MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Sunday, March 6 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 11/8 – Draw 23/10 – New England Revolution 2/1

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo kick off their 2016 MLS season by welcoming New England Revolution to BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday.

The Dynamo are entering their second season under head coach Owen Coyle and will hope to improve on last year’s eight-place finish in the Western Conference.

During the offseason they lost former captain Brad Davis and Giles Barnes will take over the responsibility for 2016. He will hope to lead his side to victory in Sunday’s home opener.

With the worst defence in the West last season, Coyle will want his backline to remain tight early on and a few clean sheets early in the season could set the tone for what is expected of a traditional Coyle side.

Houston Dynamo’s 2015 record: P34 – W11 – D9 – L14

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During preseason, New England dispatched of the Dynamo 2-1 at home, with Scott Neumann and Teal Bunbury bagging the goals. So they have that positive mental boost going to BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday.

They finished last season poorly with only one win from their final five games so a good start will be high on the priority list for Jay Heaps’ men.

New England Revolution’s 2015 record: P34 – W14 – D8 – L12

Losing Jermaine Jones will undoubtedly have hurt them as he was a vital player in their midfield. Despite Jones leaving, the Revolution still have the attacking assets to trouble even the best of teams, and the Revs will expect to compete high up the Eastern Conference this season.

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Team News

Houston Dynamo’s new signing, Collen Warner, who was traded from Toronto, is out of Sunday’s game. Will Bruin and Giles Barnes should start upfront judging by preseason selections.

New England Revolution have no injuries of note as yet. Teal Bunbury and Kelyn Rowe are expected to occupy the wings while Lee Nguyen will play centrally. London Woodberry could start at right-back and Charlie Davies is set to be preferred to Juan Agudelo upfront.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s preseason form: D/W/L/W/D/L/D

New England Revolution’s preseason form: W/L/L/D/D/W/W

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have only lost one of their last ten home matches in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – Attacking midfielder Nguyen is a creative specialist in the final third. He is easily the Revolution’s best player when on song and will prove important to their season once more in 2016. As a prevalent source of chances, keeping Nguyen quiet will be Houston’s priority.

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Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 1-2 New England Revolution – After the win in preseason, we’re expecting much of the same for New England. Houston will have problems keeping out the likes of Lee Nguyen and Charlie Davies and might just fall short in an intriguing home opener. The home fans will need to rally behind their side to increase their chances of victory here.

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2016 MLS Season: MLSGB predicts final standings

With the 2016 MLS Season just a few days away, the excitement is really starting to build. Preseason preparations are all but over and so it’s time for all 20 clubs to get serious as they look to start the new campaign on the right foot.

We’ve been publishing out 2016 MLS Season Previews over the past couple of weeks and below you can find our predicted league standings.

This predictions are based on how good we think each side currently looks heading into 2016. It’s almost impossible to guess how MLS sides will perform over the 34 regular season games but we’ve had a good go at it anyway.

Click on any team name below to read their 2016 season preview and let us know what you think of these predictions in the comments section below, or on Twitter.

Eastern Conference

1

Columbus Crew Logo

Columbus Crew

2

New York Red Bulls Logo

New York Red Bulls

3

Toronto FC Logo

Toronto FC

4

DC United Logo

DC United

5

Montreal Impact Logo

Montreal Impact

6

New York City Logo

New York City FC

7

Orlando City Logo

Orlando City SC

8

New England Revolution Logo

New England Revolution

9

Philadelphia Union Logo

Philadelphia Union

10

Chicago Fire Logo

Chicago Fire

Western Conference

1

LA Galaxy Logo

LA Galaxy

2

FC Dallas Logo

FC Dallas

3

Portland Timbers Logo

Portland Timbers

4

Seattle Sounders Logo

Seattle Sounders

5

Vancouver Whitecaps Logo

Vancouver Whitecaps

6

San Jose Earthquakes Logo

San Jose Earthquakes

7

Sporting Kansas City Logo

Sporting Kansas City

8

Houston Dynamo Logo

Houston Dynamo

9

Real Salt Lake Logo

Real Salt Lake

10

Colorado Rapids Logo

Colorado Rapids

2016 MLS Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

As the 2016 MLS season edges ever closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what the Real Salt Lake could achieve this season.

Real Salt Lake head into the new season with plenty of room for improvement after a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Western Conference last campaign. Head coach Jeff Cassar has added some new faces to his side in an attempt to freshen things up but this is going to be a tough season ahead and they are going to have to work extremely hard to improve. The fans will not want another season of struggles, so with sides around them becoming stronger, they must remain competitive in what is a fiercely competitive conference. The aim will be to make the playoffs, after missing out for the first time in eight years in 2015.

Last Season’s Finish:

Western Conference – Position: 9th – P34 – W11 – D8 – L15

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What Needs To Change This Year?

Real Salt Lake must tighten up at the back. They conceded 48 goals last season, while netting just 38. They need to ensure they pick up points from sides around them in the Western Conference as clashes with fellow promotion chasers are fiercely competitive. Cassar’s side need to score more goals as their tally of 38 was the second-lowest across both conferences. Signings have been brought in to try and add to the goal tally, while the return of Joao Plata will hep. They lost 15 games last term – the most in one campaign since 2007 – and ensuring they don’t repeat that mistake will put them in a better position.

Key Changes:

InsChris Wingert – Defender, Danilo Acosta – Midfielder, Omar Holness – Midfielder, Sunny Obayen – Midfielder, Emery Welshman – Forward & Yura Movsisyan – Forward

Outs: Elias Vasquez – Defender, Chris Schular – Defender, Abdoulie Mansally – Defender, Pecka – Midfielder, Luis Silva – Midfielder, Sebastian Saucedo – Midfielder & Sebastian Jaime – Forward

Key Player: 

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Nick Rimando – Goalkeeper – As mentioned, the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper saw his side’s goal breached 48 times last season, so he can expect yet another busy campaign between the sticks. He is a top performer for his side, despite the fact that RSL struggled in the 2015 season. The veteran will turn 37 in the 2016 campaign but as we know, age is less relevant with goalkeepers and his experience could be key as RSL look to pick up more points and cause a few upsets.

One to Watch:

Yura Movsisyan – Forward – The Armenian forward returns to Real Salt Lake for a second spell – his previous stint coming between 2007-2009 where he helped RSL to lift the 2009 MLS Cup, scoring once in the playoffs. The 28-year-old striker joins RSL on loan from Russian side Spartak Moscow and is a player that the Claret and Cobalt fans will be looking forward to watching again. His MLS record stands at 20 goals in 81 outings for Real Salt Lake and Kansas City, so he has already shown he is capable in front of goal. The league has changed since he was last involved and he will need to adapt quickly. There is pressure on him to help RSL improve on last season and if he gets off to a good start he could have quite an impact.

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Predicted Finish:

Western Conference – 9th – It may be a downer for Real Salt Lake fans but their current squad doesn’t seem to be one which can improve on last season. They have lost more players than they have signed and squad depth is important – so they could struggle from the off. RSL lost four of their last five of the 2015 campaign and face a tough start to 2016, with three of their first five games away from home. They must ensure they pick up points wherever possible early on to avoid confidence being shattered. There are reasons for optimism, with Joao Plata’s return from injury and the signing of Movsisyan likely to help the team improve but it is difficult at this point to see them climbing the conference.

What are you expecting from Real Salt Lake in 2016?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, June 13 – 22:00 ET (Sunday, June 14 – 02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle Sounders 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – FC Dallas 3/1

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders take on FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field looking to get back to winning ways following their defeat last week to Sporting Kansas City. While Dallas are without a win in four and also need to try and find three points on Saturday night.

The Sounders are at the top of the Western Conference and that’s no surprise given their squad strength. They have already picked up an impressive eight wins this season and look in good shape to retain their MLS Supporters’ Shield come the end of the regular season.

Seattle have two games in hand over second placed Vancouver Whitecaps with both tied on 26 points after 14 weeks.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Plus, they have only lost once at home this season and that was their home opener against San Jose Earthquakes when they lost 3-2.

Only once have Seattle Sounders not scored at home and that was in the 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City so they will be the more confident of the two sides heading into Saturday’s clash.

FC Dallas face their fourth straight away game in Seattle, having failed to pick up a win in their last three road trips.

In those three away games they have scored just the one and conceded six goals.

Blas Perez has been away on international duty with Panama, depleting them of the goals that he gifted them earlier this season, while Fabian Castillo has also been missing as a result of an injury and that has seen the Texan side’s form dip.

A win for FC Dallas would put them right back on track for a top place finish in the Western and so it’s a huge game for both sides.

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The reverse fixture this season saw FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders play out a 0-0 draw at Toyota Park on March 29.

Team News

Seattle Sounders have two injury worries with Chad Barrett out with hamstring troubles and Obafemi Martins had nose surgery but could play in a mask. Marco Pappa is still away on international duty with Guatemala. Clint Dempsey is expected to return to the starting lineup.

FC Dallas have plenty of players away on international duty with Tesho Akindele, Kellyn Acosta, Je-Vaughn Watson, Atiba Harris and Moises Hernandez all out. Fabian Castillo could return to the starting lineup after returning from injury last week.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/D/W/W/L

FC Dallas’ last five: W/D/L/L/D

Key Stat: The last three matches between these two have ended in a draw.

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Key Player: Dan Kennedy – The FC Dallas goalkeeper could have a busy day ahead of him with plenty of Seattle players returning back from international duty that could be laying assault on the FC Dallas goal, so he will need to be at his best.

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 0-0 FC Dallas – Both teams have players returning from international duty. Seattle Sounders could be light up front with injuries to Barrett and Martins potentially leaving them weak. FC Dallas could sneak it but without so many players, it looks likely that both teams will struggle to edge what should be a tight contest.

MLS Fantasy Tips: Top attacking options

The 2015 MLS fantasy soccer game is live and today we take a look at the goalscorers you should be targeting ahead of the 2015 MLS Season. We’re expecting big things from these players and as everyone knows, fantasy football is largely about goals, goals and…more goals.

MLSSoccer.com released their official version of MLS Fantasy on Thursday and we’re going to be providing insight into the best options for your team.

The following forwards are all expected to be amongst the goals this year but are all pricey options as a result. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford more than a couple of these names but your team probably needs at least one if you’re to be successful.

1. Robbie Keane – Striker (LA Galaxy) – $11.0m

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Last season’s MVP, Robbie Keane has a huge task trying to replicate his stellar performances from last year. However, he has the team around him that can offer the right support. The likes of Gyasi Zardes and Steven Gerrard should supply him with enough chances so that he can be high on the scoring charts once again.

Keane comes in to the new campaign off the back of a remarkable season in which he scored 20 times and accumulated twelve assists. We expect more of the same from the MVP.

2. Dom Dwyer – Striker (Sporting Kansas City) – $10.5m

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Dom Dwyer came second in the scoring charts last season with a very impressive 23 goals over the course of the season.

His clinical finishing and electric pace will aid his cause once again this season, and he’s a worthy option for fantasy managers.

3. David Villa – Striker (New York City FC) – $10.0m

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You’d have to say David Villa is quite cheap considering his pedigree. Villa was a World Cup and Champions League winner whilst in Spain, and provides vital experience for any playoff push that New York City FC will make.

With a supply line that will boast Frank Lampard and Mix Diskerud to name just a couple, Villa will surely be a Golden Boot contender in his debut MLS campaign.

4. Obafemi Martins – Striker (Seattle Sounders) – $11.0m

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Obafemi Martins was extremely impressive in 2014 and we expect more of the same this year. It’s more than likely that the Nigerian forward will surpass his tally of 17 goals in 2015 but you’ll have to pay the price for that at 11.0 million.

The partnership with Clint Dempsey in Seattle has been a blessing for the Sounders and they flourish together. Martins will score goals.

5. Clint Dempsey – Midfielder (Seattle Sounders) – $11.0m

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The only midfielder to make the list is Clint Dempsey. The USMNT star played as a second-striker last term and there has been debate over whether he should be listed as a forward. But the official MLS game has him down as a midfielder and that means he will get clean-sheet bonuses as well, Major plus.

Dempsey scored a total of 16 last term and considering he should be playing alongside Martins again this term, he will expect to find the net on several occasions again. He’s a slight risk at $11.0m but is highly likely to be the highest-scoring midfielder in MLS fantasy this season.


 

Who do you think will top the MLS goalscoring charts in 2015?

Orlando City SC to face New York City FC in headline opening clash for 2015 MLS season

One of the most eagerly awaited games of the 2015 MLS season has been thrown out to us for the first weekend of the new campaign as both expansion sides Orlando City and New York City will go head-to-head on Sunday March 8.

We can expect huge coverage from all over the world, with everyone keen to see how New York superstar David Villa shapes up against Orlando’s very own star in Kaka.

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At this moment we are all unsure of what will happen with Frank Lampard, but given the magnitude of this opening fixture we hope he will be in the frame come the start of March.

Both sets of fans will be desperate to see their side get off the mark in the right way and both sides will be looking to impress in their opening game in Major League Soccer.

The fact that it mark both sides first MLS game makes it all the more special and the excitement leading up to the tie will be huge.

We cannot wait for this one and will cover the ins and outs all the way up to kickoff on Sunday March 8.

The game will be one of ten played on a bumper opening weekend in what should be the most exciting MLS season to date.

All ten opening fixtures for the 2015 MLS Season:

Friday March 6
LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire (StubHub Center)

Saturday March 7
DC United vs. Montreal Impact (RFK Stadium)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC (BC Place)
Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew (BBVA Compass Stadium)
Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids (PPL PARK)
Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake (Providence Park)
FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Toyota Stadium)

Sunday March 8
Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC (Orlando Citrus Bowl)
Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls (Sporting Park)
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New England Revolution (CenturyLink Field)

Sporting Kansas City reward star striker Dom Dwyer with new contract

Dom Dwyer has signed a contract extension with Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2015 MLS season in what is a major resigning for the club.

The 24-year-old Englishman netted 22 goals in 33 regular season appearances this year and was a constant threat for opposition defences.

“I am ecstatic to commit my future to Kansas City,” Dwyer said.

“I want to thank the coaches and ownership for having faith in me. Also, a special thanks to the fans for all of their continued support.

“I am excited to get going again. Last year was a starting point for what is to come in the future, which is scoring a lot more goals, driving to win championships and enjoying myself on and off the field in a city with supporters to which I have grown to love and embrace.”

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Dwyer has scored 50 goals in all competitions for Kansas City since the start of 2013 and seems to improve with every game.

His six game-winning strikes in 2014 set a club record and he is now ranked ninth on the club’s all-time leading goalscorer list for MLS regular season goals.

Dwyer is thriving in America and he has set his sights on representing the US Men’s National Team in the next few years. He received his green card in 2012 and therefore could be seen playing for the USMNT by 2017.

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“It’s something I want to look forward to. It’s something I’m very excited about, and I’ve heard little rumors here and there, little conversations with my agent that there’s interest in the US camp. That would be amazing if my phone was to ever ring for that,” Dwyer said.

“Obviously, it’s a good thing to be in the league for, and I also think the league’s going places as well. It’s a place to be.”

How important is Dom Dwyer to Sporting Kansas City?