Well it has been a couple of strange weeks in MLS with more trades of big names than we have seen in years, but will any of those moves make a big impact in the 20th week (or what MLS is calling the 20th week of action)? Oh and can someone tell MLS that if they are going to have a page under their news heading called "Transactions" they might just want to update it? Last update was in March, really MLS you want to be the news of the league and you can't even update your own transactions page. Kinda Sad.
There are a total of 8 MLS matches this weekend with 7 on Saturday and 1 more on Sunday, and with them starting early on Saturday this will be a fairly quick look at the matches;
Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls - 12:30 MT - ESPN
For TV this is the marquee match of the weekend and with the Union being the hottest team in MLS over their last 5 matches (4-1-0) it could be a very interesting test for the Red Bulls who recently sent their speedster Dane Richards up to Vancouver for Sebastian Le Toux. Yes that Le Toux that was the leading scorer for the Union last season, this year the Union are taking a more balanced approach and have shown real signs of life under new "interm" head coach John Hackworth. This could be entertaining but I have to go with the Red Bulls in a 3-1 win.
Perhaps no team has been a bigger surprise this year than DC United who find themselves in 3rd place in the East and just 3 points out of first. The Columbus Crew sit outside of the playoffs by 7 points and find themselves once again rebuilding their roster after back to back Supporters' Shields a few years ago. This match could get ugly as the high powered offense of United clash with the Crew defense which is tied for the best in the East. DC should pick up a road win but I have a feeling a bunkered Crew side pulls off a 1-1 draw.
the rest of the weekend action after the jump:
They Dynamo once again find themselves overlooked by most of the media around MLS, the talk has been about the potential move of Geoff Cameron to Stoke City, but the Dynamo are unbeaten in their last 5 (3-0-2) and have moved themselves into striking distance of the conference leaders. Montreal has made big moves all year by bringing in some international names and as a result have themselves closer to the playoffs than teams like Columbus and New England, but they are still an expansion team and consistency isn't something they have figured out yet. Houston is simply a very solid team at every position and at home they are unbeaten, look for a 2-1 Houston win.
Sporting sit atop the Eastern Conference, but the team that got out to the best ever MLS start have found that the long season is tougher than March and April, and going just 2-2-1 in the last 5 matches if proof of it. New England has been rebuilding their team from players to tactics and at times they look brilliant and other times they look very average at best, on the road the Rev's are 1-7-1 and I don't see that changing in a positive way today. Sporting has the talent to be the best team in MLS, but can they put it all together? They should be able to in this one in a 3-1 win.
How much have these sides struggled recently? Well consider that Toronto FC that lost their first 9 matches this year is now tied with them both at 19 points. Both sides have double digit goal differentials, negative goal differentials and the issues at Portland cost John Spencer his job and the issues at FC Dallas have Brek Shea not even showing up for practices. There is no positive spin other than one of the these teams will likely get a positive result, even if that is a draw. Yeah this one has 1-1 draw written all over it, but with these two it could also end up 3-0, but I am picking the draw.
Well the Super Clasico that MLS pumped up a few weeks ago is now relegated to Spanish only TV and not even Galavision. You just never know what the story is with the Galaxy, who this week have seen David Beckham score a great goal and then talk about dissing the MLS All Star match to head to London in advance of the Olympics, not to play in the Olympics but to attend them. Yeah, welcome to LA. Meanwhile in one of the other locker rooms at the Home Depot center, Chivas USA are unbeaten in their last 4 (2-0-2) and are just 4 points behind the Galaxy for the final playoff spot in the West. Oh and the first leg of their series was won by Chivas USA 1-0, can they secure the season series before they play again in a couple weeks? I think this could be one of the more exciting matches of the weekend, looking for a 1-0 win for Chivas, as LA worries about other things.
The Rocky Mountain Cup will feature two teams that are struggling of late and this could be a real "do or die" moment for both teams. You can check out my full match preview here.
While many will be watching Chelsea and PSG, the smart folks will be checking out this match between the best team in Major League Soccer, San Jose and the Whitecaps, who despite a solid season so far have been one of the more active trading and signing teams in the league. Can the new faces in Vancouver find a way to get this team back winning? They are just 1-2-2 in their last 5 matches and have slipped to a -2 goal differential, which could be troublesome against San Jose who simply keep rolling at 13-4-4 and a very impressive 6-3-2 on the road. I have to give an edge to the Quakes in this one and see it ending 3-2. Forget the friendly and check out what should be a very entertaining match between these two MLS sides.
OK, there is my look at the weekend action in MLS, should be a fun one as we head into the All Star match midweek.
OFF MY SOAPBOX