We’re a whole week out now from the all-star game and I’m told by the fine folks at The Internet that this is actually week 22 for MLS. Damnit Google, you keep telling me the wrong week. Anyhow, there’s a bunch of great games on tap for us and we’re gonna break a few of the bigger ones down for ya. Let’s get right into it:
Colorado Rapids vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 9PM EST – Saturday August 6 – TSN / MLS Live
Colorado just had their bongs blown out when NYCFC trolled them hard at home last weekend. One of the top defenses in the league with the arguably most talented MLS goalie ever (Tim Howard, though he is getting a bit gray) gave up 5 goals to a team that was without their top goal scorer. Granted, an all time legend in Frank Lampard provided 3 of the goals for NYC and he’s no slouch, but you had to expect a better effort out of the Rapids. They’re looking to bounce back at home against a very inconsistent Whitecaps side who just lost to FC Dallas a week prior. It’s a super important game to both teams. Colorado is still in second but FC Dallas keeps putting distance between them and Vancouver is right at the “red line” right now with Portland sneaking up to steal their weak Canadian roast. Expect a lot of Jermaine Jones trying to contain Pedro Morales, and I’m calling a Gashi breakthrough this week. He’s been so so close to scoring multiple goals in multiple games, and I think against a fairly soft Vancouver defense he’s gonna break it open (Given up 37 goals this year, average over 2 goals given up away)
Prediction: 3-0 Colorado. Shkelzen Gashi goes bananas and scores two screamers from 25 yards out. The third is a Gashi bicycle kick which inadvertently bounces off Kevin Doyle’s leg scar and into the net.
Portland Timbers vs Sporting Kansas City – 4PM EST – Sunday August 7 – ESPN
If this game sounds familiar, it’s because they literally just played eachother last week. Thanks, MLS scheduling! Portland is so close to jumping the redline, and they will probably get a little help from Colorado this weekend, but they need to step it up. They’ve lost two in a row and can’t quite seem to get over their early season struggles. With Nat Borchers out for the rest of the season, they’re relying on a modified back line to keep the streaky Sporting KC out of net, which they almost were successful at last week losing 1-0. If it wasn’t for Jake Gleeson’s majestic performance though it could have been a lot worse. The Timbers are going to need their impressive attack (on paper) featuring Fanendo Adi, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, and Lucas Melano to STEP IT UP. These four should be scoring goals at will, not sure what their deal is. They were stifled last week and really haven’t looked cohesive all season. Kansas City will need center-backs Opara and Olum to keep up the good work and hope Dom Dwyer can get hot on offense.
Prediction: Timbers pull one back at home (anticipating some epic fan section theatrics this weekend). 2-1 Portland, Nagbe and Adi get their mojo back. Timber Joey cuts two logs and then needs a 3 minute water break.
San Jose ‘Quakes vs NYCFC – 11PM EST – Friday August 5 – UniMas
NYCFC is ROLLING right now after Lampard’s hat-trick last weekend, and they’re looking to bring the east coast swagger straight to techie-town. Though they are still in first in the Eastern conference, cross-river rivals NY Red Bulls are only 3 points behind with a game in hand, so NYCFC can’t let the foot off the pedal. Lucky for them they are almost unstoppable on the road this season with only 4 losses in 11 games, 6 of those games being wins. San Jose though is a different animal at home, with only 1 loss in 10 games and 6 wins, but San Jose has been on a bit of a rough patch. They drew their last two games and have only won 1 game in their last 10. I’d expect NYCFC to try and control this game through their superior midfield and work the ball up to Villa, Jack Harrison, and the on-fire Frank Lampard to take their shots. IF San Jose gets possession of the ball and start pressing NYC, then I’ll be looking for Maxime Chanot (who better start) to make some nice long passes into the attacking midfield to break free their speedy forwards.
Prediction: 2-2. I don’t think Wondolowski is going to have any trouble finding space to make things happen in the NYCFC back four, especially if Maxime Chanot isn’t given a starting role. I also think though that NYC’s attack is too talented and too confident right now, so they’ll get their chances and likely finish a couple. I’m calling at least one #OopsieBumble
That’s all we’re covering today but there’s a bunch of great games this weekend. Check out the MLS schedule at MLSsoccer.com/Schedule