Posts Tagged ‘mls cup’

By Evan Ream

I’m genuinely excited for this game, as I am for all MLS Cups, even if something predictable happens. I started watching MLS Cup in 2004 and have never been treated to a bad game. Even the worse games of the seven I have watched live went to overtime. I don’t think this game will be bad, I think it will actually pretty much mirror the best one I have seen: MLS Cup 2008.

The Galaxy will start off strong and get a goal in the first half – Robbie Keane is my pick to get it – and cruise to halftime leading 1-0. After the half, one of the Dynamo’s 394702347230 six footers will equalize setting up a dramatic finish in which Keane will score twice after the 85th minute. Yes, I’m predicting the first hat-trick in MLS Cup history. I think Keane is on really good form and will exploit the Houston backline with smart runs.

Houston still has a chance in this game, but I think that they just don’t have enough quality. They will probably have to score two or three goals on set pieces to win this game, and with Brad Davis out, I just don’t see that happening.

Prediction: L.A. Galaxy 3 Houston Dynamo 1

MVP: Robbie Keane

Advertisements

By Evan Ream

This Sunday, the L.A. Galaxy will take on the Houston Dynamo at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. to decide who will win the 16th MLS Cup. This is the second of two team previews. You can find the L.A. Galaxy preview here.

Overview

(more…)

By Evan Ream

This Sunday, the L.A. Galaxy will take on the Houston Dynamo at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. to decide who will win the 16th MLS Cup. This is my first of two team previews.

Overview

(more…)

By Evan Ream

In 15 previous years in MLS, a team has done the double (defined as winning two trophies in one season) nine times. No team has ever achieved the treble. It is nearly September in MLS year 16, and FC Dallas could very well be the first team to achieve this rare feat. FC Dallas are currently still alive in four competitions: MLS Cup, Supporter’s Shield, US Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League. Obviously they can’t win the Champions League this year because the final isn’t until 2012, but what are their chances of winning the other three competitions?

Note that for all purposes pretty much ever on this site, I don’t count the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the predecessor to the CONCACAF Champions League, as a major trophy based on the lack seriousness that teams took the tournament.

(more…)

By Evan Ream

After recently re-reading The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons (a must read for any sports fan), I studied his Keyser Söze chapter closely. In this chapter, Simmons chooses the ten best teams of all time (number one was the 86 Celtics) in the NBA. Each of these teams were great because they could and would go “Keyser Söze” on opponents; not just beat them, but also humiliating them in the process. I believe we are seeing the first ever “Keyser Söze” team in MLS this year: Real Salt Lake.

MLS has a very short history and thus very few dominating teams. For me to claim that we are seeing the first “Keyser Söze” team this year, we must first look back at each previous year.

(more…)

>By Evan Ream, with help from the Intern

Before we get started, if you haven’t checked out any of our individual team previews yet, here they are:
 
DC United Team Preview
 
Chivas USA Team Preview
 
Philadelphia Union Team Preview
 
New England Revolution Team Preview
 
Houston Dynamo Team Preview
 
Toronto FC Team Preview
 
Chicago Fire Team Preview
 
Sporting KC Team Preview
 
San Jose Earthquakes Team Preview
 
Colorado Rapids Team Preview
 
Seattle Sounders FC Team Preview
 
Columbus Crew Team Preview
 
FC Dallas Team Preview
 
New York Red Bulls Team Preview
 
Real Salt Lake Team Preview
 
LA Galaxy Team Preview
 
Portland Timbers Team Preview
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Team Preview
 
Now, the Intern and I are going to predict who will win every major award and trophy along with a small explanation for each. We would love to hear what you guys think as well, let us know.
 
Individual Awards
 

Golden Boot:
Evan – Alvaro Saborio is the best goal scorer on the best team. He will benefit from the service provided to him by a stacked midfield especially, Javier Morales. Saborio will be the first player since Landon Donovan in 2008 to score 20 goals.
 
The Intern – I agree with Evan’s pick of Alvaro Saborio and he looks to be in the best situation to win the award. I think Henry could challenge him though if he cans stay healthy for the entire season. Henry has proven himself to be a top class scorer everywhere he has played and should have a strong year for New York. He will be playing with a strong midfield behind him with Dane Richards and Joel Lindpere on the wings and should get plenty of service.
 
MVP:
Evan – I think Landon Donovan will have a monster season and become the second two-time MVP after Preki. Donovan will lead the Galaxy to the Supporter’s Shield once again and have a double-digit goals and assists season. Watch out for Javier Morales in this category as he has as good of a chance as anyone.
 
The Intern – Landon Donovan. I can’t even make much of a case for that many others. Maybe Freddy Montero in Seattle but Donovan is still the favorite.
 
Goalkeeper of the Year:
Evan – Nick Rimando should have finished above Donovan Ricketts in the voting last year (though not above Kevin Hartman), and I think the media will finally give him the love he deserves. He has really been playing at a high level the last two years.
 
The Intern – I really like what Sean Johnson did last year with Chicago and he earned them points the whole season, but the defense in front of him is not strong enough for him to win this award. Since Evan took Rimando, I’ll say Kevin Hartman, who played incredibly in last year’s playoffs. It’s hard for me to see someone besides Hartman or Rimando winning this.
 
Defender of the Year:
Evan – Tim Ream will be the key player on the New York Red Bulls defense this year as well as the sophomore player that improves the most. Word has it that Ream is being called up for the Argentina and Paraguay games, all but insuring his inclusion for the Gold Cup roster; this could count against him.
 
The Intern – Despite the tremendous year Tim Ream had last year, I still think he is a year or two away from winning this award, although everyone seems to be going crazy over him (rightfully so) which helps his chances. Ream’s New York teammate Rafa Marquez could win this one though since he will be another major part of the NY back line but then there’s that Omar Gonzalez guy in LA too. This is the toughest one for me to choose because it’s very subjective but I’m going to pick Marquez for this one.
 
Rookie of the Year:
Evan – Being from Davis, Calif., how could I not pick Jalil Anibaba? Well, because he won’t be better than Perry Kitchen. It took me a while to make this pick, but I think Kitchen will be a first choice starter and lead a resurgent DC United team to the playoffs; making him an easy pick.
 
The Intern – I like Perry Kitchen for this year as well, mainly because of how strong I think DC will be. Darlington Nagbe is also a candidate for this award and he should get plenty of minutes partnered with Kenny Cooper for the Timbers. If he can provide a legitimate goal scoring threat, the attacking duo of Portland will be able to do some damage and possibly get enough attention for Nagbe to win this award.
 
Trophy Picks
US Open Cup:
Evan – Historically there are four teams that really care about this trophy. Four-time winners Chicago are terrible and won’t win it, same for the Columbus Crew. This leaves DC United and Seattle Sounders FC who will win it. Seattle want to become the first MLS team to three-peat and will make this tournament a priority.
 
The Intern – Seattle really seems to care about this trophy and they are one of the best teams in the competition. They should be able to win. That being said, DC will be eager to win a trophy (besides the Carolina Challenge Cup) this year because of all the improvements they made in the offseason and the Open Cup is their best chance to do so.
 
Supporters Shield:
Evan – As previously mentioned, I think that the LA Galaxy will win the Supporter’s Shield based on their depth in their squad and their star players. I still think Real Salt Lake have the best team, but I think they are involved in too many competitions to win this trophy.
 
The Intern – It’s really hard to see LA not winning this, but I think RSL and Seattle will be breathing down their necks the whole season and one of them may be able to slide into first place towards the last few weeks of the season.
 
MLS Cup:
Evan – I think Real Salt Lake will make up for their first round failure last year by taking this trophy for the 2nd time in 3 years. RSL should have won it last year and they know it, they will not make the same mistake two years in a row.
 
The Intern – Given how literally anything can happen in the playoffs, it’s hard to make this prediction just yet so I’m going to go with a possible outcome that I would enjoy seeing. Seattle. I like the team they have and it would be great to see another first time winner.
 
This is how I see the table turning out:
1. LA Galaxy
2. Real Salt Lake
3. New York Red Bulls
4. Seattle Sounders FC
5. FC Dallas
6. Colorado Rapids
7. DC United
8. San Jose Earthquakes
9. Philadelphia Union
10. Sporting KC
11. Houston Dynamo
12. New England Revolution
13. Columbus Crew
14. Portland Timbers
15. Chivas USA
16. Chicago Fire
17. Toronto FC
18. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
 
This is how The Intern sees the table turning out:
1.   LA Galaxy
2.   Seattle Sounders
3.   Real Salt Lake
4.   New York Red Bulls
5.   Colorado Rapids
6.   FC Dallas
7.   DC United
8.   San Jose Earthquakes 
9.   Philadelphia Union
10. Sporting KC
11. New England Revolution
12. Columbus Crew
13. Houston Dynamo
14. Portland Timbers
15. Chivas USA
16. Toronto FC
17. Chicago Fire
18. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
 
And lastly, some bold predictions:

  • Chad Barrett will score more goals than Chris Wondolowski
  • Steve Zakuani will be the first midfielder to score 15 goals in one season
  • Arturo Alvarez will score 10 goals in all competitions

 
The Intern’s:

  • We will see at least 10 Stanky Legs this year.
  • Contrary to Univision announcer Pablo Ramirez, opposing defenses will not like that Boon-boo-ree, especially if it’s part of a four-three-three.
  • Hopeful thinking: Kasey Keller wins a championship to end a remarkable professional career.

Predictions for tonight’s opening match:
Evan Ream: LA
Will Robinson: Draw
The Intern: Draw
Nick Gallaudet: LA

>By Evan Ream, with help from the Intern
16485_news

Last Year: 15-4-11 56 points, 2nd in West, 2nd Overall. Lost to FC Dallas 3-2 on aggregate in the Western Conference Semifinals
 
Key Losses: Robbie Findley
 
Key Additions: Arturo Alvarez
 
Projected Starting XI: Real Salt Lake play a 4-4-2 with a slight diamond midfield, but it isn’t a true diamond. Most people say it is, but Kyle Beckerman is much more offensive than most people think and Javier Morales does a lot more defensive work than everyone thinks. Together, Morales and Beckerman are the best central midfield pairing in the league by far. Their outside midfielders, usually Will Johnson or Andy Williams tuck inside, though their outside backs don’t overlap much, which allows the midfield to take a lot more attacking chances. Alvaro Saborio scored 18 goals in all competitions for RSL last year and could score even more this year. Fabian Espindola is a limited player in terms of his awareness and decision-making, but being the worst starter on this team isn’t bad. JJamison-Olaveamison Olave really cut down on his mistakes last year and became the best defender on the best defensive team in the league. Though their best team is the one you see below, they don’t use it very often. Jason Kreis plans ahead to give each starter ample rest throughout the season, sometimes planning the lineups five games in advance. Their depth will be tested with all the competitions they’re in this year, but they have key role players that can come off the bench and be nearly as good as the starters. Up front, the young Paulo Jr. looks to be a future star in the league and should start a few games. Arturo Alvarez can also slide into a forward role or either outside midfield position where Ned Grabavoy can also play. Tony Beltran is capable of playing either outside back spot and Rauswhan McKenzie can slide in for either Borchers or Olave at center back. The biggest drop off though is the central midfield replacement for Beckerman or Morales, either Jean Alexandre or Collen Warner, but they are usually fine as long as they have at least one of Beckerman or Morales.
 

Fabian Espindola          Alvaro Saborio
 
Will Johnson          Kyle Beckerman          Javier Morales          Andy Williams
 
Chris Wingert         Nat Borchers          Jamison Olave          Robbie Russell
 
Nick Rimando

 
Prognosis: Last year RSL were the best team in the league, but they came up three points short for the Supporter’s Shield and had a few tough breaks in the playoffs. I fully expect them to be better this season than they were last year, but it may not show in the standings. They are still alive in the CONCACAF Champions League where they beat Columbus, keeping them alive in four competitions (five if they play SuperLiga). Javier Morales thinks they can win the treble; I don’t doubt him for a second. I have a good feeling that this team will come away at the very least with one trophy. Alvaro Saborio should challenge for the golden boot and Arturo Alvarez should have a very big season, and may turn out to be even better than Robbie Findley, not that that is saying much. As the best passing team in MLS, RSL are a great team for soccer lovers to watch, and you likely will be watching them in late November.

The Intern’s Take: It will be interesting to see how RSL holds up through all of their competitions this year and if they pull a Columbus type burnout towards the end of the season. This seems like a remote possibility however due to the fact that they have arguably one of the most talented depth pools in the league. RSL is one of, if not, the most well balanced team in MLS. Whereas some teams have spent monstrous sums of money bringing in big name players, RSL has no standout superstar, and I get the sense that is how they want it. Their focus on the overall team is evident in the fact that unlike most MLS teams, RSL has no glaringly obvious weakness and therefore should be right back in the playoffs again this year. Anything short of that must be considered a failure. Anchoring the back is Nick Rimando in goal, who started for the USA against Chile in January. The RSL defense only let in 20 goals over 30 games last year, helping the team finish with a league best +25 goal differential, an impressive seven goals ahead of second place LA. Leading the back line again this year will be the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, Jamison Olave. The central midfield duo of Beckerman and Morales is solid and effective, and with Alvaro Saborio up top, the forwards generally have no problems finding the back of the net. Arturo Alvarez, Ned Grabavoy, and Tony Beltran should be able to provide quality off the bench and are all adequate starters if needed. This RSL team is solid and well built and they should be able to compete against any team they face this year, whether in MLS, Open Cup, or CONCACAF Champion’s League.