MLS Week 3 Preview: Earthquakes open new stadium, more

Image, MLSSoccer.com

by RYAN BRISTER
MLS Beat Writer

Each of the first two weeks of the Major League Soccer season were highlighted by a big crowd at a long-awaited home opener.

Week three features another long expected home opener, but this time on a smaller scale. The San Jose Earthquakes move into a home of their own; the 18,000-seat Avaya Stadium. Their game against Chicago caps a weekend that features eight games over 48 hours.

Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas, Friday at 7 p.m. on Unimas

Those going to PPL Park tonight can expect snow. That includes FC Dallas, who are as hot as a team can be after just two weeks; they’re the only team in MLS with two wins. Blas Perez has three goals (though one was offside) to help the Hoops take off right. The Union had three goals last week, and a clean sheet in their first game, but they’ve only managed two draws. They’ll hope the weather can help them to a first win.

New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact, Saturday at 3 p.m.

For the second year in a row, New England holds its home opener after two ugly losses to start the season. They’ll take on Montreal, who was busy with their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal on Wednesday night. The Revs won’t have Jose Goncalves, who earned a red card last week, and Jermaine Jones, who will return to New England next week. Impact winger Justin Mapp will miss this and several future matches after dislocating his elbow in the opening weekend match against DC United.

Colorado Rapids vs. New York City FC, Saturday at 4 p.m. 

The Rapids, who appeared more concerned with kicking shins than the ball during their first game, sold last season’s top scorer during the week. 24-year-old Jamaican forward Deshorn Brown is on his way to  Vålerenga in Norway, while NYCFC is on their way into Colorado. The Rapids will have altitude and extra week’s rest to help them, but David Villa and the visitors looked impressive on Sunday against New England. Colorado defender Bobby Burling is suspended for the match after he picked up a red card in week one.

Orlando City SC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

After more than 62,000 attended Orlando City’s first game in MLS, capacity at the Citrus Bowl was supposed to be a more modest 19,500 for the remainder of the season. Demand for game two, however, has forced ownership to lift that cap, and more than 24,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday night’s game.  The Whitecaps, who also have four points so far, will make the longest trip in MLS in hopes of postponing Orlando’s first home win.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

The Timbers played well in weeks one and two, but managed only two points from two home matches. Their first road trip takes them to Kansas City, where SKC will be hoping that the return of Matt Besler to the lineup can produce better results. It’s still very early in the season, but matchups like this might preview the playoff race out west.

LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo, Saturday at 10:30 p.m. 

The Galaxy are known for their stars, so naturally Jose Villarreal and Alan Gordon have been the heroes of week one and two. Villarreal, a homegrown player, has a goal and assist in two games as a starter, while Gordon came off the bench and rescued a draw last week in Portland. The Dynamo would take heroics from any source; last week’s performance doesn’t bode well for a trip to LA.

New York Red Bulls vs. DC United, Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2

The Red Bulls have been overshadowed by their new neighbors in the opening two weeks—it didn’t help that they only played one game in that span. They’ll open another season at Red Bull Arena against a much older rival, DC United. DC won their opening game, but they too haven’t played since. United will still be without Fabian Espindola, who was suspended for pushing a referee during last year’s playoff series against the Red Bulls. The home side has health issues in defense; Roy Miller is out, and Ronald Zubar’s status is doubtful for Sunday.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire, Sunday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

The San Jose Earthquakes have had three head coaches since 2001. Two of them will be on the field for the opening of the new Avaya Stadium. Frank Yallop brings the scoreless and pointless Chicago Fire to the Bay Area to take on his old assistant, Dominic Kinnear, who is in charge of the Quakes at home for the first time in more than a decade. The Earthquakes have sold out their home opener, in addition to 12,000 season tickets. They enter Sunday’s game on a high after last weekend’s win in Seattle.

  • Gazza

    The Whitecaps only have 3 points.