June 22, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
New England Revolution (5-7-2, 17 pts)@ Toronto FC (1-10-1, 4 pts), 5:30 pm ET (CSNNE, Gol TV Canada)
Heartbreak remained the order of the day for Toronto FC on Wednesday, as they took a two-goal lead into the 73rd minute before backsliding into a 3-3 draw with the Houston Dynamo. That leaves new head coach Paul Mariner looking for his first TFC win against his former MLS team, the New England Revolution, Saturday at BMO Field. While better by leaps and bounds than they were last season, the Revs have struggled on the road, losing six of seven and being outscored 12-6. Fueled by DP Danny Koevermans, Toronto’s attack has started to click. The Dutch striker connected twice against the Dynamo, giving him five of the team’s 11 goals this season. Injuries have cut a swath through the Revolution’s catalytic midfield, with veteran Shalrie Joseph sidelined by a right adductor strain and Clyde Simms available but still battling ankle tendonitis. But New England has found a productive midfield partnership in Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe, a rookie who is the league’s most accurate shooter, putting 73.7% of his shots on frame.
Sporting Kansas City (9-3-2, 29 pts) @ Philadelphia Union (2-8-2, 8 pts), 7:00 pm ET (KSMO, TCN Phi)
Interim manager John Hackworth shook up the Philadelphia Union lineup in his first game, last Saturday against DC United, giving the fans at PPL Park an entertaining match marred only by the end result, a 1-0 loss. Against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night, the Union boss will largely stand pat with his lineup, with the exception of displacing either Jack McInerney or Josue Martinez from a forward spot now that Lionard Pajoy is off suspension. No matter who plays up front, goals have been at a premium for Philadelphia so far, but they debuted a promising new offensive threat last week in Antoine Hoppenot, who entered the game in the 64th minute and produced three quick scoring chances: dishing to Freddy Adu for a goal that was whistled offside, hitting the post and missing the target from point-blank range. Sporting, meanwhile, has one of the league’s most productive offenses, with 20 goals scored after Wednesday’s 1-1 road draw with Seattle Sounders FC. After the teams exchanged early goals, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen played the hero for Sporting, stopping Fredy Montero one-on-one and getting some help from the woodwork as Montero’s 87th-minute shot hit both posts but never crossed the line.
Houston Dynamo (5-4-5, 20 pts) @ Montreal Impact (4-8-3, 15 pts), 7:30 pm ET (FSH, TVA Sports)
Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin is having a breakout season, scoring his seventh and eighth goals to lift his team into a 3-3 draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday. The Dynamo will seek only their third road win of the season Saturday against the Montreal Impact. The expansion Impact, who dropped a 2-1 decision to Chivas USA at midweek, put on a formidable showing in last weekend’s debut match at Stade Saputo, stunning the Seattle Sounders 4-1 behind a Player of the Week performance by Patrice Bernier and Andrew Wenger’s second goal in as many games. Midfielder Felipe, the only Impact player to have played every minute this season, scored the lone goal against Chivas, and the Impact will have to continue sharing the scoring load after receiving the news that scoring leader Bernardo Corradi is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Columbus Crew (5-4-4, 19 pts) @ Chicago Fire (6-5-3, 21 pts), 8:30 pm ET (FSO, NBC5.2)
The Chicago Fire go into the weekend two points ahead of the Columbus Crew in the MLS East, and hope to widen that margin when the two meet Saturday night at Toyota Park. Chicago are coming of a dominant 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls. Chris Rolfe scored the capper in his first appearance since returning to the club, after Patrick Nyarko and Gonzalo Segares had already connected. Dominic Oduro also put the ball into the net, but neither match official saw it cross the line before former Fire defender Wilman Conde swept it away. The Crew defeated Chicago 2-1 on May 26, and are riding a six-game unbeaten streak after last weekend’s scoreless draw with New England. Netminder Andy Gruenebaum made six saves on the way to the third shutout in his last six matches.
San Jose Earthquakes (9-3-3, 30 pts)@ Real Salt Lake (10-4-2, 32 pts), 9:00 pm ET (CSNCA, KUCW)
Real Salt Lake is still smarting after giving up a two-goal lead and losing 3-2 to the LA Galaxy Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium, snapping a seven-game unbeaten streak. They will attempt to get back on the winning track Saturday against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, who pulled within two points of the Western Conference leaders with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Colorado. Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski also moved back into the MLS Golden Boot lead, burying the game-winning penalty kick in the second minute of stoppage time after Hunter Freeman’s own goal brought San Jose back from a goal down. San Jose won the first meeting of the season between these two teams in dramatic fashion, scoring twice in stoppage time over a shorthanded RSL side that lost both Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave to red cards for a 3-1 victory. Espindola has played a key role for RSL of late, with two goals and two assists in his last two games.
Chivas USA (5-7-3, 18 pts) @ FC Dallas (3-9-4, 13 pts), 9:00 pm ET (FSSW, Galavision)
FC Dallas has won four straight matches against Chivas USA, and could sorely use a fifth on Saturday night, after falling to the bottom of the Western Conference standings in the past week. The Hoops have the second-worst goal differential in the league at -10, and are near the bottom in goal production with only 16 in 16 games. One of the few teams with fewer goals to their credit is Chivas (11). While Dallas was idle, the Goats got a midweek boost with a rare home win, 2-1 over the Montreal Impact. Veterans Alejandro Moreno and Juan Pablo Angel took care of the scoring. The game-winner was Angel’s third goal of the season, enough for the team lead. Dallas’s biggest advantage on Saturday might well be the Texas heat and humidity, which Chivas coach Robin Fraser acknowledged on Wednesday would be a factor. The Hoops are mired in a 10-game winless streak (0-7-3) after falling 2-1 to Houston last weekend. Dallas also lost the services of hardman defender Jair Benitez against Chivas after he was red-carded for a violent foul against Colin Clark.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7-3-5, 26 pts) @ LA Galaxy (5-8-2, 17 pts), 10:30 pm ET (TSN, KDOC)
Josh Saunders has been back in goal for the LA Galaxy for two games, both wins – the team’s first victories since April. But even if the Galaxy are indeed showing a return to the form that won them the MLS Cup in 2011, the Vancouver Whitecaps have shown that they can run with the league’s big boys, and will provide a tough challenge Saturday night at the Home Depot Center. Vancouver are unbeaten in their last five, and played the favored New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw Wednesday night at BC Place despite the absence of hot goalscorer Darren Mattocks (3 goals in his last two games), who was suspended. Defender Martin Bonjour scored the lone Vancouver goal against New York, but the team is rich in natural attacking talent, between forwards Sebastien Le Toux, Eric Hassli and Camillo Sanvezzo and playmaker Davide Chiumiento. The Galaxy rallied from a two-goal deficit to stun Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake 3-2 on Wednesday, led by Landon Donovan’s two goals and one assist.