MLS Week 12: A Look Ahead

DonovanMcCarty (Getty)

By THOMAS FLOYD

Come Sunday afternoon, Red Bull Arena certainly won’t be short of star power.

Fresh off a 4-1 win midweek over Philadelphia, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and the Los Angeles Galaxy will try to make it 2-for-2 on their East Coast swing with a win over Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and the New York Red Bulls. Barring an MLS Cup clash, it will be the only meeting this year between the high-profile clubs.

Elsewhere around the league, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers will meet in a Cascadia Cup tilt; the Seattle Sounders will try to continue their surge against first-place FC Dallas; and Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew will renew their Trillium Cup feud.

Here is a rundown of the Week 12 slate:

TORONTO FC vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Saturday, 5 p.m., TSN/Univision Dep./MLS Live)

This match could mark the debut for a pair of intriguing Toronto acquisitions after defender Steven Caldwell was brought in on loan from Birmingham City and midfielder Bobby Convey was added from Kansas City.

For the Crew, the absence of Chad Marshall (hamstring) leaves a major void in central defense, with Danny O’Rourke, Tyson Wahl and Josh Williams all candidates to slide into the position.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS  vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)

Riding a nine-game unbeaten streak, the Timbers will look to grab a result on the road against a Whitecaps squad that defeated Los Angeles 3-1 last weekend for their first triumph since early March.

With both teams utilizing 4-3-3 formations, the match could very well be won in midfield, where the Portland trio of Diego Chara, Will Johnson and Diego Valeri will likely be matched up with Vancouver’s Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson and Nigel Reo-Coker.

PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., MLS Live)

With the status of centerback Jeff Parke (hamstring) still questionable, Philadelphia’s back line will face a retooled Chicago attack, featuring Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe up top.

On the other end, Chicago’s youthful centerback pairing of Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba will try to keep a better eye on Jack McInerney after the 20-year-old poacher scored the winner when these teams met last weekend at Toyota Park.

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)

With their 36-game home unbeaten streak snapped, the Dynamo will try to start over at one when they welcome a New England team that could debut recently acquired striker Juan Agudelo.

With forward Giles Barnes (hamstring) a question mark, Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear may have to decide between finding a new striker partner for Will Bruin or again switching to a 4-3-3 alignment.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. FC DALLAS (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)

Enjoying a 3-0-2 spurt after starting the season 0-3-1, the Sounders would love to continue their climb up the Western Conference standings by grabbing three points against the league leaders.

Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman must decide if he is willing risk George John (knee), Andrew Jacobson (hamstring) or David Ferreira (hamstring) on the CenturyLink Field turf as those players battle back from injuries.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)

With just one win in their past eight games, the Earthquakes will badly want to take care of business at home against the Rapids, who have won two straight and are 4-1-1 in their past six games.

While Colorado striker Edson Buddle is suspended, the Rapids are hopeful defender Marvell Wynne (quad) and midfielder Jamie Smith (groin) will travel for the match.

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN2)

After watching Landon Donovan torch the Union for a goal and two assists Wednesday, Red Bulls left back Roy Miller will have his hands full trying to slow down the rounding-into-form winger.

The return of Dax McCarty (quad) would help New York hold that Galaxy attack in check, but what kind of role the defensive midfielder can play is unclear following his four-game absence.

D.C. UNITED vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Sunday, 5 p.m., Univision Dep./MLS Live)

After going 19 games at RFK Stadium without a loss, D.C. United have dropped four straight at their home venue and seven consecutive matches overall. To make matters worse, Kansas City is 5-0 against United since coach Ben Olsen took over in D.C.

Sporting will be short-handed for this road trip, however, with centerback Aurlien Collin and midfielder Uri Rosell suspended and Defender of the Year Matt Besler questionable with a knee sprain.

CHIVAS USA vs. REAL SALT LAKE (Sunday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)

Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis is hopeful for some reinforcements in this contest, with defender Nat Borchers (flu), midfielder Cole Grossman (concussion), and forwards Robbie Findley (knee) and Alvaro Saborio (quad) on the verge of making their returns.

Chivas, meanwhile, won’t be at full strength, as rookie midfielder Carlos Alvarez and defender Mario de Luna will both be serving suspensions.

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5 Responses to MLS Week 12: A Look Ahead

  1. Marco says:

    The turf is an issue only if teams lose in Seattle

    • Stoopid says:

      You’re right about the turf only being a problem if a team loses. But come on, get some grass and I don’t mean the grass that just became legal in Washington.

  2. ss says:

    Whitecaps with a 433. Not really, they’re more of a 1-2-6. They fielded 6 defenders in their last game. They are pretty sad.