MLS Week 11 My PWP-Pick-List – Can the Fire take 3 from Sporting?

Last week there were some outrageous results – Chivas taking three points in Colorado and Chicago taking three points in New York – wow – who’da guessed that?

For me both were stunners – and if I don’t mind saying – very timely, as was the San Jose 2-1 win versus FC Dallas…  all told I was five for 12 last week excluding the Canada Cup games.

So what’s in store for this week and weekend?  Any preordained stunners to consider, hard to say, and with some star players moving to the USMNT camp soon there will be some teams working really hard to fill gaps.

For me – this is when a systematic approach brings value provided players minimize mistakes in critical areas.  Some teams, it seems, this year are being plagued by mistakes; two come to mind, the Portland Timbers and the Philadelphia Union.

Both teams are performing well in attacking and defending indicators, as a whole, but the results just aren’t there – with the Timbers it’s about individual mistakes and according to some the same can be said for Philadelphia.

And if you recall from my Expected Wins article, the line between winning, losing and drawing is really, really fine…

So forward into the season both Sporting and Philadelphia have two games this week; is your fantasy team set up to support that potential for more points?

Sporting KC at home to Philadelphia:  I’d expect this is a statement game for the Union – some members of the press have been rating the Union pretty low of late and their end results seem to support that – but end results aren’t necessarily a reflection of a team gone bad; sometimes individual mistakes directly influence the game outcome and somtimes they don’t.  However viewed one of the best teams in MLS, in both record and on-pitch performance, is Sporting KC.  Will Collin have the discipline to hold his yellow/red card tendencies in check – can Philadelphia score and prevent goals against.  At this stage, at this time the cards might be right for a stunner like Chicago had last week but I just don’t see it happening – Sporting take three points…

Toronto at home to New York:  Is this a classic game of counter attacking for Toronto against a very possession and penetration oriented Red Bulls team?  I think so – and since the Red Bulls defending performance hasn’t been the best this year there may be an issue for them in taking three points – but that’s with the Reds having fresh legs – the Reds might be going all out in the Canada Cup game three days prior so when all said and done I’m seeing the Red Bulls beat the Reds…

Philadelphia at home to New England:  The games just don’t get an easier for the Union as they take on the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference three days after playing the top team in the Eastern Conference.  Some members of the paid media have been socializing how poor the Union have been in their winless run of late.  Is this another nail in that ‘press/media’ environment.  For the sake of good team performance I hope not but… when viewing New England so far this year they are also very strong in attack and defending across the pitch.  With all that said Edu will be missing and it’s a short time span from Wednesday – tired legs versus fresh legs and no Edu.  In seeing the bad fortune of Philadelphia early this season a reasonable pick is the Revolution to take three points.  I’m not going to do that though – Philadelphia have strong team performances at home; better than the average team performances by the Revolution on the road – I submit Philadelphia takes three points…  perhaps a stunner pick but if mistakes are at a minimum for the Union they can win.

DC United at home to Montreal:  It would appear that the Montreal Impact and DC United have played role reversal this year.  I don’t think I see Montreal taking three points against a much improved United – short analysis here – DC United take three points.

Chivas travel to FC Dallas:  Can the Goats pull off another stunner like they did in Colorado?  Wow… if they do poker goes up and Dallas doesn’t.  I’m not inclined to think they do given how strong Dallas is in attack – that said they do prove, on occasion, that their central defending area is a bit weak…  All told I don’t see Dallas losing – three points should be expected “and” taken here…

Houston at home to LA:  Star players will be missing and I submit the bigger stars will be missing from the Galaxy – not to diminish the great value Davis brings to the USMNT – on the contrary – I think the Houston bench can better support the loss of Davis – and at home to boot.  Houston wins…

Real Salt Lake at home to Colorado:  Can anyone actually beat Real Salt Lake – so far they are unbeaten this year and their internal team attacking and defending performance indicators don’t do anything but get better.  Can they win with Saborio, Beckerman and Rimando missing?   Colorado may put up a good fight in this game especially since they were really out of sorts against Chivas – I’d like to pick a draw but won’t…  teams don’t go into a game looking to draw even though in this instance a draw might actually be what Mastroeni wants :).  With that I opine RSL wins…

Seattle at home to San Jose:  Dempsey and Evans are training at the USMNT camp as is Wondolowski – is Fucito likely to get a start with Wondo gone?  Don’t know – but I think the Sounders can afford to replace their two stars a bit better than San Jose… not much else to offer up on this one – big stadium, big crowd and likely 3 big points for Seattle…

Portland at home to Columbus:  Bad form for Columbus of late – team performance has dropped since week 3 and I’m not sure the medicine for that is a trip to Portland and a win-starved Timbers team.  The big question here is the back-four for the Timbers; Harrington is injured still (I think) and ball watching seems to occur frequently at key points – well, every second is a possible key second – their only really key if the mistake leads to a goal.  In this case the ball watching last week was pretty bad – I doubt Porter was happy and it’s likely the video and mental part of training was a big focus this week.  I’d expect Portland to come out focused and come out as winners… Timbers take three.

Chicago at home to Sporting KC:  Seems good fortune that Chicago entertain Sporting after the USMNT training starts – two key players out for Sporting and Opara injured means Olum and Collin are the likely pairing if Collin doesn’t get another red card earlier in the week.  Chicago are coming off a huge win against a full strength Red Bulls – it’s home and Harry Shipp is getting these guys into shape.  Not bad young lad, and Amarikwa has shown good skills as well…   upset for most, but I see the Fire taking three points here…

In closing – I was 5/12 last week (about 45% total so far in my picks) and took a right uppercut when Chivas, Chicago and DC got wins on the road. There’s no sure thing in MLS as last week pointed out.  Perhaps fortune smiles more on the home teams this week.

Best, Chris



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