This is my first installment of the WrayonSoccer picks of the week. I plan to insert this every week focusing on the leagues I watch and cover. If there is a match from another league I am covering and or watching I will include it as well. For now I will be looking at the MLS and CONCACAF Gold Cup, since everyone else is in preseason. This week I am going to give a brief rundown after my list of predictions and why I have made them, but in the future there might not always be a rundown. Feel free to comment on my picks and/or ask why I picked the result I did as I enjoy a good debate on footy. So without not to keep you waiting, here are my picks for the current MLS week and the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-finals.
**My choices in Bold
Honduras v United States
Costa Rica v Mexico
Real Salt Lake v FC Dallas
Seattle Sounders FC v Chicago Fire
Columbus Crew v Toronto FC
Houston Dynamo v New England Revolution
Kansas City Wizards v Los Angeles Galaxy
Colorado Rapids v New York Red Bulls
San Jose Earthquakes v D.C. United
The Rundown or Why I picked the way I did.
Honduras v United States – I picked Honduras in this match up, and here is why. The USMNT has weakened itself considerably since the first match up between these two teams in thr group stages. Not only have they weakened their side, but the players they sent back to their clubs were players who came in and made the difference in the match to help the USMNT win. Michael Parkhurst is back in, but other than filling in for Conrad I do not think he will help us get the goals necessary to win the match. Now while I expect a close match and would not be surprised to see the USMNT pull it off, I think Honduras will be too much for them this time and eliminate the USMNT from the Gold Cup.
Costa Rica v Mexico – This was a hard pick to make with the form of these two sides of late, but I believe Mexico is finally back on track and will take this match in the end. This is a good sign for the Mexicans as they are going into the final stages of World Cup qualifying, getting them back on track and poised to earn their spot in South Africa without the playoff.
Real Salt Lake v FC Dallas – A match lacking a few key players in Kenny Cooper for Dallas and Kyles Beckerman for RSL leans in the favor of RSL in my opinion. RSL are tough at home, having lost only once this season at home, and Dallas are not having the greatest season this round and have a poor away record on top of that. This match will favor RSL, strengthening their position in the West.
Seattle Sounders FC v Chicago Fire – Seattle has been the surprise this season, and after a strong showing against Chelsea in an international club friendly, I think the Sounders will be up for this match. Chicago is also missing Logan Pause in the Gold Cup and Brian McBride has just left the Fire for a shoulder surgery that looks to keep him out the next 3 to 4 months. This favors the Sounders who are strong at home and should take all 3 points despite the Fire’s strong position in the league and impeccable road form.
Columbus Crew v Toronto FC – A tough match for the Crew awaits them at home this weekend as the visiting side are having a good run in the league. This, plus the fact that the Crew are missing Robbie Rogers and Chad Marshall to the Gold Cup and Guillermo Barros Schelloto and Alejandro Morenot to injury will hamper the Crew’s chances of getting a result in this one. Toronto, who looked strong against the Dynamo will in my opinion, take this match to the Crew and escape with all 3 points.
Houston Dynamo v New England Revolution – Houston took the firt match between these two foes 2-0 in Foxboro, and I think this match will be no different, minus the location. Houston always find a way to compete and get the results, and this match will be no different. The Revs, who have struggled on the road this season, will see yet another road loss as the Dynamo prevail as the stronger side while missing two key players in Stuart Holden and Brian Ching to Gold Cup duty.
Kansas City Wizards v Los Angeles Galaxy – Beckham is back! And while I do not see this as the reason for the Galaxy’s resurgeance in the West, it will not hurt them. The Wizards, who have been on a poor run of form of late will not find their answer this week, as the Galaxy put another result in the win column.
Colorado Rapids v New York Red Bulls – Who could possibly be playing worse than the Red Bulls this season. For a team that was so strong last season, they have now fallen to the bottom rung of the league. This week will be no different as they travel to Colorado, where the Rapids are boss, and will continue their run of home form by dismantling the struggling Red Bulls. Is Osorio seeing his last days in charge of New York? Only time will tell, but the Red Bulls organization does not normally take kindly to a struggling side.
San Jose Earthquakes v D.C. United – This should be an easy match for United this week, as they take on one of the weakest teams in the league. San Jose is sitting bottom of the Western Conference, only beating out New York for the title of “League Worst Team.” United should come in confident in this one with their form of late and leave happy with a full 3 points.
So that is a wrap on the upcoming matches for this weekend. Feel free to comment, criticize, or just to tell me I am down right wrong. This looks to be an interesting week in the MLS with the strong teams getting stronger and the weaker sides falling that much farther behind, but with the transfer window open we should see some action that just might shake up the standings a bit. Will a Superstar come to or leave your team, and which coaching spots will see new managers coming into the second half of the season? It will be exciting to watch unfold as rumors are already travelling based on National Team performances and some young hotshots around the league.