Friday, July 10, 2009

A bad feeling about this, I have

Heading into tomorrow's Dynamo v. Sounders match in the Emerald Rain Forest, let's take a look at this team and you tell me what you notice (aside from the fact that's it's a nine-person side with six defenders)


What I am seeing is, if you were to plug another midfielder there and a relatively stout keeper, you'd have a side that could challenge just about any MLS team on any day. Unfortunately, they won't be doing that this weekend as you are looking at nine guys who (with the possible exception of His Imperial Baldness Waibelinho, who is listed as probable) will not be on any MLS field Saturday. The Orange will be as depleted a side as I have ever seen wearing the Houston kit (six defenders out!!) with a possible starting line-up that looks like this:


Subs: Tally Hall, Danny Cruz, Ade Akinbiyi, J-M Hayden, Ustruck/Waibel and some guy picked up wandering the streets

I am still seeing that it's a line-up with promise, but what I am also seeing is that the first team I listed up there would probably beat this second one (possibly even with just the nine of them!).

But. let's start with the positives. The midfield is clearly the strongest asset here. Ashe, Davis, Clark and Mullan are going to have to turn in the games of their lives, but mostly they'll have to be tracking back and supporting the inexperienced back line, especially as the game wears on and weariness starts to set in. It is anathema for any Orange squad to play back defensively, but as this game gets late and the score is knotted up (or, wonderfully, we have a lead), it's likely what they'll have to do. I'm thinking that Kinnear starts in his standard 4-4-2 and then gradually morphs it into more of a 5-4-1 (or maybe even an anti-football 6-4-0!), with Clark especially playing far back and clotting things up for Montero, Jaqua and Ljungberg.

If Seattle gets a 1-goal lead and maintains it for awhile, this whole strategy could go to pot in a hurry, though. Sigi's no fool, and we can all expect the Sounders to push forward early and often. If the guys can weather the early onslaught, or even better, exploit it, then you might see a game. But if Seattle scores early or possibly even makes it a two-goal lead, then it's likely the week ahead could be a long one.

For all of those reasons, my head tells me that it's likely Seattle will win Saturday. Make no mistake, I believe in Dynamo and think the guys will turn in a complete game, but I think it would be foolhardy to expect that that cobbled-together back line will hold against as solid an attack force as Seattle will bring. Expect the Sounders to attack in waves and Dynamo to get few clear chances. An orange-tinted result is doable here, but the lads may just need some inspiration from Sen. Blutarski and his pals:

So, on the picks:

Last week: 3-3
Season: 50-60 (.455, nine games over random chance)

DYNAMO at SOUNDERS 1-1 Tie. What, you think I'm going to pick a loss after that clip?

WIZARDS at REVOLUTION. 1-0 KC Wow, now add Wells Thompson to the list of Revolution players out with injuries, call-ups or suspensions. But even so, that KC team we saw last week is still barely able to play. And yet, we all know Josh Wolff was unlucky in the extreme. Watch him score and be a real hazard for NE all game as the Wizards get a rare road win.

CREW at FIRE. Chicago 2-1 Columbus was very lucky to get that one point at home vs. DC last week and Chicago is starting to play far better. GBS almost rescues the Crew, but in the end the Fire are just too much at home against a Col side lacking Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers.

FC DISASTROUS at RAPIDS. Colorado 2-0 Frisco may win without Kenny Cooper once, but not twice and not on the road.

TORONTO FC at EARTHQUAKES. 2-1 Reds Dwayne De Rosario goes to town against the Trembles.

CHIVAS USA v GALAXY. 2-2 Draw Landon Donovan just will not let the improving Gals lose in the SuperClasico, but that still doesn't mean that crap side without Donovan Ricketts will win here against a rested and motivated las chivitas.

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