6 Bold Predictions for MLS Matches from September 12-14
With Major League Soccer being such a topsy-turvy league, it is hard to make bold predictions, especially when the unexpected happens on a regular basis.
Just look at Wednesday's draw between Montreal and LA for the latest example of how something bizarre can happen in the exciting weekly action of the North American league.
With that result fresh in our minds, we decided to make a few bold calls about the results of certain games this weekend, and who would star in those matches.
Continue reading on for our six bold predictions for the MLS weekend.
A Defender Will Be the Star in Friday's Clash in Seattle
Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Javier Morales and Joao Plata are just a few of the stud attacking players that will line up for Seattle and Real Salt Lake Friday night, but the game will not be decided by them.
Not only do both sides possess potent attacks, but they have strong defenses as well, which could mean that the match at CenturyLink Field ends in a 1-0 or 0-0 scoreline.
The two defenders that many will point out right away are Seattle's Chad Marshall and RSL's Nat Borchers, but look for someone like Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez or Tony Beltran to make a difference.
All three players will not have the spotlight on them to start the match, but it could easily find them in a crucial moment of this Western Conference tilt.
The Eastern Conference Playoff Picture Will Take Another Crazy Turn
There are two games to watch in regard to the Eastern Conference playoff race this weekend.
New York heads down to PPL Park to play the Union, while Columbus will head south to play at BBVA Compass Stadium against the Dynamo.
Currently, New York sits in fourth with 37 points, just one point ahead of the Crew, who lead the Union on a tiebreaker.
Toronto, which is far from a functional franchise at the moment, sits in between Philadelphia and Houston, which has 31 points.
All it takes is one win from Houston, and a draw at PPL Park, to throw another curveball into the hunt for the final two spots in the East.
Expect Houston to leave everything on the table and win, and for a stalemate between New York and Philadelphia to occur in a game that no one will want to lose.
Chicago Will Light Up Toronto's Defense for at Least 3 Goals
Toronto's defense is nothing short of shambolic at the moment, but the Reds stand a chance to get back on track against the Fire at Toyota Park Saturday night.
Despite the need to find some type of form in the thick of the playoff race, Toronto will falter once again because of its weak back four.
Chicago is not a team that has lit up the scoreboard this season, but Saturday presents it with a chance to score more than three goals for the second time this season.
One player in the Fire attack that is in need of a big game is Harry Shipp, who was the best rookie in the league for the first three months of the season.
With Shipp and Quincy Amarikwa due for big games, look for Frank Yallop's side to be champing at the bit against a team they just might surpass in the standings by season's end.
Portland Will Slip Up in Colorado
The fight for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference is between Portland and Vancouver, but neither team seems to want to earn that spot.
Portland has had several chances over the past month to pull away from its neighbors to the north, but instead it could only draw against San Jose and New England, which has left the door open for Vancouver.
Thanks to a Wednesday win by Vancouver, the Timbers are now two points back of the final playoff position in the West, but don't expect them to take the full three points from Colorado this weekend.
The Rapids were embarrassed on national television last week against the Galaxy, and they would love nothing more than to win at home and hurt the playoff chances of Portland even more.
A win, and some help from FC Dallas against Vancouver, could pull Pablo Mastroeni's side back into the playoff conversation, but first they must show they are capable of actually winning a game, which they should do Saturday night.
Chivas USA Will Challenge Sporting Kansas City at Home
Now it's time to make a few ridiculous predictions, but that is exactly why we write this article.
On the surface, you would think that Chivas USA has a 0.0 percent chance to defeat Sporting Kansas City at home in front of the 10 fans that show up at StubHub Center.
Well, for once we are going to praise the Goats a bit before they prove us wrong and lose by five goals.
Erick Torres will be coming back from international duty with Mexico, where he looked strong against Bolivia but just couldn't finish his chances.
The last time Wilmer Cabrera's side played at home, it was able to score two goals against Seattle in the second half.
With a confident scorer coming back to the side, and Sporting's defense looking very vulnerable, the 10 fans that do show up will get to see Torres break out the robot once or twice en route to at least a point.
The Galaxy Will Struggle Without Landon Donovan
Go ahead and click away from this page if you think we're crazy with this prediction; we won't be offended.
For those of you who stayed to read the rest of this, let us present a small case as to why the Galaxy will struggle without Landon Donovan in the fold because of an one-game yellow-card suspension.
In the two California Clasico matchups this season, the Earthquakes have conceded only three goals to their rival from down south.
Since the last time the two sides met August 8, Donovan has played a part in 13 of the Galaxy's 22 goals, which is a massive total given the number of stars in Bruce Arena's lineup.
On top of losing the contributions of Donovan, LA will face a San Jose side that will treat this game as a playoff clash because the hosts for Sunday's match have little to no chance of making the playoffs.
Add in an on-fire Chris Wondolowski and a noon PT start, and the Earthquakes could have the perfect recipe for a big upset at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.