MLS Predictions: Will Sporting KC Use The Timbers To BBQ?

John Nyen proves again it’s not who you know, it’s what you don’t

Encino Man heads' to Nyen's Den this weekend: Burnside

You are sitting at home, watching a movie and that soft talking part comes on the television.

The male or female speaker gently whispers into your ear the dulcet tones of any inane speech, but that soft tone and pattern gives your brain the jollies. You feel a chill run up and down parts of your extremities usually in your brain and spine, and it feels like your cerebral lobes are percolating slowly. This is currently called ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response, a function not fully understood or really even fully named. ASMR is just the common parlance (as The Dude would say) of its time.

Well, this week has some subtle tones, games that are whispering ever delicately into your ear and making the spine tingle just a hitch. Revenge games, historical games, streak games and slobberknockers. And these games are on your television, fully available, fully local as the season starts to spin up into fourth gear.

Let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way.

I went 4-5 last week, a marked improvement over the 2-6 drubbing the week before. That takes the record to…

22 – 22

I’m right at the .500 mark and the season now begins in earnest.

As always, All times are east coast, Shea Salinas is out for 8 weeks and Rafa Marquez is out for 3, and be careful with the rainwater and grain alcohol this weekend… they want to steal your precious bodily fluids!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

3:30PM – Toronto FC v Chicago – BMO Field – Television: NBCSN

Pappa needs to play Big Daddy this weekend...

Toronto is really just awful this year, having somehow managed to spit the bit in every MLS game so far this year. Compare that resume to the sparkling CONCACAF Champions League play and you have a discrepancy of a team. With some defensive reinforcements making their comeback soon, Toronto should see an up-tick in their form.

Meanwhile, lightening struck Chicago couldn’t help the weather conditions as they played to a conditions shortened draw against Houston.

Toronto need to find the spark that they had early season in order to start playing up the field without turning the ball over. They need to control their possession through the middle of the field on their counter attacks. The key here for me will be the ability of Toronto to pass to themselves and space rather than Chicago. Meanwhile, Grazini and Pappa need a bit of the same in the midfield for Chicago. They need to have the ability to hold up play, get others into the game and not turn the second half into a midfield track meet. While Chicago probably have the upper hand with Dominic Oduro, Toronto have plenty of guile and pace with Plata. BTW: Did you know that Toronto has a goal differential of -8?

I’ve been predicting this for awhile, but I am going back to it again….

My prediction: Toronto breaks the slide and gets the win. 3-2

Last Game for Toronto: L 0-1

Last Game for Chicago T 1-1


"TSG, I'm sick of this running Chad Marshall gag."

7:30PM – Columbus v Houston – Crew Stadium – Television: Local Only

Columbus is a bit of a dual-personality team. It makes them exceptionally difficult to predict (at times). Meanwhile, Houston are exactly what we expect of them. They are tough, play good defense, utilize hold up play, they try to lay off from the strikers to the midfield and get others into the attack, and close to the 18 yard box they are going for free kicks. Will Bruin finally scored (although with a whiff of weird keeper play), which should give the Dynamo a boost from the forward position. There is going to be quite a bit of play through the midfield on this one with Columbus dumping their long passes out to the wing into space and Houston trying to get their long passes up to Bruin and Ching up top.

Theoretically, if form follows function, Columbus should win this game going L-W-W-L-L in their last 5. Also, Columbus were pretty hard done by the Union up in Philadelphia as they outplayed them for long stretches of the game.

No problem Chuck...

My Prediction: I think Columbus won’t be able to control Houston like they did at times against Philly, however they will have some attempts on goal. The question is if they have the players to convert said chances. I tend to think that the road warriors, Houston, will grab a win here, as I think the moving parts are better drilled than Columbus currently. Houston 1-0

Last game for Columbus: L 1-0

Last game for Houston: T 1-1

9:00PM – Colorado v Los Angeles – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Television: Local Only

Colorado gave a game performance and still ended up on the wrong side of the stick against SLC. Meanwhile, LA relied on a second half comeback against a team that gives away second half comebacks like a new Start Up IPO gives away stock.

The thing with LA, is that I am still not entirely sold on their performance. They relied on good play, but also some extremely boneheaded defensive lapses by Portland to get back in the game. Their first half was listless again, and relying on Beckham golazos (one that should have been blocked by the “lets cover one guy with two people” LB/CB of the Timbers) is not a formula for success.

I think Colorado has the ability here to pressure LA where it hurts, up the spine. They can hit them in the midfield enough to push back the attack from LA and if the CB’s of LA are occupied it may be Colorado who scores first.

My Prediction: I am going with the home team here. Colorado to win 2-1.

Last game for Colorado: L 0-1

Last game for Galaxy: W 3-1


Need. More. Playing. Time.

10:00PM – Vancouver v FC Dallas – BC Place – Television: Local Only

An intriguing match up between two teams that are not what they seem. Vancouver looked to be offensive, streaking forward for goals and winning games 3-2. While Dallas appeared to be defensive, trying to grind out wins and humping the ball up top.

Meanwhile…. Vancouver has only scored 5 goals on the year which is second from the bottom in the west, and Dallas has given up 9 goals which is tied for second most in the west.

What to make of this? Vancouver’s pickup of Sebastien LeToux does actually prove some of the issues of having LeToux on the team. In order for him to play effectively the play goes through him. Certainly the Whitecaps have missed Camilo at times, but Eric Hassli has stopped scoring. Despite taking 12 shots, Hassli has yet to net a goal this season. With Camilo only playing 286 minutes this year there is a distinct lack of verve in the middle of the field.

Let’s take a look at Dallas for a second. Despite having a field in Frisco, Texas that is pretty much one to two hours from anywhere in the DFW metroplex (except Frisco), Dallas is averaging 15,079 fans this year. This total (so far in this early season) is a 3,000 person increase over their total average from last year and puts them over DC United, Columbus, Colorado, Chivas, Chicago, and the Revolution. WHETHER OR NOT THIS IS ACTUAL PEOPLE AT THE GAME <— Capitalized for emphasis… the fact is that Dallas is selling more tickets.

Blas Perez is legit BTW.

My Prediction: Despite getting cut up by Sporting in the midweek I think Vancouver can bounce back to pull a draw here. I’m going for 2-2.

Last Game for Vancouver: L 1-3

Last Game for Dallas: W 1-0


10:30PM – Portland v Sporting KC – JELD-WEN Field – Television: Local Only

Streaks were made to end. They simply were made to end. while the Timbers completely and utterly lost due to defensive miscues last weekend, they were also desperately unlucky a few times during that LA game. The second Kris Boyd goal (quite spectacular mid air flip to volley) was actually very much onside and should have counted. There, of course, is also the debate about Robbie Keane being in the line of sight and the path of the ball and very much offside during the Juninho goal.

This, however, does not excuse their second half defensive ineptitude.

Look, I’ll be completely honest here. There isn’t going to be one major pundit who picks the Timbers to win this game.

I am picking them though.

SKC’s full backs are a weakness, and they are susceptible wide. Meanwhile the Timbers seemed to finally get the message that Boyd likes balls played into his feet, and they appeared to cut in more, instead of just heaving in crosses from the outside. The fullback situation is defensively slightly better with Mike Chabala and Steve Purdy outside while the middle of the field is still a MASSIVE question mark.

Since I am going to this game, I am going to call for excitement and goals. I think that Portland gets at least one on KC and pushes them. The question is… do they fall apart at the end for the fourth straight game?

To recap: I am picking a team that has lost 3 straight games late in the second half to score two goals against a team that hasn’t lost all year and has only given up two goals.

Belief Beyond Reason.

Belief when all hope is gone.

My utterly unrealistic prediction: Timbers win 2-1

Last Game for Portland: L 1-3

Last Game for SKC: W 3-1


10:30PM – Chivas USA v Philadelphia – The Home Depot Center – Television: Local Only

Chivas are good. Let’s repeat that again. Chivas are good. Whether their form follows it, this is a team you cannot overlook. Philadelphia on the other hand are a collection of 11 chickens sans heads. Sometimes it clicks, and sometimes it looks like the inaugural season all over again.

Chivas will press you, figure out the adjustment and then start pressuring at your weakness. For Philly that is the backline/fullback. Chivas can take them there. They really can.

My Prediction: Chivas 2-0

Last game for Chivas: W 1-0

Last game for Philly: W 1-0


10:30PM – San Jose v Real Salt Lake – Buck Shaw Stadium – Television: Local Only

This is a corker! San Jose and RSL are two teams that play the exact opposite style of each other. San Jose relies on a target man up top to help Wondolowski play off of and they play direct to the front in order to bring players into the play. RSL build up play from the back and try to speed/pass you to death. Unfortunately for San Jose, they will be missing Shea Salinas due to the Rafa Marquez incident. However, Steven (you hate him don’t you?) Lenhart and Alan (chainsaw massacre) Gordon will be available for the quakes. Sporting showed that you can rough up, clog up and work on Salt Lake, something that San Jose is going to try to do as well, although without the ALL SYSTEMS GO offense of KC. Remains to be seen if those dangerous diagonal balls of San Jose come to anything. 7 different players for Salt Lake have scored this year, while four players have scored for San Jose. With Wondolowski powering the offense (7 goals in 6 games) single handedly (Early MVP tip here) can RSL mark him out of the game?

My Prediction: 1-1

Last Game for San Jose: T 2-2

Last Game for RSL: L 0-1


Sunday, April 22, 2012

6:00PM – D.C. United v New York – RFK Stadium – Television: ESPN2/ESPN Deportes





He likes his old teams, He likes scoring on his old teams.

However, this time, his old team reallllllly likes scoring in general.

Unfortunately, the M*A*S*H core of Red Bull New York’s back line is starting to get exceptionally thin, and despite Rafa Marquez’s recent stand in for Nigel DeJong his loss does actually equate to a loss in personnel/player for New York (to a certain extent).

If there is one thing we should be able to expect in this game it is goals. RBNY have allowed 10 goals in 6 games while DC united have allowed 7 goals in 7 games. Despite their sparkling offensive form, I expect RBNY to take a dip here due to the walking wounded and their less than stellar away form.

My Prediction: 3-2 to DC United. [Harkes] Whoever scores the most….. WINS [/Harkes]

Last game for United: 1-1 T

Last Game for RBNY: 2-2 T

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2012/04/20 at 2:48 PM

    Mike Fucito to the Timbers?

    No. No. No. No. and No.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/04/20 at 5:19 PM

      It’s a trade that makes perfect sense: Montreal were DEFINITELY scoring too many goals.

      …got my weekly anti-Marsch dig in.


  2. Posted by dth on 2012/04/20 at 5:20 PM

    Anyone know why Columbus aren’t just saying “Eff it. Let’s just play Dilly Duka”? What, that Chilean #10 is going to get it done for you?


  3. Posted by californiaredskins on 2012/04/21 at 3:36 AM

    SKC seems to be one of the funnest locker rooms in the league. Big props to them (or their marketing dept) for putting all this stuff out there.


  4. Posted by joe on 2012/04/21 at 9:41 PM

    Wow couldn’t get the Colorado-LA game but you did call the Timbers over SKC props. At the beginning of the year everyone was picking that high powered offense in California to be leading the West, who knew that 1/4 through the season it would be San Jose


  5. Posted by SamT on 2012/04/22 at 7:19 PM

    Haiku watershed
    Turned good fortune into bad
    Now John sub 50

    Odd early results
    Parity, or randomness?
    Time will yield answers


  6. Posted by John on 2012/04/23 at 8:55 AM

    Picking games is a fantastically fun experience, which is why I like writing the columns. However, never let it be said that it is easy. Chivas, Colorado and Toronto all lost at home. Toronto might be said to be an easy pick but Chivas continues to play to 1-0 wins/losses.

    Predictions are a baffling game, but no more so than in MLS.

    Still fun though!


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