2012 MLS, Week 9: What To Watch For

2012 MLS, Week 9: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 3, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 9, Aron Winter, David Beckham, Dominic Oduro, Dwayne De Rosario, Eric Hassli, Features, John Spencer, Kenny Cooper, Kris Boyd, Omar Salgado, Oscar Pareja, Rafa Marquez, Robbie Keane, Sebastien Le Toux, Thierry Henry

San Jose and Vancouver have the potential to be the matchup of the weekend. (Getty Images)

Whew. Last night was quite a night in Major League Soccer. One game had eight goals, while the other two combined for five. Crazy night really when you throw in the two Amway Canadian Championship to the mix.

Now it is time to focus on the weekend ahead, all clubs that were involved in games last night have second games this weekend. So lots of double-dips here in Week 9.

Nine games are on tap this weekend starting tomorrow night in LA with Chivas taking on the Chicago Fire all the way until Sunday evening in Frisco when FC Dallas hosts the Colorado Rapids. Busy, busy weekend ahead.

Here are a few stories I will be following this weekend as MLS gets rolling further into a new month.

1. What do we know about the Fire? Honestly, the Chicago Fire may be the one club that I know the least about at this point. Blame the unbalanced schedule if you want but it is the truth. We’ve seen them the least (same can be said about Houston but that is for other reasons since their stadium is being built), and really there is so much to be asked of this club. Their young players, the speedy attack, their midfield. Each time I see them I like them a little more but I do feel that one big element is missing out of them. Someone that centralizes the attack or that main striker (no offense to Dominic Oduro or anything here).

They head to LA tomorrow to face a struggling Chivas USA club that can’t seem to get anything right at the moment, especially at home. Chicago has to come out early with their attack and dictate the pace from the start. Their open style of attack has to get an early start or the Chivas defense will get comfortable and possibly get a draw out of this one.

2. Any breakthrough for Toronto? Worst start in club history, tied for the worst in league history. The Reds have to have some bit of luck before long. Aron Winter probably doesn’t have a ton of time left either as his club didn’t exactly do well yesterday in Montreal in the opening semifinal leg of the ACC.

The attack is slowly coming together for this side, as we saw last week in Salt Lake but at some point a full 90 minute effort has to happen. So far this season they haven’t been able to put together more than 20 minutes of quality soccer at a time together. That has to change or else we could be staring at some very ugly history.

Toronto hosts D.C. United, a fiery offense lead by former Red Dwayne De Rosario. You know DeRo’s track record against his old clubs, so you have to expect a goal from him in this one. It is just a matter of can Toronto match him? I don’t know if they really can at this point.

3. Defensive battle in British Columbia. Vancouver and San Jose battle once again for the second time this season. Earlier San Jose dominated the Caps 3-1, showing that Vancouver’s defense was not as great as they had previously shown in the first four games (four shutouts in their first four games). Still the Caps have earned two more shutouts since that loss and are looking better and better. Offensively things are slowly working their way into form as Omar Salgado showed well last night in the ACC match with Edmonton. He, Sebastien Le Toux, Camilio, Eric Hassli, and the rest of that crew have to get going against the Quakes and their tough defense.

You have to love what the Quakes are doing at the moment, shredding everyone’s defense with their attack and coming up strong with their midfield and defensive group. Last night was a bit different though as D.C. United got three by this group, a first of this season. Still this one could become more of an offensive showing than a defensive one if things go the way they did last night. I’d love to see it really.

4. Stars lacking in MLS showcase game. No Thierry Henry or Rafa Marquez make the LA-NY game a little less interesting. The Galaxy held David Beckham and Robbie Keane out of last night’s loss in Seattle and given the form of these two clubs, I don’t think this is really a game the league can hang their hat on here this season. But hey, they’re going to try to. LA has to bounce back here after the loss in Seattle. They’ve not shown their offense as much as I would have liked to this season but going against a banged up Red Bulls squad, the time is now. I think an attack right down the heart of this Red Bull team is exactly what LA needs to do. Teams that have run at New York have seen great success this season and LA has just the attack that can do that.

5. The something has to give game in Portland. Between the Portland Timbers and the Columbus Crew, their meeting on Saturday night is in my mind the Something Has To Give Game. Neither team has shown well this season and for the Timbers, this game is an absolute must. While I don’t see John Spencer getting fired any time soon here, one has to believe another home loss would firmly place him on the hot seat.

Columbus on the other hand is still going through some growing pains in my mind. Talent is there but not enough of it to do anything of note this season.

This one really has to give something to one of these clubs in for form of points. Each need them badly as they are both tied with seven and are at the bottom of the league pile (just in front of Toronto of course). Kris Boyd has been good for Portland but at some point he has to show his worth with Kenny Cooper lighting things up over in New York.

6. 2010 MLS Cup rematch in Frisco. Yeah, I hate calling it that but for now on when Colorado and Dallas met, its a talking point. But really this one is about the return of Oscar Pareja to Frisco. Pareja was a major link for Dallas in the reserve game and into South America. So far he’s been able to use his connections in South America for the Rapids and slowly but surely they are paying off for him.

Neither club has done great so far this season but both are in the thick of things so there is something to be said about that. Colorado plays a little more open under Pareja while Dallas will try to play to their strengths on the wings with Brek Shea and Jackson.

This game has the makings of being fast and very open. A nice way to close the week out in my opinion.