2012 MLS, Week 11: What To Watch For

2012 MLS, Week 11: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 17, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 11, Features

Seattle and Vancouver headline a busy Week 11. (Getty Images)

Two games down, a bunch more to go as Week 11 rolls on.

Nine games headlined by two big rivalry games in Vancouver and in LA – certainly a busy weekend in MLS. I have a busy day ahead of me here so I’ll cut out the big intro and get to the meat of the post here, the items I’ll be focusing in on this weekend.

1. Cascadia 2012. Last year the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver rivalry was the new hip thing in MLS. Well, now it is time to get into it once more with the first game of the rivalry this season. With more games this year I’d imagine the rivalry to get a little more intense than before.

The first stop is in Vancouver with the Caps hosting the Sounders on Saturday. The Caps sit five points back of the Sounders in the Western Conference and have been one of the surprise teams this season. They both are coming off losses last week – with Vancouver getting hammered in New England in a 4-1 loss to the Revs. No doubt Vancouver is looking more at the Canadian Championships than at the league games. I do look for Vancouver to be a little more into this game than in their last one in New England but don’t sleep on Seattle here as they finally got a full week to get ready for this one.

2. Red Bulls head to Montreal. Two big games in a row for Montreal at the Big O. Oddly enough this game highlights two of the hotter teams in the Eastern Conference as neither have dropped a game in their last four matches. New York didn’t look all that great in their 3-2 win in Philadelphia last week but were able to come from behind on the road in that one.

The Impact have been coming together nicely over the last few weeks and hope to continue their home form that remains unbeaten. New York mainly just needs to come into this one and play their style of game. Spread out Montreal and force their defense – which is improving – into early mistakes. One thing to watch will be the midfield match up in this one as Montreal’s strength is certainly in their midfield. The thing is I’m not entirely sure that the Impact can match the Red Bulls offensively at this point.

3. Two stumbling sides in Dallas. Normally I don’t bring up duds like this but since I won’t be there on hand to see it for a change why not. Dallas is winless in their last six and Philadelphia isn’t much better at the moment either. To put it lightly both teams are in a must-win mode at this point. Maybe Philly is more than Dallas but still neither are doing well. Offensively the Union have been absolutely dreadful to watch this season. We got a glimmer of hope last week against New York but a red card to Freddy Adu killed all momentum on that front. He’ll be out for this one now.

Dallas has to find some sort of footing for this one. Sure the injuries are one thing but this club continues to shot themselves in the feet with red cards (defender Zach Loyd is out of this one). Playing sound defense is one thing but also playing with some mental intelligence is another thing.

4. Can Sporting get back on the wagon? It feels weird to doubt Sporting Kansas City at this point. A club that went 7-0-0 to start the year is now looking at three straight defeats and a tough road game in the Mile High City. The Rapids seem to match up well against Sporting too, as they are a team that has a strong midfield with some solid attacking up front.

Sporting mainly just needs to get back to their style of play here. Teams have figured out how to slow down the attack, frustrate the midfield and keep pressure on the defense. The team had wholes early on but no one was seeing them when they were winning. Keeping the ball moving with lots of movement is what Sporting does best, plus finding that open space with everyone on that starting XI breathing down your neck, that is what they do.

5. SuperClasico needs some life. For the first time in what seems like forever, the LA rivalry just doesn’t have a lot going for it. Neither team are showing well this season and at the end of the day neither will be that much higher in the standings with a win. One thing is clear, Chivas has to find their way at the Home Depot Center. So far this season they’ve failed to really get the job done at home and each time they come close they stumble in the final moments. LA on the other hand knows they are still the top dog in this rivalry and must come in to this game with that confidence. I know they had the midweek stop in DC for the White House visit but they have to get their momentum back here and start winning some games before long.

6. San Jose with a chance to go into a tie for first. The Earthquakes continue to grind away at results here, and while their 1-1 draw to Chivas last week wasn’t great it was still something that keeps them in the thick of things for the Supporters’ Shield race – yes we’re already saying they are a contender here. The Quakes host the Columbus Crew this weekend, a club coming off a nice win at home last week over FC Dallas. A road trip west has never done well for the Crew over the last couple of seasons and the Quakes have always seem to give them fits no matter where they play.

San Jose just needs to continue their form here, play at their strengths up top with Chris Wondolowski and keep the midfield game on their terms. Columbus has shown toughness in the middle part of the field but San Jose plays a quick game on a compact field, something that I don’t think the Crew can keep up with.