2012 MLS, Week 13: What To Watch For

2012 MLS, Week 13: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 14, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 13, Alvaro Fernandez, Aron Winter, BBVA Compass Stadium, Ben Olsen, Blas Perez, Bruce Arena, Danny Mwanga, Darren Mattocks, David Ferreira, Drew Moor, Eric Hassli, Features, Fredy Montero, John Hawkworth, Mauro Rosales, Oscar Pareja, Paul Mariner, Robbie Keane, Saputo Stadium, Sebastien Le Toux, Ugo Ihemelu

I feel like it’s been ages since we last did one of these weekly posts. Now that the mini-break is over, it is time to get back down to business here as the 2012 season rolls on into the month of June.

Week 13 sees plenty of decent games including one big rivalry game down in Texas and the MLS debut of Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

Here are some items I’ll be keeping a close eye on this weekend.

1. El Capitan. FC Dallas made this clever video earlier in the week claiming how they want their little cannon back.  Houston on the other hands has different plans for the cannon – they want to make sure it has a permanent home in BBVA Compass Stadium. This rivalry continues to get better with age in my eyes and now that Houston have their own stadium, it will only get better. Sadly this is the lone meeting between the two this season and hopefully it lives up to the hype.

Dallas is currently going through a big time slump – as they haven’t won a game since mid-April. Yeah, nearly two months now without a single win in any competition (remember they were outed in the USOC by USL-Pro’s Charlotte). Schellas Hyndman’s squad still is ravished with injuries and could be missing both Brek Shea (toe) and Blas Perez (ankle) for this one. Throw in the fact that captain Ugo Ihemelu is not close to returning due to concussion issues and Ricardo Villar and David Ferreira are still on the pine with injuries – this club is still hurting on the bottom line.

Houston is coming off a tough loss in Vancouver last Sunday but look for them to bounce back in this one. If the Dynamo can find some life in their offense here, they should have enough to take three points. 

2. New era in Philly. The Peter Nowak era is over as of yesterday in Philadelphia and now it is on to interim manager John Hackworth. Honestly, don’t expect a major turn around by this bunch anytime soon. The offense still isn’t anything to write home about and the defense has to improve. I do think we’ll see some new life in this club though in game one of the post-Nowak era though. You have to think the players have been waiting for this to happen and now they can move on from Nowak with possibly some quality play under Hackworth.

It won’t be easy though as they host one of the best sides in MLS, D.C. United. The Black-and-Red looked good before the international break and I’d imagine the time off gave Ben Olsen’s club some quality time to get healthy again. This team is dangerous when healthy and on the same page.

3. Saputo Debut. A couple weeks ago I thought this wouldn’t happen – the debut of Saputo Stadium in MLS. The construction looked behind schedule but some how, some way, things seemed to finish up on time. The grass was recently installed and I have to say, the pitch looks great. Now, whether or not it plays well remains to be seen, but based on looks alone it will be a good surface to play on.

The Impact move into their smaller stadium as they host the Sounders – a club that needs to get back on the positive side of things here in league play. We know the Impact have been good at home this season but playing on a new surface at home will be a bit of a change for this club.

This game should be fairly open as the Sounders look to get Mauro Rosales involved more in this one. The time off for the clubs had to be a welcome thing to Seattle as Rosales, Alvaro Fernandez and Fredy Montero were all able to get some much needed rest here. If those three can be on the same page as one another – this could be a very tough game for the Impact to deal with as they open their stadium.

4. Consistency a factor for Colorado. One thing has been apparent with the Rapids this season, they lack consistency in their play from game to game. Oscar Pareja has said no one’s position with the club is safe right now, something you want to see if you are a Rapids fan. Competition breads better play from clubs and Pareja learned that in Dallas when FCD was running well two years ago.

The Rapids head to Vancouver for the weekend’s game against the Whitecaps. Honestly this matchup does not favor the Rapids very well. Defensively the Rapids are good with guys like Drew Moor but I think the Caps’ offense is close to becoming a real force in MLS. We saw against Houston last Sunday a glimpse of the future with Darren Mattocks running wild and scoring a brace. Mattocks is the type of player that once he gets going – he is tough to stop. Throw him up there with Eric Hassli and Sebastien Le Toux and this offense could be damn scary.

5. New era in Toronto. Just like in Philadelphia, Toronto also comes into this weekend’s play with a new man in charge, Paul Mariner. And just like in Philly, don’t expect a massive change in game one under Mariner. The former Revs assistant is finally getting his day in the spotlight and while I do see Toronto improving more under him than Aron Winter, I just think it will be a while before anything special comes of it.

Toronto kicks off the Mariner era in probably one of the toughest places in MLS to pick up points, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Ouch. Sporting KC has had their way at home this season (minus a game with Montreal of course) and I see the two week break being equally as good to them as it gave time for key players to get some rest.

6. Only place to go is up. I look at the final game of the weekend, Portland and LA. This is definitely a game of who can finally break through and get back up the standings. Portland seems closer to getting back than LA but really, the Galaxy should be able to break through in this one. The time off had to do some good for Bruce Arena’s bunch. Yes, they’ll be without a couple of key guys like Robbie Keane but I still feel that at some point this group will turn it around.

The Timbers on the other hand seem like they can still go either way. The USOC loss a couple weeks ago shows that they still have a lot of issues to sort out – mostly on offense. Adding Danny Mwanga certainly helps things out but he’s got to step up and prove himself once again.