2013 MLS Season, Week 4: What To Watch For

2013 MLS Season, Week 4: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 21, 2013
  • 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 4, Features
Marco Di Vaio leads Montreal this weekend against New York. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Marco Di Vaio leads Montreal this weekend against New York. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

So yes, Week 4 in Major League Soccer falls on a FIFA date. Three clubs are off but several clubs are hit hard with call-ups.

But this is to be expected for now with the way the calendar works for MLS. I won’t beat the dead horse that is why MLS doesn’t/should/can’t/etc during FIFA dates but you all probably know the reasons and excuses made here. Nothing we can do about it now as we look forward to this weekend’s slate of games.

After the Rivalry Week headlined Week 3, the new week ahead doesn’t offer up the same fun. Eight games total on the weekend with seven of them coming on Saturday. I’ll get into my game predictions tomorrow on here.

So what can we look forward to in a weekend that lacks the intensity of a good rivalry game? Plenty given the early nature of the season.

Montreal looks to remain top dog

If you live outside of Quebec and you had the Montreal Impact doing well this this early in the season. Good on you. I look at how the Impact have played so far this season and have come away very impressed. They know their limits, they know their skill and most importantly they know what they are. Most teams take several months to figure that out and the Impact have done it in just one.

Marco Schallibaum’s club loves to counter and they do it so well. It may not be the prettiest style of play but in MLS it seems to work with three straight wins out of the gate.

This weekend they host the New York Red Bulls, a club that is still looking for their identity under new manager Mike Petke. The Red Bulls may be without some key players too which will make this trip north even harder. No Tim Cahill. Possibly no Juninho. And we’re not certain about Thierry Henry and where his head is at these days. He sort of stormed out of Red Bull Arena last Saturday without talking to the press.

Montreal just needs to continue their pace and game plan here to move it to 4-0-0 on the season. Play the build up from the back and use their midfield, which is highly underrated to move the ball up to Marco Di Vaio.

RSL lacks a lot in a trip to Texas

No club was hit harder by the FIFA date in MLS than Real Salt Lake. Jason Kreis has five players called into action, all starters too. Kreis and company will also head to the State of Texas, a place that the club has never won in. Yeah, all time trips to Dallas and Houston see RSL at a lovely 0-18-3 across all competitions.

Alvaro Saborio is the only player who has scored for RSL this season with three strikes while Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando have played every possible minute in their club’s three games this season. That is four tough spots to replace for a road game.

So what will Kreis do against a FC Dallas squad that hasn’t lost at home since July of last year? It won’t be easy but someone will have to step up for Saborio. Either Robbie Findley, Joao Plata or rookie Devin Sandoval will have to do it. But truthfully RSL will need to make sure their midfield and defense does the dirty work in this one. We’ll likely see Josh Saunders make his RSL debut in goal on Saturday but the bigger thing will be replacing Beckerman in the midfield. Yordany Alvarez has shown the ability to step in when needed but is he a full 90 guy right now? We’ll find out.

Don’t sleep on RSL in this match. Dallas is coming off a big win against rivals Houston and in a way this is sort of a trap game for them. They do lose Blas Perez, Raul Fernandez and Je-Vaughn Watson to call up as well too, though really some would argue that Perez is the only loss of the three.

Defense depth against offensive depth

Any other week this would be a dandy of a game. San Jose hosts Seattle this weekend and both teams got hit hard in the call-up game as well. For San Jose it was their defense that got hit tough with Victor Bernardez and Justin Morrow out. On the flip side Seattle loses nearly all of their attack with Eddie Johnson, newly signed DP Obafemi Martins and midfielder Mario Martinez.

So we have a team with backup attackers going against some backup defenders. Seattle does still have a strong midfield group of attackers in Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani. So it isn’t like they’ll be totally without an attacker for this one. I could even see Zakuani step up front from his wing position for this one as well. Sammy Ochoa has also shown promise up front for the Sounders too.

I totally expect this one to be a tight game. Neither club like one another so it will have a rivalry sense to it in some ways. Not to mention they both expect to be the top dog in the West this year so there will be lots of back and forth play here. Chris Wondowloski has done well against good teams like Seattle in the past and you can never count these guys out of a game at home either.

Other games

Columbus Crew at D.C. United – Crew will miss Jairo Arrieta for this one, which should be enough to slow their offense down on the road at United.

Sporting KC at New England Revolution – Home debut for New England. So there is something to look forward to after all.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Houston Dynamo – Houston still unbeaten at BBVA Compass Stadium. No Brad Davis, no Oscar Bonick Garcia, possibly no Will Bruin. Yeah, I could see that record fall to the Whitecaps this weekend.

Colorado Rapids at LA Galaxy – No DPs for LA for the first time in ages. Could be fun against a team that has never owned a DP ever.

Chivas USA at Chicago Fire – Chelis takes his show on the road for the first time. This could be fun.