MLS Game Previews
Toronto FC V New England Revolution August 30
After snapping their two game losing run with a 1-1 drawn at DC the hosts will be looking to go one better this week and claim maximum points like they did when the two side last met earlier this month in New England with the Canadian outfit securing a 1-0 success.
The Rev’s Stretched their winning streak to two games after an impressive 5-1 success over Philadelphia, which earned Kelyn Rowe the MLS Player of the Week award for his two goals as they reclaimed a playoff place for the first time since August 3. New England have also had one victory against Toronto this campaign and that was in their first meeting back in May when they completed a 2-0 win, that game was however at home.
Real Salt Lake V Portland Timbers
The hosts recorded their first victory in three games after a commanding 4-0 success over Columbus which extended their lead at the top of the Western Conference to five points. Although they play in the same Conference the first time these two sides had met was only last midweek in Portland, but what a game it was as first it looked like the Timbers had stolen it with a late goal, before RSL leveled it up at 3-3 in stoppage time.
The visitors will be looking to get back to winning ways after a 1-0 reversal at Seattle. Currently they sit in third place and six points behind their opponents. Although a win would be nice it is more important not to lose as they still have two games in hand on the Conference leaders.
Columbus Crew V Seattle Sounders August 31
Columbus had their two match winning run abruptly ended last week and as well as the loss they also had their co-leading scorer Federico Higuain sent off for a second yellow card, with the fact that his first caution was his fifth he was also given an extra game suspension because of his dismissal. That leaves a gaping hole in the Crews striking power as Higuain is the only Crew player to have found the net since Dominic Oduro struck on July 27. One persons misfortune is always someone else gain and that could open the door for rookie forward Ryan Finley who scored a hat-trick in a recent reserve game against FC Dallas, but head coach Robert Warzycha was nonplussed when pressed for a definitive answer playing a straight bat by declaring no final decision had being made yet.
After a draw then a loss the Sounders got a win in front of the second largest crowd for a single game in MLS history to move them back into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference they vacated on August 17 after a 3-1 loss to Houston.
Philadelphia Union V Montreal Impact
After their 5-1 hammering in their last encounter confidence will be the first thing that needs rebuilding as they get set to take on the Eastern Conference leading Impact. A loss would put them six points adrift with only seven games left after this one and that margin could increase even further if Montreal win the two games in hand they have on the Union. Amobi Okugo, who had a personnel nightmare against New England giving away a penalty, will be missing serving a suspension when he compounded his troubles and picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time.
The Impact will be looking for their third win on the bounce to solidify top spot in the East. Unlike Philly Montreal should be brimming with confidence and will be looking forward to trying to replicate the 5-3 success they had when the two teams last met in May, that game however was in Canada.
New York Red Bulls V DC United
After missing the chance to take top spot in the Eastern Conference after their 3-2 loss at Chivas in their last outing New York will keen to rediscover that winning habit quickly. They have however had the upper hand in their meetings this campaign with United. After being held to a goalless draw in March at Red Bull Arena they claimed maximum points with a 2-0 success when the two sides crossed swords again in DC back in April. A number of players will be receiving treatment this week, centre-back Jamison Olave and left back Roy Miller with quad and achilles injures, whilst Roy Miller had an MRI on this achilles but it turned out more positive when no rupture was reported all three are thought to be game-time decisions. More worrying is Connor Lade who is struggling with a persistent right knee injury which has already seen him miss the trip to Chivas last weekend and he is slated to see club doctors again this week and they try to find the route of the problem.
DC ended their two game losing skid when they got a 1-1 draw against Toronto in their last action, but that still leaves them seven points behind the Canadian side at the foot of the Eastern Conference. For people who don’t like the idea of relegation this is a perfect situation for them to prove a point as the young players United are blooding are gaining valuable experience without the threat of having to play in a lower league the following year. Midfielder/forward Chris Pontius returned to the practice field Tuesday after being sidelined since August 7 when United defeated Chicago 2-0 it their US Open Cup Semi Final, but this weeks encounter might just come around a touch to early for him to be involved.
Sporting Kansas City V Colorado Rapids
After last weeks loss to Chicago KC have now being on the wrong end of the result four out of their last five contests as they now sit second out East. Add in a trip to Honduras on Tuesday to face Olimpia in CCL action and the riggers that entails before this encounter and you get the sense it is not all Peaches & Cream for the players and Staff at the moment. There was some good news this week as midfielder Paulo Nagamura returned to full fitness and is expected to start their CCL game.
The same can not be said of the Rapids who have being idle this weekend and able to rest-up for the final stretch of the season. The only negative to them having time off is they were in such great form and anything but a loss against Sporting will have them protected a nine game unbeaten run when they next take the field. They currently occupy the third place in the West and are six points behind RSL with a game in hand. One person who has received good news is Diego Calderon who five months after microfracture knee surgery is set for a reserve game this midweek as he works his way back to full fitness. On the flip side Davy Armstrong underwent successful surgery to repair his torn ACL and is expected to be back training in six months.
LA Galaxy V San Jose Earthquakes
The home side are starting to flex their muscles as they extended their winning run to two games and their uneaten run to three games to move menacingly into second place in the Western Conference and five point behind RSL with two games in hand. The form of Skipper Robbie Keane and veteran Landon Donovan who have netted nine out of their last ten tallies since they were idle from competitive matches in the first weekend in August is propelling them on-wards & up-wards. It was nostalgic day on Tuesday as David Beckham joined them for training and it was euphoric day on Wednesday as Donovan and the Galaxy announced that the player had signed a new multi-year deal to say in the MLS and make LA his home possible to the end of his illustrious career. With his present deal set to expire on December 31 there were talks of retiring and also interest from European clubs for his services but both of those options are now erased as he sets about helping LA retain their title.
Although sill on the outside looking in at the playoff spots they are quietly putting together a nice run. Unbeaten in two and with four wins in their last six encounters they are currently only three places and three points outside though’s cherished places and an eye is most certainly needed to watch them. Confidence should also be high as they face the Galaxy, as in their previous meeting it was the Earthquakes who prevailed 3-2, but that game was in San Jose. The only thing that throws a spanner in the works as far as preparation goes is that on Tuesday they had to go to Guatemala to face Heredia in a CCL encounter.
Chicago Fire V Houston Dynamo September 1
After a blip last week when they lost 2-0 at New England normal service was resumed this last game as the Fire saw off Sporting Kansas City 1-0 to remain two points out of the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand on the Revolution. When the two last met in Houston in July in ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Dynamo lost for the second time in three MLS outings when they got demolished 5-0 by the East leaders Montreal last time out. They quickly get back to work with a vital midweek CCL game against Urabe Unido. Luckily they are on home soil so will be looking to build the confidence back up ahead of this tie as also with the loss and other results going against them they fell outside of the playoff places for the first time since July 27. The one positive they can use in the buildup is when these two sides crossed paths for the first time this season back in April it was the Dynamo’s who came out on top by a score of 2-1, though that encounter was in Texas.
Vancouver Whitecaps V Chivas USA
The bad news is coming into this game the hosts have lost two straight, the good news is that even sitting in seventh place they are still only one point of the promise land of the playoff, they have however played two game more than Seattle. The good news is also that this fixtures seems to favor the home side this term and when these two squads faced-off against each other here in June it was with a 3-1 score that the Canadian side prevailed. Brazilian striker Camilo should be back for this game after missing the LA with a tight groin, he participated in light training Tusday but Head coach Martin Rennie was very optimistic of him being fit for Sunday. Injured centre back Brad Rusin also did some light jogging along the sidelines, as he continues to recover from a sprained right ankle. Leaving the Whitecaps this week was Brett Levis who had being on trial for the week. Having had a short run out in a reserve match against Seattle he will now re-join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for the upcoming Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) season. He seem to impress Coach Rennie who said the following about him. “We’ll keep an eye on him, he did well when he was here and he’s gone back to playing college now. We’ll get a good chance to monitor him but he certainly did well and we liked what we saw.” So one day he may be back plying his trade for the Whitecaps.
Chivas shocked most people last time out when they defeated New York 3-2 to claim their first success in five outings. They also are now in the twenties in regard to points and slightly cut the deficit between them and San Jose from sixteen to thirteen. They have also claimed a win this campaign over Vancouver when they beat them 2-1 back in March but that was in California, though they will be hoping to end that run and claim their first road win since a 4-1 triumph over Chicago back in March. The planning for the future continued as they signed Peruvian midfielder Carlo Chueca from Belgium side R.A.E.C. Mons. He we join the squad upon receipt of his P-1 Visa. Chueca was a former product of the clubs youth academy before venturing overseas. Forward Tristan Bowen also put himself forward for selection after he completed a full reserve match against Colorado as he works his way back to full fitness.
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