August 11, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Chicago Fire (10-7-5, 25 pts)@ Philadelphia Union (7-11-2, 23 pts), 7:00 pm ET (CSN-Phi, Galavision)
New Philadelphia Union defender Bakary Soumare is expected to be in the lineup against his former team when the Chicago Fire visit PPL Park on Sunday. The Union will be missing one of their most productive attacking players in Jack McInerney, who was red-carded for fighting after defender Nelson Rivas head-butted Union forward Antoine Hoppenot in the 68th minute of last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Montreal at Stade Saputo. Hoppenot suffered a nasal fracture in the incident, but expects to take the field on Sunday. The Fire, currently fifth in the MLS East, defeated Philadelphia 1-0 on March 24, on a goal by Dominic Oduro, but have won only once in their last five matches, rallying to nip conference doormats Toronto FC 2-1 last weekend. Marco Pappa, whose bad backpass helped put Toronto on the board, scored the 1-1 equalizer, and rookie defender Austin Berry delivered the win in the 84th minute. New Fire DP Sherjill MacDonald created a handful of second-half chances, and Alvaro Fernandez had a solid showing at midfield days after being traded to the Fire from Seattle.
Montreal Impact (9-13-3, 30 pts)@ New England Revolution (6-11-5, 23 pts), 7:00 pm ET (TVA Sports, CSN-NE)
The Montreal Impact have been formidable at home, shutting out Philadelphia 2-0 last weekend at Stade Saputo for their second straight win, but will be out of their comfort zone when they visit the New England Revolution on Sunday. The Revs have lost only three of 11 home games (5-3-3), but one of those losses was last weekend, to Sporting Kansas City, extending their current winless streak to five games. A big reason for the slump is a sagging offense, which has produced just two goals in the last five games. The few goals they have scored have come early, all before halftime, and New England has yet to win a game this season when trailing at the intermission. The Revs jettisoned longtime captain Shalrie Joseph (traded to Chivas USA) shortly before last weekend’s game, and waived forward Jose Moreno this week, but should have Honduran Olympic Team hero Jerry Bengtson back for this weekend, as well as newcomer Dmitry Imbongo, who started up top with Saer Sene last week. Impact midfielder Felipe Martins earned MLS Goal of the Week accolades for his scissor-kick strike against Philadelphia last weekend. Patrice Bernier leads the Impact with six goals. Montreal will be without defender Nelson Rivas, suspended a total of three games for head-butting Philadelphia’s Antoine Hoppenot last weekend, and will have a new presence in goal after trading Donovan Ricketts to Portland for veteran Troy Perkins. Like Ricketts, Perkins is a former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
LA Galaxy (10-11-3, 33 pts) @ Chivas USA (7-8-5, 26 pts), 11:00 pm ET (ESPN2)
More than bragging rights are at stake when the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA square off in the rubber match of the 2012 SuperClasico Sunday night at the Home Depot Center. Chivas, who trail the erratic Galaxy by seven points for the fifth and final playoff spot in the MLS West, can’t afford to fall any further off the pace if they want to stay in contention for the postseason. And the Galaxy, who spent much of the first half of the season near the bottom of the conference table, need to regain confidence and momentum in the wake of last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Seattle Sounders FC. Both teams have won one match in this year’s all-HDC series, and both are generally healthy going into this weekend. Prior to last weekend’s drubbing, the Galaxy’s DP trio of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan had combined for 11 goals and 11 assists in six games. The Goats’ trajectory has been less spectacular, but they have held their own in the conference, and are expecting a major boost from newly-acquired midfielder Shalrie Joseph, the longtime captain of the New England Revolution, whose imposing physical presence, two-way versatility and veteran savvy coach Robin Fraser hopes will add a new dimension to the Chivas midfield, including vastly improved service to forwards Juan Pablo Angel, Juan Agudelo and Jose Erik Correa.