MLS Wednesday: A Look Ahead

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com 

Euro 2012 might be on its first day off in almost two weeks, but that doesn't mean there is not a full slate of soccer to command your attention on Wednesday.

MLS makes up for lost time during the international break with six mid-week games, including a pair of headliners. Real Salt Lake renew their rivalry with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and the Seattle Sounders look to snap a five-game winless drought against Sporting Kansas City, a team that has refound its swagger after a four-game winless stretch of its own.

Those are just two of the night's matchups. Here's the full Wednesday night slate in MLS: 

REAL SALT LAKE vs. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (9 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)

The rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup final takes on added significance this time around, with the Galaxy looking to turn the corner with a landmark victory, while Supporters' Shield race-leading RSL aim to put their rivals in a deeper hole in the Western Conference table.

The Galaxy are coming off their first clean sheet of the season, with Josh Saunders' return to goal coinciding with the 1-0 victory over the weekend, and they'll be looking to exact a bit of revenge for an earlier meeting this season. Real Salt Lake landed the first of what has turned out to be many blows against the Galaxy this season, going into the Home Depot Center and winning 3-1 in the opening game of the 2012 campaign.

The scene shifts to Rio Tinto Stadium, where standing room tickets are all that's available for fans hoping to take in what has become one of the regular must-see matchups on the MLS calendar. 

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. TORONTO FC (9 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)

After three Toronto FC players were arrested outside of a Houston bar and promptly sent away from the team, the Reds will try to accomplish what no visiting team has been able to do just yet: win at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The Dynamo have made their new home into a fortress, going 3-0-1 in the downtown Houston park, with FC Dallas being the latest casualty in a hard-fought Texas derby over the weekend. If new Toronto FC coach Paul Mariner is to break Houston's home dominance and get his first win in charge, he'll have to do so without Nick Soolsma, Luis Silva and Miguel Aceval.

COLORADO RAPIDS vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (9:30 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)

After watching 18 teams return to action over the weekend, San Jose marks its return from the break by traveling to Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Earthquakes welcome back key starters Chris Wondolowski and Victor Bernardez from international duty, but they won't be at full strength, as goalkeeper Jon Busch will be serving his one-game suspension for an altercation with a ball boy in Kansas City.

Colorado is coming off a missed opportunity in Vancouver, when the Rapids could not score on the Whitecaps despite a man advantage and succumbed to a Sebastien Le Toux game-winning goal. With just one loss at home in six games, the Rapids, who wait on the status of Omar Cummings, Conor Casey and Marvell Wynne — all listed as probable in the latest injury report — will look to continue their success at DSG Park.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (10 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)

Seattle has been mired in a bit of a league slump, but with new American citizen Osvaldo Alonso making his return to the lineup from a two-game suspension, there's reason to believe that the Sounders will be able to turn things back around.

The problem is, CenturyLink Field has not exactly been a house of horrors for visiting teams — Seattle is just 5-3-0 at home this season — and Sporting KC is playing with confidence after a straight-forward 2-0 victory over Toronto FC over the weekend. Added incentive for SKC is that the club can leapfrog D.C. United and move into first place in the Eastern Conference with a three-point road haul.

CHIVAS USA vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (10:30 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)

Chivas USA will take aim at improving their 1-6-1 home record by welcoming the expansion Impact to the Home Depot Center.

The Impact are not playing like a typical expansion side, though, and are riding high after the most comprehensive victory in their brief MLS history, a 4-1 thumping of Seattle. With Matteo Ferrari ruled out for at least the next month, Shavar Thomas steps into the lineup at centerback to deal with the Juan Pablo Angel-Juan Agudelo strike tandem.

While he has been seldomly used since being a surefire starter earlier in the season, Justin Braun may get the chance to go up against the club with whom he spent the first four years of his career before being traded to the Impact. Bernardo Corradi is out for the match with a left knee injury, but rookie Andrew Wenger, who has scored in two straight games, figures to get the start up top. Braun is not the only one in for a homecoming, as Montreal coach Jesse Marsch goes up against the team he used to captain as a player.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (11 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)

Two teams enter this match with opposite momentum swings following weekend results. The Whitecaps, who just introduced new Designated Player Barry Robson this week, come off an exhilarating home victory against Colorado, scoring the game-winner after being a man down. Rookie Darren Mattocks will be suspended for the match after his red card against the Rapids, but Martin Rennie has plenty of firepower to turn to in his place.

The Red Bulls, meanwhile, dropped a 3-1 result at Chicago Sunday and will continue to be without DPs Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. They also won't have the services of Mehdi Ballouchy, who cannot travel to Canada because of his visa status, meaning that the attacking spark will need to be provided by the likes of Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards and Kenny Cooper if New York is to bounce back.

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Which game(s) are you looking forward to tonight? How do you see the night's results playing out? Do you think the Galaxy are on the cusp of turning things around, or will RSL halt their momentum?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- Chivas USA, MLS- Colorado Rapids, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Montreal Impact, MLS- New York Red Bulls, MLS- Real Salt Lake, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes, MLS- Seattle Sounders, MLS- Sporting Kansas City, MLS- Toronto FC, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to MLS Wednesday: A Look Ahead

  1. marco says:

    If Sounders do not take three points at home, they can drop all pretense of chasing for a tittle. At best they’ll be competing for a play-off spot. If they lose another home game they’ll be close to a 500 record at home, and fans will start staying home. Sounders have not improved two areas FBs and CAM since last year. When teams double up on their wings they are toothless.

  2. Mario says:

    Sounders fans will stay home if the club drops below 500 at home? That’s weak.

  3. Neruda says:

    Advantage for RSL in tonights match with an extra day rest at home and with Javi rounding into form oh and espindola showing loads of confidence not to mention sabo scored for costa rica over the break. C’mon RSL!

  4. The Imperative Voice says:

    I’ll be interested to see if Houston starts Kandji, Camargo, or Hainault. It might be a quick turnaround game but my impression was the first two played better in their sub cameos than did the starters versus FCD, it could be addition by subtraction if Ching, Watson, and Ashe slide to the bench, and the fillins won’t be dog tired either.

    I’m also interested to see what Mariner can do with TFC. I wish we’d caught TFC before the coaching change but I expect to see a revitalized and reconfigured unit run out in a 451 or 442. I still think they are simply down on talent in Toronto but Houston needs to score on the porous defense and not let them hang around.

    The trio who played in the 3-0 reserve match loss to the HPD had previously played a total of 28 minutes for Mariner against KC while staffing his bench, so I see their absence as more a constraint on player rotation and the sub bench than a dent in the real first XI.

  5. Charles says:

    I don’t disagree on the premise that they need to be able to beat a KC team at home…..but fans will stay at home? I have been going for 31 years. I am not staying at home, as much as you seemingly would love to think that.

  6. JRP says:

    Advantage to RSL because LA hasn’t clicked since Nov of last year and they are not going to click in Rio Tinto. Choke, yes. Click, no. RSL is playing the best soccer we have seen them play since Concacaf in spring of 2011.

  7. Kejsare says:

    You are in the extreme minority Charles to have attended for that long.

  8. Fidel says:

    “New American Citizen Oswaldo Alonso” ?

    Congratulations Ossie.

  9. patrick says:

    all those games and not one nationally televised game. Sigh…..

  10. Neruda says:

    Advantage RSL because their a more balanced deeper side who are simply better this year.

  11. SWED says:

    What a joke. Fans will start staying home? You clearly do not know what you are talking about. The Sounders have been through rougher patches than this.

  12. Major League Dangerfield says:

    I get no respect!

  13. marco says:

    Ten percent of fan responses on team blog say they are thinking of not showing up if things don’t improve.