MLS Opening Weekend.

Published: Mar 08, 2014 12:46pm EST
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 08, 2014 @ 12:46pm EST

 

The midweek International games were a distraction and I don’t think really told us a whole great deal about the sides heading to Brazil in a few months time. Jack Wilshire injured himself while wearing England colors and will be out for six weeks. As a result he will miss vital games for the Gunners. Clint Dempsey didn’t have his best performance for the USA but he hadn’t really played for Fulham either.

 

Tomorrow sees the start of the MLS season, although not all teams will play this weekend. Here is my look at the opening weekends fixtures. Just one more point though is we will be starting with replacement referees due to a non resolution between the referees, and the Professional Referees Organization, forced a lock out.

 

Saturday:

 

Seattle v Kansas City (3pm ET):

The first game of the new season could see Clint Dempsey take the field for Seattle as they host Sporting Kansas City. In the last few seasons meetings between these two have only had one outcome, with the exception of tied game two years ago, and that was a Seattle win.

After the poor performance with the National team during the week and a less than impressive display in his two months in England the pressure is on. Seattle fans and US fans more broadly will be hoping he has a good MLS campaign prior to the upcoming World Cup.

For Kansas City, they have managed to keep the main core of their squad from last season. Although their Captain did retire they did manage to hold on to key others, including their Carlos Tevez, Claudio Bieler.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

 

DC United v Columbus Crew (7pm ET):

Can DC United have a better season this time around? I think they will and I also think they will start this season with a decent win at the RFK Stadium. It was two seasons ago that DC last won a home game, or at any location, against the visitors. That game ended 3-2 to the black and red’s and I expect Ben Olson’s side to do similar this time around.

Certainly the back line has changed for DC and, for pre season at least, they have been much improved and the lack of scoring from last time has been addressed with the addition of Eddie Johnson.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

 

Vancouver v New York Red Bulls (7:30 ET):

When taking on Vancouver at their home stadium the opposing Manager has to not only take into mind the opposition lineup but also the surface on which they play. The Red Bull’s manager, Mike Petke, will likely rest Thierry Henry this weekend. With the return of Tim Cahill and Roy Miller returning from International duty with Australia and Costa Rica respectively means they may also be rested. On a personal note I hope that gives Bradley Wright-Phillips a chance to shine for his side.

For Vancouver they have had an overhaul of their midfield and with the last one being Chilean Pedro Morales added just recently. With Nigel Reo-Coker playing deep in midfield alongside Matias Laba expect them to be able to break up play more when they don’t have the ball.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

 

FC Dallas v Montreal Impact (8:30 ET):

This is the only league meeting between the two this season and so far the Impact are yet to defeat FC Dallas. Can the Impact’s third coach in as many seasons lead them to success. Will he be given time to mold them into a side with the ability to get some success on the field? The new coach also sees a new Captain although Patrice Berner was limited in his preseason games due to fitness.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

 

Houston v New England (8:30 ET):

For the Dynamo Bobby Boswell departed and has returned to DC United in what was a less than exciting post season of departures and arrivals. Of course Brian Ching is also no longer there, but that was through a retirement rather than moving on to another side. Can they reach the MLS Cup this season for what would be their third in four years? I think maybe not.

For the Revolution it was a case of improving their striking options going into this season. The arrival of Teal Bunbury from Sporting Kansas City will certainly add the firepower. So the opening game pits two Eastern Conference Playoff sides from last year against each other. Last season the games between the two were won by the home side for each game, and therefore split evenly.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

 

Portland Timbers v Philadelphia (10:30 ET):

Yes the Timbers have not lost to the Union in the four meetings between the two and yes the Union also could not repeat their playoff performance of 2012 in 2013 but I think this could be the year for some good things in PA.

The Timbers made some signings in the close season but mostly they are the same look as last year. For Philly John Hackworth takes charge for his second season and there is competition for the midfield places and with Austin Berry from Chicago and the 6ft 4 Aaron Wheeler making strides in post season as a center back, when he was initially an attacker when first arriving at PPL Park. Look for good things from this side this season.

Prediction: 1-2.

 

 

LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake (10:30 ET):

These two last met in the Western Conference semi final when the hosts were knocked out by the visitors. Bruce Arena is still in charge of LA and still have Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan to cause the Leagues defenses nightmares. Inconsistent results last season will be the number one thing Arena would want to address for this season.

For Real Salt Lake things are much the same as last season. With appearances in the Open Cup Final and MLS Cup Final the key was to compliment what was already there rather than wholesale changes. I do think though with some of the improvements made by other sides in the post season this may be a miscalculation.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

 

Sunday:

 

 

Chivas USA v Chicago (3pm ET):

The lone game on Sunday sees two sides who have changed their coaches and also big changes to their playing staff. The key for both these sides will be if they can hit the ground running and collect those first three points of the season.

A lot of pundits are picking Chivas to win this opener and certainly I am not going to argue against them. There as been much change off the field with Chivas and the fans seem to be in optimistic mood and for that reason I hope they are not disappointed.

On the other hand the Fire do still retain last seasons MVP and with Frank Yallop has head coach there are reasons for Fire fans to be optimistic also. In Frank Yallop you have a guy who has been around the MLS block and that might give him the edge.

Prediction: 1-1.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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