By DAN KARELL
The MLS season will continue to play on but teams across the league will be dealing with some heavy losses this weekend due to international duty.
Without Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and Alvaro Saborio in their squad, Real Salt Lake look to remain undefeated when they host the Colorado Rapids in the first Rocky Mountain Cup match of the season. Javier Morales is looking to build off his hat-trick performance last Sunday but Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca, and Jose Mari will all do their part to limit Morales’ chances.
Elsewhere in the league, the still hot New York Red Bulls visit Jermain Defoe and Toronto FC in a must-see match, the struggling Houston Dynamo look to get back on track against the Landon Donovan-less LA Galaxy, and a weakened Seattle Sounders side takes on an also-weakened San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field.
Here’s the rest of the MLS Week 11 slate:
TORONTO FC vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., TSN/MLS Live)
Toronto FC enter this weekend on a three-game MLS losing streak with some of the early-season wins beginning to feel like they were years and not weeks ago. The club is without Michael Bradley until the U.S. Men’s National Team finishes its run at the World Cup, and will be missing Jackson this weekend, who is still suffering from a concussion. Alvaro Rey and Jeremy Hall are also both questionable.
The Red Bulls have had plenty of positive results recently and despite their 5-4 defeat to the Fire last weekend, they’ll enter this match with plenty of confidence and could continue to score goals at BMO Field. Mike Petke has a nearly full squad of regulars to pick from, with only Tim Cahill and Roy Miller away from the team.
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
The Union won their first game since the second game of the season on Wednesday, winning on the road at Sporting Kansas City. It seemed only a matter of time before the Union would win and it will be interesting to see if they can keep the momentum against the Revolution.
The Revs have won three matches in a row, including their 5-0 rout of the Seattle Sounders, and Lee Nguyen is playing some of the best soccer of his career. Shalrie Joseph and Kevin Alston are ruled out for this weekend, and Jose Goncalves is questionable. For the Union, Maurice Edu is gone on international duty, but only Pedro Ribeiro is listed on their injury report.
D.C. UNITED vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
Eddie Johnson gets his first chance to prove that he should have been called up when D.C. United takes on the defensively challenged Montreal Impact on Saturday.
The Impact acquired Issey Nakajima-Farran on Friday to give them another wing option, but they could struggle against the play of Johnson, Nick DeLeon, and Chris Rolfe. Sean Franklin is listed as questionable and is still a doubt. Marco Di Vaio, Eric Miller, Matteo Ferrari, and Adrian Lopez are all listed as questionable for the Impact.
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. LA GALAXY (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Two sides which have had slow starts to their seasons meet on Saturday night in downtown Houston looking for a spark to get back in fifth gear.
The Dynamo are boosted by the fact that Oscar Boniek Garcia is available for the match and the Galaxy will be without Landon Donovan, who is in USMNT camp. However, Eric Brunner and Ricardo Clark are both out of contention. Bruce Arena won’t be able to count on James Riley and Todd Dunivant, Leonardo, and Marcelo Sarvas are all questionable.
FC DALLAS vs. CHIVAS USA (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)
An injury-plagued FC Dallas side has a chance to notch a crucial home win when Chivas USA returns for the second time this season.
FC Dallas have lost four games in a row since Mauro Diaz went down, and lost Hendry Thomas for an extended period earlier this week. Kellyn Acosta and George John remain out for Dallas, while Chivas USA are missing Andrew Jean-Baptiste for this weekend’s clash in addition to their other long-term absentees.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Saturday, 9:30 p.m., MLS Live)
RSL are the last remaining undefeated team in MLS, but they welcome a side in the Rapids that believe they can break the streak. In the first Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry match this year, RSL will again rely on Jeff Attinella in place of Nick Rimando, Cole Grossman in place of Kyle Beckerman, and Devon Sandoval in place of Alvaro Saborio.
The Rapids have won only once in their last five matches, but have Dillon Powers, Edson Buddle, and Drew Moor all fit to play. Vicente Sanchez, however, is out of action.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (Saturday, 10 p.m., MLS Live)
The Sounders hope to rebound from an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to the Revolution when they host the Earthquakes on Saturday.
Seattle will be missing three key players who are with the USMNT – Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, and DeAndre Yedlin. However, the Earthquakes are without Chris Wondolowski and their centerback duo of Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson. Obafemi Martins should feast on whatever pairing Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson selects.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Two teams in a poor run of form face off at Providence Park on Saturday evening, with each absolutely needing a win to regain some positive momentum.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter decried the late goal conceded to the Galaxy last week in his club’s 1-1 draw. The Crew are coming off three losses in a seven-day stretch. Columbus now loses Michael Parkhurst and Waylon Francis, though Giancarlo Gonzalez will remain with the team until after Saturday’s match. Right back Josh Williams is questionable with a foot injury however, leaving head coach Gregg Berhalter with a difficult decision.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Sunday, 3 p.m., UniMas)
The Fire won their first of the season last week in thrilling fashion with a 5-4 victory at the Red Bulls, and the Fire could very well get on a winning streak.
Sporting KC have serious concerns ahead in terms of a lack of center backs. Matt Besler and spot-starter Lawrence Olum are gone (along with Graham Zusi) on international duty, and with Aurelian Collin, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Uri Rosell all questionable, Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes has a real injury crisis on his hands.