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Published on 05/09/2007 6:16 pm   (Last Updated 05/11/2007 3:53 pm)
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Rematches Galore
By Jesse Erdmann
Portland faces off Seattle for the second week in a row, this time on FSC.  Carolina and Atlanta will play their third game of the season, not total, against each other.  Vancouver and Seattle will face off for the second time as well.  Beyond that, Montreal in Puerto Rico should be a fun game to watch on Friday night for those of you with USL Live.  Finally, California has their first ever home game Saturday night against Rochester.
The week in review:

Friday

Puerto Rico @ Carolina - The RailHawks dominated this game.  Puerto Rico did well with the chances they had, but it was really an onslaught by Carolina.  The RailHawks took 21 shots, most of them good ones, but only got six of them on goal.  Josh Saunders was forced to make several spectacular saves, and he made them all.  There were three or four other shots that were just wide off of headers, etc.  Carolina really should have won this game, but so far Cephas and Edozien haven't been able to finish their shots.

Final: 0-0
My Prediction: 1-2 Carolina

Vancouver @ Rochester - Both teams were going for the win in this one, coming out with elbows up and proving they weren't afraid to use them.  This was a pretty physical match throughout.  Marty Nash played a beautiful ball through to Joey Gjertsen for the reigning MVPs first of the season in the ninth minute.  Rochester had the better of play through the rest of the first half, but weren't able to find the equalizer.  Early in the second half, after just missing the goal off a corner, Scott Palguta latched on to a loose ball in the box and put the teams back on level terms.  Both teams continued to have chances through the rest of the game, but neither were able to put them away.

Final: 1-1
My Prediction: 0-1 Rochester

Saturday

Carolina @ Atlanta - Carolina did not fare as well on the return leg to Atlanta as they did in the previous weeks 0-0 draw at SAS park.  The RailHawks gave up yet another penalty in the 18th.  David Hayes put it away for the Silverbacks.  Shortly after halftime, Justin Moore doubled Atlanta's tally with a little help from Rodrigo Rios-Rodriguez.  The telenovela of keepers, Felipe Quintero-Monsivais, was called on to make two saves.

Final: 0-2 Atlanta
My Prediction: 1-3 Atlanta

Montreal @ Miami - This game was played despite a distinct lack of interest on the part of the citizens of Miami.  Montreal tried to punch up the drama for the few souls that braved the beautiful Miami weather by playing around until the 69th minute before scoring the winner.  Charles Gbeke did the honors scoring his second of the young season.  Interesting stat o' the game, the home team collected five cards including a straight red to John Pulido in the 43rd while the Impact finished with zero.  

Final: 1-0 Montreal
My Prediction: 2-1 Montreal

Portland @ Seattle - Another physical contest as two rivals faced off in Seattle.  Nate Knox scored his second of the season in the 20th minute.  Other than that, there was very little separating these two teams.  The match could have gone either way, setting up a similar situation for Friday night on FSC.  Should be fun to watch.

Final: 0-1 Seattle
My Prediction: 3-2 Portland

Sunday

Rochester @ Charleston - The home-standing Charleston Battery got off to a flying start in the third minute with Gordon Chin putting them on the board.  Based on the highlights and box score, Charleston seems to have had the better of play hitting a post and just missing on two or three other occasions.  Johnny Menyonger scored in the 58th to save a point and some face for the Rhinos.  Charleston continues to generate lots of chances, but they haven't found anyone to finish them consistently.

Final: 1-1
My Prediction: 3-1 Rochester

Vancouver @ Minnesota - The first half proved to be pretty costly for the Thunder, despite going into the half still at 0-0.  Alfredo Esteves and Ansu Toure both went down and had to be substituted.  No word yet on the how long they'll be out, but Alfredo's seemed like a severe injury.  The second half was tough for the Thunder too, but for entirely different reasons.  Former Thunderer Jay Alberts found himself with all kinds of time and space in the box in the 50th minute, putting the visitors up 1-0.  In the 66th minute, the ball found its way to Freddy Jaurez who put a powerful strike past Tony Caig to even things up.  But there was to be no joy in St. Paul, Marty Nash set up Steve Klein for the finishing blow two minutes from the end of regulation.  

Final: 2-1 Vancouver.  My traitorous head was right, but it won't count.
My Prediction: 2-2, at least that's what my gut says.  My heart says 1-4 'Sota, while my head says 2-1 'Cooter.  We'll stick with the gut.

For the week, I was a meager 2-5 with both correct picks having the correct margin of victory, but neither matched the final score exactly.  For the season that puts me at 8-12 with 6 correct margins of victory and 1 exact score.  My poor performance this week puts me barely ahead of the proverbial random number generator, which would have roughly a 7-13 record.

Rankings:
1(+1) Montreal (2-1-0) - Decent, if expected, win in Miami
2(+1) Atlanta (2-2-0) - Solid home victory over Carolina
3(+1) Vancouver (2-2-0) - Got a road vic after a hard fought draw
4(-3) Rochester (1-2-1) - Two draws, probably should have won in Charleston
5(+1) Puerto Rico (1-2-1) - Salvaged a point in Carolina despite being outplayed
6(-1) Carolina (0-3-1) - Should have beaten PR and lost in Atlanta
7(+4) Seattle (1-1-2) - Nice win over rival Portland
8(-1) Minnesota (0-2-2) - Loss at home to Vancouver
9(-1) Portland (1-0-1) - Loss in Seattle
10(+2) Charleston (0-2-1) - Draw at home to Rochester
11(-1) California (0-1-0) - Idle
12(-3) Miami (1-0-2) - Lost to Montreal at home

Predictions:

Friday

Montreal @ Puerto Rico - The Islanders haven't won since opening day against Rochester, and really haven't played all that well even when they've gotten points.  Meanwhile, Montreal is undefeated and they haven't even played a home game yet.

My Prediction: 1-1, I'm tempted to go with Montreal, but I still believe Puerto Rico is going to be a good team this season and should turn it around soon.  I haven't watched enough of either of these teams, but I'll make an extra effort to catch this one.  Fabro seems to be doing really well in his first few games with Montreal.

Seattle @ Portland - Like I said last week, picking this game is best done with a coin.  You really just never know what's going to happen.  At least that's my excuse.

My Prediction: 1-2 Portland, home cooking worked for Seattle Saturday so I'm going to go with that for Portland on Friday.

Saturday

Miami @ Charleston - Miami is looking pretty bad in more ways than one.  People are openly wondering how long the club will last with the type of attendance they're getting, and their results certainly aren't helping them out.  Charleston just needs to find a way to finish and they will have the opportunity to make the playoffs again.  

My Prediction: 0-1 Charleston, this is one of those games the Battery have to win if they want to be taken seriously.  The Battery's midfielders are starting to put the ball on net, which is good because their forwards haven't proven they have that ability.

Carolina @ Atlanta - These two teams should be well acquainted with each other given this is the third time in three weeks they'll meet.  Carolina has been tough at home, but the Silverbacks have started the season undefeated through five games.

My Prediction: 0-2 Atlanta, basically a repeat of the previous game.  Carolina will be in a better position this week, not coming off of a game the night before, but I don't think a lack of depth is the only reason for the 0-2 result of last week.

Rochester @ California - Rochester is a team that gets a lot of good results, but they rarely seem to look dominant in doing so.  In some games it can be hard to explain their success.  The Vicotry, on the other hand, proved against Vancouver they can take a lot of punches and still hurt you with limited opportunities.  

My Prediction: 3-1 Rochester, I respect California a lot more after the Vancouver game but I can't help feeling that Vancouver gave them the point more than they took it.  There is value in that, but I'm going to need to see more from them before I'm ready to predict they can hang with the Rhinos.  Menyonger could have a big game against this defensive line if Rochester can get him the ball behind the Victory's midfield.

Vancouver @ Seattle - Vancouver won the first time they met in Vancouver this season.  The Sounders are coming off of two hard fought games against Portland, the last coming 24 hours before this one.

My Prediction: 2-0 Vancouver, I just don't think Seattle is up to the challenge the schedule has put in front of them here.  Seattle isn't the equal of the Whitecaps at any spot on the field and they certainly don't have a great deal of depth to cope with the back-to-back games.

Sunday

Rochester @ Portland - Rochester will be just 24 hours removed from facing California in the Victory's first ever home game and don't seem to have put all the new pieces together quite yet.  Portland will also be coming off of two intense rivalry games.

My Prediction: 1-0 Rhinos, I'm not sure either team is going to be very adventurous in this match, but I'd be more likely to bet on Rochester to be the ones in an attacking posture.

 

Comments? Questions? Flamage? Send all to jesse@blueskysoccer.com.


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