As promised, here is the second half of this weekend’s preview, where we review the late games Saturday night and the one Sunday game.
Colorado Rapids v. San Jose Earthquakes (Saturday, 9 PM ET)
This game may be the hardest to predict this weekend. It is no longer unthinkable that Colorado could fall out of the playoffs: not likely but not impossible. After their poor CCL performance mid-week, the Rapids are reeling. Their MLS losing streak has reached four and their goal in last week’s loss to Toronto was their first MLS goal in 270 minutes. San Jose meanwhile remains mathematically alive after their midweek draw at Portland. A key for both teams is how they can contain the other team’s offensive weapon. Obviously, Wondolowski has to be contained by the Rapids defense to stifle the Quakes but the Quakes have to be able to contain the speed of the Rapids forwards, one of which likely will be Omar Cummings.
Prediction: Colorado 1, San Jose 1.
Vancouver Whitecaps v. Seattle Sounders (Saturday, 10:30 PM)
Seattle is flying high right now, minus CCL action. The Sounders have a chance to clinch a playoff berth and keep their Supporters Shield hopes alive. But also on the line is the Cascadia Cup: a Seattle victory means they win the annual three-way rivalry between the Pacific Northwest clubs. The key for Seattle short term is to do what they did against DC – pressure the midfield and convert their chances. The long term goal is to keep healthy. The Whitecaps are certainly the underdogs but playing at home against a rival should inspire them. Using the crowd’s energy could propel them to an important three points and deny Seattle the Cascadia Cup for now.
Prediction: Seattle 2, Vancouver 1.
Chivas USA v. Toronto FC (Saturday, 10:30 PM)
The Goats kept their faint playoff hopes alive with their midweek draw at DC, and but to continue a playoff run they absolutely need three points today. They have been successful when their midfield can hold possession and get the ball to Juan Pablo Angel, as he gives their offense a new dimension. However, the key to this game is Danny Koevermans. Three goals in the past two games means he is the man to watch in this one. When he scores, Toronto gets results.
Prediction: Chivas 2, Toronto 2. There will be goals in this one but I don’t see Chivas coming out of this match with three points.
Chicago v. New England (Sunday, 4:00 PM)
These two teams are the type that benefit most from a ten team playoff: loser sees their playoff hopes dashed while winner lives to play another day. The Fire lose Corey Gibbs to a red card suspension, so that is a concern for the Fire defense. Offensively, Dominic Oduru has quietly snuck into the Golden Boot race as he has 10 goals. The key for Chicago is to not hurt themselves: when they miss open goals or commit dumb fouls they lose games, as they don’t have the talent to overcome those mistakes. New England is coming off a beat down by Portland and are without Rajko Lekic. A win would only be their second on the road, so they need to find a way to get ahead early and put the pressure on Chicago.
Prediction: Chicago 3, New England 1.