What To Watch For: MLS Week 19

What To Watch For: MLS Week 19

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 21, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 19, What To Watch For

Hans Backe still has some work to do with his Red Bulls. (Getty Images)

I really should have done this earlier in the week with all the games that took place last night. It was a pretty interesting night in MLS considering all the friendlies and league matches going on. MLS didn’t fare all that well in the friendlies (though Philadelphia seemed to do alright), but the league matches is where things were interesting.

I’ll probably write up a little Dallas story on Brek Shea later today over at BigDSoccer.com, his goal last night was ridiculous and he’s starting to show he that he is definitely a legitimate MVP candidate here this season. Crazy part is the kid is only 21-years old here and he’s playing at this high of a level. Dallas definitely needed a spark last night in Toronto and got one from Shea.

Anyways, there is a full weekend of soccer ahead for MLS. With more friendlies packing the schedule, the league games will likely get overlooked. Its a shame too considering the fact that there should be a couple good ones here this weekend.

1. More trouble in the Big Apple? If last night’s drubbing of the Red Bulls in Colorado is any indication of what is to come, it could mean bad things as New York hosts FC Dallas this weekend. While Dallas is struggling with injuries and scoring of their own, New York is starting to show that their depth is absolutely pathetic. They may have a team of stars but after that they’re pretty damn thin. Their defense was exposed left and right last night by the speed of Colorado. Looking at who they’ll face on Saturday, Brek Shea, Marvin Chavez and company have the wheels to pester this Red Bulls defense all evening. If you think Sanna Nyassi’s hat trick was impressive, just consider how much speed Dallas has up front for a moment with Shea and Chavez.

2. Can Columbus find the back of the net? The Crew were blanked again last night in LA and with Portland coming into town on Saturday they have to show that their offense isn’t going cold again here. Andres Mendoza picked up a knock last night too which isn’t good news for this club. Portland finally found a way to win on the road last week in Chicago so you do have to think their confidence in this one will be pretty high. It all comes down to who is fit enough for this one as both teams played in the midweek on the other side of the country.

3. Long home stretch begins for KC. If there is a time to make a move up the standings it is now for Sporting Kansas City. A huge home stretch kicks off this weekend with Toronto FC. The Reds showed a little heart last night against Dallas and just didn’t have a few bounces go their way but some of the new additions looked decent for them. In this one they have to pressure KC early and hope to gain the advantage early rather than late. The thing is KC has been known as of late to at least come back for a draw. Hopefully the new addition of DP Jeferson for KC will pay off and get their offense going again. Seeing a defense like Toronto’s should help their scoring woes out too.

4. So has Colorado really bounced back? Sanny Nyassi quickly made folks forget about Conor Casey and the scoring he was putting up before his Achilles tendon injury. The speed up front with him and Omar Cummings was fun to watch and looks like it can only improve too. With New England coming into town it should definitely continue to see chances of improvement with the way New England is in the back. The Revs give up goals almost like no one else in this league. Sure the Revs got a big road win in DC last night but making that cross country trip doesn’t sound good in a short turnaround.

5. Games in hand mean big chances for RSL. With LA, Seattle and Dallas all four or five games ahead on RSL in the standings in terms of games played, it is high time that RSL starts to make bank with those extra games in hand starting this weekend with San Jose. With some rest under their belts we should see a focused RSL this weekend. San Jose finally found the back of the net last night against Vancouver as Chris Wondolowski netted two goals in the 2-2 draw. With the defense that RSL has, they should be able to lock down Wondo and control this game through the midfield.

6. Chivas and Houston battle for playoff positioning. Looking at the standings today you see two clubs that haven’t exactly had stellar season in the playoff hunt. Both Houston and Chivas USA are neck and neck in terms of seeing one of those wild card spots. For Houston they really need a win in this one to prove to folks that they belong in the playoff discussion. The Dynamo are still one of the few remaining clubs (along with Toronto and Vancouver) that have yet to win a road game this season. Playoff contenders find ways to win on the road so this is a huge proving ground for them. Time for the Dynamo’s All-Stars in Corey Ashe and Geoff Cameron to step up and prove their honor wasn’t in vain.

7. All-Star and the CCL. A final thought. This is the final weekend before the All-Star “break”. Its not really a break for most clubs as teams like Dallas, Toronto and Seattle all deal with big CCL games next week while the league takes on Manchester United. Next week is huge for the league on a global scale because of these games. The question becomes, which are more important for the league…the CCL games or the All-Star. Yeah, I know its an easy answer in terms of how the league handles it but I’d say most people know the true response to that question.