Last week, MLS featured a relatively light slate of games, with many teams opting to engage in international friendlies instead, or canceling matches for the heck of it. This week is much more packed, with a grand total of five (FIVE!) games on Wednesday. Better get to voting.
Week 18: Chest 5, Martin 4, AMT 4, Readers 2
Overall: Chest 83, AMT 75, Martin 69, Readers 67
Wednesday July 20, 7:30 PM: D.C. United vs. New England Revolution, CSN
Martin:DC. Chest: DC. AMT: DC.
In anticipation of the Revs' inevitable move to become the Dixie Wanderers, I am rechristening this rivalry as the Southland Derby. (What? D.C. is totally below the Mason-Dixon line!) I fully expect la Barra Brava to write a song to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic to demonstrate our superiority over those damn Johnny Rebs. (And yes, I realize Manchester United already has a version, but it's an American song, dammit! It's about time an American club properly reclaimed it, anyway. Also note that I'm not actually advocating for moving the Revs out of New England, despite the utter crumminess of their ownership.) (AMT)
Martin: Dal. Chest: Dal. AMT: Dal.
I figured out Aron Winter's strategy to save Toronto's season: Keep making trades so that no one ever knows exactly who they have on their roster. You'd need IBM's Winston computer to deal with all the possible formations and combinations of players (Chest)
Wednesday July 20, 9:30 PM: Colorado Rapids vs. New York Red Bulls
Martin: Tie. Chest: Clr. AMT: Tie.
Bad vibes surround both of these teams. Conor Casey just suffered a season-ending Achilles injury for the Rapids, while Hans Backe had players sniping at him from the field against Chivas. The difference is that the Rapids are at home, and have a somewhat similar player to replace him in Caleb Folan. NY can't just sub in new team spirit. (Chest)
Wednesday July 20, 10:30 PM: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Columbus Crew
Martin: LA. Chest: LA. AMT: LA.
Robert Warzycha will look across at the opposite sideline and see Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and Bruce Arena and think that he must be playing a team in the World Football Challenge. Then he'll see Adam Cristman and Jovan Kirovski and realize that nope, its just the Galaxy. (Martin)
Wednesday July 20, 10:30 PM: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Martin: Tie. Chest: SJ. AMT: SJ.
Start the countdown clock to see if the Whitecaps can pull a Reverse Team DeRo this season - losing a game under three different coaches in one season. After some promising signs after Tommy Soehn took over the reigns, Vancouver has actually gotten worse than they were when they canned Teiter Thordarson. (AMT)
Saturday July 23, 6:00 PM: New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas, Galavision
Martin: Tie. Chest: Tie. AMT: Dal.
Double Agent Dax McCarty, after helping us beat NYRB, has apparently moved on to psychological warfare, with the seeds of discontent already bearing fruit. If Dallas wasn't in the middle of playing every day for 2 weeks, I'd take them to win this one. (Chest)
Saturday July 23, 8:00 PM: Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers
Martin: Clb. Chest: Clb. AMT: Clb.
Last week, the Timbers proved that they can win on the road against a crappy Eastern Conference team when they beat Chicago. This week they'll prove that they can also lose to one. (Martin)
Saturday July 23, 8:30 PM: Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto FC
Martin: KC. Chest: KC. AMT: KC.
By kickoff, Toronto will have acquired KC's entire starting eleven and bench via trades, leaving the odd situation of current Sporks wearing red and current Reds wearing light blue. The really bizarre thing is that KC, having acquired worse players, will still win the game with ease. (Chest)
Saturday July 23, 9:00 PM: Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution
Martin: Clr. Chest: Clr. AMT: Clr.
One Saturday evening in the not-too-distant future, Bob Kraft will look out his window to survey the emptiness of Gillette Stadium. He'll think to himself "Where is that silly Fort? Must be staging a walkout again! They really think I care?" Meanwhile in Atlanta/Memphis/Tuscaloosa, the Dixie Wanderers will be celebrating the opening of CAPITAL LETTERS Stadium. (Martin)
Saturday July 23, 10:00 PM: Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Martin: RSL. Chest: RSL. AMT: RSL.
RSL appears to be going through a low-grade psychological problem lately. They sulk off the field when winning, they call for vastly inferior opponents to forfeit, and there's generally not the total confidence and positive vibe that we've come to expect from them. Nonetheless, you can't bet against them beating the aimlessly drifting Earthquakes at Rio Tinto. (Chest)
Saturday July 23, 10:30 PM: Chivas USA vs. Houston Dynamo
Martin: Tie. Chest: Tie. AMT: Chv.
I'm picking this game entirely based on Houston's less than intimidating road form. I could play the typical sportswriter and say that Nick LaBrocca is going to be super-motivated after being snubbed from the All Star Game and blah blah blah. But mostly it's just that Houston are pretty bad at scoring in places other than Houston (and, sadly, RFK) and Chivas are good at not letting teams score at the HDC. (AMT)