August 17, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-8-7, 37 pts) @ Seattle Sounders FC (10-6-7, 37 pts), 3:00 pm CT (KING, TSN2)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Seattle Sounders FC enter Saturday’s Cascadia Cup match at CenturyLink Field tied on points in the MLS West, with the Whitecaps relegated to fifth place on goal differential, so much is at stake for both teams. The Whitecaps are coming off a lackluster 2-0 loss to FC Dallas last Wednesday at BC Place, but should be bolstered by the return of scoring leader Darren Mattocks and winger Dane Richards from midweek international duty. Captain and defensive mainstay Jay DeMerit also is expected to be available for at least limited duty after recovering from a concussion suffered last weekend. DeMerit’s presence could be significant, since backliner Martin Bonjour will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation. The Whitecaps held the advantage for much of the teams’ first meeting of the season, on May 19, but Fredy Montero’s 90th-minute goal lifted the Sounders into a 2-2 draw. More recently, Eddie Johnson has become Seattle’s focal point on attack, particularly when teamed with midfielder Mauro Rosales, who has assisted on his last four goals.
Sporting Kansas City (13-7-4, 43 pts) @ Toronto FC (5-13-5, 20 pts), 3:30 pm CT (KSMO, GolTV-Canada)
Toronto FC have not lost a home match to Sporting Kansas City since 2007, but will face a tough challenge in Saturday’s worst-vs-first Eastern Conference faceoff at BMO Field. Sporting are riding a two-game winning streak after knocking off Conference rivals New England and DC United, and have the best road record in MLS at 6-4-2. Teal Bunbury has fueled the team’s recent run of good fortune, scoring in both of the last two wins, and Jimmy Nielsen leads the league with 13 wins and 10 shutouts. The Reds managed a 2-2 draw with Western Conference cellar-dwellers Portland at midweek. Recent acquisition Eric Hassli scored the first goal against the Timbers and set up the second in his home debut for TFC. Toronto also will have several reinforcements back from midweek internationals, including attacking midfielder Ryan Johnson, newly signed Ireland international defender Darren O’Dea and backliners Terry Dunfield and Doneil Henry.
San Jose Earthquakes (14-5-5, 47 pts)@ Montreal Impact (10-13-3, 33 pts), 6:30 pm CT (CSNCA+, TVA Sports)
The Montreal Impact are riding the longest winning streak of their brief MLS history at three games, and are a formidable 8-3-2 at home this season, but will face a tough test on Saturday when the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes travel to Stade Saputo. Both teams are coming off weekend wins, San Jose 2-1 over Seattle on Saturday, and the Impact edged New England 1-0 at Gillette Stadium last Sunday. Montreal will probably face MLS Golden Boot leader Chris Wondolowski and the Quakes without veteran Italian defender Alessandro Nesta (sprained knee), as well as suspended backliner Nelson Rivas . San Jose have made an art of pulling out late results – Stephen Lenhart’s 93rd-minute game-winner against the Sounders last weekend was the team’s sixth stoppage-time goal for a result this season. Sanna Nyassi has been on a hot streak for Montreal. His game-winner against twin brother Sainey’s Revolution last Sunday was his third goal in the last five games.
New England Revolution (6-12-5, 23 pts)@ Chicago Fire (11-7-5, 38 pts), 7:30 pm CT (CSNNE, NBC5.2)
The Chicago Fire took over fourth place in the MLS East with last Sunday’s 3-1 win over Philadelphia, and will try to continue their run up the table on Saturday against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park. The Revolution have beaten the Fire once this season, 2-0 at Gillette Stadium on June 2, but are winless in their last six league games and have not scored a goal in 258 minutes. Chris Rolfe led the Fire against the Union with two goals, and German international Arne Friedrich netted his first MLS goal with a game-winning header in first-half stoppage time. New Chicago DP Sherjill MacDonald made his first start, and got the assist on Rolfe’s first tally. Friedrich’s first responsibility is defense, and when he has teamed with rookie Austin Berry on the Fire back line, the team has lost only once. New England has never won a regular season match at Toyota Park.
Chivas USA (7-9-5, 26 pts) @ Colorado Rapids (8-15-1, 25 pts), 8:00 pm CT (KDOC, Alt)
Time is running out for both Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids, whose postseason prospects both took a hit with losses last weekend. The Rapids have lost nine of 11 heading into Saturday night’s match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Chivas are coming off a lopsided 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy in last Sunday’s SuperClasico, but are one of the league’s best teams on the road, with a record of 4-2-3. Defense has been a sore spot for both teams recently. Despite the presence of veteran Matt Pickens in goal, the Rapids surrendered three goals in eight minutes on their way to a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas last Saturday. And Chivas USA have given up seven goals in their last six games, and might easily have gone further in the hole last Saturday had netminder Dan Kennedy not come through with a season-high eight saves. Conor Casey is expected to return to the Rapids’ lineup against Chivas after missing the last two games because of injury. Colorado dominated the teams’ first match of the season, handing the Goats their first 4-0 loss of the season. Kamani Hill scored twice and Jeff Larentowicz converted a penalty kick, all after Tony Cascio’s game-winner.
FC Dallas (7-11-8, 29 pts) @ Real Salt Lake (13-9-3, 42 pts), 8:00 pm CT (FSSW, KUCW)
FC Dallas’s recent resurgence began to seem a little more real on Wednesday, when they manhandled the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on the road at BC Place. They will move on to another tough venue, Rio Tinto Stadium, to take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. David Ferreira set up both Dallas goals, by Fabian Castillo at the hour mark and substitute Jonathan Top ten minutes later. RSL stumbled against the Whitecaps last weekend, falling 2-1, their only goal coming off Nat Borchers’ stoppage-time header. Saturday will close out the season series between these two teams, who played to a 1-1 draw on April 25, then followed up with a 3-2 RSL win on May 26, again decided by Borchers in stoppage time. The Hoops have taken points from three of their last four road games, winning two of them. Ferreira has five assists in his last five games.