By DAN KARELL
It’s taken many months, but the Seattle Sounders seem to be all on the same page at this point in the season.
The impressive chemistry between Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins has lead to nine goals in the team’s last three games and many chances for other players as well. However, the Sounders will have their hands full when they face Pablo Mastroeni and the Colorado Rapids, who feature one of the best midfield trios in the league.
Elsewhere in MLS this weekend, the streaking New York Red Bulls visit the Columbus Crew for their second match in four days, the Vancouver Whitecaps travel to face Western Conference leading Real Salt Lake, and D.C. United looks to build on their recent performances against red-hot FC Dallas.
Here is a rundown of the Week 8 slate:
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Saturday, 4pm, MLS Live/Univision Deportes)
The fiery-hot Seattle Sounders look to ride Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins’ coat-tails when they host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, a team they have never lost to at home. The Sounders have scored nine goals in their last three matches but will face a tough defensive opponent in the image of head coach Pablo Mastroeni.
Sounders left back Leo Gonzalez is the only injury worry for the team, while defender March Burch and midfielder Jose Mari are both questionable for the Rapids. Chris Klute should be back to full fitness this week, making for an interesting dynamic with him against DeAndre Yedlin on that side of the field.
MONTREAL IMPACT vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION (Saturday, 4pm, MLS Live)
The defensive struggles for the Montreal Impact have continued but they could be in for a treat when they face the Philadelphia Union at Stade Saputo.
The Union have scored only once in their last two matches and have only won one match all season. In addition, Jack McInerney has a chance to make his debut against his former club, due to some worry over Marco Di Vaio’s fitness. As of now, both Nelson Rivas and Hernan Bernardello are listed as questionable. Everyone is fit for the Union except Fred, who is out, and Danny Cruz, who is questionable.
D.C. UNITED vs. FC DALLAS (Saturday, 7pm, MLS Live)
D.C. United are certainly disappointed they didn’t win their third match in a row last Saturday but they return home to face one of the league’s hottest teams this season in FC Dallas.
Central defense partners Jeff Parke and Bobby Boswell will have their hands full with Blas Perez or David Texiera as well as the play of Mauro Diaz, who likes to float around off the lead forward. FC Dallas have listed George John and Andres Escobar as questionable.
COLUMBUS CREW vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Saturday, 7:30pm, MLS Live)
After three wins to start the year, the Crew have played three straight games with more disappointing results as teams adjust to them. They’ll face their toughest test yet when the suddenly hot New York Red Bulls come to town.
The Crew will have to make a lineup change with Bernardo Anor suspended and the Red Bulls may make some changes too after playing on Wednesday. Both Dominic Oduro and Wil Trapp are listed as questionable but both are expected to feature for the Crew. Bobby Convey and Richard Eckersley are both out for the Red Bulls, while Tim Cahill remains a doubt and is listed as questionable.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Saturday, 7:30pm, MLS Live)
The struggling New England Revolution face one of their toughest matches of the season when they welcome Sporting Kansas City and their in-your-face defense to Foxboro, Mass. The Revolution have scored only five goals in seven matches, while Sporting KC have only conceded four times in that same span.
Jose Goncalves is again injured. Kelyn Rowe is unlikely to play, but is listed as questionable, meaning that Diego Fagundez, Teal Bunbury, and Lee Nguyen have even more pressure to deliver for the Revolution. Kevin Alston misses out due to suspension. C.J. Sapong is listed as out for the match and Paulo Nagamura and Aurelien Collin are both listed as questionable. This should be a great rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Saturday, 9:30pm, MLS Live)
After dealing with the internationally loaded Portland Timbers last weekend, Real Salt Lake will face a similar opponent in the Vancouver Whitecaps, who feature a ton of foreign talent with high potential but not the same consistency.
The Whitecaps’ Pedro Morales and Nigel Reo-Coker are listed as questionable for the match, while RSL could get back Luis Gil into the lineup as he’s listed as questionable too. Joao Plata, Nick Rimando, and Aaron Maund join Gil as questionable on RSL’s injury list.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. CHIVAS USA (Saturday, 10:30pm, MLS Live)
The San Jose Earthquakes return home from a difficult evening in Denver to face struggling Chivas USA. The Goats have conceded 13 goals already this season, giving hope to the Earthquakes that they can convert one of their open-play chances and not just wait for set pieces to strike.
Both teams will be missing pieces for this match. The Earthquakes’ Adam John and Chivas USA’s Marco Delgado are both suspended. Alan Gordon, Yanick Djalo, Jordan Stewart, Shaun Francis, and Khari Stephenson are all questionable for the ‘Quakes and Andrew Jean-Baptiste joins Thomas McNamara and Tony Lockhead on the list of Chivas USA players who are out for this match.
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS (Sunday, 3pm, UniMas)
Neither the Houston Dynamo and the Portland Timbers can buy a win recently, which means when these two clubs collide, something’s has to give.
The Dynamo have suffered from poor finishing and defensive breakdowns while the Timbers can’t seem to put good performances on both sides of the ball together in the same match. Brad David was missed by the Dynamo in their 4-0 thrashing by the Red Bulls and they lost Ricardo Clark to a suspected head injury in the second half. The Timbers could be without Steve Zakuani, who remains questionable as well.