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Marquee Matchups: Relaxing Weekend

A weekend off means FC Dallas fans have no Toros to watch. What can you watch instead?


I don't know about the rest of you, a but bye week is always good for the soul. True, we're all still smarting a bit from coughing up that two goal lead on the Field That Destroys Men, but it will be nice to have a Saturday in which we all aren't a bit anxious about the upcoming game.

This week features games that are unfortunately either all at the same time, or ridiculously late in starting. That means that if you were to be interested in following matches, you would only get to watch two games on Saturday (without jumping back and forth).

I was doing predictions for these before, but I will refrain from doing so this week as I have gotten my butt handed to me on a platter recently. Besides, that way I don't have to root for a potential outcome to look smarter.

Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls // Saturday, 3:00pm CT, Columbus Crew Stadium, NBC Sports Network

This is going to be one hell of an exciting match, if for nothing else than for the fact that these are two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. It's true that NY has yet to live up to its potential, but the undeniable talent is there in spades. Columbus meanwhile has impressed in all areas of the game, and I consider them to be the most exciting team in the East. Robert Warzycha has taken a team that was stuck in mediocrity for several years and has put them in a position to be legitimately considered among the big boys.

Thierry Henry will again get a chance to impress (as always), and perhaps Tim Cahill will follow up on his two-goal performance in Canada. The Red Bulls will continue to be without Dax McCarty, who might be out until mid-May, but to their relief it appears a certain someone is on the plane with the team.

Watching Meara between the sticks is a hell of a lot of fun. He's gutsy, commanding, passionate, and he controls his box with authority. He's also very young which makes it all the more impressive. I'm hoping Luis Robles doesn't make the starting XI (I'm sure Red Bulls fans hope for this as well). Whether Meara is healthy enough to start (or even make the bench) is up in the air, but I'm very excited about his impending return. Here's hoping Larry Bird's clone gets completely match-fit soon.

Despite my love for Meara, the Crew are our sister club and I want to see them succeed for no reason other than it makes HSG take more notice with each passing victory. Here's hoping that Federico Higuain leads the Crew to victory (maybe they can re-ignite the scoreboard?).

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Montreal Impact //Saturday, 3:00pm CT, Buck Shaw Stadium, MLS Live

This is a big one for the Impact. Following the absolute fusillade (here is an artists' rendition of the Impact attack on TFC's goal) they levelled at Toronto FC, they will look to take the scalp of the reigning Supporter's Shield holders. San Jose has looked less than impressive in almost every one of their games barring a few, and it will be no easier for them to get a result now that they have lost Team Vandal Steve Lenhart to a two-game suspension (more on that man later).

Montreal are well past the "are they real?" stage and have cemented their status as one of the league's top teams, while the Quakes are struggling to get into any sort of rhythm. As several people predicted (including Drew and myself), their offense simply has not been able to keep up its ridiculous pace from last year and can no longer hide their inadequate (but not as bad as last years') defending.

My guess is this one ends in a draw, but Montreal could win here as well. San Jose simply aren't looking solid (dominating Chivas last week isn't that impressive) and the Impact are riding a serious high. With Mateo Ferrari looking to get back into the swing of things, Montreal can only feel good about their chances.

Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps // Saturday, 8:00pm CT, Rio Tinto Stadium, MLS Live

I am as passionate and honest a fan as you can find, so I have no qualms with saying that, at the moment, I wish for the Whitecaps to lose every single game for the rest of the season. Hopefully they dive incessantly and lose by 4 goals, and they are shamed into perpetuity by all pundits and fans.

Sadly, that will likely not happen though it's certainly possible that they'll lose. The fact of the matter is that with most games in our Conference, the best outlook you can look for is a draw. Darren Mattocks, for all his speed and skill, has boots of lead when it comes to finishing his chances. I think the toll of the fixture-heavy past two weeks will rear its head in this game and might limit Vancouver's usual speed.

Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, have speed in bushels too and they will have fresher legs. With Robbie Findley off the injury list, the RSL attack will be in full force should their first-choice starting XI be available.

I don't see Vancouver winning this one, not if their stargazing defenders continue performing the way they have been recently.

Food for Thought:

  1. What's your surprise result of the week?
  2. Will you be watching any MLS matches, or will you be taking a bye with the Toros as well?
  3. As this is a bye week, offtopic question: Favorite videogame of all time? Leave out the obvious ones like Halo, COD, etc. Something beyond the top 2 games please!