August 3, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Philadelphia Union (7-10-2, 23 pts)@ Montreal Impact (8-13-3, 27 pts), 7:30 pm ET (TCNPhi, TVASp)
The Montreal Impact will be without new Designated Player Marco Di Vaio when they host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night. Di Vaio, who scored his first MLS goal in last weekend’s 3-1 win over the conference-leading New York Red Bulls, has been summoned back to Italy for hearings into last season’s Serie A match-fixing scandal, and might be facing a multimonth suspension. Nevertheless, the Impact are tough to beat at home, and have won three straight at Stade Saputo. Midfielder Felipe Martins assisted on all three goals against the Red Bulls last week, setting the table for Di Vaio, Davy Arnaud and Sanna Nyassi. And veteran Italian defender Alessandro Nesta will provide a stiff challenge to the Union’s explosive but inexperienced offense, which has won five of their last seven games. Last weekend’s 2-1 win over New England was the third time under interim manager John Hackworth that the Union pulled out a victory in stoppage time, this time on a goal by Jack McInerney. Philadelphia’s 2-1 win over the Impact on July 14 was another one of those nail-biters. Lionard Pajoy snapped a scoreless tie in the 82nd minute, the Impact equalized on an own goal in the 89th, and MLS All-Star defender Carlos Valdes clinched the win in the first minute of stoppage time.
Sporting Kansas City (11-7-4, 37 pts)@ New England Revolution(6-10-5, 23 pts), 7:30 pm ET (KSMO, CSNNE)
Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution close out their season series Saturday at Gillette Stadium, as the second half of a doubleheader that starts with a matinee match between AC Milan and Olimpia of Honduras. The Revs have yet to score on Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen this season, falling 3-0 on March 17 and playing to a scoreless draw on July 21. Although the Revs have been formidable at home this season, Sporting are the only team in the Eastern Conference to have both a winning record (5-4-2) and positive goal differential (+1) on the road in 2012. Forward Kei Kamara leads Sporting with eight goals, including three in his last six games. Sporting are coming off a 2-1 loss to Columbus, and are expected to be without injured forwards Jacob Peterson and CJ Sapong, as well as defenders Chance Myers and Aurelien Collin, who suffered facial fractures during the MLS All-Star Game. Both teams have contributed one key player to the Honduras Olympic team – Sporting midfielder Roger Espinoza and Revolution DP Jerry Bengtson. New England traded away longtime captain Shalrie Joseph to Chivas USA at midweek for midfielder Blair Gavin, but still have one of the league’s most formidable midfields anchored by Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney and Kelyn Rowe. Centerback AJ Soares is expected to miss his first start of the season with a hamstring strain. The Revs are winless in their last four, after falling 2-1 to Philadelphia in stoppage time last Sunday.
Columbus Crew (8-7-4, 28 pts)@ DC United (10-7-3, 33 pts), 7:30 pm ET (FSO, CSNMA)
DC United were happy to see July end, after losing both of their two league games and falling from first to fourth in the MLS East. In addition to a new start, they will be looking for a measure of revenge against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Saturday night. The Crew edged DC 1-0 on July 21, with new signee Jairo Arrieta setting up Chris Birchall for the game-winner. Arrieta found his own scoring touch last weekend, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. United played Paris St.-Germain of France’s Ligue 1 to a 1-1 draw last weekend, salvaging the draw on a penalty kick by Dwayne De Rosario.
Toronto FC (5-12-4, 19 pts) @ Chicago Fire (9-7-5, 32 pts), 8:30 pm ET (GolTVCa, NBC5.2)
Toronto FC put together a club-record three-game winning streak in July, but were sent back to square one with a 2-0 loss to Houston last weekend, and will try to rebound on Saturday against the Chicago Fire without the services of scoring leader Danny Koevermans, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Recently-signed Eric Hassli might play on Saturday, but will be playing through a sprained ankle. The Fire have held their own through a protracted scoring drought, managing only two goals in their last five games but collecting five points after last weekend’s disappointing 1-1 draw with league leaders San Jose. Chicago took a 1-0 lead into stoppage time, before surrendering the equalizer to Stephen Lenhart. Chris Rolfe scored Chicago’s goal, and goalkeeper Sean Johnson made a season-high ten saves. Toronto and the Fire combined for five goals in their last match, a 3-2 Chicago win on April 21. Reggie Lambe scored twice for the Reds, while Dominic Oduro, Gonzalo Segares and Patrick Nyarko shared the scoring chores for the Fire.
Real Salt Lake (13-7-3, 42 pts) @ Colorado Rapids (7-14-1, 22 pts), 9:00 pm ET (KTVX, Alt)
The skidding Colorado Rapids have already ceded this year’s Rocky Mountain Cup to Real Salt Lake, but have one more chance to avoid being swept by their regional rivals this season on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are desperate for a win, after setting a new franchise record with their sixth straight loss, 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC on July 28. RSL are wrapping up a grueling three-games-in-eight-days stretch, including a midweek jaunt to Costa Rica for a 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League loss to Herediano. They can take over first place in the Western Conference with a win on Saturday. Alvaro Saborio has scored six of the team’s seven goals over their past four games to move into a tie for second place in the MLS Golden Boot race with 13.