By DAN KARELL
A busy weekend of international friendlies and MLS action wraps up with an always anticipated Cascadia Cup matchup between the host Portland Timbers and visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Timbers are playing on short rest but are coming off an easy 2-0 victory at Chivas USA, where a number of starters were rested as head coach Caleb Porter kept his eye on Sunday’s match. Loan signing Fanendo Adi scored his second goal in as many games for the Timbers, giving the team another weapon.
Carl Robinson’s Whitecaps have been a pleasant surprise this season and the attacking midfield trio of Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh, and Sebastian Fernandez has been very fun to watch.
Elsewhere in MLS this weekend, the New England Revolution look to extend their five-game winning streak when they visit the hapless Montreal Impact, the Seattle Sounders host Real Salt Lake in a battle of the two best scoring teams in the league, and Mike Magee faces the LA Galaxy for the first time since his trade to the Chicago Fire in May 2013.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s MLS slate:
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. REAL SALT LAKE (Saturday, 4 p.m., MLS Live)
Major League Soccer’s two highest scoring teams meet in beautiful Seattle for one of the weekend’s most highly anticipated matchups.
Forward Obafemi Martins is in fine form even with Clint Dempsey away with the U.S. Men’s National Team but the Sounders face an RSL side that has won their past two road games by a combined score of 8-4. Djimi Traore will miss out for the Sounders due to an adductor strain while Joao Plata is doubtful for RSL with a left hamstring injury.
TORONTO FC vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Saturday, 5 p.m., MLS Live/TSN)
Toronto FC look to shake off the disappointing performance at Sporting KC when they host the Crew, who finally got back in the winning column last weekend.
Both teams will be missing key players as TFC captain Steven Caldwell serves a one-game suspension for a red card and Crew playmaker Federico Higuain sits out after yellow card accumulation. Jonathan Osorio, Jackson, and Ashtone Morgan are all questionable for TFC but the former two will be available for selection. Backup goalkeeper Matt Lampson is the only new name on the injured list for the Crew, listed as questionable.
D.C. UNITED vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
A battered Sporting KC side is slowly becoming a little healthier in central defense, but they’ll have their hands full when they visit D.C. United and Eddie Johnson.
Johnson is available to play after the red card he received in D.C.’s loss to the Revolution was rescinded, although Aurelien Collin is expected to start in the middle for Sporting KC despite playing 90 minutes on Tuesday against the Red Bulls. Uri Rosell remains questionable while Chris Rolfe is listed as questionable too. D.C. United have lost just once at home and have conceded fewer goals than Sporting KC.
MONTREAL IMPACT vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
The struggling Impact could fall farther behind in the standings when the red-hot Revolution come to town on Saturday evening.
Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez, and Patrick Mullins are all in fine form the last month, with Mullins scoring in each of the last four games. The Impact have conceded 22 times already this season, with 15 of those goals coming from open play. The Impact lost Nelson Rivas early and Sanna Nyassi not long after in Colorado last week. Both players are questionable this week, as is Matteo Ferrari. Shalrie Joseph is out for the Revolution while Charlie Davies is questionable.
FC DALLAS vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Similar to last season, FC Dallas started strong but have fizzled out recently, failing to win in their last seven matches.
Now they’ll host a San Jose Earthquakes side that’s missing its best forward in Chris Wondolowski, starting defender Victor Bernardez, and is struggling to move out of the Western Conference basement. Michel is listed as questionable for this match while Alan Gordan is on the list as well for the Earthquakes. Both players will be key if they can play in what will surely be an intense, physical battle.
CHIVAS USA vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Two of the league’s cellar dwellers meet up in a match this Saturday that will hopefully bring more confidence to one of the two teams.
Chivas USA earned their fifth red card of the season when Bobby Burling was sent off on Wednesday for a reckless challenge on Fanendo Adi, forcing him to sit on the sidelines against the Union. However, Osvaldo Minda returns from suspension for the Goats. For Philadelphia, Cristian Maidana is back in contention for a starting place as is Austin Berry. Michael Lahoud is away on international duty.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. LA GALAXY (Sunday, 4 p.m., MLS Live)
Mike Magee faces his former club, the LA Galaxy, for the first time since he was traded early last season for Robbie Rogers.
The Galaxy are coming off back-to-back wins that included Landon Donovan breaking the MLS goal-scoring record with two goals in a 4-1 rout of the Union, while the Fire were without Magee and a host of other starters in a 2-0 defeat at the Crew. Magee, Logan Pause, and Alex are all questionable for this game, while Todd Dunivant is out and Marcelo Sarvas is listed as questionable for the Galaxy.
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. HOUSTON DYNAMO (Saturday, 8 p.m., Univision Deportes)
The Rapids returned to winning ways with a huge win against the Impact last Saturday and they’ll be licking their lips at the prospect of playing a shorthanded and slumping Dynamo team at home.
The Dynamo fell last Sunday to the Earthquakes, 3-0, and failed to control the midfield without Oscar Boniek Garcia and Brad Davis on the field due to international call-ups. Brian Ownby is suspended for the upcoming game with the Rapids after a decision from the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Sunday, 9 p.m., MLS Live)
This weekend’s action wraps up with a Cascadia Cup battle between the Timbers and Whitecaps at Providence Park.
The Timbers are coming in on only three days rest and off a trip to Southern California but they returned with three key points, something that’s eluded them too often this season. The young Whitecaps saw a second-half lead disappear due to a late Sounders goal on Saturday, but are bringing a lot of confidence into the first of three matches with the Timbers. Erik Hurtado remains a good option up top and it’s up to Futty Danso and Pah Modou-Kah to keep up with him as he bursts forward from deep.
I’m trying to remember the last time the Dynamo fielded 18 players…..it’s been a long time and looks like it’ll be a while longer…
At the rate injuries are piling up we may dress 2-3 injured players for this one just to have someone on the bench.
Open tryouts, anyone?
Hoping the Galaxy kidnap Magee and leave Rogers.
Dallas should come away with three points against SJ. At home, no Wondo or Bernardez, I expect a clean sheet as well but won’t be too disappointed if we were to concede.
The Rapids – Houston game is on Sunday, 6pm local.
Seattle v. Real Sandy should be a good one, despite there’ll be no Dempsy, Yedlin, Beckerman or Rimando, and we’re expecting great weather here.
Salazar is the official for it, it’s going to be a disaster. He’ll manage to make himself the focal point of everything like always
also no Saboria or Plata for RSL.
And Traore is out for Seattle. Looks as though Neagle and hopefully Marshall should be back.