- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 7, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 2, Features
This week has mostly been about the three MLS sides in the CCL. The league was wise enough to give Houston, LA and Seattle the weekend off to be better prepared for their knockout round games this week and next. So far it appears to be working with Houston up 1-0 in their series and Seattle only being down 1-0 after a trip to Mexico last night.
A lot is still left to be decided but its a good start nonetheless for MLS.
But it is time to turn our focus to the weekend ahead. MLS has plenty of games on tap, eight in fact. Six of those games will be played on Saturday, including the season debut of the New England Revolution. Five of the games also include inter-conference battle too.
Wild battles between D.C. and Salt Lake
One thing that always seems to be true is that games between Real Salt Lake and D.C. United over the years have always been interesting in some way. Either it is a lopsided victory on one end or there are some crazy weather issues delaying the game on the other.
So what will be in store for this weekend’s edition of this series at RFK Stadium? Well, for one we should expect a decent crowd at RFK for United’s season opener. Second of all, we know that Dwayne De Rosario will be missing due to suspension yet again for this one. A big miss for United. The last game for United in Houston showed how much the Black-and-Red needed him in the attack, orchestrating things for Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon and even for Carlos Ruiz once he gets going.
Salt Lake on the other hand took the majority of the game with San Jose last week and found ways to beat last year’s top club. Alvaro Saborio also silenced some folks for scoring on a good team too, something he struggled with last season. United will need to keep a watchful eye on balls in the midfield that are directed towards Saborio’s way. We saw last week that even in space, Saborio can be extremely dangerous.
United should look better in Week 2 though. There are too many quality players and veterans on Ben Olsen’s squad to not show up two weeks in a row. I still expect something wild from this one though, just wouldn’t feel right between these two clubs if something fun didn’t happen.
Revs and Fire rekindle rivalry
As mentioned above, New England gets to kick off their season on the road this week. They’ll travel to Chicago to face a Fire squad that looked absolutely terrible in Week 1 against LA. The Galaxy ran all over the Fire to the tune of a 4-0 scoreline. For the first 30 minutes or so the Fire were in it against LA, but once Mike Magee got going, the game Fire ended up losing themselves in the game and the result showed for it.
Chicago will have to figure out a way to get their defense to step up in their home debut. On the flip side New England will want to prove that their offense is ready to step up to the challenge this season. Jay Heaps has a big midfield and plenty of bodies to fill those slots but the attack is beat up with Saer Sene not expected to be available for a few more weeks. Jerry Bengston will also need to show up in this one, though playing a lone striker role may not suit his abilities up front.
These two also play a tough series against one another and I’d expect no less with the season expectations that they both have this year. New England has to prove that they are good enough to move up the order in the very crowded Eastern Conference. The talk has been good in preseason but navigating the full season is super tricky for any club, especially one that still has plenty of question marks surrounding them.
Can Montreal make it 2-for-2 in the Pacific Northwest?
Was last week’s 1-0 win in Seattle a fluke or a sign of things to come out of the Montreal Impact? We’ll certainly know more after this week when they head back to the Pacific Northwest to face the Portland Timbers.
Montreal didn’t look absolutely great in their win last week but I don’t think the Impact will be going for style points in their wins this season. They are a counter attack team if I ever saw one with Marco Di Vaio sitting up front in that attack. But hey, at least so far we know it works. The Impact will take their licks and eventually a team that is clicking on offense will figure them out.
So can Portland be that team? At home I think so. With the emerging play of Designated Player Diego Valeri, the Timbers attack, at least for the second half against New York last week was booming. Valeri was setting things up nicely for Darlington Nagbe and Ryan Johnson. I think once those two really get on the same page, the Timbers attack will be something to watch.
At best this game has a few goals written all over it. I think that is one thing we can expect out of Portland early on this season.
Can San Jose rebound?
So far the sequel to the Goonies isn’t going too well. Last week’s 2-0 loss was partly due to poor defense late in the game and a lack of spark up front for Chris Wondolowski. Its pretty obvious how much this San Jose club needs the likes of Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon up front to be truly effective on offense.
Well, another week and the Quakes will be left trying to figure out who exactly to break down New York’s defense in the same way that Portland was able to last week. For San Jose, it is all about balls from the wings but Portland was able to run right through the middle of the field against New York to get their chances. They had a couple wide chances but the effective play came mostly from the middle.
San Jose will want to do a bit of that along with their normal wing play. Take it to the Red Bulls early will be an effective way to win this game. I don’t think this San Jose club can do the late game magic just yet here this season, at least not until everyone is healthy.
Sporting KC at Toronto FC: Peter Vermes will tell you that they didn’t play great in their season opener but a win is a win. Toronto doesn’t have the attack to deal with SKC, so this could be a long one for the Reds.
Philadelphia at Colorado: The Union have never beat the Rapids, ever. They are 0-3-2 all-time against the Mile High City club.
Columbus at Vancouver: Are the Crew for real? The Whitecaps will present a better challenge than Chivas did last week.
FC Dallas at Chivas USA: Dallas had the ugliest win in Week 1 but a team like Chivas may be the answer to their offensive issues. On the flip side, can Chivas actually show us anything? Anything at all?