July Preview - It's berry season, pick them all

USA TODAY Sports

With no more bye weeks Seattle Sounders FC face a pace of games similar to when they were in the Open Cup and CCL.

June was a great month with six points of nine possible, but ends on one of those sour notes. Still, it put Seattle Sounders FC in a position to push towards the MLS Cup Playoffs. Merely maintaining their points rate against the rest of the West and the games in hand will come to their favor. If they improve, and there is plenty upon which to improve, the push out of the Play-In Round will be easy.

July's schedule has five regular season matches - no friendlies, no Open Cup, no Champions League, no losses to the Gold Cup (at this time) and only the All-Star game as any kind of distraction. After one of the toughest schedules in the league they now get favorable matches on paper and a pace of play they enjoy.

Team Location PPM locPPM GFper GAper Sagarin CPR
D.C. United Home 0.56 0.29 0.50 1.63 1.67 17
Vancouver Whitecaps Away 1.47 2.25 1.67 1.60 -0.26 -4
San Jose Earthquakes Away 1.06 1.63 0.88 1.47 0.36 -30
Colorado Rapids Home 1.18 1.00 1.00 1.12 0.88 -15
Chivas USA Home 0.73 0.57 0.93 2.00 1.74 34

United - July 3rd, 7 PM, CenturyLink - The month starts with a match in which all numbers favor the home side. It screams for a blowout against a team with awful defense. D.C. should provide a great opportunity for the Oba/EJ forward pairing to heat up.
Prediction: Win

Whitecaps - July 6th, 8 PM, BC Place - Vancouver is the best team Seattle will face in the month, but with the extra motivation of a few thousand travelers the Sounders could mitigate the road concerns a bit. This promises to be a shootout as Vancouver puts up and gives up goals, but usually with wins at home.
Prediction: Draw or loss

Earthquakes - July 13th, 7:30 PM, Buck Shaw - They will be without their team leader thanks to the Gold Cup taking away Chris Wondolowski and while they are better than their record according to the most recent Crunchy Power Rankings this is a beatable team. They lack of midfield service has reduced the bash brothers to three dudes.
Prediction: Draw or win

Rapids - July 20th, 1 PM, CenturyLink - Colorado's road performances are OK. No longer thuggish their team could turn a corner this year and be an enjoyable playoff squad, but they've dropped a couple matches early in the season and 2014 looks like their big push. Bumping off a potential challenger for the Play-In Round is vital.
Prediction: Win

Goats - July 28th, 8 PM, CenturyLink - Stop drooling. You can't eat goat until you cook it. With a whole month ahead of this one it would be easy to look ahead and call it an easy win and things could change. But the situation with the American Chivas is pretty awful and they are losing quality on transfer. While they should regress (their case that means getting better), they still won't have any forwards.
Prediction: Win

The berries are ripe. Pick up those points.

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