The second half of the MLS season kicks off today with four matches taking center stage on the MLS calendar.
The New York Red Bulls visit San Jose, the Los Angeles Galaxy travel to Texas to take on FC Dallas, The Chicago Fire are on the road to face Kansas City and the Columbus Crew vist Colorado to take on the Rapids.
Today’s marquee match-up? That would have to be the Fire-Wizards tilt. Kansas City has been on a bit of a role in recent weeks and can actually leapfrog D.C. United and Toronto FC (and pull within a point of Chicago) in the East standings with a win. The Fire can move into a tie for second place with Columbus with a win and Crew loss.
Here is a closer look at all four of today’s match-ups:
New York Red Bulls at San Jose Earthquakes
Call this the ‘Who’s That?’ Derby as two teams who have made several new additions to their rosters square off in a battle of last place teams. The Red Bulls could have Venezuelan national team defender Gabriel Cichero ready to go while the Earthquakes will have Darren Huckerby and Francisco Lima making their home debuts. The Lima-Jorge Rojas battle should be a fun one to watch.
Los Angeles Galaxy at FC Dallas
The traveling circus known as the LA Galaxy visits Pizza Hut Park as Beckham and friends visit Kenny Cooper and FC Dallas. At least we think Cooper will be there, unless a transfer has gone down that we haven’t heard about.
What do we make of this game? FC Dallas is trailing the pack in the West and rumors are swirling that Cooper and Juan Toja are on their way out. Is the white flag on the way for the 2008 season? Los Angeles certainly isn’t raising the white flag and should welcome the debut of Argentine defender Eduardo Dominguez, who is supposed to be a difference maker in the LA back line.
Chicago Fire at Kansas City Wizards
Fresh from his MVP turn at the MLS All-Star Game, Cuauhtemoc Blanco travels to the heartland to face off against a Kansas City squad unbeaten in five matches. The match will mark Josh Wolff’s first at home since re-joining the Wizards. It will also be the Fire’s first meeting vs. KC since its 1-0 loss at Toyota Park in April.
Columbus Crew at Colorado Rapids
The Rapids have found a way to stay in the playoff race despite being frustratingly inconsistent. Posting a 5-2-1 record at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park helps. The Crew has been one of the steadiest teams in MLS but could struggle without midfielders Robbie Rogers and Emmanuel Ekpo, who are both headed to the Olympics. Can the Rapids take advantage of those absences to beat the same team that beat them in Columbus just a month ago?
What do you think of today’s matches? What will you be looking to see? What are you most looking forward to?
Share your thoughts below.