September 1, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Houston Dynamo (11-6-9, 42 pts) @ Chicago Fire (12-8-5, 41 pts), 7:00 pm ET (NBC5.2, Galavision)
The Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire have been evenly matched this season, playing to a 1-1 draw on April 15 and a scoreless tie on July 3. The rubber match of the season series is Sunday at Toyota Park. The Fire saw a three-game winning streak end on August 22, with a 4-2 loss to DC United, but have had time to rest and recover before resuming their league schedule this weekend. Before the short break, Sherjill MacDonald seemed to be finding a rhythm with his new teammates, collecting his second MLS assist during the loss at RFK Stadium. The Fire made a surprise player move earlier this week, transferring Guatemalan midfield general Marco Pappa to Holland’s SC Heerenveen, which is expected to give former Seattle Sounder Alvaro Fernandez a more prominent role for the remainder of the season. The Dynamo have held their own through the season to date in their usual workmanlike fashion, with Brad Davis setting the table on set pieces and second-year forward Will Bruin scoring enough to stay in contention for the MLS Golden Boot. Davis, however, did not travel to Chicago with the team due to illness. Former Fire forward Calen Carr has contributed some key goals, Macoumba Kandji is dangerous if inconsistent up front, Brian Ching brings experience off the bench, and the team has made some high-impact late signings in midfielders Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark and Englishman Giles Barnes.
Seattle Sounders FC (12-6-7, 43 pts) @ FC Dallas (8-12-8, 32 pts), 7:00 pm ET (KONG, FSW+)
FC Dallas have clawed their way into sixth place in the MLS West, closing steadily on faltering Vancouver, but will face one of the hottest teams in MLS Sunday, when Seattle Sounders FC come to FC Dallas Stadium. Powered by Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales, the Sounders have scored 13 goals in their last four MLS matches, six of them in last weekend’s 6-2 dismantling of Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center. Montero had a hat trick and an assist in the rout. He and Johnson have combined for 22 goals and seven assists this season, and Rosales – who set up three goals against the Goats – is the league assists leader with 13. The bright side for the Hoops is that Seattle is just back from a midweek CONCACAF Champions League jaunt to Trinidad for a 3-1 win over Caledonia on Thursday night, and are probably at less than peak form physically. The Hoops are trying to get back in the saddle after a 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy last weekend at the Home Depot Center. Fabian Castillo’s three-game scoring streak also ended and, of more concern, the Colombian forward, who is tied with Blas Perez for the team scoring lead with five goals and three assists, picked up an injury in a first-half collision with Galaxy netminder Josh Saunders and is expected to miss Sunday’s game.
Chivas USA (7-10-7, 28 pts)@ San Jose Earthquakes (15-6-5, 50 pts), 9:00 pm ET (NBCSN)
Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser has had an unusual challenge this week, not only to prepare his underachieving team for Sunday’s showdown with the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes, but also to keep his players focused after a midweek ownership change led to a flurry of rumors about a shakeup in the team’s management. Sunday’s game caps a grueling bicoastal week for the Goats, who were hammered 6-2 at home by Seattle last weekend, came back from three goals down to tie the New England Revolution 3-3 at Gillette Stadium, and flew back across country to face the Quakes. Shalrie Joseph, who had had little impact since being traded to Chivas from New England last month, exploded for two goals against his former team, and Miller Bolanos scored for the second straight game. The Quakes are coming off a 4-2 win over Colorado, in which Alan Gordon and Simon Dawkins each scored twice. Dawkins has four goals in his last seven games. San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski continues to lead the MLS Golden Boot race with 18 goals. The teams played to a 1-1 tie on May 13, with Gordon and Chivas’s Jose Erick Correa trading goals.