Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
The Cascadia Cup renews itself Saturday night as another longtime rivalry gets the MLS treatment for the first time.
The Seattle Sounders will host their expansion foes from across the border in Vancouver at Qwest Field in FSC's second televised match of the weekend. The first will also be a vintage feud as MLS Eastern Conference originals New York and New England meet Friday night.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Real Salt Lake will try to salvage its road swing that began with a midweek loss in Columbus by stealing a result at first-place Philadelphia, while Portland and Colorado will clash at Jeld-Wen Field as both squads look to move up the Western Conference ladder.
Here is a rundown of the full week 13 slate:
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Friday, 8:30 p.m., FSC)
Midfield maestros Dwayne De Rosario (with Canada at the Gold Cup) and Benny Feilhaber (ankle sprain) won't be on hand, but there is still potential for plenty of goals in this Northeastern tilt. With two of the league's leading scorers in Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers, New York always has the firepower to make life miserable for opposing defenses.
Although New England is in a prolonged offensive slump, the Revolution is facing a Red Bulls side without Gold Cup call-ups Rafael Marquez (Mexico) and Tim Ream (USA). The status of New York right back Jan Gunnar Solli, who is questionable with a hamstring strain, could be key.
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. REAL SALT LAKE (Saturday, 4 p.m., Direct Kick)
Those anticipating a slump from Philadelphia after the team's unexpected hot start to the season continue to be disappointed. The 6-3-3 Union will test itself against a Real Salt Lake side which appeared to have a road win at Columbus in the bag Wednesday before a late collapse left it with a 2-1 loss.
Winger Justin Mapp has been a difference-maker of late for Philadelphia, so his recovery from a groin strain will be an important storyline to watch going into this contest. Salt Lake, meanwhile, will continue to look for ways to win without a slew of regulars, including Gold Cup call-ups Will Johnson (Canada), Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador) and Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica).
D.C. UNITED vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
With centerback Dejan Jakovic out with a hamstring strain, United's youthful back line of Chris Korb (23), Perry Kitchen (19), Ethan White (20) and Daniel Woolard (27) will be relieved to see a San Jose squad without the attacking talents of Gold Cup call-ups Chris Wondolowski (USA) and Ryan Johnson (Jamaica) come into town.
United will be hoping to have leading scorer Charlie Davies, who came off the bench in the second half of last week's 1-1 tie at the Galaxy, back at full strength, although the Josh Wolff-Blake Brettschneider pairing was a fairly effective duo during the team's 1-0-1 road swing to Portland and Los Angeles.
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. CHIVAS USA (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
Chivas, unbeaten in its last three and 2-1-3 on the road this season, will like its chances against a Houston team that hasn't won a game since April. With defender Michael Lahoud in the lineup after he missed several matches with a concussion and forward Marcos Mondaini in his second game back from suspension, Chivas is close to being at full strength.
The Dynamo will be happy to have veteran striker Brian Ching back in the lineup, although he'll likely be limited to an appearance off the bench as he continues to work his way back from plantar fascitiis.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Galavision)
Amid injuries from front to back, Colorado has treaded water in recent weeks, notching six consecutive ties. If the Rapids are going to end that streak and take the full three points in Portland, getting Marvell Wynne (hamstring strain) and Omar Cummings (ankle sprain), who are both questionable, back on the field would be quite helpful.
While Portland has come back down to earth after moving up the table with a streak of wins at Jeld-Wen Field, the Timbers, with those rabid fans and a complete top-to-bottom team, are never easy to defeat at home.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. TORONTO FC (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
Just as D.C. United did last week, Toronto is dodging Landon Donovan for the second time this season. The Galaxy is clearly a different side when the speedy winger is on U.S. national team duty, as David Beckham's controlling the midfield tempo can only do so much when there is no danger generated from the flanks.
The overlapping runs of right back Sean Franklin could consequently be crucial for Los Angeles, which means Toronto could certainly use a standout performance from left back Danleigh Borman.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., FSC)
After Seattle and Portland played to a 1-1 draw in MLS's first Cascadia Cup clash this year, the Sounders will now welcome the Whitecaps to Qwest Field for the first time. For Seattle, the defensive focus will be on shutting down Vancouver's attacking core of Camilo, David Chiumiento and Eric Hassli (back from his third red-card suspension of the season).
Going forward, the Sounders will try to put last week's scoreless draw against Chicago behind them and find some sort of rhythm going forward. Potentially getting Alvaro Fernandez, who is questionable with a hamstring strain, back on the field could provide Seattle with a significant boost.
COLUMBUS CREW vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Sunday, 4 p.m., Direct Kick)
While Columbus snapped a five-game winless spell with a 2-1 triumph over Real Salt Lake midweek, Chicago remains without a victory since March. As Thursday night's 0-0 tie at Kansas City showed, a Fire attack without Marco Pappa (with Guatemala at the Gold Cup) is more or less aimless.
For the Crew, this match against a struggling Fire side is the perfect opportunity to snatch another three points and potentially find itself in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference at weekend's end.
FC DALLAS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Sunday, 7 p.m., Direct Kick)
Although Kansas City has a nine-game homestand on the horizon from that runs mid-July to early September, coach Peter Vermes' side can't settle in at Livestrong Sporting Park just yet. So back to the road Kansas City goes, with a trip to red-hot Dallas.
Having adapted to the loss of playmaker David Ferreira by changing to a traditional 4-4-2 alignment with Andrew Jacobson taking on two-way duties in central midfield and Brek Shea and Eric Alexander on the flanks, Dallas' proficient attack could be trouble for a Kansas City team that will be without starting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (red card).