Friday MLS Forecast: Week 18 - Pondering the potential ramifications

The Forecast wonders how FC Dallas will react to Brek Shea's midweek spat with Schellas Hyndman and sorts through the weekend fixture list.
1. What to do about Brek Shea?: The dissenting FC Dallas midfielder put Schellas Hyndman in a bind with his display of disgust upon his second-half substitution in Wednesday night's 2-1 home defeat to San Jose. Under normal circumstances, Hyndman would probably consign Shea to the bench for Portland's visit on Saturday night and hope the lesson would offer the promising U.S. international some inspiration to turn around his poor form. FCD's shortage of viable options in the attacking third may dictate a more pragmatic (and perhaps less effective) approach instead.

2. And should Seattle fans really worry about a scuffle between Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero?: Details remain a bit scant on this particular fracas, but Sounders FC boss Sigi Schmid passed on the chance to deny it actually occurred when offered the opportunity to do so earlier this week by the Seattle Times. Schmid – as he pointed out in his comments – knows these sorts of on-field disagreements occur intermittently on the training ground and usually dissipate fairly quickly. Is the situation ideal? Probably not. Is it a huge, massive problem worth monitoring? Again, probably not.

3. Will Alessandro Nesta make his debut at Houston?: It could happen after the Italian legend played all 90 minutes in a scrimmage on Thursday and Montréal coach Jesse Marsch confirmed he would travel to Houston this weekend. It isn't the best of scenarios to hand Nesta his MLS debut – one would suspect he didn't confront conditions quite like a Texas summer often during his storied career in Serie A – or the best of times to alter a back four that managed to emerge from Wednesday's 2-1 victory over New England relatively unscathed.

4. Need a derby? This isn't a bad weekend to find one.: The SuperClasico out in Los Angeles always tends to receive top billing, but the Rocky Mountain clash between Colorado and Real Salt Lake always provides engaging and gritty fare for the neutral. As an added bonus, two regional squabblers –  now with one significant French connection now destined to link them further – will meet in Harrison when New York and Philadelphia tangle at Red Bull Arena.

5. Maybe the weekend will restore some sanity from the spot: Jair Benitez and Chris Wondolowski both missed penalty kicks in the Earthquakes' victory in Frisco. Patrice Bernier converted three consecutive chances from the spot at Stade Saputo and received credit for just one of them after a pair of infractions ruled out his first two attempts. Is it too much to ask for a couple of mundane penalty conversions this weekend?

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Last week: 2/9 (22%)
This season: 62/149 (42%)


Philadelphia @ New York (2:30p.m., ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN 2/RDS 2) match preview
Overview: Watch out for Sébastien Le Toux. But in this affair, that particular tip probably isn't required.
Prediction: New York win.

D.C. United @ Columbus (7:30p.m.) match preview
Overview: The pair of enforced changes in D.C.'s defense – Chris Korb for the injured Robbie Russell at right back and Joe Willis for the suspended Bill Hamid in goal – may help Ben Olsen's side put the defeat at Houston behind them.
Prediction: D.C. United win.

Montréal @ Houston (8:30p.m.) match preview
Overview: BBVA Compass Stadium isn't the ideal venue for a second match in four days.
Prediction: Houston win.

New England @ Sporting Kansas City (8:30p.m.) match preview
Overview: New England lacked a bit of sharpness and a lot of spark in its midweek defeat at Montréal as it works through a spell of three games in eight days. A trip to Kansas City – particularly with the triple-digit temperatures expected during the day – isn't the right time to try to find your legs.
Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.

Portland @ FC Dallas (9:00p.m.) match preview
Overview: Any interest in the nil-nil draw here? Any at all?
Prediction: Draw.

Colorado @ Real Salt Lake (10:00p.m.) match preview
Overview: This particular edition of the Rocky Mountain derby lacks a bit of bite in midfield with Kyle Beckerman and Jeff Larentowicz suspended. Even with the significant influence Beckerman exerts over his teammates, RSL likely benefits from that particular pair of bans.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake win.

Chivas USA @ Los Angeles (10:00p.m., Telefutura) match preview
Overview: The Red-and-White enter the SuperClasico in fine form (especially after gritting out a 1-0 victory over Portland in midweek), but the Galaxy's historical dominance in this tie and its recent surge may just tip the scales toward the nominal home side.
Prediction: Los Angeles win.


San Jose @ Vancouver (7:00p.m.) match preview
Overview: How much, if at all, will Los Angeles' late show in midweek throw the Whitecaps off in this affair?
Prediction: Draw.

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