MLS Week Six: A Look Ahead

MLS Week Six: A Look Ahead

Major League Soccer

MLS Week Six: A Look Ahead

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Sigi Schmid faces a familiar foe as his Seattle Sounders take on his former club, the Columbus Crew, in one of the marquee match-ups in a loaded Week Six.

The Sounders are coming off a disappointing week where they managed just one point from two matches. They return to Qwest Field to take on an unbeaten Crew team that won't be easy to knock off.

Western Conference upstarts Colorado and San Jose are also meeting, with the label of conference surprise on the line.

Long-time rivals D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls also face off in a match featuring the most disappointing team in MLS against the most surprising.

Here is a rundown of this weekend's MLS matches, along with our predictions for all eight matches.

SATURDAY

NEW YORK RED BULLS at D.C. UNITED (4pm, Telefutura)

D.C. United is coming off a bye week that came at just the right time. Injuries and poor form doomed D.C. to an awful start, but a week of rest could help Curt Onalfo's men regroup.

The Red Bulls are in first place in the East, but they haven't been that impressive in the past three weeks. The midfield has been less effective in recent weeks and Hans Backe will have to decide between Seth Stammler and Carl Robinson. Brian Nielsen looks capable of providing some pace on the left

For D.C., the key will be getting Jaime Moreno involved early and often. His ability to deliver perfect passes should free up United's wingers against Red Bull fullbacks that have shown vulnerability. The return of Luciano Emilio should help as well.

For the Red Bulls, using speedsters Dane Richards and Nielen to stretch the D.C. defense and create more space for Juan Pablo Angel will be vital to  Red Bull attack that has struggled to generate many chances this season.

D.C. should do well to create chances, but New York's defense will prove too tough to crack, while Juan Pablo Angel breaks through to give the Red Bulls the edge at RFK. Red Bulls 1, D.C. United 0.

FC DALLAS at NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (7:30pm, Direct Kick)

New England is reeling from a second straight loss, as well as the news that captain Shalrie Joseph is in the league's substance abuse program. FC Dallas enters still looking for its first win of the season.

The key for New England will be getting Marko Perovic the ball and having him find Zack Schilawski in space. Schilawski has the quickness and shiftiness to shake loose against a suspect Dallas defense.

FC Dallas is deadly on the counter with its speed on the flanks, but Jeff Cunningham hasn't been finishing his chances. Without him at his best, Dallas will continue to struggle.

Look for Perovic to cause problems for Dallas, and Schilawski to get his scoring touch back in a Revs win. Revolution 2, FC Dallas 1.

KANSAS CITY WIZARDS AT HOUSTON DYNAMO (8:30PM, FSC)

The Wizards face a wounded Dynamoteam facing the prospects of life without Geoff Cameron. Can Houston cope without him AND Brian Ching? Can the Wizards win away from home?

The key for the Wizards will be using their speed on the flanks to test Houston's fullbacks, which will have their hands full dealing with Ryan Smith and Kei Kamara in KC's 4-3-3.

Houston's offense must rely on Brad David and Brian Mullan's experience and Dom Oduro's speed. Luis Landin is still to unreliable to count on.

The Dynamo defense is tough and will limit the Wizards' chances, but Houston is going to struggle to create as well. We see a hard-fought match with few, if any, goals. Dynamo 1, Wizards 1.

CHIVAS USA at CHICAGO FIRE (8:30pm, Direct Kick)

Just when you thought Chivas USA was looking at a forgettable season, the Rojiblancos put together a strong performance in beating San Jose. As impressive as that was, Martin Vasquez's team will need to be even better against a surging Fire squad.

The key for the Fire is the energy providedby Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa, who will keep the pressure on Chivas USA's vulnerable defense. Collins John is due for a big game, and this match-up is a good one for him.

For Chivas USA, having Sacha Kljestan deliver another strong performance is vital, but having forwards shake loose from the tough centerback tandem of Wilman Conde and C.J. Brown is also neceessary.

The Fire is rolling right now and with a stingy defense as the anchor, Chicago should handle Chivas USA. Fire 3, Chivas USA 1.

TORONTO FC AT REAL SALT LAKE (9pm, Direct Kick)

Toronto FC has two wins, both of the tough and ugly variety, but winning on the road is something else entirely. TFC faces a RSL squad desperate for points after battling through a brutal early schedule.

RSL has struggled offensively without playmaker Javier Morales. With Morales likely out for the match, Real Salt Lake will need to rely on Andy Williams and rookie Collen Warner to create and set up forwards Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley and Fabian Espindola.

For Toronto, the attack relies heavily on Dwayne DeRosario, but forward O'Brian White has shown signs of breaking out. That breakout may have to wait a week, with RSL centerbacks Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers a tough tandem to beat.

TFC will try to make it a fight, but RSL has too much skill to be contained at home. Saborio plays he hero in an RSL win. Real Salt Lake 2, Toronto FC 0.

COLORADO RAPIDS at SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (10pm, Direct Kick)

The Rapids are off to a good start, while San Jose has also been better than expect? Which team is for real? We'll find out at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The Earthquakes have enjoyed good success defensively early in the season, but standout rookie Ike Opara is set miss the game due to college commitments. Without Opara and fellow rookie Steve Beitashour, the Earthquakes won't be able to contain both Omar Cummings and Conor Casey.

Offensively, Bobby Convey has been solid this season and will be the key to San Jose's offense, but the Rapids defense has been stingy, with Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz shutting down the middle.

The Rapids are on the road, but facing a San Jose defense missing two of four starters, they should take the road win. Rapids 2, Earthquakes 0.

PHILADELPHIA UNION at LOS ANGELES GALAXY (10:30pm, Direct Kick)

The biggest mis-match of the week, unbeaten LA plays host to a Union squad missing its leading scorer and coming off a mid-week U.S. Open Cup loss.

Even with LeToux, the Union would have a hard time cracking the Galaxy defense, but without him, Philadelphia will struggle for answers on offense.

The Galaxy will have a field day as its offense proves too tough to stop at Home Depot Center as Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle dominate. Galaxy 3, Union 0.

COLUMBUS CREW at SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10:30pm, Direct Kick)

The game of the week features the unbeaten Crew against the struggling Sounders.

Seattle needs Fredy Montero and Freddie Ljungberg to start stepping up their offensive contributions, but doing so against an organized Crew defense won't be easy.

For Columbus, Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been the key, which is why Osvaldo Alonso will do his best to pester the Argentine star all match long. Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers need to contribute more and be more dangerous in order to really push the Sounders back-line.

Columbus has looked good this year, but Seattle is in desperation mode and will step up with the type of performance we've been expecting. Montero and Steve Zakuani do the damage. Sounders 2, Crew 1.

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SBI PREDICTIONS

LAST WEEK-3-4

OVERALL- 20-17

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