- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 28, 2011
- 6 Comments
- 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 7, What To Watch For
Lucky number seven. Let’s hope this week blows last week out of the water and that there won’t be any more big stars sidelined with injuries. Last night got things started for four MLS clubs in other competitions. We sadly saw Real Salt Lake fall at home to Monterrey in the CCL final. I’ll be honest, I don’t have much to say or write about that game. I watched it and came away feeling pretty down about it for RSL. But that is how soccer goes sometimes.
The Canadian side of things got underway last night as Vancouver and Toronto both won their opening Canadian Cup matches. Toronto dominated a 10-man Edmonton side 3-0 while Vancouver was able to get by Montreal 1-0.
As we move into the weekend phase of things there are plenty of items to discuss. I’ll be covering the FC Dallas-LA Galaxy game for BigDSoccer and SBNation.com this Sunday, I’ll likely be doing a game on Saturday as well for SBN. Below are some items I’m keeping tabs on this weekend.
1. Can D.C. rebound on the road? Last week United took quite a lick from their Atlantic Cup rivals from New York. A 4-0 thrashing at home is never easy to swallow. Going on the road to a place like Robertson Stadium won’t be any easier for the Black-and-Red. Ben Olsen must find something to do with his midfield as the combinations of Clyde Simms, Dax McCarty, Andy Najar and Branko Boskovic. In some shape or form there has to be a way to use each of these players to their best abilities. So far we just haven’t been able to see that happen.
2. Dynamo quietly playing well. It hasn’t been sexy football out of Dominic Kinnear’s squad this season but its been effective. In their last five games the men in Orange are unbeaten and could look to continue that form this weekend against a United squad that has been up and down this season. The additions of Sergio Koko will soon take effect as well and if he can get going on the scoresheet then this club will easily be a contender.
3. Union with something to say. I think its a big weekend for the Philadelphia Union. They have a solid record yet no one is respecting them around the league due to the fact that they have scored a league-low four goals this season. Getting a struggling San Jose squad at home should be a good platform for them to showcase how good they really are this weekend. After being off a week, the Union should be well rested and ready to go. I think for Peter Nowak’s squad having Sebastien Le Toux get on the boards here this weekend would be a huge thing going forward. Should they struggle against San Jose, it will only put fuel to some folks fire around the league about the Union.
4. Crew finishing the Canadian double. Last week the Crew were in Toronto and now they are home to the Whitecaps. I really felt the Crew should have put away TFC last week with a man advantage for 45 minutes. Going against a Vancouver squad that had a mid-week game in the Canadian Cup last night should be a good thing to deal with for Robert Warzycha’s club. But most importantly getting an early lead on a struggling defense will be key. We know the Crew can defend with the best of them in the league but they have to be able to score. Vancouver’s defense has been suspect since week one, not scoring against them will surely raise some red flags.
5. Twitter battle comes to a close. I love watching the Twitter battle between Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury. You can tell these two are good pals and will make it interesting come Saturday in New York as the Red Bulls host Sporting Kansas City. KC hasn’t been able to look very good since their week one win at Chivas USA. New York on the other hand has dominated their last two games by a score of 7-0. With KC’s defense being leaky like they are, there should be plenty of room for Agudelo, Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers to do their work. KC has to find a way to own the midfield or else this will get ugly in a hurry.
6. Rapids state of mind. After last week you have to wonder really what the mindset of the Colorado Rapids is here. Losing their third straight shutout shows Gary Smith’s club has a long way to go here this season to be a contender. But the bigger deal is how the club is handling the pending suspension of Brian Mullan. I’m not saying Mullan is a guy that they absolutely need to win but he does make a difference on the wings for them. With their offense being so cold for nearly the last month, Smith needs to find a way to inject some life in his club. Having a struggling Fire come to town could do the trick.
7. Honoring Zakuani. No doubt in my mind, Saturday evening in Seattle should be pretty special once again with the Sounders hosting Toronto FC. The first game back in Seattle since the injury to Steve Zakuani. I kind of have a feeling they’ll do something special there for him. They may have announced something already for all I know but I’m sure something will be done/said/etc. Maybe the Seattle crowd will hold up #11 signs or something.
8. Party at JELD-WEN. This could be a big chance for the Portland Timbers. They get a home game after coming back down to reality last week in LA. Sure their home game is against Real Salt Lake but this could be the best chance they’ll ever get at knocking off a club like RSL at home. Coming off an emotional loss like RSL did last night in the CCL Final, it will be interesting to see what frame of mind Jason Kreis’ club is at come Saturday. We’ve seen Portland do well in their first two home games but playing RSL is going to be a totally new thing. Either they’ll get a down-in-the-dumps RSL or they’ll get a pissed off giant.
9. Revs ready to make that leap? A statement game here for New England this weekend as they travel west to play Chivas USA, a club that has done well in their last few games. New England showed last week against KC that they can score and in bunches when needed. It won’t come easy against Chivas at the Home Depot Center but if there was ever time to make a big statement in the Eastern Conference it would be now for Steve Nicol’s side.
10. Royal distraction. Bruce Arena says David Beckham will be in Dallas come Sunday but will it do any good considering he’s going to have to take a red-eye back from London after the Royal Wedding tomorrow? I’m not totally sold on that move by the Galaxy but hey, it is what it is. As for Dallas they’ll have their first game without David Ferreira since like what feels like forever. Schellas Hyndman’s club has to find a way to inject some life into their offense without Ferreira or else the month of May will be a long one (seven games in May).