As we enter the final third of the 2011 MLS season, questions remain unresolved in our predictions contest. Will Chest Rockwell continue to pull away? Will I manage to catch The AMT? Do the readers even watch soccer?
Week 20: Martin 4, AMT 3, Readers 3, Chest 2
Overall: Chest 92, AMT 84, Martin 80, Readers 76
I was of the opinion that the KC defense's weaknesses would be exposed. Losing the best player in that group will make that happen a lot faster. RSL may whine and moan about just about everything these days, but they probably won't complain about the free genuine Faberge egg that each player is given as a courtesy at MLS's ballin'-est stadium. (Chest)
United have had difficulty dealing with physical strikers and have typically done well shutting down opposing midfields. So it's a lucky thing for us that Toronto just traded their top scoring striker for a midfielder. Eric Avila could work out well for TFC, but I don't think he'll be able to put the brakes on the DeRo Revenge Tour 2011. (AMT)
Chicago's acquisition of Pavel Pardo would make them a real contender in 2004. Now, though, it just eats into their salary budget at one of the only positions they were deep at. Good work, guys. Philly will have little trouble showing the Fire what they're doing wrong. (Chest)
Okay. So here we have the best team in the league against a team that should probably be relegated back to USL. If the two sides decided to cancel the MLS game and do a playground style pickup game instead, the Galaxy's 11 starters would be among the first 13 or so players chosen. (Martin)
Colorado seems to have found themselves a bit of late, but Columbus has been excellent at grinding out results against hot teams, cold teams, and anyone in between. It won't be pretty, but Robert Warzycha hates pretty things anyway. (Chest)
This match features the lowest scoring team in MLS against a team rebuilding around defense. I'm sure the TV ratings and attendance will both be through the roof. (Martin)
Saturday August 6, 8:00 PM: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo
Martin: Hou. Chest: Phi. AMT: Phi.
Can the Dynamo build on their surprising win over the Sounders last week? The Union's second match in four days gives them an opportunity to stay alive the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, and I think they'll take it. (Martin)
Saturday August 6, 8:30 PM: Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders
Martin: KC. Chest: Tie. AMT: Sea.
Yeah, I'm picking the Sporks to lose twice at home this week. It helps that they're playing two good teams, of course, and it helps that both those teams are actually competent on the road - the Sounders are actually allowing fewer games on the road than they are at home. Reminds me of some other team... (AMT)
Saturday August 6, 9:00 PM: Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls
Martin: Tie. Chest: RSL. AMT: RSL.
It was kind of funny that Arsenal used this music to herald the Red Bulls lifting of the Emirates Cup, arguably the New Jersey club's most important accomplishment to date. I'm guessing it was Arsene Wenger's idea - the guy's a real jokester when you catch him before the Gunners' season goes pear-shaped in March or April. (AMT)
Saturday August 6, 10:30 PM: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. FC Dallas
Martin: Tie. Chest: LA. AMT: Tie.
Top of the table match at the HDC, but ESPN is showing a meaningless friendly. In any case, I'd take Dallas here, but LA has enough depth to cope with their mid-week game; I'm not sure I can say the same about Dallas. (Chest)
Saturday August 6, 10:30 PM: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers
Martin: SJ. Chest: Tie. AMT: SJ.
Just when things are looking bleak for the Quakes, here comes the Western Conference's worst road team! Just what the doctor ordered after D.C. exploited the DeRo shaped hole in the Bay Area's heart. (AMT)
Sunday August 7, 7:00 PM: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Chicago Fire, Galavision
Martin: Van. Chest: Tie. AMT: Tie.
If Tom Soehn keeps playing 2 forwards and 3 attacking midfielders ahead of a 19 year old defensive midfielder and a weak back four, I simply can't pick them to beat anyone. On the other hand, I also can't bring myself to pick the Fire to win a game either. (Chest)