Yesterday sidereal looked at the strength of remaining schedule for all of MLS, pointing out that the Seattle Sounders are in a decent position for a late season run. June gets even more interesting for several reasons. The opponents aren't very good, the team is getting healthier and the Gold Cup is hurting the opposition not the Sounders.
Seattle's June opponents are like ripe cherries ready to be plucked. The five teams average a mere 1.01 PPM and there are more home games than road games in the month. The Chicago Fire are up first, have just fired their coach and lose one of their key players (Marco Pappa) to the Gold Cup, by Sagarin Seattle is favored, even though on the road.
The firing trend continues with the Vancouver Whitecaps, who lose Terry Dunfield (most minutes of midfielder on team) for the continental championship. The Caps have struggled to get points and they only have 3 points in their last 5 played. On the season they are outscored by a third of a goal on average, but round two for Seattle's Cascadia Cup 2011 should be aided by their temporary turmoil.
Canada's teams are struggling, and the Reds of Toronto FC are even worse off than the 'Caps in some ways. Though they get more PPM (0.92 v 0.75) they struggle to score, and defend, and play the game. TFC is outscored by nearly a goal per game (0.77). Aaron Winter's squad will have a home game and Sagarin still expects a loss.
New York Red Bulls had been one of the best teams in the league during this early season, but their recent form is poor (4 points in last 5). It is about to get worse as no team loses more significant players than the energy drink powered squad. While this match is late in the Gold Cup tournament their worse losses will be three players who should be in the Final - Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo and Rafa Marquez. This is the closes projected game by Sagarin, but Seattle should have a near full roster with only Steve Zakuani certain to be out at the time.
June's month of cherries wraps up with the New England Revolution at Qwest Field. The Revs will not lose MVP caliber player Shalrie Joseph to the Gold Cup, but will either not have Benny Feilhaber due to injury or it will be just off his Gold Cup run with him trying to be reintegrated into a team which he did not join for training camp. The Patriots step-brothers earn 1.08 PPM and are the worst offensive team in the league right now.
aGF, aGA, aGD are all based on per game rates adjusted for league average. Sagarin rating uses the predictor model and home/away to project results. Red is used to accent teams that are below league average.
Sigi Schmid's side has opportunities. He needs to be the pastry chef that turns these ripe cherries into about a dozen pies/points. They are there for the picking, and 9 points is a must in June. Eleven plus would put Seattle right back in the top tier where they started the season in many minds.