What To Watch For: MLS Week 11

What To Watch For: MLS Week 11

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 26, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 11, What To Watch For

I’m pretty sure this week is already the craziest, if not the busiest we’ve seen thus far this season. So many teams involved in midweek games last night and all are playing this weekend. Talk about short rest for everyone but at least in some matches there is a level playing field.

The busy Saturday slate has plenty of talking points so let’s get to them.

1. Texas Derby. I only list this one first because its more on my mind than any other game at the moment. FC Dallas and Houston square off in a big in-state rivalry game that has plenty of heat in it. While both teams are coming into this match at Robertson Stadium on different paths (Dallas being hot, Houston being rather chilled), it’s their front offices that are doing the bulk of the talking. We’ve seen billboards, ads, fly-over banners, banners from fans in the other’s stadium, weird gift-card messages. Whichever way you spin it there have been a lot of trash talking going on between these two sides. I love it. Sure, it may be a tad forced by these two sides but its great seeing MLS teams spice up their rivalries here with the little things.

2. Canadian Bacon. Last night’s Canadian Cup final that was not in Toronto will certainly linger on the two sides this weekend. Vancouver hosts New York while Toronto stays at home and plays Philadelphia. I feel more sorry for the Whitecaps here who had a lead before the game got canceled with 30 minutes to play. There’s no doubt in my mind about how that will cause issues for them, even at home this weekend.

3. The Short Rest Factor. I mentioned this above to start this post but with 11 teams involved in matches last night, they’ll all be on some form of short rest this weekend. LA who beat Houston last night at the HDC will have to travel across the country to face New England. Ouch. Colorado will have to rush home to play Sporting Kansas City who just played in the USOC play-in round last night. Houston and Dallas will head to South Texas after their long road trips last night. New York flies west to Vancouver. Seattle heads down to Rio Tinto to face RSL. The only two that get to stay home in all of this madness are Portland and Toronto.

4. Which Crew will stand up? I’m still trying to figure this club out. For a few weeks they look solid in defense and now they look shaky all over. Hosting a surging Chivas squad won’t be easy but at least the Crew can get back to basics at home again. Their defense won’t be ravished by Gold Cup callups here or have to deal with piles of injuries in the back just yet. It still comes down to scoring though for the Crew and so far they’re lacking in that department in a big way.

5. Last legs for de los Cobos? With an up and coming San Jose squad coming into town the Chicago Fire really need to start winning games or else Carlos de los Cobos could be seeing a pink slip. Most scribes would agree that the Fire are clearly one of the worst sides in the league right now. Its a bit weird too considering the talent they actually have here. For me it comes down to how de los Cobos is managing this club and at the end of the day he isn’t getting enough out of the talent that he has or he is just mis-managing the talent in ways that aren’t producing results.

6. No Wondo For San Jose. With the Gold Cup callup, San Jose is now without their best attacker, Chris Wondolowski. We’ve said time and time again this season that as the Wondo goes, so does the Quakes. This will be a very telling spell of games here starting with a struggling Chicago team. Get three points without Wondo and all will be fine, fail to get a draw and people will starting questioning this club once more.

7. KC all better after home cooking? Sure it was just a USOC play-in game last night and it wasn’t at their new stadium but boy did they ever open a can of whoop-ass against the Revs. A 5-0 win back in KC sure has to feel good for Peter Vermes’ club. Now how does that translate into success in league play? It won’t be easy considering the Gold Cup callups or being back on the road in Colorado but it is a start for this young side. KC at least has one hat to hang on with the fact that Colorado is banged up and a bit depleted due to the Gold Cup as well.

8. Can anyone score between RSL and Seattle? Right now the offenses look broke. RSL hasn’t looked the same offensively since Javier Morales went down while the Sounders are pretty upset over their 1-0 loss yesterday against Dallas. Offensively something has to give right? Its not like there is a lack of talent between these two sides either. But considering how well both defenses are playing it could be a tough one to see an offensive spark happen right now. Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers are so dominate here while the ever-changing rotation in the back for Seattle continues to do pretty well.

9. Any hope for DC In Portland? So far the Timbers are 5-0-0 in league play at home (oddly enough outside of league play they have a losing record at JELD-WEN Field). So with DC traveling to the opposite coast and playing without some key players like Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff, it smells like a long night coming on Sunday right? Probably so unless the United defense finds a way to step and slow down the Timbers. If they can lock down the set piece opportunities for the Timbers they’ll have a shot. A decent one maybe. But D.C. gives up a lot of space in defense which could make this one wide open for the Timbers.