MLS Week 27: What To Watch For

MLS Week 27: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 15, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 27, Features, What To Watch For

Sporting KC travels to Rio Tinto to face Real Salt Lake this weekend. (Getty Images)

Let’s just go ahead and say that this week has already been interesting for the 18 MLS clubs. The five involved in CONCACAF Champions League games only saw one positive result in Seattle’s 2-1 win down in Costa Rica last night. Others either got blown out or dropped a disappointing points.

In league play, things were just as interesting as the Crew and Dynamo ended level last night after a couple PKs and a early red card.

So what does this weekend have in stored for us? Plenty I am sure.

1. Portland’s playoff hopes on the line. It is definitely a do-or-die time for the expansion Timbers. Three points tomorrow night over the New England Revolution will help jump them up to a tie for eighth in the standings with Philadelphia and Houston. A loss at home in this one as we know will pretty much kill any hopes. It is also do-or-die time for guys like Kenny Cooper to get involved and prove they lead this club into the playoffs. We haven’t seen a whole lot of out Cooper this season and now that it is crunch time, the Timbers need a big goalscorer like him now more than ever.

2. Colorado and Toronto hope to dash away CCL woes. Let’s just say this this wasn’t a good week for the Rapids or Reds in CCL play. Both got four goals scored on them by Mexican sides and both will want to quickly forget those games. Just when we thought MLS clubs were ready to stand up against the Mexican sides in this tournament, these two teams reminded us just how long of a ways we really do have to do here.

Toronto doesn’t have many chances left to get into the playoffs and even winning their last five games would be pushing it. I don’t see the 42 point barrier being good enough at this point. Colorado on the other hand must take advantage of the travel issues the Reds have to deal with in this one. Coming back from Mexico is never easy for MLS teams, even with a good result.

3. Union and Crew need points…bad. Philly fans were cautiously watching the Dynamo and Crew battle last night at Crew Stadium. For the most part they got a result they could live with as the Dynamo still didn’t find their first road win of the season and the Crew suffered a potentially big injury to Chad Marshall (his hip) and Emmanuel Ekpo got a red card. The time is now for Philadelphia, they have to get full points in a game like this. Everything is in their favor going into this one as the Crew are coming in banged up, on short rest and without a couple key starters. Anything less than three points has to be a disappointment for Peter Nowak’s club.

4. Can Dallas get out of it’s slump? The last month and a half for FC Dallas have been rather ugh. Their CCL play for the most part has been solid but in the league it hasn’t been great. Their defense should be getting back to normal here though as the regular four of Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John and Jair Benitez should all be coming back together with one another nicely. It is the midfield that needs work and the offense that has to find it’s groove. With no Brek Shea (yellow cards) and Fabian Castillo (injury), Dallas has to get creative somewhere else.

5. Same goes for New York. This will be a very interesting match with FC Dallas for the Red Bulls. New York struggled to draw the lowly Vancouver Whitecaps at home last week and hasn’t seen a victory since early summer. It all rides on the defense for these Red Bulls though in Dallas. Their offense can only carry them so far and really it has carried them this far here this season. Rafa Marquez and Tim Ream need to step it up and the goalkeeper situation has to resolve itself at some point.

6. Will DC stay in the hunt? United got a big win last week on the road but doing it two times in a row this season hasn’t been their calling card. Going to Seattle won’t make matters any easier either as the Sounders have been lights out for the most part this season (aside from last week’s stumble against RSL). This is a big one for both sides though as DC has to keep their head above waters and continue to get solid play out of Charlie Davies and Dwayne De Rosario. Seattle needs to respond to their home loss from last week in a big way and for the most part this season they’ve taken care of business against Eastern sides at home.

7. Is RSL-SKC a playoff preview? It certainly could be if things pan out the way they are going at the moment. This is either a conference semifinal in the waiting or even a MLS Cup possibility (yeah I said it). We know about the games-in-hand that RSL has right now on everyone but don’t count out Sporting here just yet as we know how well they’ve played this season against some of the top Western sides. Sporting has the offense to give RSL some fits and with all of that speed and Graham Zusi’s emergence in the midfield, this one has the makings of being a very entertaining game.

8. Will LA rebound after defeat in Mexico? It is certainly easy to say that LA should have gotten at least a draw in Mexico the other night. They had a goal called off when it shouldn’t have been and the two they gave up were not their typical style. Things should improve greatly though with David Beckham and Juninho back in the lineup. Oh and they happen to be hosting the worst team in the league. Yeah, I think they’ll be just fine.