2012 MLS, Week 20: What To Watch For Midweek Edition

2012 MLS, Week 20: What To Watch For Midweek Edition

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 17, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 20, Features

Red Bull Arena may be a little hot tomorrow. (Getty Images)

Normally I hold off my weekly “What To Watch For” post until Thursday for the weekend games but this is a special case. MLS has a full slate of games on Wednesday and when I say full I mean it – seven league games total with one friendly up in Seattle.

With so many games on tap, I saw no reason not to do a special post for tomorrow’s games.

So let’s get right down to it and review the items that I will be looking at during tomorrow’s late of games.

1. Weird start time could be problem in New York. It’s hot this summer, not just in Dallas where I am sitting but all over the country it is hot. New York is no exception at the moment and for some crazy reason the Red Bulls host the Chicago Fire in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. Yes, a 1pm local kick off for a game that isn’t even on national TV. Crazy.

The heat will be an issue for both sides and anyone who watched the Red Bulls play this past Sunday in the afternoon will know that there will quickly be some tired legs out there for Hans Backe. Between the heat, the tight schedule and the weird start time this one could either be a scoreless snooze fest or a big time shutout. I see it going either way.

2. Toronto moves on past Koevermans. Losing your top striker for the rest of the season is never easy. Toronto FC will have to deal with it now that Danny Koevermans is out for the remainder of the year with a knee injury. Their midweek opponents know a thing or two about losing a top striker in the middle of the year. Colorado had to deal with that all of last season when Conor Casey went down.

This one is going to be interesting to watch to see how Toronto addresses their offense without Koevermans and how Colorado decides to end their current slump (five losses in six games). Toronto has to get others in the attack involved including Ryan Johnson, who has to be the big go-to guy now for the Reds. If Toronto can be strong defensively like they were against New England they could continue their current run and pile on to Colorado’s misery.

3. Can sparks continue to fly in Houston? Once the offense got going in Houston last weekend, it didn’t stop. Goals came from all over and newcomer Oscar Boniek Garcia looked dangerous for the Dynamo. That’s a good thing too considering they’re hosting Sporting Kansas City – a team that I think is back to it’s early season form. Garcia has to be the guy that continues the offense. He and Brad Davis really sparked the outburst.

But going against Sporting won’t be as easy as a 10-man D.C. United. KC looked strong last weekend in Columbus and defensively seems back to their old self. They’ve learned the fine art of bunkering when need be on the road. For a team with a quality offense that will certainly come in handy down the stretch into the playoffs.

4. Can the Caps bounce back? It was a rough week in Vancouver last week. Two losses on the road – including one heart breaker in Toronto last Wednesday. Flipping forward to this week and the Whitecaps have to host the LA Galaxy. Martin Rennie made headlines twice over the last week by trading away Sebastien Le Toux and by signing DP forward Kenny Miller. How those two deals factor in will be huge to watch tomorrow against the Galaxy.

LA on the other hand seems to have found their form again with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane up top with one another. Those two play off each other so well and it was pretty obvious last weekend in Portland how dangerous they all can be. Vancouver is no slouch defensively though and will put up a better fight than the Timbers did. I see Vancouver holding their own in this one but this could be a shootout when it is all said and done.

5. Streak is over now time to visit San Jose. For FC Dallas, last weekend’s result in Colorado was one to be excited by. Not only did it end a 13-game slump but it also showed that this club has some serious fight left in them here this season. But all of that good feeling won’t last too long since they have to face the league’s best in San Jose, who are coming off a big 5-0 blanking of RSL last weekend.

Dallas has to stick to their guns here defensively and find a way to shutout Chris Wondolowski and company like they did a couple weeks ago in Frisco. Wondo scored a hat trick last weekend and looks to be the guy that could break that all-time goal scoring mark in a season too. These two sides know one another well and given form, talent and location involved you have to side with San Jose a great deal in this one. Dallas is still lacking a forward in Blas Perez, who is out for a few more weeks with a foot injury. Without a true striker Dallas will have to rely on the little guys (Fabian Castillo, Jackson, etc.) to get it done.