Montreal Impact V DC United (August 17)
The Impact will be looking to snap their present two game losing run which has seen then drop to fourth in the Eastern Conference. Confidence can not be high facing DC also as two weeks ago when the two squads met in the States it ended in a 3-1 victory for the hosts. In a personnel move on Tuesday they put Swiss defender Dennis Iapichino on waivers after admitting the player did not feature in the clubs long terms plans. Iapichino joined them midway through the 2012 season and played sixteen times for them in the MLS and two Canadian Championship games.
If a player is placed on waivers it basically means he can be picked by any of the other teams in the league. The order is always worst to first in terms of points, but once you have picked a player off waivers that team automatically goes to the bottom of the list irrespective of how many points they have. The club has indicated that his roster spot could be offered to one of the up and coming young players to gain experience with a view to the long term future.
You are never sure which United team will turn up at the moment. A win two MLS outings ago was backed up by securing a place in the US Open Cup Final, but mixed in there has also being three defeats as well. DC were looking at new blood this week as on trial was Stefan Cebara a Canadian citizen who has played in both Serbia and Slovenia, he is a midfielder and made his first full international appearance back in March as a substitute for Kyle Bekker in a 2-1 loss to Japan. Also being viewed is RJ Allen a New Jersey native who played at Monmouth University before being selected in the 2012 Supplemental Draft by Chivas USA, but most recently he played in the Danish First Division for Skive IK.
New England Revolution V Chicago Fire (August 17)
Despite losing their last two outings the Revs are still in a strong position in the standings as a win will see them overtake their opponents in the standings. They go into this encounter with the knowledge that when the two side met in New England the Revs were successful by a single goal. A new face also appeared at training on Tuesday after the Revs signed New England native Charlie Davies on loan, a car crash in October 2009 stopped his professional career in its tracks as well as nearly costing him his life. After spells in France with Sochaux and a loan spell at DC United he joins New England after spending last season in Denmark with Randers FC and hopes to get his own career firing again whilst helping his home-town team to success as well. They will decide on Friday if he is ready to make his debut this weekend.
The visitors will be hoping to stretch their winning run to three games and extend their unbeaten streak to five matches. That run of form has them hovering just one place and two points outside the playoff places in the Eastern Conference. After missing the game on Saturday due to injures picked up in the US Open Cup loss to DC United leading goal-scorer Mike Magee, right calf strain and Patrick Nyarko who continues to suffer from concussion symptoms following a collision with James Riley will be assessed this week to see if they can go on Saturday.
There was also activity off the field as well this week as on Wednesday the Fire announced that they had secured the services of Uruguayan midfielder Arévalo Ríos from Italian side Palermo. Ríos will be added to the Fire’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa and will occupy a Designated Player slot. They also made know the fact that forward Sherjill MacDonald have left the club by mutual consent.
Columbus Crew V Toronto FC (August 17)
Columbus snapped their three game losing run last time out with a 2-0 success against New York. They will need that to be a major springboard however if they are to be contesting post-season play this term as they are still seven points and three places off Houston who currently posses that cherished spot.
The Canadian side saw their two game winning run halted by a 2-1 reversal to a buzzing Seattle side. That was the first time this campaign Toronto had registered back-to-back successes. The ironic fact being that the result that started that brief run with a 2-1 victory against this same Crew team, so they will be hoping lightning will strike twice.
On Tuesday they announced that Argentine striker Maximiliano Urruti would train with the side on Wednesday. Later in the evening they issued the following statement. “We have been involved in a lengthy process for Maximiliano Urruti to join Toronto FC and Major League Soccer, and we hope that it will conclude by the end of the week. In the meantime, Maxi is in Toronto and he will train with the team. The club will provide no further comment at this time.” Only time will tell if anything comes of it but as third lowest scorers in MLS any addition firepower to bolster their beleaguer forward line would be greatly appreciated by the clubs fans.
New York Red Bull V Philadelphia Union (August 17)
The Red Bulls will be hoping to get bodies back as they saw their two game winning run and four games unbeaten streak end with a loss in Columbus. They have already had success this term when they defeated there opponents 2-1 back in March here at Red Bull Arena and they will be hoping for similar success as they look to stop what could be a slippery slide down the table.
Philly got back on track with a 2-0 win in their last encounter against the basement side DC United. The side enjoying home cooking has won the previous two games this campaign but the Union know if they can buck that trend and win on the road they would jump the Red Bulls into second place in the Eastern Conference. The more optimistic fans will also point out that a big win by the visitors and a heavy loss by Kansas City would see them looking down on the rest from the summit, well if fans don’t believe in their team who else will?
Houston Dynamo V Seattle Sounders (August 17)
Despite losing in their last game 1-0 to Real Salt Lake, which saw their four game unbeaten streak ended, Houston still cling on to the last playoff birth in the Eastern Conference. Calen Carr who suffered an ACL tear in last years MLS Cup game and Andrew Driver who was recovering from tendonitis in his Achilles aggravated against the Chicago Fire three weeks ago both returned to complete fully in training on Tuesday as they step up their preparation for a return to match action in the near future.
The Sounders did see an end to their three game wining run, but they did keep their unbeaten run going which now stands at five matches. They currently occupy the final playoff spot in the Western Conference but do have at least one game in hand on all the teams around them and will be hoping to build on that as the Clint Dempsey bandwagon hits the road again.
Colorado Rapids V Vancouver Whitecaps (August 17)
Colorado come into this encounter as one of the form team as they look to stretch their undefeated run to eight games. Sitting a place behind their opponents on goal difference they know a victory will see them overtake the Whitecaps as the scramble for the playoff order comes down the final stretch. After Uruguayan Vicente Sanchez made his debut in their previous game against Chivas USA their other recent acquisition Gabriel Torres has now received his P-1 work visa and is expected to pull on a Rapids shirt for the first time this weekend.
After going without a win in their last three matches a 2-0 victory last time out against San Jose pushed the visitors up to second in the Western Conference as they get set to face the Rapids for the first time this term. Striker Darren Mattocks returned to the training field on Monday for the first time since he underwent a successful partial meniscectomy July 25th and coach Martin Rennie said he was in contention for a spot against the Colorado on Saturday.
LA Galaxy V Real Salt Lake (August 17)
A Landon Donovan hat-trick gained LA a point in their last game and the player himself the MLS player of the week award, but they still sit a place outside of the playoff positions on goal difference after they were shuffled down the standings when they were inactive the week before. The Galaxy do have a win against this team earlier in the season when they defeated RSL 2-0 back in April but they know that counts for nothing as the business end of the season draws closer.
A change to a 4-3-3 formation by manager Jason Kreis brought Real their first win in four when they overcame Houston 1-0 to give them some breathing space over the chasing pack at the head of the Western Conference. When the two teams last met in June it was RSL that were celebrating after a 3-1 success, but that game was in Utah. Reports Wednesday state that former Bolton Wanderers defender Ricardo Gardner is on trial with then in the hope that his experience might solidify their sometimes leaky back line.
Portland Timbers V FC Dallas (August 17)
Without a game the previous week Portland dropped down from second place to fourth at the end of the weekends schedule. After losing in the US Open Cup the previous Wednesday head coach Caleb Porter’s final words before they departed was do not touch a football until you come back to training on Monday. After an emotional Semi Final defeat he thought a complete break was what was needed as they start the final stretch in the regular season and only time will tell if that strategy works. When the two squads met in May in Dallas it ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Dallas seem to be the draw specialists as six of their last ten games have ended that way. The closeness of the teams though in the Western Conference still have the Texan side pushing for post-season action as their current place of seventh have them only two points off the final playoff spot. On Tuesday they also announced that defensive midfielder Bobby Warshaw would go on loan to Swedish side Ängelholms FF.
San Jose Earthquakes V Sporting Kansas City (August 18)
The Earthquakes were defeated 2-0 by Vancouver to have their three game winning streak snapped. A win however in their first meeting this term with KC would put them right back into playoff contention as although they sit eighth in the Western Conference standings that still equates to only being four points off the promise land of fifth spot.
Sporting go into this match-up back at the summit of the Eastern Conference after they saw the previous leaders New York slip up as they ended their own two game losing run with a comfortable 3-0 success at home to New England. Graham Zusi could return to action after missing the last three KC games after he pulled-up in the first-half of the MLS All-star game in July with a right quad strain. Kei Kamara who was stretchered off close to the end of their victory over New England on Saturday after scoring two goals, is also responding well and is walking without the need of crutches. Manager Peter Vermes has indicated however that if not fully fit they will not be risked and both players are officially listed as day-to-day at the moment on the medical updates.