On the eve of opening day, Friday’s training session was eventful and uneventful at the same time. With several hundred fans on hand as part of the RSL’s BBQ extravaganza, coach Jason Kreis didn’t reveal much for the fans in terms of line-up possibilities. Instead he broke them up into three teams of eight, with projected starters and non-starters all mixed in together. It’s actually a typical tactic during Friday training sessions.
The eventful part of the practice was the arrival of Kenny Deuchar. It was the first chance anyone got to see the Scottish striker in action, unless you were in Argentina during the team’s training camp stint. I had a chance to catch up with Deuchar after practice, and the guy is class act all the way. He was very forthcoming and seems to be a guy who wants to prove himself on the pitch, and back up his nickname of Dr. Goals. The guy is bigger than I thought and there’s no reason he shouldn’t score a half dozen goals on corner kicks this year, perhaps finishing with 12 or 15 goals this year. The guy is huge. Nat Borchers was trying to mark him on crosses, and Deuchar seemed to have two or three inches on him. RSL, the worst team in MLS the last three years in terms of scoring on corner kicks, might actually be fairly decent on those set pieces this year.
Deuchar confirmed afterward that he won’t start in Saturday’s season opener, but will be one of the teams available subs. It’s worth noting that midfielder Matias Cordoba won’t be an available sub. I don’t get the impression it has anything to do with the coaching staff being disappointed in the Argentine midfielder, it’s just that other guys came in fitter during preseason and have been more consistent. There’s no doubting Cordoba’s talent, but it might take him another month to get comfortable and crack the starting 11.
Jason Kreis announced that he isn’t going to name a permanent team captain just yet. He’s going to rotate it on a game-by-game basis for now.
OK, every week this year, I plan on making predictions for the upcoming MLS games. As someone who picked Chivas USA to finish last in the Western Conference last year, please don’t head to Wendover with my picks as your source.
Toronto FC (1) at Columbus (3) — Schelotto should have a field day against Toronto midfield.
Chicago (1) at Real Salt Lake (2) — I just have a hunch RSL finally gets it right on opening day.
Houston (0) at New England (1) — Four months too late, the Revs will get the job done at home.
D.C. United (2) at Kansas City (1) — D.C. United should be fitter from the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
L.A. Galaxy (1) at Colorado (2) — Beckham and Donovan will be tired, and expect Gomez to make a statement in Rapids debut.
Chivas USA (2) at FC Dallas (2) — This match should be the most entertaining of the weekend.
There you have it, my Week 1 predictions. What are yours?
Oh yeah, one last thing, if you haven’t already done so, visit RSL’s official blog www.rsltothecore.com to see the highly comical Javy and Kyle show.