August 31, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Philadelphia Union (7-13-4, 25 pts)@ New England Revolution (6-14-4, 24 pts), 7:30 pm ET (CSNPhi, CSNNE)
Two teams that are more than ready for something good to happen to them seek redemption on Saturday night, when the New England Revolution host the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium. Both stumbled big-time at midweek, the Revs squandering a three-goal lead to settle for a 3-3 draw with Chivas USA, and the Union falling 2-1 to the Columbus Crew in stoppage time despite playing the final 21 minutes with a man advantage. It was the second straight game that the Revolution had seen an early lead slip away. Last weekend, they put the Crew in an early 2-0 hole, but lost the game 4-3 after allowing two free-kick goals by Federico Higuain. In the wake of Wednesday’s loss, Union ownership confirmed their faith in Manager John Hackworth to set the team right by next season, removing the “interim” from his job title. But the general realization around the Union locker room is that the team is playing for the future. Philadelphia has only one win in their last six games, but that was over New England, 2-1 on July 29. The Revs’ winless streak stands at nine.
Montreal Impact (12-13-3, 39 pts) @ Columbus Crew (11-8-6, 39 pts), 7:30 pm ET (TVA Sports, FSO)
The expansion Montreal Impact have pulled themselves to within two points of playoff position in the MLS East, but have played more games than any other team in the conference, and face the challenge on Saturday of keeping their momentum going on the road and against the red-hot Columbus Crew, who are a mere tiebreaker behind them in the standings. Buoyed by the arrival of midfielder Federico Higuain and forward Jairo Arrieta, the Crew have won three straight, including a shorthanded 2-1 stoppage-time victory over the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. Eddie Gaven scored the game-winner, after defender Josh Williams was red-carded in the 69th minute for fouling Philadelphia’s Antoine Hoppenot. Last weekend, the Crew pulled out one of the most impressive wins of the season to date, with Higuain and Arrieta each scoring twice to give the Crew a 4-3 win over the snakebit New England Revolution. Higuain’s goals both game on free kicks. The Impact defeated DC United 3-0 at Stade Saputo last weekend, making them the first expansion team since Major League Soccer’s shootout era to win five in a row. Patrice Bernier had two goals and an assist to DP Marco DiVaio. The teams have split their season series to date, with both winning once on their home field.
Toronto FC (5-15-6, 21 pts) @ Sporting Kansas City (14-7-5, 47 pts), 8:30 pm (SNET1, KSMO)
It’s worst vs first at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday, when Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host lowly Toronto FC. The Reds are winless in six games, but did salvage a point from their last outing, a 1-1 road draw against Houston. Sporting have been powered by playmaker Graham Zusi and forward Kei Kamara of late. Zusi has a three-game assist streak going, and has four helpers over the last five games. Kamara has scored three times over that five-game span, including the team’s only goal in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls, and has already matched his career high for a regular season with ten. The two teamed for the only goal in Sporting’s 1-0 win over TFC on August 18. Sporting is unbeaten in four straight, but will be missing a key figure on defense in All-Star Aurelien Collin, who will be suspended for yellow card accumulation. Forward Teal Bunbury, who is second on the team in scoring with five goals and one assist, mostly off the bench, is out for an extended period after knee surgery.
DC United (12-9-5, 41 pts)@ Real Salt Lake (13-10-4, 43 pts), 9:00 pm ET (CSNMA, KUCW)
DC United have a tenuous hold on fourth place in the MLS East, but left two points on the table with Wednesday night’s 2-2 home draw with the New York Red Bulls, and bring a five-game road losing streak into Saturday night’s match against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium, including a crushing 3-0 loss to expansion Montreal last Saturday at Stade Saputo. RSL are winless in four league games, coming off last Friday’s scoreless draw with Philadelphia. Dwayne De Rosario and Nick De Leon powered the DC offense against New York on Wednesday, De Rosario finding De Leon for the 1-1 equalizer in the 21st minute, and the rookie returning the favor as the Canadian international netted his 100th MLS goal in the 68th.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-10-7, 37 pts)@ LA Galaxy (12-11-4, 40 pts), 10:00 pm ET (TSN2, KDOC)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC are trying to snap a three-game losing streak, and have dropped five straight on the road. They also need every point they can get to hang onto fifth place in the MLS West, starting with Saturday’s faceoff against the resurgent LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center. The Whitecaps will be without suspended scoring leader Darren Mattocks, as well as ironman defender Young-Pyo Lee, who will be rested for the first time this season. LA tends to score goals in bunches – 21 of them in all competitions in August alone – but they also are capable of stunning collapses, most recently a 4-0 loss to Seattle on August 5. Captain Landon Donovan is expected to sit out Saturday’s match with a strained hamstring, but as Donovan and the Galaxy’s other two DPs, David Beckham and Robbie Keane, have cycled in and out of the lineup of late, Brazilian Juninho has stepped up with three goals in the last three games. Forward Edson Buddle, out since knee surgery in early June, also is poised to return to MLS play, perhaps as early as Saturday night. Saturday will be LA’s fourth game in the last ten days, and will wrap up the season series against Vancouver. LA won 3-0 at home on June 23, and rallied to a 2-2 draw July 18 at BC Place.