2012 MLS, Week 12: What To Watch For

2012 MLS, Week 12: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 24, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 12, Features

The battle at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park this weekend should be a good one. (Getty Images)

Talk about a wild start to the week. Just like that Toronto FC won the Canadian Cup (yet they are still winless in league play), San Jose shocks LA on the road, and Columbus continues to improve as they won on the road in Seattle of all places.

Anything can happen on any given day in this league.

So what does this crazy start to the week have in store for the rest of the weekend? I’m sure tons of drama, goals, and all around craziness will be coming out way. We have nine games to look at this week with plenty of talking points as we end another month here.

1. No Donovan, No Keane, still the same problems. I’d be willing to say that the LA Galaxy played one of their better matches last night against San Jose. Both clubs put out a spirited effort for sure but in the end it was the same old story that has doomed this Galaxy squad since day one – their defense. Now LA must pick themselves up and head to Houston to play the Dynamo at the new BBVA Compass Stadium. While the Dynamo haven’t exactly set the Eastern Conference on fire lately they still will have a big advantage in this one – their defense. 

Yes this one is all about defense in my mind. Houston has it and right now LA does not. I do think LA has the better offense but in this league – one thing is certainly clear in the end – defense always wins out. Oh and that whole revenge factor for losing to LA in the MLS Cup last year doesn’t hurt to have either.

2. Worst clubs in MLS collide. Philadelphia may have eight more points than Toronto at this stage in the season but does anyone really think that matters right now? The Union didn’t exactly show anything great in Dallas to me last weekend and even though Freddy Adu will return for this one, Toronto does finally have a little momentum on their side after last night’s dramatic win in the Canadian Championships.

At some point Toronto will win a game this season. They will get a draw and this rut they are in will end. It is only natural for that to happen at some point this season. Right now they are five wins away from a playoff spot and in this league anything can happen.

But for the Union not all is doom and gloom. Yes, Peter Nowak has traded away every fan favorite up to this point. But games against the “worst club in the world” can spark something out of your club if you take advantage of the timing of the game. Philadelphia has to be mindful that getting an early lead on Toronto could spell three points. The longer they let Toronto hang around the tougher it will be to leave BMO Field with anything.

3. Salt Lake looks to add to FCD’s slump. Eight games. That’s how long it has been since FC Dallas saw three points. Believe me when I tell you it is much longer than it seems. Writing game previews on this club continue to get tougher with each loss or draw. Now this club heads to Salt Lake to face arguably the best club in the league. Yeah, three points won’t come easy in this one.

Here is the thing about Dallas. Their luck hasn’t been good for a while and when you shoot yourself in the foot every game, you just have little to no chance at winning. Simple as that. Dallas is a very strong side though when everyone is healthy and not suspended. Lucky for them after this match, they’ll only have two league games until July. With no players called up for any international duty the month ahead will be to focus on the US Open Cup and to getting healthy.

But in the meantime a trip to RSL sounds like it may be number nine once Saturday night comes to an end.

4. Cascadia round two. We got a nice look at the first Cascadia Cup game of the season last week and now we get another one, this time in Portland as the Timbers host the Whitecaps. Vancouver is coming off a tough loss in Toronto last night and will undoubtedly be trying to shake that off in this game. Portland is slowly turning things around here after a 2-1 win over Chicago last week (and for some reason they had a midweek friendly last night…). If last week’s match in Vancouver is any indication of where this series will go this season, you can bet this one will be a fiery game.

Portland sits four points back of the fifth spot in the Western Conference and just six points from the Whitecaps. This is certainly a good time for them to chip away at those points and play catch up. Can you imagine Seattle, Portland and Vancouver in the playoffs together? Talk about a pipe dream that someone in the front office in New York is having at the moment.

5. New look Goats host Seattle. Chivas got the win against LA and then a big draw in New York last night. I think it is almost safe to say that this team is turning that preverbal corner here and is starting to look like a dangerous club. Hosting a slumping Seattle squad this weekend on short rest could be a good test to see where this club is truly going. Robin Fraser has his defense improving in front of Dan Kennedy and now that Juan Pablo Angel is finally being his old self again, the offense is beginning to improve.

6. Game of the week on Sunday in KC. After last night’s dramatic win in LA, the San Jose Earthquakes now hit the road to Kansas City to play arguably the biggest game of the week. Who would have thought that at this stage in the season that the Earthquakes would be the top dog in the league? Not me, not you, not even most people in San Jose.

But can they maintain this for the rest of the 2012 campaign? That is the question everyone wants to know. They’ve passed a lot of big tests early on like winning in Seattle, beating Salt Lake, and winning last night’s game in LA. But going to KC is a different monster to tackle and one that could be very tricky to do on short rest. A win there signifies this San Jose club is indeed a front runner for the Supporters’ Shield, a loss just says they are human.