MLS Week 11 Preview: Midweek action, Atlantic Cup, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Week 11 marks the one-third point of the Major League Soccer season, the point when the standings should be taken somewhat seriously. It also marks the most packed week of the year so far, with 14 games on tap, starting tonight.

Philadelphia Union vs. LA Galaxy, Wednesday at 7 p.m.

It hasn’t been entirely consistent, but of late the LA Galaxy have looked like a dominant force. Philadelphia will have a chance to slow them down when Gerrard and the Galaxy visit on Wednesday night. The Galaxy played in Southern California on Sunday, while the Union had this past weekend off, so scheduling favors the hosts here. Whether that advantage will help against a potent LA attack remains to be seen.

Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City, Wednesday at 9 p.m.

The Galaxy might be the most dangerous team in the league right now, but through 10 weeks the Colorado Rapids have the best record. They will host a downtrodden Sporting Kansas City side on Wednesday. SKC has not won in their last six games, and looked particularly lifeless Saturday in Houston. The Rapids have already beaten SKC on this current skid, a 2-1 win at Sporting Park in April.

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers, Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Dallas returns home after three losses on the road and will look to regain their prior form against the Timbers. Portland was beaten this weekend by their rivals in Vancouver, and earlier this season received a thumping from Dallas at home. Dallas’ good form has disappeared since then; they’ve been outscored 8-0 in their last three games.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Chicago Fire, Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Fresh off a strong performance over the weekend, Vancouver will host Chicago. In five home games since their opening day defeat, the Whitecaps have not lost. The Fire, meanwhile, are the only team in MLS that has yet to lose on the road this season. That owes largely to the fact that they’ve only played two games away from Toyota Park.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo, Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.

The midweek action comes to a close in San Jose, where the Earthquakes are hosting the Dynamo. Form would suggest a big advantage for the hosts here; the Quakes are 4-0-1 at Avaya Stadium, while the Dynamo are 0-4-0 on the road this season. Houston ended a lengthy skid with their win Saturday over Kansas City.

DC United vs. New York Red Bulls, Friday at 7 p.m. on Unimas

Having lost to a New York team on Sunday, DC will host the other on Friday in the first game of this year’s Atlantic Cup. Through 10 games, United has found consistency hard to come by. They enter the week just below the Red Bulls, seventh in the East. For the third week in a row, the Red Bulls are playing on Friday night; they’ve won and drawn the previous two and seem to be finding last year’s form again.

Montreal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Eastern Conference is bunched up tightly, but Montreal and Philly find themselves near the top heading into Saturday’s meeting. The Impact rescued a point from the jaws of defeat over the weekend; the Union have midweek business to take care of before focusing on Didier Drogba. This week might give us a very good idea of how legitimate the Union are this year.

New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

File this under “MLS has quirky scheduling:” New England has 10 games under their belt, Chicago enters the week having played just seven. The Revs have that many draws already, but they’ll view this as a game they should win. Especially considering the Fire are traveling across the continent this week.

Columbus Crew SC vs. Colorado Rapids, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Tensions are high this week in Columbus after their meltdown over the weekend. Kei Kamara, having publicly ripped Federico Higuain after their penalty spat, has been suspended for this match by head coach Gregg Berhalter, and there has been discussion that the Crew might seek to offload him altogether. No such problems worry the Rapids, who hope to take advantage of the disarray.

Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Toronto christened the new BMO Field with a win on Saturday, for the second act they will host Canadian opposition. It’s a busy week for the Whitecaps, who like Chicago have to travel from the west coast to the east after a game Wednesday night. Vancouver seems to have cured their earlier scoring woes, but the Reds will test that with one of the league’s stingiest defenses.

Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

After a trip out west in midweek, Houston returns home to take on Salt Lake. The Dynamo’s win over the weekend still leaves them stranded in 10th place, four points back of ninth in the competitive Western Conference. Conversely, RSL lost over the weekend but still hold third place.

FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders, Saturday at 9 p.m.

Dallas will get their fill of Cascadia teams this week, with Seattle arriving in town after Portland leaves. The Sounders bring with them momentum and the hottest scorer in the league in Jordan Morris. Dallas would take any scorer at this point; they are goalless in 292 minutes of play.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Orlando City, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Sporting Kansas City will host Orlando City in the first of two games on Sunday. Orlando is making their first trip to KC as an MLS team; they defeated Sporting in the 2013 Open Cup when they were still in the USL. This will be Orlando’s 10th game of the season and their ninth on national television. They’ve gotten very used to playing on Sundays and Fridays. For this game, they will be without head coach Adrian Heath and midfielder Cristian Higuita.

Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on FS1

David Villa and NYCFC make their first ever trip to Portland on Sunday when they take on the Timbers. City has won two games in a row after a difficult stretch, but away against the defending champs is a difficult task.

  • William

    DC United in a ROMP.

    • slowleftarm

      Doubt it – they aren’t playing the Cosmos.

      • William

        3-6 bud.