MLS Game Previews
Sporting Kansas City v Philadelphia Union
Currently sitting second in the Eastern Conference three points off the leaders with a game in hand the hosts will be looking to gain their fourth win on the bounce. When the two sides met on the opening weekend back in March it was Sporting who came away with a 3-1 success and that game was in Philly as well. Midfielder Oriol Rosell, left quad strain and forward Claudio Bieler a groin strain, did light training Tuesday but it is still questionable weather they will make it in time for Friday.
After having a free weekend previously the Union will be hoping the break will hopefully bring them a change of luck as they look to end their two game losing run. Their inactivity has seen them drop a further place in the standings to seventh but they are still only one point off the playoffs places.
Toronto FC v DC United
In a run of form that depicts their ninth place position they have lost their last two encounters and three of their the last four. They did register a victory when these two sides met in DC in June coming away with a narrow 2-1 success. After battling back to near full fitness after an ACL injury suffered in July 2012 striker Danny Koevermans suffered a set back that might mean he has to sit out the rest of this season when he picked up a calf injury.
DC the basement side in the Eastern Conference are also not on a great run of results as they also lost last time out and have being on the wrong end of the scoreline in three of their last four contests. The smart money is probably on a draw which was they the outcome when the sides last met also in DC in August. Midfielder Jared Jeffrey returned to training Tuesday as he steps up his rehab from a ankle sprain he suffered against New York at the end of August. No timetable was given though for his return to action.
Vancouver Whitecaps v Real Salt Lake
A victory in their last outing saw the Whitecaps move up a place to sixth in the Western Conference and are now only four points off the final playoff spot with a game in hand. Striker Kenny Miller did not train on either Monday or Tuesday suffering from some tightness in his right adductor, Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie said he’s hopeful the Scotsman will train later this week. If Miller can’t go Camilo who replaced him on the hour mark against Montreal is likely to take his starting spot. There was also some good news on the injury front as for the first time since undergoing surgery on a fractured right foot in April, winger Omar Salgado also spent some time training on Tuesday.
As recently as September 12th saw RSL leading the Western Conference but since then two straight losses has halted their progress and at the moment they occupy the second spot. When the two sides last squared off at the beginning of May it was the visitors who claimed the victory by a 2-0 margin, but that game was in Utah.
New England Revolution v Houston Dynamo
Victory in the Revs last game put an end to their run of two consecutive defeats as they still cling on to the final playoff birth in the Eastern Conference. In these two teams first meeting of the campaign in May it was New England who triumphed by a score of 2-0.
After suffering two losses on the spin the visitors have now turned things around with two back-to-back victories as they keep the heat on the teams above from their fourth slot. The trend for this fixture this term is also on their side as the victory they had by the odd goal in three when they last saw each other in July means the road side have won both previous matches. The club announced Tuesday that Brian Ching their all time leading goal scorer and two time MLS Cup winner with retire at the end of the season. In honour of his magnificent career Houston will hold a testimonial game for him in December. In positive news on the injury front both Calen Carr and Omar Cummings who have being long time absentees due to knee injures are almost back to playing again.
Chicago Fire v Montreal Impact
It is said that a week is a long time in politics well that can also be attributed to the Eastern Conference as well. Having waited all season to get into a playoff place a defeat in their last game saw them back on the outside looking in as they slipped to sixth. When Chicago entertained the Impact previously in August it was the home side who left the field elated after a 2-1 win. The home side will be missing centre-back Bakary Soumare who was dismissed against Columbus with Jeff Larentowicz and Hunter Jumper in the running to replace him.
Whether the riggers of Champions League is having an effect on them is open to question but they have failed to win any of their last two leagues games whilst also completing mid-week. After sitting at the summit of the Eastern Conference on September 14th they now find themselves in the third spot going into this round of games but they do still have a couple of games in hand that would wipe out the deficit if they were successful in both. They will have to overturn one stat though as with them defeating the Fire back in April by a margin of 2-0 it means both previous encounters have gone to the team having home cooking.
Portland Timbers v LA Galaxy
A victory for the Timbers last time out, which was their second in their last three contests, saw them vault up to third out West. They also gained a win when they two sides last met here in July, 2-1 being the final score.
Having breezed through their resent CCL group games their MLS form has being indifferent with a loss and two draws in their last three encounters which leaves them fourth in the West.
FC Dallas v Columbus Crew
The loss in their previous game, which was the hosts second in a row saw them fall two places from sixth to Eighth. They are however only four points of the promise land of fifth and they do have a game in hand a some of the teams around them as these two squads meet for the first time this campaign.
A run of two straight wins and three in their last four games has put the Crew within touching distance of the playoffs. Although they are in eighth place they only trail the firth place side by two points though they have played a game more than all the teams they are chasing. Josh Williams continues the slow progress as he looks to return to the field after the concussion he received in training at the beginning of the month.
Seattle Sounders v New York Red Bulls
This could be a prelude to the MLS Cup Championship game as the best in the West Seattle who have drawn one and won six of their last seven encounters face the Red Bulls for the only time in the regular season. If either side can win it would prove a big psychological advantage should they meet further down the line. Injuries could also have a part to play as Clint Dempsey is doubtful with a hamstring injury and forward Eddie Johnson is suffering with a shoulder injury he picked up in training.
The visitors who top the East have a none to shabby record either entering this game as they have won four straight and only tasted defeat twice in their last eleven outings. New York have by no means a clean bill of health either as a trio of players lead by captain Thierry Henry along with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Jamison Olave are rated as extremely doubtful to participate in this game.
Chivas USA v San Jose Earthquakes
The West’s Basement side Chivas came down to earth with a massive bump as their mini two game unbeaten run was ended in emphatic fashion with a 5-1 hammering against Houston. They will however be without defender Marco Delgado for between four – six weeks as underwent successful knee surgery due to a lateral meniscus tear suffered in his left knee.
The Earthquakes on the other hand still have realistic hopes of reaching the playoffs. Although they still occupy the seventh place the tightness of the teams means they are only four points off the last playoff position. A repeat of the score when the sides last met, 2-0, would suite the visitors just fine, but that game was on their home turf. After scoring a brace in their win against Real Salt Lake Steven Lenhart has been named MLS Player of the Week, his third such award this season.