October 26, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
New York Red Bulls (15-9-9, 54 pts) @ Philadelphia Union (10-17-6, 36 pts), 12:30 pm CT (NBC)
The New York Red Bulls need the full three points against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday if they are to escape the Eastern Conference wild card bracket, and they are taking nothing for granted against a Philadelphia team that was long since eliminated from the playoff picture. The teams last met at PPL Park on May 13, and the Red Bulls escaped with a 3-2 win over a shorthanded Union side that New York forward Thierry Henry acknowledges “should have won the game.” The Union fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, but it took the conference leaders until the 82nd minute to put the game away. Jack McInerney’s four-game scoring streak came to an end, but Antoine Hoppenot kept things interesting by putting away the rebound of Michael Farfan’s blocked penalty kick to tie the score 1-1. The Red Bulls also are coming off a match against Sporting KC, a scoreless draw last weekend at Red Bull Arena. In the interim, they lost midfielder Lloyd Sam to a knee injury. Both teams will be missing key defenders on Saturday, Brandon Barkalage for the Red Bulls and Sheanon Williams for Philadelphia, due to injury, and Red Bulls center back Wilman Conde for personal reasons.
New England Revolution (8-17-8, 32 pts) @ Montreal Impact (8-17-8, 32 pts), 1:00 pm CT (CSNNE, TVA Sports)
The Montreal Impact have had a solid first season, but stumbled late, and will try to snap a five-game losing streak in their 2012 finale against the New England Revolution Saturday at Stade Saputo. Two of Montreal’s eight wins came against the Revolution, with Sanna Nyassi scoring in both games. The Revs have the worst road record in the league at 1-13-2 and five points, but are hoping to hold on to some of the momentum that carried them past playoff-bound Chicago 1-0 last weekend at Gillette Stadium. Teenager Diego Fagundez scored the only goal, a 25-yard cracker. Blair Gavin, in the lineup for suspended veteran Benny Feilhaber, meshed well into the Revolution midfield, which effectively neutralized the Fire’s explosive attack.
DC United (17-10-6, 57 pts)@ Chicago Fire (17-11-5, 56 pts), 3:00 pm CT (NBCSN)
All DC United needs is a draw against the Chicago Fire on Saturday to assure themselves of a second-place finish in the MLS East, and they haven’t lost a game at Toyota Park since 2006. But the Fire have a lot at stake. A draw on Saturday costs them home field advantage in the conference semifinals, and a loss could drop either team into the wild card bracket should the New York Red Bulls defeat Philadelphia earlier in the day. United are unbeaten in the six matches since Dwayne De Rosario was sidelined by a knee injury, but have been shaky on the road this season, losing nine of 16. Chicago have lost three of their last four, after a 1-0 stumble at New England last weekend.
San Jose Earthquakes (19-6-8, 65 pts)@ Portland Timbers (8-16-9, 33 pts), 5:30 pm CT (NBCSN, TSN2)
The San Jose Earthquakes already have clinched the Supporters’ Shield and the top playoff seed through the MLS Cup Playoffs, but they have one more milestone within reach going into Saturday’s regular season finale against the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Chris Wondolowski is only one goal away from Roy Lassiter’s regular-season record of 27 goals. And the last time his Quakes played Portland, he scored twice – including the stoppage-time equalizer – to lift San Jose into a 2-2 comeback draw. Wondolowski has eight goals in his last six matches. The Timbers are no pushovers, however, especially at home. Danny Mwanga has three goals in two games against San Jose this season, including one in Portland’s 2-1 home win on July 3. The Timbers also broke a season-long road jinx last weekend, edging Vancouver 1-0 to take the Cascadia Cup fan trophy and snap a six-game winless streak.
Houston Dynamo (14-8-11, 53 pts) @ Colorado Rapids (10-19-4, 34 pts), 8:00 pm CT (FSSW+, Alt)
The Houston Dynamo will go to the Eastern Conference postseason, but would very much like to move up in the seedings from fifth place, perhaps to as high as third place depending on the results of the day’s earlier matches, with a good result against the Colorado Rapids Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Saturday is the first meeting between Houston and Colorado this season. The Dynamo are 7-5-4 all-time against the Rapids, including a 3-4-2 record at Colorado. The Dynamo set a franchise record for points in seasons (53) with Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, and can match a club record for wins in a season – 15, set in 2007 – with a victory over Colorado. Forward Will Bruin is one goal away from Brian Ching’s franchise-record 13 for the season, and is only the third player in Dynamo history to crack the 10-goal plateau. The Rapids ended a four-game winless streak last Saturday, blanking Chivas USA 2-0 on goals by Martin Rivera and Kamani Hill. Scoring leaders Jaime Castrillon (8 goals) and Omar Cummings (6 goals) both notched assists.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11-13-9, 42 pts) @ Real Salt Lake (17-11-5, 56 pts), 8:00 pm CT (SNET One, KUCW-30)
Regardless of how they do against Real Salt Lake in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Rio Tinto Stadium, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will enter the Western Conference playoffs as the fifth seed, facing defending champions LA in a wild-card match on Thursday, November 1. RSL, however, can snatch the second seed from Seattle with a win or even a draw, depending on the outcome of the Sounders’ Sunday match against the Galaxy. Both Vancouver-RSL matches earlier this season produced 2-1 wins for the home team. RSL are coming off a midweek scoreless draw with CS Herediano that eliminated them from the CONCACAF Champions League. Their last league match also was a 0-0 tie, with the Sounders. Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola have powered the RSL attack of late, each accounting for three of the team’s last six goals. A win on Saturday would give Real Salt Lake a club record 59 points for the year and extend the team’s all-time win record to 18. The previous records were 56 points and 15 wins, both set in the 30-game 2010 season.