Goal.com's Kyle McCarthy isn't letting the H1N1 flu hysteria hinder the Friday MLS Forecast ahead of Week Seven.
With swine flu hysteria reaching a fever pitch this week, it was only a matter of time until an MLS team had to respond to questions about whether a match or event would go on as planned.
Have no fear, FC Dallas fans. Kenny Chesney will play at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday night, according to the team's official blog.
Gov. Rick Perry may have issued a disaster declaration on Wednesday after 11 swine flu cases were confirmed in the state and all Texas high schoolers may be barred from participating in sporting events until May 11 to avoid spreading the disease, but those who want to hear “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” or “Keg in the Closet” won't have to worry about Kenny skipping his much-anticipated tour date. No word yet on whether the country star will pair a surgical mask with his trademark cowboy hat.
Swine flu may keep a few fans away from Pizza Hut Park on Saturday night and all fans away from Mexican stadiums this weekend, but the Forecast rolls on after a sterling performance last weekend.
Last week: 5/7 (71%)
For the season: 16/35 (46%)
Columbus @ Toronto FC – 4:00p.m. (CBC)
The Crew will have plenty of motivation last weekend's disappointing 2-2 draw with Chicago. Columbus also has history on their side: Toronto FC has zero wins and four draws from seven total games between the two sides. But momentum is a funny thing, particularly when Columbus is missing key contributors (William Hesmer, Adam Moffat and Gino Padula for sure and possibly Frankie Hejduk as well) and Toronto has ripped off two consecutive wins. A third will give TFC its first Trillium Cup in Chris Cummins' first official match as interim coach.
Prediction: Toronto FC win.
FC Dallas @ D.C. United – 7:30p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)
These two teams met less than two weeks ago in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier. United won 2-0 at R.F.K. Stadium on goals by Fred and Brandon Barklage. With reserves littering the field that night, it's hard to take much from that encounter. Recent form is more instructive and United has the edge there after scraping out a late draw against New England and an even-later victory over New York last weekend.
Prediction: D.C. United win.
Seattle @ Chicago – 8:30p.m.
Offense versus defense in this one. Kasey Keller hasn't allowed a goal this season and Sounders FC has allowed only three. Chicago has scored a league-high 12 goals, including two in the second half of last weekend's 2-2 draw in Columbus. Seattle thumped Real Salt Lake during the midweek, but Sigi Schmid played a reserve side, so don't expect that to mean much here. Sounders FC failed its most recent major road test at Chivas USA, but they have enough to pass this one by eliciting another draw out of the draw specialists.
(writer's note: Mea culpa, mea culpa. Yes, Toronto counts as a major road test and Seattle passed that one with flying colors. So they're one for two in the always nebulous "major road tests" category so far.)
Real Salt Lake @ Colorado – 9:30p.m.
These two regional rivals just don't like each other. The Rapids are probably playing Yura Movsisyan's 90th-minute, season-ending goal from last October on a loop as motivation ahead of this clash. Colorado hasn't won in four, but Real Salt Lake hasn't won or scored on the road yet this season. After getting pasted 4-1 in Seattle earlier this week in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier despite playing a mix of reserves and first teamers, RSL hasn't exactly found the winning road formula outside of league play either. RSL head coach Jason Kreis paid lip service this week to instituting a more conservative approach away from Rio Tinto Stadium. One can only hope that won't be the case or this derby could turn into a snoozer. I'll take even honors to hedge my bets in the first of three matches to decide the Rocky Mountain Cup.
Chivas USA @ San Jose – 10:30p.m.
San Jose couldn't wait to turn the page on April after posting two draws and three losses in five matches. That tally doesn't even include the 2-1 loss to New York in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier on Wednesday night. Key injuries to Jason Hernandez and Darren Huckerby have crippled the 'Quakes and limited their effectiveness in both penalty areas. By now, everyone around the league has realized that neither an injury crisis nor Sacha Kljestan's indifferent form has stopped the Goats this season. Don't bet on a battered San Jose side succeeding where greater forces have failed.
Prediction: Chivas USA win.
New York @ Los Angeles – 10:30p.m.
The surprising thing about Los Angeles' 1-1 draw in Colorado? The Galaxy's defensive organization. Disorder usually reigns on and off the field for the Gals, but L.A. cobbled together a pretty coherent performance against the Rapids. Defensive organization won't be enough against a New York side more than willing to pack it in on the road. The Red Bulls won 2-1 (writer's note: New York won 3-0 in 2004, not last season, as I had originally written) at the Home Depot Center last season, but a repeat looks unlikely given the circumstances. Los Angeles absolutely has to have this one with trips to Real Salt Lake and Seattle on the docket for the next two weekends.
Prediction: Los Angeles win.
Houston @ New England – 3:00p.m. (Telefutura)
Good news for Houston: Ade Akinbiyi is now in the fold. Bad news for Houston: they have to play New England one week after the Revolution got pasted 6-0 by Real Salt Lake. The injury-ravaged Revs will engineer a significant response after an embarrassing second-half display at Rio Tinto, particularly if Steve Ralston can shake off an adductor strain and add his creativity to the side. Houston's away struggles this season (two road matches, two defeats) and their poor record against New England (0-3-3 all-time in the regular season) won't provide much comfort to Dynamo fans ahead of this SuperLiga final rematch.
Prediction: New England win.
Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSnet.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter by clicking here.