MLS Week 1 Picks
It’s finally here. After a long couple of months, MLS action will return this Saturday. It has been an exciting offseason filled with big trades, new acquisitions, and the addition of the nineteenth MLS franchise. All of these storylines and more will make for yet another great season for MLS. I hope to make these picks a weekly thing, but I cannot guarantee it. Given that this is the first week cut me some slack, but I should improve as the season moves on. So here we go:
Columbus at Colorado
The MLS season kicks off in the Rockies when the Crew travel to take on the Rapids. Both teams have numerous questions marks entering the season despite making the playoffs. Colorado had a long list of injured players that need to stay healthy, while Columbus lost many key players. It could take time for the Crew to gel with so many new acquistions. Colorado 2-0
Players to Watch:
Columbus – Chilean International Milovan Mirosevic was called in to bolster an attack that lost both their leading goal scorer (Andres Mendoza) and assist man (Robbie Rogers).
Colorado – Could it be anyone other then Conor Casey? Casey returns after tearing his Achilles tendon and missing most of last season, the Rapids will need him to regain top form.
Montreal at Vancouver
The newest franchise of MLS, Montreal, make the trek to western Canada to take on Vancouver in what is sure to be an instant rivalry. Both teams made splashy trades/signings in the offseason and are expected to compete this season. Montreal could be the most experienced expansion team yet, but look for there to be early growing pains. Vancouver 2-0
Montreal – The Impact need former Galaxy star Donovan Ricketts to control and take charge of the backline if they are to have success this year.
Vancouver – Eric Hassli, Camilo Sanvezzo, and newly acquired Sebastien Le Toux had a combined 34 goals last year, they could be the best attacking trio headed into the 2012 season.
Sporting KC at D.C. United
United missed out on the playoffs for the fourth straight year, despite MVP Dwayne De Rosario’s efforts. Their success this year will largely rely on the development of its younger players such as Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, and Chris Pontius. Meanwhile Sporting ended up winning the Eastern conference after struggling throughout the opening portion of the season. Draw 1-1
Sporting – The departure of Omar Bravo means its time for Teal Bunbury to shine, the 20 year old forward will have to take on more of the scoring load.
D.C. United – Look for Albanian International Hamdi Salihi to boost an already potent attack, as the team’s second Designated Player.
New England at San Jose
New England could be coming off the most disappointing season in their franchise’s history by finishing last in the Eastern Conference. San Jose also missed out on the playoffs last season, and hope to get back there in 2012. Look for a hard fought convincing win by San Jose in this one. San Jose 2-0
New England – Zach Schilawski had a fantastic rookie campaign back in 2010, only to fall into a sophomore slump. He needs to return to his 2010 form.
San Jose – Chris Wondolowlski has emerged as one of the best strikers in the league and will need to play well to keep SJ in the playoff race.
Quinn’s Game of the Week: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles
The lights will be on at the Home Depot Center for this 10:30 start. The defending MLS Cup champions begin their campaign to defend their crown against the always-stingy RSL. Both teams finished in the top three in points last year. LA did not lose at home in 2011 and look for that to continue in a slugfest. LA 1-0
LA – You mean other then David Beckham, Edson Buddle returns from Germany looking to regain his scoring touch from two years ago.
RSL – Look for Kyle Beckerman to continue his success at the bottom of the diamond after recent call-ups to the USMNT.
New York at F.C. Dallas
NY has all the stars, the big name coach, new arena, the only thing that’s missing is a cup. Does that change this year? Their campaign starts off against the same team that they knocked out of the playoffs last year in F.C. Dallas. Meanwhile Dallas has become one of the best teams in MLS over the past few years due to the development of Brek Shea. Dallas 2-1
NY – Many to choose here, but Rafa Marquez has a lot to prove this year, after a disastrous season last year, if things don’t change quickly then look for him to move.
Dallas – The 2010 MVP, David Ferreira returns to action after suffering an ankle injury that sidelined him for most of the 2011 season.
Houston at Chivas USA
After a drama filled offseason, franchise star Brian Ching stayed in Houston. Although his production has largely declined due to injuries over the past few years, he remains the face of the franchise. Chivas have an aging star of their own, in Juan Pablo Angel who continues to score despite his age (36). Look for the visitors to take this one in a close game. Houston 1-0
Houston – Super assist man Brad Davis had 16 in 2011, look for him to continue his ways as the main distributor in the midfield.
Chivas – Nick LaBrocca does it all for his team in the midfield leading the team in goals, assists and minutes played last season, but largely goes unnoticed.
Union at Portland
The post-Sebastian Le Toux era begins in Portland in a new edition of Monday Night Futbol. The Union has one of the youngest teams and look to build on their first playoff appearance from last year. Meanwhile Portland is looking to build on their success from last year and make it to the post-season. Look for a good hard fought match in one of the best MLS atmospheres. Draw 1-1
Portland – Newly acquired DP Kris Boyd is the Scottish Premier League all-time goal leader, look for him to make an impact instantly.
Union – No Le Toux, means that a large part of the scoring load will fall to Danny Mwanga, the former #1 Overall Pick, will need to pick up his production.
I hope you guys all enjoyed this and look for to come! If you want to bug me about these picks tweet @Quincy1214.
Ad Finem Fidelis