MLS Week 9: What to Look For

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By RYAN BRISTER

searchThere’s no shortage of narratives in Week 9 in Major League Soccer. Exhibit A: Dax McCarty is back at Red Bull Arena.

McCarty Returns; Tifos Don’t

One of the most surprising trades of the off-season sent Dax McCarty from the Red Bulls to Chicago. McCarty, the Red Bulls’ captain for two years, returns and is joined by the World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger and a resurgence Fire team. The Red Bulls (4-3-1, 13 points) have won two straight after going winless in their previous four, while the Fire (3-2-2, 11) has one loss in its last four games. While the Red Bulls will honor McCarty with a pregame video tribute, several recent vulgar displays by members of two of the team’s supporters groups has led to a two-game ban on tifos and banners, and the deployment of smoke bombs.

Dallas vs. Portland

Dallas (4-0-2, 14) and Portland (5-2-1, 16) have been the two best teams in the Western Conference, if not the entire league. The Timbers lead the league in goals scored (18), while Dallas has held opponents to three goals in six games.

Can Los Angeles or Philadelphia Bounce Back?

Last weekend was rough for both Los Angeles (2-5-0, 6) and Philadelphia (0-4-3, 3). The Galaxy were trounced at home by Seattle, while the Union let a 3-0 lead slip away against in a tied against Montreal.

Trouble for the Rapids

Colorado (1-4-1, 4), stragglers in the Western Conference, have lost three straight and are winless since opening day. The Rapids’ goals-per-game ratio (0.67) is among the lowest in the league. It could be a difficult trip to Florida to face Orlando City (5-1-0, 15), where the Lions are unbeaten at home (4-0-0).

Another Sellout in Atlanta

More than 40,000 are expected in Atlanta (3-2-2, 11) for a battle of two of the league’s Uniteds. D.C. (2-3-2, 8) is winless in its last two after a modest two-game winning streak. By any measure, expansion Atlanta has exceeded expectations thus far.


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