MLS Predictions and Previews (June 2 and June 3 games)


Here are Soccer America Associate Editor Poul SwainÆs predictions for the games on June 2 and June 3: D.C. United 2 Chicago 2 Columbus 1 Los Angeles 2 Tampa Bay 1 Kansas City 2 Dallas 1 Miami 2 Colorado 1 San Jose 2 New England 2 MetroStars 2


(all times ET) Saturday, June 2 (2:00 p.m.) - Chicago Fire at D.C. United (ESPN) Season series: Chicago leads 1-0 (Chicago leads 2-0 in aggregate goals); All-time regular season series: United leads 3-4-0 (United leads 17-13 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: Chicago: M Dema Kovalenko (3g, 5a = 11 pts); United: F Abdul Thompson Conteh (6g, 1a = 13 pts) Did you know?: The Fire has never won a game against United at RFK Stadium, having gone 0-3 while being outscored 9-4. Key players out: Chicago: Carlos Bocanegra (ankle sprain-L); United: M Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand National Team), M Ben Olsen (ankle surgery-R&L), D Mark Watson (Canadian National Team), M Santino Quaranta (U.S. U-17 National Team). Notes: Chicago will be coming off a midweek match against Los Angeles, while D.C. United will return from Miami, also on Wednesday ... The Fire blanked United 2-0 on April 14 at Soldier Field, behind a goal and an assist from midfielder Dema Kovalenko ... Goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who is second in MLS with four shutouts, made four saves on April 14 to keep a clean sheet ... Chicago continues to gain results despite the absence of defender Carlos Bocanegra and striker Josh Wolff, who may return to action soon as his sprained left foot heals ... United hopes to get streaky forward Abdul Thompson Conteh back on track this week ... Conteh had four goals in a 5-0 rout of New England on May 9, but has not scored in two matches since. KEY MATCHUP: Chicago D Andrew Lewis vs. United F Jaime Moreno: Lewis, filling in for Carlos Bocanegra in the Fire's starting 11, had a strong performance last weekend, even scoring his first goal of the season. Despite Conteh's scoring prowess, Moreno is the one attacker that opposing teams look to shut down first. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Tim Weyland; Assistant Referees: George Vergara (SAR), Richard Eddy (JAR). Saturday, June 2 (4:00 p.m.) - Los Angeles Galaxy at Columbus Crew (Telemundo) Season series: First meeting; All-time regular season series: Columbus leads 7-4-1 (Columbus leads 18-15 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: Los Angeles: D Greg Vanney (4g, 2a = 10 pts); Columbus: M John Wilmar Perez (2g, 3a = 7 pts) Did you know?: Columbus allowed more goals (3) to Colorado in one game last week, than Los Angeles surrendered to the Rapids in two previous meetings this season. Key players out: Los Angeles: M Simon Elliot (New Zealand National Team), D Alexi Lalas (knee/PCL sprain-L); Columbus: M Ian Woan (groin strain-L), M/D Todd Yeagley (stress fracture/foot-L), M Robert Warzycha (dislocated ankle tendon-L) Notes: The second leg of the Galaxy's two-game Midwest swing takes Los Angeles to Columbus for a battle with the unpredictable Crew ... Both of these squads snapped free of their recent offensive woes last weekend, although the Galaxy's staunch defense posted yet another shutout while Columbus allowed three Colorado strikes ... Galaxy goalkeeper Matt Reis, still unbeaten in seven appearances this season, has now posted three shutouts following Saturday's 2-0 win against Miami ... Under Greg Andrulis, the Crew have discovered their lost offensive spark, but injuries and an ill-timed red card suspension to Tenywa Bonseu left Columbus shorthanded in back last week ... Bonseu will return for this game ... For the Columbus defense, corralling the speed of the Galaxy's Cobi Jones, Luis Hernßndez and Brian Mullan could still be a problem ... Playing a more aggressive attacking style may be the Crew's best chance at putting the Galaxy on their heels. KEY MATCHUP: Los Angeles M Peter Vagenas vs. Columbus M John Wilmar Perez: With midfielder Simon Elliot absent due to national team commitments, Vagenas will absorb even more defensive responsibilities for the Galaxy. That will likely include marking Perez, who recorded perhaps his most impressive appearance of the season in last week's draw with Colorado, hitting the crossbar twice and notching the Crew's second goal. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Richard Heron; Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry (SAR), Steven Davidson (JAR). Saturday, June 2 (7:00 p.m.) - Kansas City Wizards at Tampa Bay Mutiny (ESPN2) Season series: First meeting; All-time regular season series: Kansas City leads 8-6-1 (Series tied 23-23 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: Kansas City: M/F Chris Brown & M Matt McKeon (3g, 1a = 7 pts); Tampa Bay: F Mamadou Diallo (6g, 2a = 14 pts) Did you know?: As an A-League call-up, Wizards forward Gary Glasgow scored five consecutive goals for Tampa Bay in an 11-0 rout of the Puerto Rican National Team Sept. 22, 1999 at Raymond James Stadium. Key players out: Kansas City: none; Tampa Bay: D Steve Trittschuh (broken fibula-R), D Chad McCarty (broken ankle-L), F Mamadou Diallo (suspension), M Carlos Valderrama (suspension) Notes: There are few solutions Mutiny Head Coach Alfonso Mondelo hasn't tried already this season with his team reeling from injuries and poorly timed suspensions ... Steve Ralston returns this weekend, after serving his one-game suspension in the disheartening 4-0 loss at Miami ... In what has become an all too familiar problem, the Mutiny will be without M Carlos Valderrama, who received a one-game suspension following a post-game incident on Saturday ... Kansas City gained a renewed offensive confidence with the addition of Jamaican F Onandi Lowe and with another week of training alongside strike partner Roy Lassiter, the Wizards will test their new combination against a reeling Mutiny defense ... Tampa Bay generated a handful of quality chances against Miami's stellar back line, but poor finishing betrayed them ... Tampa Bay must create and capitalize early on their chances if they hope to emerge from this match with any points. KEY MATCHUP: Kansas City F Onandi Lowe vs. Tampa Bay D Craig Demmin: These two former Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) will go head to head Saturday. Lowe's speed and power created instant problems for the MetroStars last week. Demmin is the only member of the Mutiny with the size and speed to challenge Lowe in the air and on the ground. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Gerry Corrie; Assistant Referees: Robert Fereday (SAR), Chris Kenny (JAR). Saturday, June 2 (8:30 p.m.) - Miami Fusion at Dallas Burn Season series: First meeting; All-time regular season series: Dallas leads 3-2-1 (Dallas leads 10-5 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: Miami: Alex Pineda Chacon (5g, 1a = 11 pts); Dallas: F Jason Kreis (2g, 4a = 8 pts), M Jorge Rodriguez (4g, 0a = 8 pts) Did you know?: Miami's only loss occurred when the team surrendered two goals, the only time it has done so this season (a 2-1 loss to Kansas City on April 18). Key players out: Miami: none; Dallas: M Jorge Rodriguez (El Salvador National Team) Notes: Red hot Miami travels to Dallas to face a Burn team that has struggled to put all the pieces together for 90 minutes ... Miami's balanced attack has registered eight goals in the team's last three matches, and appears to be hitting stride alongside the league's top defense which has posted a league leading .51 goals against average ... Dallas will need big contributions from veteran D Lubos Kubik and attackers Jason Kreis and Ariel Graziani ... Unless Kubik can offer exceptional organization to the defense and Kreis and Graziani can convert their chances flawlessly, a win will be difficult for Dallas to achieve, even at home where the team has excelled ... Miami's depth will be tested this week, as this will be the Fusion's fifth game in 14 days, and second road match of the week. KEY MATCHUP:á Miami M Jim Rooney vs. Dallas M Oscar Pareja: Rooney netted two game-winners for the Fusion last week when he wasn't busy defusing his opponents attacking runs in the midfield. He'll clash often with Pareja, who serves as the heart of the Burn's midfield attack. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Marcel Yonan; Assistant Referees: Jorge Reyes (SAR), Paul Scott (JAR). Saturday, June 2 (9:00 p.m.) - San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids (FOX Sports Bay Area) Season series: First meeting; All-time regular season series: Series tied 10-10-0 (Colorado leads 36-34 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: San Jose: F Ronald Cerritos (3g, 3a = 9 pts); Colorado: M John Spencer (6g, 2a = 14 pts) Did you know?: Ronald Cerritos and Dario Brose are the only current San Jose players to have scored a goal against the Rapids as members of the Clash/ Earthquakes. Key players out: San Jose: F Dwayne DeRosario (Canadian National Team); Colorado: M Wes Hart (Achilles tear -L). Notes: These teams will face off for the second time in four days, as the 'Quakes travel to Denver for a rematch of Wednesday's battle at Spartan Stadium ... Colorado could be given the advantage for the battle at Mile High, where Denver's elevation will test San Jose conditioning and depth ... Following the earlier match on the smaller confines at Spartan Stadium, this match may unfold at a different tempo on the larger pitch of Mile High Stadium ... Earning rare points in Chicago last weekend will give San Jose confidence, while the Rapids may still be asking themselves questions after losing a two-goal second half lead in Columbus ... Organization in the back has been the key for San Jose, which will force Colorado to vary the source of their attack ... Rapids midfielders Imad Baba and Jason Moore will be counted on heavily to create chances down the wing. KEY MATCHUP: San Jose M Richard Mulrooney vs. Colorado M Ross Paule: Although he regularly supports the Earthquakes' attacking efforts, Mulrooney will need to choose his opportunities carefully in order to keep an eye on Paule. Left unchecked last Saturday, Paule tallied a goal and an assist in the Rapids' wild 3-3 draw with Columbus. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Noel Kenny; Assistant Referees: Tom Bobadilla (SAR), Scott McCaslin (JAR). Sunday, June 3 (4:00 p.m.) - MetroStars at New England Revolution (Metro Guide, WLVI-56) Season series: MetroStars lead 1-0 (MetroStars lead 2-1 in aggregate goals); All-time regular season series: New England leads 11-10-0 (MetroStars lead 40-35 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: MetroStars: F Clint Mathis (7g, 4a = 18 pts); New England: CatT (3g, 1a = 7 pts) Did you know?: In 10 regular season matches at Foxboro Stadium, the MetroStars have only earned one victory in regulation time. Two of the teams' three wins at Foxboro came via the shootout in 1998. Key players out: MetroStars: D Daniel Hernandez (fractured knee cap-R), M Billy Walsh (foot stress fracture-R), F Adolfo Valencia (slight tear, medial meniscus-R); New England: M Yari Allnut (foot surgery-R) Notes: An exhibition win against the current Champions League title-holder Bayern Munich will help the MetroStars forget their current two-game slide in MLS play, which has seen the team shut out in its last two matches ... A once surging offense for the Metros has netted but one goal in the team's last three games ... New England's nightmarish six game slide to open the season started with a 2-1 loss to the MetroStars at Giants Stadium when Adolfo Valencia pounded home the stoppage time game-winner ... New England has retooled its roster since that first meeting, adding the creative Brazilian CatT and flank player Braeden Cloutier to the midfield while also gaining the services of the injured left winger Ted Chronopoulos ... New England could start up to five different players from their season opening lineup, while the MetroStars will use only replacements for opening day starters Daniel Hernandez and Valencia (both injured). KEY MATCHUP: MetroStars M Petter Villegas vs. New England M Ted Chronopoulos: These two midfielders provide the offensive push that proves critical to both teams' attacks. Both are among the most efficient players in MLS at playing on both sides of the ball ... In this direct flank matchup, the player who gains the attacking edge can make the difference in the game. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Kevin Terry; Assistant Referees: Chip Reed (SAR), Thomas Supple (JAR).
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