MLS Predictions and Previews (July 14 games)

Predictions

Here are Soccer America Associate Editor Poul SwainÆs predictions for the games on July 14: San Jose 3 Tampa Bay 1 New England 2 D.C. United 2 Chicago 3 Colorado 2 Kansas City 1 Dallas 2 Los Angeles 2 Miami 1

Previews

(all times ET) Saturday, July 14, (4:00 p.m.) - Tampa Bay Mutiny at San Jose Earthquakes (ESPN) Season series: First Meeting; All-time regular season series: Tampa Bay leads 10-2-0 (Tampa Bay leads 26-14 in aggregate goals); Leading scorers: Tampa Bay: F Mamadou Diallo (8g, 4a = 20pts); San Jose: F Ronald Cerritos (5g, 5a = 15pts) Did you know?: The Mutiny has not posted a shutout in the first 17 games of 2001, and has not recorded a regulation or overtime clean sheet in 27 straight matches dating back to last season (7/22/00). The team single season mark is 19 games without a shutout (1996). Key players out: Tampa Bay: D Chad McCarty (broken ankle-L), F Ali Curtis (knee surgery/lateral meniscus-L); San Jose: M Dario Brose (hip flexor strain -R), M Richard Mulrooney (toe fracture -R) Notes: The Mutiny will once again be led by the combination of Perry Van Der Beck and Jim McGeough, who both served as assistant coaches under Alfonso Mondelo, who stepped down last week ... Tampa Bay has lost three straight, but showed signs of life in a tough 3-2 defeat to Central Division leading Chicago on Saturday ... Mutiny goalkeeper Adin Brown has struggled since being acquired in a blockbuster deal with Colorado, posting a 2.67 GAA and an 0-3 record behind the porous Mutiny defense ... San Jose will be looking to bounce back after having its 12-game unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday in Colorado ... The Earthquakes will face a short turnaround after battling Milwaukee of the A-League in a U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday ... San Jose has struggled all-time against Tampa Bay, earning just two victories against the Mutiny during the first five years of MLS' existence ... The game marks the first time Earthquakes Head Coach Frank Yallop and assistant coach Dominic Kinnear will face their former team ... Yallop played for the Mutiny from 1996-1998 before joining their coaching staff as an assistant in 1999, and Kinnear finished his MLS career in 2000 with Tampa Bay before joining the Earthquakes as assistant coach this season ... The Earthquakes' Manny Lagos faces his former team for the first time since being traded to the 'Quakes before the 2001 season. KEY MATCHUP: Mutiny D Joe Addo vs. Earthquakes F Ronald Cerritos: Cerritos has had a productive career against Tampa Bay, scoring four goals in eight matches. While defensive partner Craig Demmin handles the physical matchups, Addo will likely be called on to deal with the shifty Cerritos. Often on the bench under Mondelo, Addo figures to continue to play a key role in the coming weeks as Tampa Bay searches for answers in the back. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Marcel Yonan; Assistant Referees: Chris Strickland (SAR), Corey Dean (JAR) Saturday, July 14, (7:30 p.m.) - D.C. United at New England Revolution (Comcast, FOX Sports New England) Season series: United leads 2-0 (United leads 7-1 in aggregate goals); All-time regular season series: United leads 14-8-0 (United leads 37-27 in aggregate goals); Leading scorers: D.C. United: F Abdul Thompson Conteh (9g, 1a = 19pts); New England: M Cate (6g, 2a = 14pts) Did you know?: United Head Coach Thomas Rongen is three wins away from becoming the winningest coach in MLS history. Ex- Dallas coach David Dir currently holds that honor with a 81-75-4 record, followed by Rongen, who has compiled a 79-83-7 record in 5 1/2 seasons. Key players out: D.C. United: M Ben Olsen (ankle surgery - Both ankles), M Bobby Convey (torn abdominal muscle); New England: G Juergen Sommer (ruptured Achilles tendon - L) Notes: Both of these teams will be coming off midweek U.S. Open Cup matches ... The last time these teams met, United posted a 5-0 rout of New England on May 9 ... Striker Abdul Thompson Conteh had four of the five goals in the blowout ... That loss dropped the Revs to 0-5, the low point of their season ... New England has gone 4-3-4 to get back into the race and a victory over United would leave D.C. in the Eastern Division cellar ... The Revs have a new-look since that 5-0 debacle at RFK, featuring Bolivian Jose Carlo Fernandez in goal, Jay Heaps on defense, Ted Chronopoulos and Braden Cloutier on the wings and Shaker Asad in midfield after a slew of personnel moves ... New England had its five game unbeaten streak snapped on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Kansas City but looks to bounce back against a United club that has lost two straight contests. KEY MATCHUP: United F Abdul Thompson Conteh vs. Revolution D Rusty Piece: After putting four goals on the board the last time these clubs met up, you can expect the Revs to put extra emphasis on containing Conteh this time. While most of his offense comes from long through passes from striker Jaime Moreno and the United midfield, Conteh will likely receive attention from the Revs' top man-marker for parts of this match. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela; Assistant Referees: Richard Eddy (SAR), Todd Perry (JAR) Saturday, July 14, (8:00 p.m.) - Colorado Rapids at Chicago Fire (FOX Sports Rocky Mountain, FOX Sports Chicago) Season series: First Meeting; All-time regular season series: Chicago 6-5-1 (Chicago leads 25-14 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: Colorado: F John Spencer (11g, 4a = 26pts); Chicago: M Dema Kovalenko (6g, 5a = 17pts) Did you know?: Chicago forward Jamar Beasley scored the quickest goal in team history with a strike 27 seconds into play on July 4 in a 7-0 rout of Kansas City. Key players out: Colorado: M Wes Hart (Achilles tear - L), D Chris Dawes (caution points accumulation); Chicago: F Josh Wolff (stress fracture - L foot) Notes: Chicago beat Kansas City, 1-0, in a tough midweek contest in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup ... The Fire have won three straight games in MLS play to open up an eight point lead in the Central Division ... Veterans Eric Wynalda, Peter Nowak and Hristo Stoitchkov have begun scoring regularly as the Fire's offense has caught up with its stellar defense ... Chicago will face a challenge this week from the resurgent Rapids, who have won two in a row and seem to be ready to move up the MLS standings ... The Rapids earned an impressive 3-1 win over San Jose on Saturday, snapping the Earthquakes' 12-game winning streak ... Colorado has added several significant players to its roster, and Raul Diaz Arce (forward), Carlos Valderrama (midfield) and Scott Garlick (goal) have solidified Tim Hankinson's team throughout the field ... With the focus now on Valderrama in the center of midfield, Ross Paule has been able to shine on the wings ... Paule leads the league with 10 assists through 17 games. KEY MATCHUP: Fire M Peter Nowak vs. Colorado M Marcelo Balboa: No longer a playmaker with the addition of Valderrama, Balboa will have to shutoff the decisive runs that Nowak has put together in recent games. Wynalda and Jamar Beasley have flourished in recent weeks due to the service given from Nowak and Hristo Stoitchkov. Balboa will look to disrupt those passes this week at Soldier Field. If Balboa can help the Rapids gain possession, their new-found attack could have a chance against Chicago. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Gus St. Silva; Assistant Referees: Jon Wilson (SAR), Francisco Sanchez (JAR) Saturday, July 14, (8:30 p.m.) - Dallas Burn at Kansas City Wizards (KSTR) Season series: First meeting; All-time regular season series: Dallas leads series 10-7-1 (Dallas leads 33-17 in aggregate goals); Leading scorers: Dallas: F Jason Kries and Ariel Graziani (4g, 7a = 15pts); Kansas City: M/F Chris Brown (5g, 2a = 12pts) Did you know?: Dallas (5-3-1) and Chicago (4-2-0) are the only two teams with winning records at Arrowhead Stadium. Key players out: Dallas: D Lubos Kubik (achilles inflammation-L), F Bobby Rhine (high ankle sprain-L); Kansas City: GK Tony Meola (abdominal strain), F Mo Johnston (strained neck) Notes: Kansas City snapped a two-game skid at New England Saturday, and has the luxury of playing seven of its remaining 11 matches at home ... The Burn sport Major League Soccer's second best road record at 3-1-2 and are unbeaten in their last four games away from the Cotton Bowl (2-0-2) ... Despite its win at New England, Kansas City's prime concern is tightening a defense that has made a habit of leaving goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi exposed ... Opportunistic Dallas strikers Ariel Graziani and Jason Kreis could continue this trend ... Dallas ranks second in MLS in shots taken (266), and first in MLS in fewest shots allowed (168) ... Kansas City must attempt to exploit Chris Klein's speed and size on the right side. KEY MATCHUP: Dallas D Jorge Rodriguez vs. Kansas City F Onandi Lowe: Rodriguez may have to limit his forays forward in order to contain Lowe in the middle of the field. If Lowe gets behind "Zarco", Burn rookie Ryan Suarez will be left to contend with the speed and size of Kansas City's powerful Jamaican. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Noel Kenny; Assistant Referees: Chip Reed (SAR), George Gansner (JAR) Saturday, July 14, (10:00 p.m.) - Miami Fusion at Los Angeles Galaxy (ESPN2) Season series: Series tied 0-0-1 (Series tied 3-3 in aggregate goals); All-time regular season series: Los Angeles leads 4-2-1 (Los Angeles leads 20-14 in aggregate goals) Leading scorers: Miami: F Diego Serna (11g, 9a = 31pts); Los Angeles: F Cobi Jones (5g, 7a = 17 pts) Did you know?: Both of Miami's wins against Los Angeles have come at the Rose Bowl. Key players out: Miami; D Leo Cullen (knee contusion-R); Los Angeles: F Marvin Quijano (sprained knee-L), F Brian Mullan (sprained ankle-R) Notes: Major League Soccer's top offensive teams will do battle at the Rose Bowl in what should be a game full of goal-scoring opportunities ... In their previous meeting this season at Lockhart, the Fusion rebounded from a two goal deficit to earn a 3-3 draw on June 16 ... The Fusion will carry extra motivation to California after having their 12-game unbeaten streak snapped unceremoniously by the MetroStars on Saturday ... Los Angeles will attempt to carry momentum from their 3-0 whitewash of D.C. United at RFK Stadium ... Miami must brace for a difficult stretch after its loss Saturday as the team will play five of its next seven games on the road ... With Cobi Jones and Luis Hernandez up front, Los Angeles may be one of the few MLS teams that can disrupt Miami's backline of Carlos Llamosa, Pablo Mastroeni and Ivan McKinley ... Los Angeles must be weary of the Fusion's ability to counterattack should the Galaxy lose their shape in the midfield or on defense. KEY MATCHUP: Miami D Pablo Mastroeni vs. Los Angeles F Luis Hernßndez: This battle features two of the hardest working players in MLS. Hernandez must cope with Mastroeni's physical presence, but the Fusion's dreadlocked defender must be cautious to avoid fouling Hernßndez in and around the penalty area. Both players must avoid frustration if the game isn't going their way. SCHEDULED REFEREES: Referee: Alex Prus; Assistant Referees: Roger Itaya (SAR), Emiliano Monje (JAR)
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