MLS Game Previews September 7th-8th
FC Dallas V Vancouver Whitecaps
Dallas enter this game on a two game unbeaten run. The fact they were idle last weekend saw them drop a place to seventh in the Western Conference but they are still only two points out of the last playoff place. The two sides had a strange situation when they were slated to play each other in back-to-back game in April. The home side won 2-0 in the first game in Texas and the following week it ended 2-2 when the two sides squared off in Canada. With World Cup qualifiers also due to be played several team will be missing players and Dallas are no exception with leading scorer Blas Perez away with Panama and Goal keeper Raul Fernandez joining up with Peru also missing will be Kenny Cooper through suspension after his red card against San Jose.
A last gasp strike by Tom Heinemann salvaged a point for the Whitecaps against Chivas USA in their last outing as they snapped their two game losing run as they jumped their opponents here to claim the sixth spot on total wins. Nigel Reo-Coker who was suspended for the previous game due to the totting up process for yellow cards is available again.
Sporting Kansas City V Columbus Crew
Sporting ended their two game losing run after they defeated Colorado 2-1 last week. That puts them in a three way tie for first in the Eastern Conference only the fact they have scored the fewest goals means they currently sit third. When the two side met here in June it was KC who came out on top by the odd goal in five. Sierra Leone’s Kei Kamara who would have missed this game having joined up with his national team anyway was sold to Middlesbrough on Monday .
The Crew have now lost two straight games and with their playoff ambitions fading fast the management decided on Monday that they would sack head Coach Robert Warzycha. The Pole was in his fifth year in charge and a record of 70-59-41, tied with Tom Fitzgerald (1996-2001) for the most regular-season wins by a Crew Head Coach. Technical Director Brian Bliss will now also assume the role of Interim Head Coach starting with their midweek game against Houston before facing his former club in this game. During his time in KC Bliss was an assistant coach and the Interim Coach in 2006. He should also have captain Federico Higuain back after he completes his second and final game of his suspension.
Seattle Sounders V Chicago Fire
The Sounders made it back-to-back wins last time out as they defeated Portland by a solitary goal. That lifted them up to third in the Western Conference and with a midweek game to come they could be level with LA on points. This is the first time this campaign these two side have met. National call-ups will hit them hard though as midfielders Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans and forward Eddie Johnson will miss both of these games.
A late Dynamo equaliser stopped the Fire gaining their second win on the bounce as they had to settle for a point that now see’s them having lost only once in their last seven encounters. They currently sit two points and two places out of the final playoff berth in the East with a game in hand. Midfielders Joel Lindpere (Estonia) and Arevalo Rios (Uruguay) are expected to miss this clash through National team call-ups.
LA Galaxy V Colorado Rapids
The Galaxy go into this game on the back of three straight wins and an unbeaten run that stretches to four. Sitting menacingly in second in the Western Conference they are just five points behind with two games in hand. The team this weekend with be decimated by International call-ups lead by skipper Robbie Keane (Ireland) who was just named MLS player of the week, goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (Panama) along with two for the USA Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez. In the teams first meeting in California back in March it was the hosts who came out on top by a single goal.
The visitors finally had their nine game unbeaten run ended by a 2-1 reversal. They will however hope that it is just blip as any extended loss of form would see them rail-roaded from their current fourth spot by the chasing pack in the ultra tight Western Conference. When the two teams last crossed paths in July it was the Rapids who were victorious by a score of 2-0, that game was in Colorado though and they we need to buck the trend of the home side gaining the points.
Portland Timbers V Toronto FC
Portland suffered their second reversal on the trot with a 4-2 loss last time out. They do however still manage to cling onto the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. As cross conference rivals they have not met previously this term. Ben Zemanski will be missing due to suspension after his dismissal against Real Salt Lake and forward Ryan Johnson, defender Alvas Powell and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts have been called up by the Jamaica National Team.
After coming off two straight losses Toronto have gained two draws in their last two games although they might feel robed of a victory last week as they thought they had snatched a victory until a contentious refereeing decision adjudged that a foul had being committed. Sitting eighth in the East and fifteen points out of the final playoff spot the Canadian outfit is already looking at next season.
Houston Dynamo V New York Red Bulls
A late strike from Adam Moffat salvaged a point for Houston last time out and depending what the Dynamo do in their midweek game they could be in a playoff position as they take the field for this one. Currently they are tied on points for fifth spot only trailing on goals scored. Midfielder Boniek García and defender Jermaine Taylor were named to the Honduras and Jamaica national team rosters so will be unavailable for this match. The good news is forward Calen Carr, is now travelling with the team as he continues to build up to match fitness after off-season surgery to repair an ACL injury.
New York got back on track with a win in their last game to take them into a three-way tie at the summit of the Eastern Conference. At this time they currently sit second only because they have scored less overall goals than the team above them. When the two sides clashed in June it was the Red Bulls that were successful by a 2-0 margin, that game was at Red Bull Arena though. Ibrahim Sekagya will miss this encounter through suspension after his red card last weekend and midfielder Tim Cahill (Australia) and defender Roy Miller (Costa Rica) have been called by their respective national teams for their upcoming international matches so will be missing also.
New England Revolution V Montreal Impact
The Revs extended their unbeaten run to three games after they drew their last game. That left them clinging on to the final playoff berth out East by that fact that they have scored more goals than the team below them. Despite being situated in the same conference the side have not previous met during the present campaign. Newly-signed defender O’Brian Woodbine has been called up to represent Jamaica so will not be available for this game.
Eastern Conference leaders Montreal, despite stretching their unbeaten run to three games when they were held to a scoreless draw in their previous outing saw their advantage at the top reduced to just goals scored as two other teams joined them on the same amount of points.
Chivas USA V DC United
The hosts came within moments of gaining back-to-back wins for the first time since March, but a late strike meant they had to settle for a draw and depending what happens in their midweek encounter could be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four when they take to the field here, another streak that goes back to March. With both teams in different Conferences this is the only time this season that these sides will meet. Midfielder Martín Aarón Ponce returned to parent club Chivas Guadalajara on Monday having being on loan with Chivas since May 10.
DC comes into this game of the two Conference basements sides having being on the wrong end of the score in five of their last seven outings including a 2-1 loss last time out. Captain Dwayne De Rosario, defender Dejan Jakovic and midfielder Kyle Porter have been called up by Canada so will not be available for this contest.
San Jose Earthquakes V Philadelphia Union
The home side saw their two game unbeaten run ended when they suffered a 3-0 defeat last week. Although sitting eighth in the Western Conference as things stand they are still only five points off the last playoff spot, though they have played a game more than most of the sides around them. These two squads have so far not faced each other this campaign.
After being hammered 5-1 two games ago they managed to stop the rot somewhat with a scoreless draw in their last game. Occupying fourth currently they sit three points behind the sides at the top of the Eastern Conference. Midfielder Michael Lahoud has being called-up by Sierra Leon and will make an emotional return to his country of birth for the first time in twenty one years.