July 17, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Chicago Fire (9-6-4, 31 pts)@ New York Red Bulls (9-5-5, 32 pts), 12:00 CT (CSN Chi, MSG+)
On June 17, the Chicago Fire snapped the New York Red Bulls’ six-game unbeaten streak with a 3-1 win at Toyota Park. Both teams have tweaked their lineups since then, the Fire integrating Brazilian midfielder Alex into the starting lineup after Sebastian Grazzini had to leave unexpectedly for his native Argentina, and the Red Bulls acquiring Vancouver forward Sebastien Le Toux to bolster a faltering frontline and journeyman ‘keeper Bill Gaudette to hold down the fort while Ryan Meara recovers from a hip injury. Both teams will have to pace themselves to get through Wednesday’s steamy midsummer matinee at Red Bull Arena. The Fire will be without veteran defender Arne Friedrich, who was red-carded during last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Vancouver. The Red Bulls are coming off a 2-2 tie with Seattle Sounders FC last Sunday. Le Toux scored 24 minutes into his Red Bulls debut.
Portland Timbers (5-9-4, 19 pts)@ Chivas USA (5-7-5, 20 pts), 3:00 m CT (ROOT, FSW)
Chivas USA is tied with Toronto FC for the fewest home victories this season (2), but on Wednesday they host a Portland Timbers team with such a feeble record on the road (0-6-2) that it cost coach John Spencer his job last week. Interim coach Gavin Wilkinson is off to a 0-1 start after last Sunday’s wild and wooly 5-3 loss to the LA Galaxy at Jeld-Wen Field. Everything seemed to be going the Timbers’ way after Kris Boyd scored in the third minute. But David Beckham scored twice in five minutes to give LA a lead they never relinquished. Boyd finished the match with two goals, and newcomer Kosuke Kimura scored for the first time since being traded from the Colorado Rapids. Chivas and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy are coming off their second straight defensive shutout, which was also the team’s second straight scoreless tie, July 7 against Vancouver. As sturdy as their defense has been, the Goats have failed to score a goal in three of their last four games, and might be showing a bit of rust. The Vancouver match was their only league game in 25 days.
Colorado Rapids (7-11-1, 22 pts) @ Toronto FC (4-11-4, 16 pts), 6:00 pm CT (Alt, SNET1)
If ever there was a hard-luck franchise in MLS, it has to be the 2012 Toronto FC. The Reds cemented their first two-game winning streak of the season with last Saturday’s 1-0 road victory over the New England Revolution, but in the process lost the catalyst for their recent success, forward Danny Koevermans, for the season after he tore his ACL in a collision with defender AJ Soares. Koevermans leads the team with nine goals, and his steady production gave team management the confidence to trade away the team’s first-ever designated player, Julian De Guzman, last week. Koevermans’ injury leaves TFC with a young and shallow pool of attacking players, although rookie Luis Silva is riding a two-game scoring streak. On Wednesday, the Reds host the Colorado Rapids, a team they have beaten in five previous meetings at BMO Field, and who have struggled on the road this season. Colorado have lost three straight and five of their last six, most recently falling 2-1 to FC Dallas last Saturday. Omar Cummings staked the Rapids to a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute, but could not hold it. Cummings is one of the few bright spots for Colorado right now, having scored in two straight games.
New England Revolution (6-8-4, 22 pts) @ Montreal Impact (6-12-3, 21 pts), 7:00pm CT (CSNNE, TSN2)
The New England Revolution and Montreal Impact are both on the rebound from losses going into Wednesday night’s match at Stade Saputo. The Revs surrendered an early goal to Toronto FC’s Luis Silva and could not come back last weekend at Gillette Stadium, ending a five-game overall unbeaten streak and run of seven games without a loss at home. The turning point for New England came early, when center back Stephen McCarthy had to leave the game with concussion symptoms. Substitute Shalrie Joseph was victimized on Silva’s goal, then had an apparent equalizer called back after being whistled for a deliberate handball. The Impact appeared headed for a draw in Philadelphia last weekend, not allowing a goal until the 82nd minute, leveling the score off an own goal in the 89th, then losing in stoppage time. The Impact have made a specialty of taking things down to the wire. They lead the league in both goals allowed in the final 15 minutes (11) and goals scored after the 60th minute (21).
Sporting Kansas City (11-5-3, 36 pts)@Houston Dynamo (7-5-7, 28 pts), 7:30 pm CT (KSMO, FSH)
The Houston Dynamo roar into Wednesday’s home match against Sporting Kansas City off a lopsided 4-0 win over DC United on Sunday. Will Bruin scored his tenth goal of the season to move into a tie for third place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, Boniek Garcia scored his first MLS goal, and Brad Davis and Brian Ching converted penalty kicks against shorthanded DC, who lost goalkeeper Bill Hamid to a red card in the 17th minute. Sporting will be closing out a run of three road games in eight days (including last Wednesday’s US Open Cup semifinal win over Philadelphia and last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Columbus), and, with five road wins to their credit, only one shy of the franchise record for road wins in regulation time. Sporting and the Dynamo played to a scoreless draw on July 7 at Livestrong Sporting Park. Kansas City’s defense is the league’s stingiest, allowing only 17 goals in 19 games. Last Saturday marked netminder Jimmy Nielsen’s eighth shutout and 11th win of the season, both league highs.
LA Galaxy (8-10-2, 26 pts)@ Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8-6-6, 30 pts), 9:00 pm CT (KDOC, TSN2)
The LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will meet on Wednesday in front of a sellout crowd at BC Place. For one of the first times this season, the Galaxy played like defending MLS Cup champions last Sunday, outgunning the Portland Timbers 5-3. David Beckham scored two goals in five minutes, Robbie Keane also had a brace, and Landon Donovan added a goal and an assist. The Whitecaps have lost two straight, most recently by a 1-0 margin to Chicago. Pavel Pardo’s game-winning free kick came early, and the Whitecaps had a man advantage for 21 minutes but could not level the score. The Galaxy defeated Vancouver 3-0 on June 23, on goals by Mike Magee, Keane and Donovan.
FC Dallas (4-9-7, 19 pts)@ San Jose Earthquakes (12-4-4, 40 pts), 10:00 pm CT (NBCSN)
FC Dallas ended a 13-game winless streak by defeating Colorado 2-1 last Saturday, and take a clean slate into Wednesday’s match against the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Substitute Carlos Rodriguez played a role in both FCD goals, scoring the 1-1 equalizer from close range in the 61st minute, then taking an 81st-minute shot that was headed off the line by defender Drew Moor and into the path of Fabian Castillo, who scored the game-winner. MLS Golden Boot leader and reigning league Player of the Week Chris Wondolowski registered his third career hat trick in San Jose’s 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake last Saturday, and has 17 goals so far this season. He also has eight game-winners already this season, one shy of the league record. San Jose’s offense was less potent the last time these teams met, a scoreless draw on July 7.