What To Watch For: MLS Week 16

What To Watch For: MLS Week 16

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 30, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 16, What To Watch For

Hello July (well, almost). Hard to believe it but another month is down in Major League Soccer and the league heads into possibly one of the busier months with friendlies taking place, USOC games going on, CCL play-in games happening and of course the all-crazy transfer market opening up.

MLS moves into one of it’s important weekends of the season, the July 4th holiday weekend. I’d expect attendance figures to be very nice this weekend. That includes San Jose, who will be hosting the Red Bulls at Stanford Stadium, instead of Buck Shaw. I’ve always been a big fan of a MLS team playing at Stanford Stadium, so hopefully it will work out nicely for the Quakes this weekend.

Below are some items that I am paying attention to this weekend. It should be a fun one.

1. Fireworks. I do want to get this on the list first. Being that it is the 4th of July weekend, and there are games on Monday it makes this weekend a tad longer than normal. I honestly love it. As I mentioned teams typically do very well at the box office on the 4th of July weekends and I know all are pulling out the big guns this weekend with firework shows and the whole nine yards. This is one of my favorite holidays as well as it means cookouts with friends and family and a day out of the office.

2. Pioneer Cup rematch. Columbus down Dallas way back at the start of April thanks to an early red card and a shaky PK in the second half. Still, then Columbus was the better side while Dallas was still figuring out their defense (and offense really). Fast forward to today and both teams have things a little more figured out. Dallas has the edge on both sides of the ball and expect them to use the heat (temps expected to be in the high 90s, low 100s on Saturday) to their advantage. But Dallas can’t sleep on the Crew being a pushover here as Andres Mendoza has really stepped his game up in recent weeks, making sure people understand that he is worth every penny that the Crew are spending on him as a DP.

3. Eastern rivals collide at RFK. This one could be the most interesting of the weekend in my books. A rivalry that could really take off in the coming years between D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union. The Union have had the edge nearly all season over D.C. in the standings but with recent trades we could see D.C. move up the order here before long. It will certainly be interesting to see how Dwayne De Rosario handles being in yet another city with another team this season. This is definitely a big story to watch unfold this weekend.

4. Lord of the Draw. The Chicago Fire enter this weekend’s match against Chivas USA with 11 draws on the year. Most teams get that many in a single season but here we are at the start of July and they already have 11 to their name. Before long Frank Klopas’ team has to find a way to start winning. Same kind of goes for Robin Fraser’s team that hasn’t been doing well as of late. In a way this is really a battle of two teams that just aren’t going anywhere positive at the moment.

5. Another West Coast swing for the Red Bulls. Tough scheduling for the Red Bulls here as they head back out on the road to San Jose to face the Quakes at Stanford Stadium. New York has been struggling as of late and hasn’t had a win in a couple months. Yeah, hard to believe that thought huh? The Quakes will be a tough team to get by too as they sit barely in the playoff zone at the moment. A win would certainly help boost Frank Yallop’s club but getting Chris Wondolowski back and scoring would definitely do the trick. Oh and this will be Dax McCarty’s first game in a Red Bull uniform. That makes this all the more interesting for me.

6. Can Portland regroup? It ¬†seems like it’s been a while since the Portland Timbers were not looking like an expansion club. That was when they were dominating all things at home. Turns out a month or so later they’re back to that expansion club look as John Spencer has little depth to do things and his offense just looks like they’ve hit a wall. Sporting KC on the other hand has improved ten-fold over the last month and are offensively one of the hottest teams in MLS at the moment. Both clubs still have a lot to prove and throw in the JELD-WEN factor and this one will be a good way to close out the evening on Saturday.

7. Monday’s double-dip on ESPN2. Kudos for the league and ESPN for scheduling a double header on July 4. I’m not worrying about the ratings on the holiday since both games will be displaying two stadium that should be packed. RSL hosts New England at Rio Tinto then LA hosts Seattle. Both are late games on the East coast but for me it is a great way to close out the holiday.