With MLS pursuing its typical disdain for the US Open Cup/international schedule, we’ve got a full slate of matches this weekend, with only Portland taking the weekend off (enabling it to start an A-roster in its domestic cup match…curious timing, that). While many of this week’s matches will no doubt feature bench depth (the over-under on team social-media interns suiting up among the subs is 3), our Match Predictor Algorithms don’t care.
(Winning clubs with best combined record)
Kansas City vs. Montreal (Combined 13-6-6)
Montreal holds the best PPG record in MLS by a whisker (2.09 vs. Dallas’ 2.08) and rides into KC on the wings of a Canadian Championship victory and a Marco Di Vaio hat trick in their last MLS tilt. The Team Formerly Known As The Wiz, on the other hand, have been spotty of form lately, 2-3-2 in their last seven games. Although it seems like Les Impactaleurs should rightly take this one, our prediction man, Admiral Akbar, sees it differently.
(Losing clubs with worst combined record)
Chicago vs. DC (Combined 3-16-4)
Put the records of Dallas and Montreal together and reverse the W’s and L’s, and you still don’t have as lose-tastic a record as the Fire and United have compiled. Both these clubs are arguably underachievers to an extreme degree — especially the Fire, with its all-workrate midfield — but I don’t see either one pulling an LA 2012. Prediction? Whereas in most US sports the consolation would be that somebody’s got to win, in MLS no, nobody’s got to win. 1-1, both own goals.
(Clubs with least points-per-game differential)
Columbus vs. Houston (0.28 PPG differential)
Whereas most weeks’ Closest Matches take that differential to the hundredths place, this week’s isn’t all that close. However, Houston has definitely fallen off their formerly division-leading pace, and they face a Columbus club who managed to draw the mighty (ha) Red Bulls in their last outing. There’s no one who scores a timely goal and parks the Greyhound quite like Columbus, and if they keep it up, maybe the city will spring for that all-chair, half-suite downtown stadium Hunt Sports is demanding. And monkeys will fly out my butt.
El Burrito Grande
(Clubs with greatest points-per-game differential)
Toronto vs. Philadelphia (0.8 PPG differential)
Like the Closest Match, this one isn’t breaking any records. Truth be told, every match this week is fairly well-challenged on paper, except maybe this one. Prediction: Toronto will float a rumor of Balotelli, Xavi and the entire Dortmund roster heading to Exhibition Park, then one hour from game time will hand out the same lineup they’ve trotted out since April.