What To Watch For: MLS Week 12

What To Watch For: MLS Week 12

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 2, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 12, What To Watch For


DC makes their first visit out west to the HDC tomorrow. (Getty Images)

Well, week 12 got off to a fizzle of some sorts last night between Chivas USA and Vancouver. Eric Hassli did what he does best, earn red cards while the two ended in a 1-1 draw. Aside from that I really have little to say on the game.

Time to move onto the rest of the week and discuss things that I am keeping an eye on here for the weekend slate of games.

1. Galaxy without the Donovans. Just like last summer the Galaxy will be without Landon Donovan for a couple weeks due to the USMNT’s involvement in the Gold Cup. It will be key to see LA keep their current form without Donovan too as they’ve jetted up the standings similar to what they did a year ago. They’ve played anywhere between six or two games more than every other club and lately Donovan has been a key reason for their success. But on the other end of things so has Donovan Ricketts. We saw earlier this year when Ricketts was injured how LA did defensively, not so great. How they handle the loss of Ricketts could be bigger than the loss of Donovan.

2. One more roadie for KC. Oddly enough I think this could be the one road game that Sporting Kansas City wins here. They came close last week in Colorado and now they’re in their final game of this 10-game road trip to start the season. Playing at BMO Field isn’t always easy but given the beating the Toronto took last week it could be a blessing for Peter Vermes’ team. Sporting has looked improved in recent weeks and could be breaking through here. It all comes down to how they handle the Gold Cup callups and if the defense and continue to step up. Toronto doesn’t pose a huge threat scoring-wise either, so KC has to find a way to get Teal Bunbury and Omar Bravo involved early.

3. Going for nine in a row? Hard to think that after David Ferreira’s injury a while back that the club would be looking at a potential nine-game unbeaten run here. With the month of June shaping up to be a good one for Dallas (three home games out of four games total), its hard to imagine them not continuing on this path. The big thing in this one against New England on Saturday is stopping Shalrie Joseph and finding a way to win the possession game. Do those two things and they should get that nine-game unbeaten mark without a problem.

4. The Frank Klopas era kicks off. Frank Klopas said he didn’t want to fire Carlos de los Cobos but let’s face it he had to. Chicago was going no where fast with CDLC in charge and Klopas will likely take the chains off certain players and let them run free. A big test stands in their way starting off with Seattle. The Sounders have some injuries issues to deal with like always but seeing how Seattle handled RSL last week at Rio Tinto, I think it is fair to say that the Fire better have their A-game in place for this one. With so many changes in store for the club, they better hope something sticks right away or else Seattle will cash in on it.

5. Any goals left in the tank for Philly? After last week’s six goal outburst in Toronto, you have to wonder what is next for the Union when they go to Colorado. Playing in Colorado is never easy when you factor in the altitude but you have to expect some sort of return to reality for the Union here. Plus, seeing how the Rapids defense is miles better than the Toronto one they faced a week ago it would be shocking to see another large outburst from this club. But hey, crazier things have happened in this league before.

6. Bouncing back for RSL. The run had to end sooner or later for RSL at home in league play. Just like with the CCL and the game in Portland following that a few weeks back, this week will all be about starting something new. There is little doubt in my mind that RSL will dominate Vancouver this weekend, even with some guys missing for international duty. This team just doesn’t lose two in a row period, much less two in a row at home. I’m curious to see exactly how fired up they come out in this one against a Vancouver club that will once again be missing Eric Hassli to a red card suspension.

7. Boosting Houston. Sometimes draws can be a boost to a club and given how Houston had to claw their way back into a draw last weekend against Dallas, it should be a nice boost as they go on the road to their old home in San Jose. Both teams need to find some consistency here though. I’ve felt over the past couple weeks neither have done enough to convince anyone that they are contenders just yet.

8. Real test in Harrison. With the Gold Cup about to start we’ll see the true grit of the New York Red Bulls here. They lose more key players than anyone else and currently have a banged up Thierry Henry. New York will want to push the Crew around in this one a bit and keep the Crew’s troubled offense off the boards here. This one could be wide open though given the fact that the Red Bulls defense hasn’t looked good in recent weeks with their main guys and now they’ll be away for the Gold Cup. The Crew are set to make a couple changes in their lineup to make up for the loss of Robbie Rogers here. This one could end up being more interesting than most think.

9. Are the real expansion Timbers about to show? Last weekend’s loss at home to DC may be the start of something for Portland. Something bad or at least something expected. We can’t forget how this club started the season defensively and how they looked against DC. Both mirrored one another in a bad way. Going on the road hasn’t been any kinder to the Timbers this season either as they’re still looking for their first road win in MLS play. Chivas would be a team to give it up but Robin Fraser’s side is much more disciplined in the back. Either Portland responds in LA or they continue a path downward here.