‘What to Watch this Weekend’ is a regular series by John Rosch, who gives us the lowdown on the best matches to watch in MLS and beyond.
Major League Soccer opened its 2017 season with a flurry of great games, late collapses (LOL Atlanta) and some teams putting down markers as squads to contend with. BUT…..
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. There are still 33 rounds left in the season, and one good game or one bad game does not mean all is lost. That is probably (no definitely) why I did not go crazy over the Colorado Rapids winning on Saturday. Yes, it great to start the season off with a win, but the Rapids generated just two shots on goal.
Let that sink in: two shots on goal
So while I am excited to start with three points, I can’t sip the Kool-Aid just yet.
But with the second week of the season, there comes a bevy of new games and another chance for the Rapids to impress. Will the overreactions or underreactions pan out? Tune in to find out.
Major League Soccer
New York Red Bulls vs Colorado Rapids—Saturday, 2 PM MST
The Rapids hit the road for the first time, riding a modest one-game winning streak. They will be looking to improve upon a road form, that if I am being charitable, was poor in 2016. The Rapids were terrific at home in 2016, but just could not get it done on the road all that often. But Colorado is coming off a solid, if unspectacular, three points on Saturday and should go into this match with all sorts of confidence. The Red Bulls are coming off an ugly win in Georgia last weekend, but they showed the sort of resilience that has seen them lift two major trophies in the last four years. This feels like a good one.
With all due respect to the Seattles and Torontos of the world, I still think FC Dallas is the team to beat in Major League Soccer. They have the look of a team that is built to win many trophies when things are all said and done. And Sporting Kansas City is a team that has a bit to prove after pooping the bed since winning MLS Cup in 2013. Both teams have very solid offensive fire power and great defenses. This could end up being a terrific 0-0 draw or a high scoring affair. Either way, it’s the game of the weekend.
Spring Forward! And get ready for a match for two teams who seem to be in transition. Sure, the Galaxy made the playoffs last season, but they never looked like they were going to contend. Hell, they had to bring a dude back named Don O’Van just to qualify for the playoffs. And the Timbers missed the playoffs for the second time in four years under Caleb Porter. Results did not go the way LA would have wanted in the first week, losing to a quality FC Dallas team and the Timbers throttled a listless Minnesota United FC team last Friday. Not sure who takes this one, but it has the makings of a good one.
English Premier League
Hull City vs Swansea City—Saturday, 8 AM MST
This is a classic relegation six-pointer as both the Tigers and the Swans will be looking for all three points. In a weekend devoid of many good EPL matches due to FA Cup (see below) this is one of the few that truly carries importance. Swansea has pulled themselves up by the bootstraps after a terrible start and look to be safe, but lose to a desperate Hull side and things don’t look as great for survival. Count me in for this one
Tottenham Hotspur vs Millwall—Sunday, 8 AM MDT
Ahhh, the magic of the FA Cup. Is there anything better? HELL NO. (Side note, we could have that here in the USA if people gave a crap.) In this tricky match up, Spurs are taking on a Millwall side who has already been knocked of Premier League competition. Tottenham features Sir Harrance of Kane who may be the best striker in the Prem (Sorry Man United fans, it’s not “Master of Elbows” Zlatan) and one of the best keepers in Hugo Lloris. When you are sturdy up front and in the back, you have a chance every game. But Spurs have a tendency to panic when it matters most and Millwall is playing with house money.
That is what I am watching this weekend - how about you? How are you feeling about the Rapids this Saturday in New Jersey? Do you care that RSL is in Chicago? Or are you looking forward to the expansion battle between Minnesota and Atlanta? Let us know in the comment section.