What To Watch For: MLS Week 4

What To Watch For: MLS Week 4

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 7, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 4, What To Watch For

Colorado Rapids take on FC Dallas in a MLS Cup re-match tomorrow night. (Getty Images)

If last night’s Vancouver-New England game is any indication as to how the rest of week four in Major League Soccer will go, we’ll either be in for a long weekend full of cards or we’ll see some pretty entertaining matches. I’m pulling for the second of those two as last night was frustrating to watch.

I won’t go too much in to the tie between Vancouver and New England. I felt Vancouver was lucky to get a draw with nine men on the field after two red cards, one of which was pretty stupid on the part of Eric Hassli. New England though on the other hand proved to me that they aren’t a contender. Anytime you go up two-men on the field for 20-30 minutes of a time, you have to do better than what they did. They lost possession, failed to get quality chances on goal until late in the game when they tied it up.

Anyways, with another Friday game this week, we have plenty to discuss for this weekend.

1. MLS Cup rematch. One side of the pitch sees the defending champions, the Colorado Rapids, coming into Frisco with a league leading nine points after three games. The Rapids look like one of the best sides in MLS right now while on the flip side FC Dallas looks like one of the worst. Is Dallas one of the worst like their record suggests? Maybe, but they got off to a similarly slow start a year ago, so I’m not jumping completely off their train just yet here. Hopefully this one turns out to be just as good as the MLS Cup itself. Both clubs fought hard in that one and this one should be no difference as Dallas will want revenge.

2. Can Seattle finally win? I feel as though the Sounders are a lot like Dallas, so close to breaking through that they just are missing a final piece to the puzzle. At least for them it is another home game against a club that may be playing better than they really are. I like the Fire after seeing them in person back in week one but I still have my doubts about how good they really are. I think the talent is certainly there for Seattle to control this game, much like what they have done the last couple games.

3. Philly-New York battle. This one could be the game of the week for some, even ESPN agrees as they’ll broadcast it on The Deuce. I thought the Union did a pretty good job last week in LA and were close to a draw on the road there. They’ll need to do better in the offensive third though if they want points at home in this one against what should be a tough New York side. The Red Bulls looked different with Dwayne De Rosario in the lineup, and having a full week of practice with him certainly will help. The biggest thing I’ll wonder is, will Philly have the gas in the tank to do well in this one as they used mostly starters last night in their USOC loss to D.C. United.

4. What about Henry? A lot of talk this past week about how Thierry Henry is approaching the bad zone of DP in MLS. He’s no Denilson or Mista so let’s not freak out New York fans but he is approaching that Freddie Ljungberg state of play as DP. Good but not at all what we expected out of him. I know he’s has some lingering injury issues but I just feel like I expected more out of him here. Hopefully we’ll see him shine now that DeRo is on the field and is able to free him up in space.

5. Let down for RSL? Emotional highs usually are followed by letdowns in the sports world. But a mentally strong team like Real Salt Lake is better than that. Going to New England won’t be easy but at least it will be back-to-back games on turf for them, so there shouldn’t be too much change in the way they’ll have to play. The Revs are coming off a battle of their own last night in Vancouver. I think if anyone has a let down it will probably be the Revs.

6. Galaxy moving forward. Ben Olsen’s side will be back home this weekend and they host LA, a club they’ve done fairly well at home against over the years. LA looked better in last week’s win over the Union but still have a couple offensive issues to sort out. D.C. has some defensive issues to sort out as well which could play in to Bruce Arena’s hand here as he’s trying to get more out of Juan Pablo Angel, Landon Donovan and company.

7. Push and pull for Goats and Crew. Looking for a game to skip this weekend? It may be this one. No offense Chivas or Crew fans but I’m not expecting a whole lot of out this game Saturday night. The Crew have been marginally decent this year with a few decent breaks in play while Chivas hasn’t been anything great so far. I like Robin Fraser as a coach but so far he hasn’t gotten enough of out his defense, which I expected to be better at the start of the season. Both clubs lack a playmaker in the midfield so, it will be a battle of who can make the most of their chances.

8. Wondo’s got help. Last week showed that San Jose isn’t totally relying on Chris Wondolowski to score all of their goals. If you missed Khari Stephenson’s goal, then you’ll know why I’m saying that. Going against a team in transition like Toronto has to be a good thing if you’re at home like Frank Yallop’s club will be for this game. The Quakes have to control the tempo in this one and not allow Toronto to find pockets of possession.

9. Will Houston break through? Maybe I was too high on expectations with the Dynamo but so far this season they’ve really failed to deliver, or maybe it is just they aren’t that much better than they were a year ago. I can’t put my finger on it yet since it is still early in the season. One thing is clear though, Tally Hall is a very solid keeper for them. He’s put all my concerns about him away, now if the offense can step up and do the same this club could be a contender in the East.

10. Anyone left in Vancouver? After last night’s Toledogate at Empire Field, I have to wonder out loud, do the Whitecaps have anyone left to suit up? Between injuries, red cards and some international callups, the Whitecaps are going to be stretched thin. I also wonder, how long before┬áTeitur Thordarson pulls the plug on the Eric Hassli experiment. Sure, he is producing goals for the club but with nearly as many red cards as goal, the line has to be drawn somewhere.