May 18, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Seattle Sounders FC (7-2-1, 22 pts)@ Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5-3-2, 17 pts), 4:00 pm CT (KONG)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will try to shake off the memory of last weekend’s 4-1 drubbing at the hands of New England when they host Seattle Sounders FC Saturday at BC Place. The Sounders are coming off only their second loss of the season, 1-0 to Real Salt Lake last Saturday, and still boast the league’s stingiest defense with only four goals against. Although rookie goalscorer David Estrada has cooled off since his torrid start to the season, Fredy Montero (3g, 1a), Eddie Johnson (2 g) and Mauro Rosales (1g, 1a) have all picked up some momentum in recent weeks. Despite last week’s stumble, rookie Bryan Meredith has been solid in goal since stepping in for the injured Michael Gspurning, who remains doubtful for this weekend. The Whitecaps are on quick turnaround after a 1-1 Canadian Championship draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday. Eric Hassli, who scored his second goal of the MLS season to give the ‘Caps a short-lived 1-0 lead against the Revolution last weekend, came off the bench to score the 90th-minute equalizer against TFC.
New York Red Bulls (7-3-1, 22 pts)@ Montreal Impact (3-5-3, 12 pts), 6:30 pm CT (MSG, TVA Sports)
The New York Red Bulls have ridden a four-game winning streak into first place in the MLS East going into Saturday’s home match against the Montreal Impact. But they are clinging to the top spot by a single point over Sporting Kansas City and DC United, and can’t afford a letdown against the league’s newest team. While DP Thierry Henry continues to nurse an injured hamstring, Kenny Cooper has put together a two-game scoring streak to tie the Frenchman with nine goals. Last Sunday, Cooper scored the game-winner in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union. Joel Lindpere and defender Markus Holgersson also scored. Lionard Pajoy’s 31st-minute goal for the Union ended goalkeeper Ryan Meara’s shutout run at 321 minutes, a league-record for a rookie, and the Red Bulls bolstered their injury-depleted backline on Thursday by acquiring veteran Heath Pearce from Chivas USA for underused forward Juan Agudelo. Although they have only three wins, the Impact have shown the ability to step up against the league’s marquee teams . On May 5, they ended Sporting Kansas City’s season-opening seven-game winning streak in front of stunned fans at Livestrong Sporting Park. And last Saturday, they held the star-studded, if underperforming, LA Galaxy to a 1-1 draw, leading for much of the game on an eighth-minute strike by Davy Arnaud.
Toronto FC (0-8-0, 0 pts)@ DC United (6-4-3, 21 pts), 6:30 pm CT (TSN2, CSNMA)
Toronto FC’s agonizing search for their first point of the MLS season continues Saturday night against DC United at RFK Stadium. The Reds continued their relative success in non-league play with a 1-1 Canadian Championship draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday, but were robbed of the win in the 90th minute on a goal by substitute Eric Hassli. Ryan Johnson scored Toronto’s goal, in the 66th minute. Toronto is tied with Chivas USA for the league’s most anemic attack, with only six goals in eight games. Reggie Lambe is the only Red to have connected more than once this season (2g, 1a). DC United, meanwhile, is racking up goals at their fastest pace since 2007. Wednesday night’s 2-0 win over Colorado gives them 22 through their first 13 matches, and they are spreading the scoring around. With season scoring leaders Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius out of the lineup, Dwayne De Rosario and DP Hamdi Salihi – who has scored in three of his last four games – connected against the Rapids. Bill Hamid has firmly regained control of the starter’s role in goal, and came up big with a point-blank stop against Colorado’s Jaime Castrillon on Wednesday night.
Houston Dynamo (3-3-3, 12 pts) @ New England Revolution (4-6-0, 12 pts), 6:30 pm CT (KPRC-2, CSNNE)
After a welcome two-game interlude at their brand-new home, BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houston Dynamo return to the road on Saturday to face the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall did not allow a goal in either of last week’s two home matches, but only posted one win, as the team settled for a scoreless draw with Portland on Tuesday night. Brad Davis’s 67th-minute strike helped Houston christen their new stadium with a 1-0 win over DC United on Saturday. Although the Dynamo took a combined 38 shots through their first two home games of the season, including a 20-4 edge over United, that was the only goal. New England is coming off a morale-boosting 4-1 home win over Vancouver last Saturday. Midfielder Lee Nguyen – cut by the Whitecaps on the eve of this season – took his revenge with two goals and an assist. Saer Sene scored his team-leading fourth of the season, and Shalrie Joseph picked up a goal to go with his three assists this season. The Revolution scored three of their four goals before halftime, meaning that ten of their 12 goals this season have been scored before the intermission.
Philadelphia Union (2-6-1, 7 pts)@ FC Dallas(3-6-3, 12 pts), 7:30 pm CT (TCN-Phi, FSSW)
Two teams struggling to find their competitive footing meet when FC Dallas hosts the Philadelphia Union Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium. Both are coming off shorthanded losses. Philadelphia lost Freddy Adu to a red card seconds before halftime, and went on to fall 3-2 to the New York Red Bulls last Sunday, while FCD allowed two goals after defender Zach Loyd received his second yellow card against the Columbus Crew last weekend, and ended up with their third straight loss, 2-1. Loyd’s ejection was the latest in a string of red cards for Dallas – their third in three games within a week, after both Blas Perez and Daniel Hernandez were sent off in a 2-0 loss to Colorado on May 6. And to make a bad situation worse, dangerous goalscorer Brek Shea, who is getting over a case of turf toe but was expected to be available against the Union, has been suspended by the league for three games after kicking a ball at an assistant referee in Columbus. Thursday, the Union jettisoned the last of the core of veterans that helped them to their first-ever playoff berth in 2011, sending defender and captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA for little-used midfielder Michael Lahoud. A young Union lineup showed a lot of heart against the Red Bulls last weekend, even taking the lead briefly on a shorthanded goal by Lionard Pajoy seconds after halftime, but could not salvage a result. Pajoy scored both Philadelphia goals. The Union have lost their last three, leaving them with the second-worst record in the league right now, being kept out of the cellar only by hapless Toronto.
Sporting Kansas City (7-3-0, 21 pts) @ Colorado Rapids (5-6-0, 15 pts), 8:00 pm CT (KSMO, Alt)
Sporting Kansas City relinquished first place in the MLS East last weekend, but could take it back with a little luck and a good result against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Saturday. Sporting lost their third straight last Saturday, and for the second time in that span they were their own worst enemies. A Chance Meyers own goal sent them to their first loss of the season, against Portland, and last weekend, Aurelien Collin’s penalty and a red card to Roger Espinoza opened the door for the Chicago Fire to stage a 2-1 comeback. Bobby Convey scored the only goal for KC, his first since joining the team from San Jose. The Rapids are coming off a chippy but otherwise generally punchless 2-0 loss to DC United. Colorado put only two of 15 total shots on goal. It was the Rapids’ fifth loss of the season on the road. They have been more formidable at home, winning three of four, but are currently without speedy defender Marvell Wynne and striker Omar Cummings, who shares the team scoring lead with Kamani Hill at 3g, 1a, due to injury.
Columbus Crew (3-4-2, 11 pts)@ San Jose Earthquakes (7-2-2, 23 pts), 9:30 pm CT (FSO, CSNSJ)
The Columbus Crew can’t seem to score without help. After a brace against FC Dallas last week to snap a five-game winless streak, fully half of their paltry eight goals have come after the other team has had a player ejected. But a win is a win, and Columbus will need all the momentum they can muster against Western Conference contenders San Jose Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. Crew coach Robert Warzycha might well be wishing that he had forward Steven Lenhart back. The former Crew-man has nine goals and three assists for San Jose so far this season, four of those goals in his last four games. And Chris Wondolowski, who has made a late run at the Golden Boot the past two seasons, got an early start this year and is on top of the league scoring table with 11 goals in 11 games.
LA Galaxy (3-5-2, 11 pts) @ Chivas USA (3-6-1, 10 pts), 9:30 pm CT (ESPN2)
The first SuperClasico of the season kicks off Saturday night as Chivas USA hosts the LA Galaxy at their shared home, the Home Depot Center. The two teams are, especially from the Galaxy’s standpoint, uncomfortably close in the Western Conference standings, with Chivas in their customary berth near the bottom of the table, and the Galaxy seventh of nine with only 11 points from ten games. The Galaxy were fortunate to escape upset-minded Montreal with a 1-1 draw last weekend, saved by an artful David Beckham free kick after a defensive meltdown opened the door for Davy Arnaud to stake the Impact to a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute. Before coming back to LA, the Galaxy detoured to Washington, DC, where President Barack Obama congratulated them on the MLS Cup and Supporter’s Shield season in 2011 that is now starting to seem like a distant memory. Beckham took yet another side trip, back to England to help welcome the Olympic Torch in advance of this summer’s London games, and may or may not be available on Saturday night. Chivas picked up reinforcements at both ends of the field on Thursday, trading veteran defender Heath Pearce to the New York Red Bulls for dynamic but underused young forward Juan Agudelo, then filling the gap in back by acquiring defender Danny Califf – who won an MLS Cup with the Galaxy in 2002—from the Philadelphia Union.