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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

June 19, 2012
MLS WEDNESDAY
A look at the upcoming games



Toronto FC (1-10-0, 3 pts)@ Houston Dynamo (5-4-4, 19 pts), 9:00 pm ET(TSN, FSH+)
New Toronto FC head coach Paul Mariner’s stint behind the bench is off to a rough start. First the Reds fall 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City in his debut match, then, three days before Wednesday’s faceoff against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, three members of the team were arrested after a late-night fracas at a Houston club. As they have many times this season, the Reds showed fight against Sporting, with DP Danny Koevermans forcing netminder Jimmy Nielsen into a pair of clutch saves, and midfielder Eric Avila stunningly snakebit at the half hour mark, beating Nielsen one-on-one only to see his shot hit both posts before being cleared away by defender Aurelien Collin. The Dynamo edged Lone Star rivals FC Dallas 2-1 on Saturday on the strength of Will Bruin’s team-leading sixth goal of the season and Adam Moffat’s first of the season. Brian Ching, Houston’s all-time leading scorer against TFC (4g, 3a) is one assist away from tying Mullan for second on the Dynamo’s all-time assists list.

LA Galaxy (4-8-2, 14 pts)@ Real Salt Lake (10-3-2, 32 pts), 9:00 pm ET(KDOC, CW30)
The LA Galaxy roared out of the MLS break with their first win since April 21, 1-0 over Portland on Sunday night. Whether that solid performance was a fluke in this otherwise disappointing season or the start of a summer resurgence will become more apparent Wednesday, when they face Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL manhandled Chivas USA 3-0 in their last outing, on Saturday, and are unbeaten in seven straight. Fabian Espindola led the way with a brace, Kyle Beckerman had two assists, and goalkeeper Nick Rimando made three saves for his his sixth clean sheet of the season. Defense carried the day for the Galaxy against Portland. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders returned to the lineup for the first time since that almost-forgotten last victory, on April 21, shook off an early knock and made four saves to give the Galaxy their first shutout of the season. And the winning goal came from defender Todd Dunivant, who headed David Beckham’s 61st-minute corner kick past netminder Troy Perkins for the only goal of the game. RSL rallied to defeat the Galaxy 3-1 in their first meeting of the season, on opening day at the Home Depot Center, getting help from Sean Franklin’s own goal, then putting things away with strikes from Espindola and Javier Morales.

San Jose Earthquakes (8-3-3, 27 pts) @ Colorado Rapids (6-7-1, 19 pts), 9:30 pm ET (CSNBA, Alt)
The Colorado Rapids open a three-game homestand Wednesday night against Western Conference rivals the San Jose Earthquakes. MLS Golden Boot co-leader Chris Wondolowski will be back in the Quakes lineup – knowing that U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is keeping an eye on him for future World Cup qualifying rosters – and early season starters Victor Bernardez and Shea Salinas are expected to return to action after eight-week injury layoffs. But the linchpin of the San Jose defense, goalkeeper Jon Busch (1.21 g.a.a., 3 shutouts) will be suspended after some overaggressive play in the team’s last match, May 27 against Sporting Kansas City. That might spell bad news for San Jose, since the Rapids expect productive goalscorer Omar Cummings to come off the injured list for Wednesday night. Cummings’ longtime running mate, Conor Casey, returned to the lineup for last Saturday’s 1-0 road loss to Vancouver, as did midfielder Brian Mullan. Casey’s string of injuries over the past couple of seasons have made him more effective off the bench than as a 90-minute man, but he is still a handful for opposing defenses when he gets the opportunity, and should be a challenge for Busch’s rookie backup, David Bingham.

Sporting Kansas City (9-3-1, 28 pts)@ Seattle Sounders FC (7-4-3, 24 pts), 10:00 pm ET(KSMO, KONG)
Sporting Kansas City will get its last look of the season at a Western Conference opponent when they visit Seattle Sounders FC Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. A win will move Sporting -- led by Graham Zusi, who leads the league in assists with eight, and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, holder of a league-high six shutouts -- past idle DC United and back into first place in the MLS East. The Sounders’ 10-game road unbeaten streak went on the rocks last Saturday, with a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. It was their fifth game without a win, and left them without defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado against KC because of a red card. Dangerous goalscorer David Estrada will be out for even longer – 8-12 weeks – after breaking his foot in training this week. Sporting and Seattle traditionally play down-to-the-wire matches. Since 2008, all eight meetings between the two clubs have been decided by a single goal, and the Sounders have won five straight games against KS in all competitions on a goal in the final 15 minutes.

Montreal Impact (4-7-3, 15 pts) @ Chivas USA (4-7-3, 15 pts), 10:30 pm ET(TVA Sports, Prime Ticket)
Home field has been no advantage to Chivas USA this season –last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake dropped their record at the Home Depot Center to a woeful 1-6-1 – and the latest team to try and take advantage will be the expansion Montreal Impact on Wednesday night. Montreal’s Patrice Bernier was named MLS Player of the Week after setting up three goals in a 4-1 upset of Seattle in the team’s first match at its revamped Stade Saputo last Saturday. The Impact will be missing center back Matteo Ferrari, out with a thigh injury, but has an able replacement in former Chivas defender Shavar Thomas. A more costly loss is forward Bernardo Corradi (knee), but as the Impact demonstrated over the weekend – with goals by Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp, Andrew Wenger and Lamar Neagle—they have other sources of offensive production. The Goats have injury problems of their own, with forward Jose Correa and playmaking midfielders Miller Bolanos and Nick LaBrocca expected to miss the match with hamstring injuries. Chivas lacks Montreal’s depth, at least at midfield, but has picked up some needed offensive firepower in youngster Juan Agudelo, who is off to a strong start after being acquired from the New York Red Bulls.

NY Red Bulls(8-4-2, 26 pts) @ Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7-3-4, 25 pts), 11:00 pm ET(MSG+, TSN)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC might be forgiven for feeling a little bulletproof going into Wednesday night’s home match against the New York Red Bulls. Not only did they post their seventh win of the season – 1-0 over Colorado – last Saturday, giving them more wins than they managed all of last year, but they did so shorthanded, on Sebastien Le Toux’s first goal since April 18. The red card, however, did cost them the services of hot goalscorer Darren Mattocks (three goals in two games going into last weekend) against the Red Bulls, who are coming off their first loss in more than two months, 3-1 to Chicago. The score might have been more lopsided except for a bad call that denied Chicago’s Dominic Oduro a goal despite the fact that his shot clearly passed entirely over the goal line before being swept out by defender Wilman Conde. The Red Bulls’ bench, which stepped up to keep them humming through injury issues earlier in the season, fell short against the Fire, and the absence of forward Thierry Henry and holding midfielder Rafa Marquez were sorely felt. Both will remain out of action on Wednesday

   
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