MLS weekend preview, Part 2
Los Angeles vs. Colorado
The Galaxy can’t afford to let up considering Seattle is closing in on them for first place in the West, but the Rapids will come in with some desperation of their own after losing to Chicago last week.
Man in charge: Bruce Arena has led the Los Angeles Galaxy to the best record in the MLS. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake
The MLS Game of the Week features two teams holding hope of being able to catch Los Angeles for the Supporters Shield (and No. 1 seed in the MLS Playoffs). The Sounders were on a roll before their recent break, while RSL has begun hitting their stride as well.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo
One team has struggled to win at home lately, the other hasn’t won on the road all season. Something has to give in this crucial battle of playoff aspirants. Sporting KC’s defense has been faulty in recent weeks, but a healthy Aurelian Collin should settle things down. Houston’s inconsistency is one thing, but the awful road form makes it tough to see Dom Kinnear’s squad escaping Livestrong Park with more than a point. Considering the playoff race, Dynamo would gladly take a draw.
Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC
The Crew have had time to lick their wounds after that embarrassing 6-2 loss to Seattle, and some time off should help Columbus get ready for a strong late surge. With Julius James back in the field after suspension, the Crew’s normally stingy defense should get back to its imposing ways, though TFC’s revamped lineup will surely test Columbus at Crew Stadium.
New York Red Bulls vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Win or give up on the season. Maybe that’s a bit drastic, but the New York Red Bulls have run out of wiggle room and need to start posting wins if they want to avoid falling out of the playoff picture completely. The extended time off should help New York’s aging squad rest and recover, and if they still can’t beat last-place Vancouver, maybe the playoffs should stop being the focus and it might then be time to consider who gets fired for this disappointing season.
Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers
The Union came away with a major boost of confidence after rallying from three goals to tie New England on Wednesday, but fatigue could once again play a role against a rested Portland side. The Timbers have won two straight, but remain an enigma on the road. Look for Sebastian LeToux and Freddy Adu to push Portland’s defense and the Union defense to rebound after giving up four goals on Wednesday.
New England Revolution vs. FC Dallas
FC Dallas got some much-needed rest this past week, and now take on a tired New England side that has to come into the Saturday match dejected after blowing a 4-1 lead to Philadelphia. Schellas Hyndman knows Real Salt Lake is gaining fast and a game like Saturday’s is a must-win if Dallas is going to be serious about finishing at least second in the East. For the Revs, Saturday will be about pride, but that might not keep it from getting ugly.
On fire: With an impressive four-game streak, Frank Klopas might have won Chicago Fire's heading coaching job in 2012. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire
The Chicago Fire are on a roll, unbeaten in four matches, and could very well work their way into the playoff race with a win against the Earthquakes. The Fire are still five points clear of the playoffs, so they’ll need some serious help to have any real chance of the playoffs, but another win can keep hope alive while also strengthening Frank Klopas chances of keeping the Fire head coaching job for 2012. Another loss for San Jose might make folks wonder whether it’s Frank Yallop who should be the coach on the hot seat.
Chivas USA vs. D.C. United
Another vital match in the playoff race, Chivas USA has hit a rough patch in recent weeks, and playing without defensive leader Heath Pearce will make things even tougher, but the Goats could fall out of the playoff picture with a loss to D.C.
United is fully aware of this and Ben Olsen’s side should stand a good bet of scoring at least a draw. A win is possible, but the travel factor is a real one and could be what helps Chivas USA knock off United.