With the European leagues taking a break due to international action Major League Soccer has the opportunity to take centre stage this weekend. Sadly many clubs will lose their best players to national team call-ups, but there are still a few games that should be worth watching:
Philadelphia v Vancouver- How will the home town team fare on the first away day? They will be without captain Jay DeMerit who plays for the USA and winger David Chiumiento is likely to miss out through injury but they will be keen to maintain the momentum that they picked up in the home opener. Philadelphia started their second MLS campaign with a 1-0 win in Houston with goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon (pictured) being the standout player. If either team gets three points in this game then they will have had a dream start to the season, but expect a low scoring draw.
The Whitecaps did receive some good news with confirmation that first round draft pick Omar Salgado is now eligible to play for the rest of the season. When Salgado was signed the assumption was that he wouldn’t be available for selection until September, but international clearance has been received. Whatever the issues they are having off the field it is becoming pretty clear that the Whitecaps know exactly what they are doing with regard to the playing staff. Salgado could be a great late impact substitute, and even more as the season progresses.
Seattle v Houston- It seems crazy to talk about a crisis after just two games but the Sounders go into the game on Friday having lost their two opening matches and also having failed to score a goal. A win tonight at Qwest Field would ease most of the pressure but if they fail to pick up three points, and even worse fail to hit the back of the net, then it could prove to be the harbinger of a long season ahead of them. The Dynamo lost to Philadelphia last week and looked to be still finding their bearings in a much changed team. Seattle to break out of their mini slump and win 2-0.
Real Salt Lake v LA Galaxy- Despite their ludicrous name Salt Lake are my tip to win the MLS Cup this year and it will be interesting to see them against another top contender. Sadly the Galaxy are without their best player in Landon Donovan, but Brazilian midfielder Juninho has got both their goals so far with long range shots from will undoubtedly be closed down quickly by the RSL defence.
Real Salt Lake haven’t been beaten at home in 35 matches and have the advantage of being ahead of the curve in terms of fitness due to playing games in the Champions League. It’s a shame that both teams will lose crucial players to international action (blame the MLS scheduling for that) but RSL should sneak out a win unless the weather becomes so bad that the game is turned into a lottery.Tags: MLS, Vancouver Whitecaps, World soccer