We’ve got a big weekend for the MLS upon us and what better way to celebrate than by running down the top games this weekend. Here, in no order deemed appropriate, are some game previews:
NYCFC vs LA Galaxy – 3pm EST – Saturday August 20 – ESPN (national coverage holy bean dip!)
The best defense in the league (LA) is coming to one of the best offenses in the league (NYC) and it should be a pretty good match. I think LA Galaxy have the advantage here simply because of NYCFC’s struggling defense as of late, which seemingly is only held together by the new addition Maxime Chanot. These two squads don’t have the same kind of beef as lets say Tupac vs Biggie back in the 90’s, nor Kerrigan vs Harding of the 90’s, or Jordan vs Malone of the 90’s, but there’s sure to be a lot of firm handshakes between Lampard and his former England teammates Stevie Gerrard and Ashley Cole. Firm handshakes and witty backhanded compliments. Also, the only rivalries I could think of are from the 90’s. STEP IT UP NEW MILLENNIUM.
Score prediction: 3-2 Galaxy pull it out. I hate to say it but NYCFC’s defense just hasn’t show me they can stop anyone from scoring, including the inept Columbus squad that put up 3 goals on them last week. I think the boys in blue will be motivated enough to get on the scoreboard a few times, but with Gerrard, Dos Santos, Zardes, Keane (likely back), it’s going to nearly impossible for NYC to keep this from getting out of hand. Also, fully expect Nigel de Jong to try and stomp Pirlo into a Pinot Noir.
Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC – 7pm EST – Saturday August 20 – MLS Live
This game is the definition of “I have literally no idea how these teams will play.” The Union just spanked the Revs 4-0 last week but had a terrible run of games before that. Losing 5-1 to Montreal, 2-1 to RSL, and drawing DC United who is not good. But last week saw the entrance of Alejandro Bedoya from a transfer from France squad Nantes. He’s a USMNT starter and all around good dude, and he clearly adds quality in the midfield to this Union squad. Then we’ve got Toronto on our hands. A team that is way too talented to draw against Houston Dynamo last week. That being said…JOZY ALTIDORE IS BACK BABY. He scored a beauty last week and nearly punched a hole in the atmosphere he was so jacked up about it. Giovinco before the last game had been on a wild tear of sick goals. So once again, this one is a total crapshoot as to which version of each team we are going to get. The game is huge for both teams though as the Eastern conference is so tight. Only a few points separates teams in the top three from teams out of the playoffs.
Score prediction: 2-1 Philadelphia. I think Bedoya is going to go a long way to neutralize the threat from Giovinco/Jozy and I’ll give the home squad the advantage.
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers – 9:30pm EST – Sunday August 21 – FS1
This is one of the fiercest rivalries in the MLS, nicknamed the Cascasia Cup, and with both teams struggling to break above the red line this game is crucial to everyone involved. Seattle has been on a bit of a tear since the saucy Nicolas Lodeiro came to town three games ago, and Jordan Morris went from flapping seagull to soaring eagle. Doesn’t hurt that Dempsey is back in full form either. Portland for their part just can’t seem to get out of their own way. They’ve been shut out in four straight games on the road, most recently getting beat 2-0 by the lowly DC United. Portland’s trio of Fanendo Adi, Darlington Nagbe, and Diego Valeri just can’t seem to keep it clicking consistently, and they’ve had real struggles on defense all year. Sometimes it has seemed like goalie Jake Gleeson has been the only thing keeping them in games. It all depends on which team shows up for them in Seattle
Score prediction: 3-1 Seattle. Seattle has never lost to Portland when playing at home during the regular season, and there doesn’t seem to be much reason that should change. Unless Valeri can inspire his squad I think this is going to be a beatdown and Seattle’s interim coach, Brian Schmetzer, will get his first big rivalry win. Look for Nicolas Lodeiro to control the game from the midfield and drop several nice dimes behind the Portland’s suspect defense.