June 23, 2012
Soccer News Net staff
A look at the upcoming games
Seattle Sounders FC (7-4-4, 25 pts)@ Portland Timbers (3-6-4, 13 pts), 5:00 pm ET (ESPN)
Seattle Sounders FC have it all over the Portland Timbers in the MLS standings, but won-lost records seem irrelevant when one of the oldest rivalries in American soccer resumes Sunday at cacophonous Jeld-Wen Field. Still, both teams could use a victory. The Sounders are winless in their last six – matching the franchise record – after playing Sporting Kansas City to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday. While the Sounders salvaged a point with Patrick Ianni’s stunning side-volley equalizer, they lost the services of midfielder Alvaro Fernandez for this weekend after a red-card foul on Roger Espinoza in stoppage time. Saturday might, however, mark the return of Seattle forward Steve Zakuani, who has been sidelined since April 2011 with a broken leg. Timbers forward Mike Fucito should have an axe to grind against the Sounders, who stunned him with an offseason trade to Montreal , who in turn dealt him to Portland. Danny Mwanga picked up a leg injury during his Timbers debut in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy, but is expected to be available this weekend, and might energize the Timbers’ generally lackluster offense.
DC United @ New York Red Bulls, 7:00 pm ET (NBC Sports)
Surging DC United take their four-game winning streak to Red Bull Arena on Sunday hoping to tighten their grip on first place in the MLS East. Even when they are at less than their best – as was the case in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union – they have demonstrated the ability not only to snatch a goal against the run of play, but to protect a lead and come away with a result. United dominated the Red Bulls 4-1 when the teams first met this season, behind a hat trick by Chris Pontius. Rookie Nick DeLeon closed out the scoring. On Sunday, DC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario should have some extra motivation on attack. The reigning league MVP is within reach of his 100th career goal, and his former team, the Red Bulls, reportedly refused an MLS request that the game be halted to commemorate the milestone should he reach it on Sunday in front of a national television audience. The Red Bulls have had a grueling week, following up a weekend road loss to Chicago with a 1-1 draw with Vancouver at BC Place on Wednesday before returning home for Sunday’s showdown, but should have both forward Thierry Henry and midfielder Rafa Marquez back from the injured list to face DC.