August 24, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
DC United (12-8-4, 40 pts)@ Montreal Impact (11-13-3, 36 pts), 4:30 PM ET (TSN2)
The Montreal Impact will try to extend their longest-ever MLS winning streak to five games Saturday against DC United at Stade Saputo. United, meanwhile, took over playoff-eligible fifth place in the MLS East with Wednesday’s 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire – ending the Fire’s run of victories at three – and can move even further up the table with a win over the Impact. Two of United’s newest signings provided their hoped-for offensive spark on Wednesday night, with both Lionard Pajoy and Long Tan finding the back of the net against Chicago. Dwayne De Rosario also got in on the scoring act, and defenders Chris Korb and Brandon MacDonald, who seemed at each other’s throats at the end of last Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia, combined on the other DC goal. The Impact knocked off league leaders San Jose 3-1 in their last outing, but the win cost them the services of defender Hassoun Camara for two games, beginning this weekend, after a 21st-minute altercation with Stephen Lenhart. Combined with the continued suspension of Nelson Rivas for a head butt, that leaves the Montreal backline thin against one of the league’s most potent attacks.
New England Revolution (6-13-5, 23 pts)@ Columbus Crew (9-8-6, 33 pts), 7:30 pm ET (CSNNE, FSO)
The New England Revolution have not won a game at Columbus Crew Stadium since Oct. 25, 2009, but will give it another try on Saturday night. The teams played to a scoreless tie on June 16, but both now have potentially game-changing Designated Players still getting comfortable in their lineups – Honduran international forward Jerry Bengtson for the Revolution, and Federico Higuain ior the Crew. Higuain has a goal and two assists in his first two games for the Crew, opening his MLS scoring account with the game-winner in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC. Jairo Arrieta also has become a regular contributor to the Crew attack, with three goals and two assists in the last six games. The Revolution are mired in a seven-game winless streak after last Saturday’s 2-1 road loss to Chicago, their fourth straight defeat. They sorely need Bengtson – the hero of Honduras’ impressive Olympic run – to find his form. New England have scored only three goals over the last seven games.
Toronto FC (5-15-5, 20 pts)@ Houston Dynamo (11-6-8, 41 pts), 8:30 pm ET (TSN2, FSW)
Toronto FC have had their hearts broken at BBVA Compass Stadium once already this season, surrendering two late goals to fall into a 3-3 tie with the Houston Dynamo on June 20. They will get another crack at the league’s most impregnable hometown fortress on Saturday night. Houston kept their home record unblemished with a 2-2 comeback draw against Columbus last Sunday, getting goals from Boniek Garcia and, in the 82nd minute, Adam Moffatt to snatch the point. The Dynamo made a midweek trip to El Salvador for a 3-1 CONCACAF Champions League win over CD F.A.S., getting goals from Brian Ching, Cam Weaver and Je-Vaughn Watson. Ching also scored in Houston’s 2-0 win over the Reds July 28 at BMO Field. Toronto also played on Wednesday, falling 2-1 to the Columbus Crew in a match rescheduled from August 11 to extend their winless run to five games. One bright spot, however, has been Luis Silva, whose goal against the Crew was his second in three games. Eric Hassli has a goal and two assists in four starts for Toronto, giving him a role in every goal the team has scored over that span.
Seattle Sounders FC (11-6-7, 40 pts)@ Chivas USA (7-9-6, 27 pts), 10:30 pm ET (KING-5, FSW)
Chivas USA needs points. Desperately. But they have the worst home record in MLS (3-7-2), and host one of the league’s hottest offences in Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday night. Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson each have four goals over the Sounders’ last six league games, and had a goal each in Seattle’s 2-o win over Vancouver last weekend. Montero has become a super-sub this season, and had been on the field only three minutes when he notched the 64th-minute game-winner against the ‘Caps. The Goats rallied for a 1-1 road draw against Colorado last weekend, with late subs Tristan Bowen and Juan-Pablo Angel combining on the equalizer.
Colorado Rapids (8-15-2, 26 pts) @ San Jose Earthquakes (14-6-5, 47 pts), 10:30 pm ET (Alt, CSNCA
The Colorado Rapids have a lot of ground to make up if they want to snatch a playoff spot in the MLS West, and this week they signed Wigan Athletic midfielder Hendry Thomas to help down the stretch. The Honduras international is expected to be available for Saturday’s match against the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are coming off a rare setback, a 3-1 loss to Montreal last weekend that cut their cushion in the Western Conference to five points over Real Salt Lake and left them only one point up on Sporting Kansas City in the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield. The Rapids blew a 1-0 lead when the teams last met, on June 20, letting San Jose back into the match with an 83rd-minute own goal and giving up a stoppage time penalty that Chris Wondolowski converted for the game-winner. On Saturday, San Jose will be without forward Stephen Lenhart, ejected in the 21st minute of last Saturday’s match after an altercation with defender Hassoun Camara, and defender Jason Hernandez, who was sent off in the 71st. In addition, center back Victor Bernardez was suspended by the MLS Disciplinary Committee later in the week. Golden Boot leader Wondolowski snapped a four-game personal scoring drought with a penalty kick, his 18th goal of the season. Colorado got an early goal from Brian Mullan, but couldn’t do better that a 1-1 draw with error-prone Chivas USA at home last weekend.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-9-7, 37 pts) @ Portland Timbers (5-13-6, 21 pts), 10:30 ET (SNET-Pac, ROOT Sports
One of North American soccer’s oldest rivalries continues on Saturday when the Portland Timbers host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a Cascadia Cup match at Jeld-Wen Field. The two teams have played each other, through a succession of leagues, since 1975. Portland has had the upper hand in their MLS incarnation, but the Whitecaps did manage a 1-1 draw on the Timbers’ home turf on May 26, and the Timbers have struggled mightily since coach John Spencer was fired in early July. Last weekend, they jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the New York Red Bulls on goals by Bright Dike and Darlington Nagbe, only to fall 3-2. Sal Zizzo assisted on both Portland goals. The Whitecaps fell 2-0 at Seattle on Saturday, giving them their first back-to-back losses of the season. They are winless in five straight road games, and have not scored a goal since August 11.