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MLS Playoffs 2nd leg Preview, Picks and Predictions

Columbus Crew key playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto must have A game vs. Rapids Julien Baudet. PHOTO by Rick Osentoski / ISIPhotos.com

Columbus Crew key playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto must have A game vs. Rapids Julien Baudet. PHOTO by Rick Osentoski / ISIPhotos.com

Last Thursday match on Red Bulls Arena proved that word hevay favorite in out of MLS dictionary, even if the team have 13 million payrolls. This will be exiting weekend for soccer fans in US, I can see the Crew winning and advancing, other 2 games could easily end up with draws and teams that hold the first leg lead should advance.

 

Columbus Crew – Colorado Rapids at 4 p.m. ET (TeleFutura)

For a second consecutive season, the Crew have opened the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 1-0 loss in the Rocky Mountains. Last year, after losing 1-0 at Real Salt Lake, the Crew opened their home leg with two goals, before losing 3-2 to the eventual MLS Cup champions.

A year ago, Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made headlines when he started playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto on the bench for the first leg at RSL. In the first leg in Colorado, Schelotto was in the starting lineup, but Warzycha replaced Schelotto and Steven Lenhart with Jason Garey and Andres Mendoza midway through the second half. These subs immediately improved Crew attacking power and Ohio team was inches from equalizer. It’s hard to say what coach Robert Warzycha do with his lineup this time, but key should be defense. If Columbus team don’t concede goal, their chances to advance I will estimate on about 70%, because they will create enough chances to score at least one.

The Crew will likely be without forward Emilio Renteria for the second leg after he underwent knee surgery. The Crew learned before the first leg that Danny O’Rourke will also be out for the remainder of the season.

The Rapids haven’t won in Columbus for over six years, but this time to advance to Eastern Conference final all what they need is a tie. Since a 2-1 win June 26, 2004. The Crew are 4-0-2 at home vs. Colorado since, including a 3-1 win at Crew Stadium on Aug. 21 this year.

Rapids looked impressive at home, but after the break they almost let Crew score. This would be battle, but I am expecting Crew team to come victorious. Common we need at least 1 Eastern Conference team in Eastern Conference final.

CHRIS PICK: 1 CREW to win at rate 1.67

Real Salt Lake – FC Dallas at 10 p.m. ET (FSC/Fox Deportes)

Real Salt Lake had last lost to an MLS opponent on July 17 – a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas – before losing the first leg at Pizza Hut Park. RSL is now 0-9-0 all-time on the road in Dallas.

Both teams will face some lineup issues for the second leg. Before the match, U.S. international fullback Heath Pearce suffered a hamstring strain, and will not likely be back. During the match, forward Milton Rodriguez suffered an adductor strain and was replaced by Jeff Cunningham – who scored the equalizing goal just before halftime.

FC Dallas will also be without Atiba Harris, he is suspended for red card late in the frist match.

RSL will be without playmaker Javier Morales, who received a second yellow card midway through the second half. Morales did not start five league games for Real this season, the club going 2-2-1 in those games. Real did not have a player sent off in the regular season, so it was first RSL red card of the season.

Real Salt Lake have not lost at Rio Tinto Stadium in 29 games in all competitions, including their last 25 in MLS regular season play and a 1-0 win against Columbus in an Eastern Conference Semifinal Series a year ago. FC Dallas team is the MLS leader in draws during the regular season 14 (47 %  of all the matches) but RSL is not far behind with 11 total ties (37 %). With 25 total draws conclusion is obvious DRAW, but I will support this with FC Dallas win, because without Javier Morales, RSL may have trouble scoring, and when will badly need goals, FCD would be effective with their counters.

CHRIS PICK: X2 DRAW with FC Dallas win at rate 2.20

Seattle Sounders FC – LA Galaxy at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com)

Sounders FC were held scoreless for a third consecutive game in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the 1-0 first leg loss at Qwest Field, their postseason goalless streak now 300 minutes. The all-time MLS record is 560 minutes, set by Colorado over three successive postseason appearances from 1998-2000.

Edson Buddle’s third career playoff world class goal gave the Galaxy the victory, a goal Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller called among the best he’s ever conceded.

In their history, Sounders FC have won just once at The Home Depot Center – a 2-0 win against the Galaxy on Aug. 15, 2009. Seattle lost 3-1 to LA in Carson this year; they have never scored there against Chivas USA (0-2-1 all-time).

LA fans are very optimistic before Sunday game, but keep in mind that Galaxy other than a miracle goal from Buddle, didn’t created many scoring chances. This easy could be replica of Red Bulls vs. Earthquakes game, and things may get little more complicated for the Galaxy, if Sounders score first, yes they can.

Even if Galaxy wins this one or advance, is not going to be easy run for them. Sounders have nothing to lose and they can really upset LA on Sunday evening, but only if the score. To be on the safe side, I will take draw with Sounders win.

CHRIS PICK: X2 DRAW with Sounders win at rate 1.95

CHRIS PICKS: this season 9479 = accuracy  54.35 %

 

What is your pick on those games? welcome your comments or suggestions below

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