Major League Soccer rolls into the month of April. So far you could say that the month hasn’t been too kind to the league with two disappointing results in the CCL for the LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders. Both lost their first leg games at home this week and now both have the uphill battle ahead of them in trips to Mexico next week.
But I won’t get too into the CCL at the moment as it is time to focus on the weekend ahead in MLS. Week 6 that is.
Five teams are off this weekend so the schedule is a tad bit lighter. MLS moved a couple of games around for the Galaxy and Sounders, which is the reason why this weekend appears lighter than normal.
We do have some quality games including one rivalry game between RSL and Colorado.
Here are some topics that I will be keeping an eye on this weekend.
Can Dallas keep it up?
One of the real shockers by most people’s opinion to start the season is the play of FC Dallas. Most observers would suggest that the 12 points they gobbled up in March were thanks to different factors like keeper blunders, international call-ups, hand balls, whatever. But no matter which way you spin it, Dallas got 12 of 15 points in the opening month, and are tied for the league lead in points.
But can they continue that success in April? First up is a trip back to the east coast (they were in New England last week), to visit BMO Field and Toronto FC.
The Reds had a disappointing finish to their home game last week in a 2-2 draw to the LA Galaxy. Toronto does appear much improved under Ryan Nelsen but they do still have a ways to go offensively. They were able to get two goals against a good LA defense and they even found the back of the net against a strong defense in Montreal. But one thing that FC Dallas does have going for them right now is their defense.
George John and Matt Hedges have played very well together to open the new season and Zach Loyd appears to be a dark horse candidate for a Gold Cup roster spot. Throw in the fact that newcomer Raul Fernandez is starting to figure out MLS with each passing game and the midfield duo of Michel and Andrew Jacobson is starting to improve, this FC Dallas squad has the makings of a dangerous team.
I’ll also put it this way for you, they haven’t played their best soccer yet. Kind of scary. But also saying that, this Toronto game is a dangerous one for Dallas. They have a big home game with LA looming and they know Toronto is no push over anymore.
Rocky Mountain round two
It kind of stinks that they get two of the three legs out of the way so early this season but that is what Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids are having to deal with here. Once again this rivalry will be in focus, which is not a bad thing in my mind.
We know the history between these two sides and how intense this rivalry can and will get. But does Colorado have anything in the tank for this one? Injury after injury after injury has really hurt Oscar Pareja’s club from day one here. Last I counted (and I probably missed a player or two), they have seven key players out at the moment. The ones that are healthy are at least producing. Rookies Deshorn Brown and Dillion Powers each have a goal on the season and both are getting solid minutes at the moment. So some positives huh?
RSL should be the better side in this one with their roster starting to get healthy by the day here. We should see Alvaro Saborio back for this one and he always has a nose for goal against the Rapids.
Goonies getting healthy
One thing the San Jose Earthquakes had going against them to start the year was injuries all around. But with each passing day the squad for Frank Yallop is starting to round back into form and health. The latest player to get back to health is Steven Lenhart.
Yes, the wild haired striker is back and probably couldn’t come at a better time considering how the offense is kind of struggling to finish chances here. Chris Wondolowski hasn’t been the same goal scorer so far this season that we’ve come to expect out of him. Last week he missed an open sitter against the Houston Dynamo that is surely still haunting his dreams at night.
But with a guy like Lenhart back, the focus will be slightly taken off of Wondo here as the Quakes battle the Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend at home.
D.C. United at Sporting KC – More of the same out of SKC after last weekend? I think so.
Philadelphia at Columbus – Could be the game of the week in some ways. Columbus is very underrated in my book.
Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers – Will Caleb Porter finally win a game? It won’t be easy against one of the league’s best.
New York at Chicago Fire – Will the Fire actually make a breakthrough here or will it just be more of what we’ve been seeing out of them so far this season?