DC 2-0

Chicago (2-2-1) v. Seattle (3-1-1). (5:30 p.m.) After a fairly easy stretch of matches to start the season, the Fire get their hardest match of the season so far, taking on the Sounders, who just had a week off. Chicago might have Chris Rolfe playing again, which might help out their struggling attack. The Sounders will probably have Mauro Rosales back, at least for part of the match, which bodes well for them. Prediction: 2-2

Colorado (3-0-4) v. Chivas USA (3-0-4). (6 p.m.) If you went strictly by statistics, you would note that Chivas USA are 3-0-0 on the road so far this season, and are taking a Rapids squad that lost their last home match, to the Galaxy. However, doing so would ignore the fact that Chivas aren’t very good, and can mostly attribute their road success to the fact they are decent defensively and have gotten a bit lucky on the road. Colorado should have Conor Casey back, which has to be a relief for Omar Cummings, who has had to play up front with the likes of Andre Akpan for the last year. Yeesh. Prediction: Colorado 3-1

Real Salt Lake (5-1-3) v. Toronto (0-0-6). (6 p.m.) After two losses and a draw in a 3-game road trip, RSL return home to take on the league’s worst team. Toronto manager Aron Winter keeps talking about how they’re just about to turn it around, but they keep losing. It’s hard to see that changing in this match, even if they play well. I feel like I’ll say this every week until Winter is fired, but I’m amazed he hasn’t been fired yet. Prediction: RSL 3-0

LA Galaxy (3-0-3) v. Dallas (3-2-3). (7:30 p.m.) Back-to-back wins almost has the Galaxy starting to look like the defending champs. They’re still fairly bad defensively, though, and only Robbie Keane seems to be that interested in the attacking end. Dallas have played well lately, but the injuries are starting to pile up. Prediction: 2-2

MLS Weekend Preview: April 21-22

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

All times Pacific, as usual.

Saturday

Toronto (0-0-5) v. Chicago (1-2-1). (12:30 p.m.) With apologies to TFC and Fire fans, this is another scintillating game of the week for NBC. At this rate, they’re just going to cancel their contract with the MLS. At least the Philly-Columbus match turned out to be a decent one. Or at least I hope so – I didn’t watch it. What was I talking about here? Oh yeah, Toronto hasn’t won yet; The Fire are still in their jammies, waiting for the season to start. Prediction: 3-3

Columbus (2-0-3) v. Houston (2-1-1). (4:30 p.m.) Columbus aren’t as bad as their record (or their ranking, for that matter) suggests, but they’re always one (or sometimes, two or three) mistakes from Eric Gehrig from a loss. It’s hard to judge Houston, who are still on their 7-match road trip and had two weeks off before last weekend’s 1-1 draw in a match shortened because of lightning. Prediction: 1-1

Colorado (3-0-3) v. LA Galaxy (2-0-4). (6 p.m.) Kudos to MLSsoccer.com for resisting the urge to bump the Galaxy up to 4th in their rankings just because they labored to their second win of the year. Colorado have been weird this year – they’re playing nice football, but haven’t created much at all in the way of goal-scoring opportunities, particularly on the road. This match should be a good way to evaluate the comparative strength of both teams. Until LA comes up with a “we’re the defending champs, try and stop us” performance, I’m not picking them to win any more. Unless they’re playing Toronto. Prediction: Colorado 2-1

Vancouver (2-2-2) v. Dallas (3-1-2). (7 p.m.) The suddenly leaky Whitecaps defense takes on Dallas, who have played well their last two matches, but had to score late in both to get three points. The Caps might benefit from resting Eric Hassli, who has yet to score and blew an easy chance against Kansas City on Wednesday. Prediction: Vancouver 2-1

San Jose (4-1-1) v. Real Salt Lake (5-0-2). (7:30 p.m.) RSL’s tour of the MLS’s best continues with a trip to San Jose to take on the Quakes, who have been improving every week. San Jose have been playing nice football and creating a lot of chances, which always bodes well when Chris Wondolowski is lurking in the penalty area. You have to wonder when they’re going to slip up, though. Prediction: 1-1

Portland (1-1-4) v. Kansas City (7-0-0). (7:30 p.m.) I actually think the Timbers, who have lost four in a row, have a chance in this match. They’re taking on the league leaders, who have yet to drop a point, but KC aren’t going to go 34-0 (or however many matches MLS teams are playing this year), AND they played in midweek. So anything can happen. Kansas City are lethal on special teams and rarely allow the opposing side any shots at goal, which is a good way to win matches in this league (or any other league). Prediction: 1-1

Chivas USA (3-0-3) v. Philadelphia (1-1-3). (7:30 p.m.) Another barnburner, this, between a team that can’t win at home (Chivas) and a team that has yet to win on the road (Philly). At least of the two teams, the Union have scored a goal away – Chivas hasn’t even scored at home yet. I’ll pass. Prediction: 0-0

Sunday

DC United (2-3-2) v. New York (3-1-2). (3 p.m.) Despite picking up four points the last two matches, United didn’t play particularly well in either, which was especially disappointing against Montreal. New York is missing Rafa Marquez through suspension, but far more harmful for the team will be the absence of Wilman Conde and Teemu Tainio, both of whom are injured. It’s hard to count the Red Bulls out the way they’ve been scoring goals, but they might be missing too many key pieces to keep DC from scoring. Prediction: 2-2

MLS Weekend Roundup: April 14-15

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

Saturday

Philadelphia 1 Columbus 0. A Gabriel Gomez Panenka penalty is enough for the Union to notch their first win of the season. Probably not what the suits at NBC had in mind for a game of the week when they signed their deal with MLS. “Get ready America, because Lionard Pajoy and Eric Gehrig are lighting up your TVs! Move over Pujols, there is a midfielder named Bernardo Anor taking over where you left off!” And so on. Columbus were probably the better team but couldn’t score. The Gomez penalty came about because of another Gehrig “Oops!” moment with a handball in the box. Prediction: 0-0

Seattle 1 Colorado 0. A Zach Scott header gives the Sounders the win against Colorado. The biggest storyline of the match was Brian Mullan returning to the place where he practically chopped off Seattle winger Steve Zakuani’s leg last year. Zakuani is still injured. Mullan had a goal ruled off for offsides. Not a super-exciting match, but Fredy Montero showed signs of waking from his traditional six-match slumber to start the season. Prediction: Seattle 2-1

New England 1 DC United 2. I am actually grudgingly getting to the point where I can say the Revs aren’t so bad, and long-time readers of this blog should know how hard that is for me. New England was actually a bit of unlucky to lose this, despite dictating play for most of the match. Jose Moreno grabbed an early goal for New England before Maicon “See, I’m not totally useless” Santos tied it, then substitute Chris Pontius won it with a very nice strike late on. The Revs has a couple chances to tie and/or win it, but poor decision-making cost them in the end. Nonetheless, both of these teams could be playoff teams, though I doubt it. Prediction: 2-2

Toronto 0 Chivas USA 1. The big question now is, “How patient is Toronto management?” I thought after a fifth-straight loss to start the season, which now gives Aron Winter six wins in 39 matches, could end up with him losing his job. Clearly this team needs a change. A big one. As for Chivas, they’re still undefeated on the road, but still very poor in attack. But if they can keep picking up points on the counter, they might be able to stay in the playoff race. Oswaldo Minda got the goal off a header in another lesson in poor defending from TFC. Prediction: Toronto 2-1

New York 2 San Jose 2. This was actually the first match where I’ve been legitimately impressed by San Jose, who rallied to tie the match and probably could’ve – and should’ve won it in the end. New York took the lead through a goal from Kenny Cooper (tied for a league-leading 7) before Rafael Baca equalized. New York retook the lead through Dax McCarty, before Chris Wondolowski scored his seventh. Then San Jose dominated the second half but failed to find the breakthrough. Thierry Henry has seven goals and five assists for New York after six matches. He’s that good. Even though he’s annoying. Prediction: New York 2-1

Kansas City 1 Real Salt Lake 0. Sporting KC stays undefeated thanks to an Aurelien Collin goal (and shocking marking from Alvaro “Is it May yet?” Saborio. Impressive performance from KC, who should’ve had a second goal (from CJ Sapong), but it was incorrectly marked off for a foul. For the record, Sporting’s record of 335 minutes without allowing a shot on target ended in injury time thanks to a Nat Borchers header. Despite the loss, RSL still looks like the second-best team in the MLS. Prediction: Kansas City 1-0

FC Dallas 2 Montreal 1. For the second straight match, Dallas rallies to take three points at the death. Montreal took the lead against the run of play thanks to a Bernardo Corradi penalty (which he dedicated to Udinse player Piermario Morosini, who died Saturday after suffering a heart attack on the field). Dallas rallied late thanks to a header from Blas Perez and then Brek Shea’s winning strike. Nice performance from Dallas, and Shea is starting to return to form by the looks of it. Their Shea/Perez/Fabian Castillo attacking trio is a good one.  Prediction: Dallas 3-1

LA Galaxy 3 Portland 1. I actually feel sorry for the Timbers, who took the lead through Kris Boyd’s goal, had another Boyd goal incorrectly chalked off for offsides, then crumbled after conceding a goal to Landon Donovan late in the first half. Juninho and David Beckham scored after the 83rd minute. The Galaxy won by having better players – their performance wasn’t great again, and their defense is woeful. At their current form, they won’t possibly beat the likes of RSL, San Jose or KC. As for Portland, Jack Jewsbury and Diego Chara have been miserable this season – a big reason why they’re struggling. Prediction: Galaxy 2-0

Sunday

Chicago 1 Houston 1. Goals from Will Bruin and Logan Pause (deflecting in a Pavel Pardo free kick) give Chicago and Houston a share of the points in a match called early due to lightning, something that apparently angered ex-German international and new Fire signing Arnie Friedrich. Overall it was a pretty even match, though the Fire will be disappointed to once again not create much in front of their home crown. Where is Sebastian Grazzini this season? What happened to new signing Federico Puppo? And one more note to the MLS scorekeepers: Don’t give Pavel Pardo credit for an assist because his free kick was deflected in. Why not give the goalie an assist for not catching it?  Prediction: 1-1

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