Photo by Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Sebastian Giovinco has been among the league’s best players in recent weeks, but the Italian star faces what might be his toughest MLS test to date in this weekend’s action.
Without both Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, Toronto FC take on the conference-leading D.C. United to headline Week 14’s MLS action. Meanwhile out west, one of the league’s hottest teams, Sporting KC, takes on the Western Conference leaders, the Seattle Sounders.
Elsewhere, the shorthanded LA Galaxy host the Vancouver Whitecaps, the New England Revolution visit the Portland Timbers and the Rocky Mountain Cup resumes with a matchup between the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s MLS action:
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Friday, 9 p.m., UniMas)
Losers of two straight, the New York Red Bulls road trip continues with a visit to BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Red Bulls enter the weekend fresh off a gut-punch of a defeat to the Seattle Sounders. Without Damien Perinelle due to suspension and Matt Miazga due to his role with the U.S. Under-20s, the Red Bulls backline will be tested by a resurgent duo of Giles Barnes and Will Bruin.
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. NEW YORK CITY FC (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
For the third time this season, the Philadelphia Union will take on New York City FC.
In recent weeks, the Union who have been more successful, winning three of their last four games. On the other hand, NYCFC’s struggles have continued in a big way. The record for longest winless streak for an expansion team is 14 games, and anything but three points will see NYCFC push their run to 12 without a victory.
D.C. UNITED vs. TORONTO FC (SATURDAY, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
With Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore both out of the lineup, Toronto FC will once again lean on Sebastian Giovinco.
Giovinco has been as hot as anyone in the league in recent weeks, amassing a goal or an assist in nine of the 11 games. D.C. United will have to contain the tricky Italian coming off of a short rest following a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Fire that saw two goals from the surging Jairo Arrieta.
COLUMBUS CREW vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Following a disappointing loss to the Union in midweek action, the Columbus Crew will look to exact a little bit of revenge with a return to the friendly confines of MAPFRE Stadium.
Led by ten goals from Kei Kamara on the season, the Crew have lost just once at home all year. Michael Parkhurst will be available after the defender served a red card suspension last time out. On the other hand, the Impact have struggled mightily on the road, having not scored a goal away from home this season in MLS play.
SPORTING KC vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Sporting KC enter a clash with the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders without one of their best players.
Krisztian Nemeth, who has contributed five goals and two assists in the past seven games, will miss Saturday’s clash after accepting a call up to the Hungarian national team. Luckily for SKC, the Sounders look like they will be shorthanded themselves without Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso. In addition, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey could miss out due to nose surgery and the impending birth of Dempsey’s fourth child, respectively.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. ORLANDO CITY (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Following a midweek defeat at the hands of D.C. United, the Chicago Fire face Orlando City in a matchup of teams on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff contention.
The Fire loss comes following some recent impressive performances as Kennedy Igboananike, Shaun Maloney and David Accam have begun to find their footing in MLS. The same could certainly said about Orlando City, who’s star, Kaka, has led the way with three goals in the past three games, but the Lions will be without Brek Shea due to his call-up.
LA GALAXY vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)
The LA Galaxy enter this weekend’s matchup with the Vancouver Whitecaps extremely short-handed.
With Robbie Keane still recovering from an injury, the Galaxy will be without Gyasi Zardes and Bradford Jamieson IV due to international duty, as well as Jose Villareal due to injury. The injuries pave the way for an Alan Gordon start against a Whitecaps team that handled the Galaxy, 2-0, back on April 4. The Whitecaps will be facing a grueling travel schedule, though, flying from Montreal to LA for a three-day turnaround
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live.)
The New England Revolution will have to travel to Portland without one of their star contributors.
Jermaine Jones was pulled from the U.S. Men’s National Team squad after picking up a groin injury last week, while Juan Agudelo will be absent due to his call-up. However, Jones’ midfield partner, Lee Nguyen, will return for the Revs after a one-game suspension. Taking down the Timbers will be a tough task, as Caleb Porter’s side is riding back-to-back wins over D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPNNEWS)
With both teams riding back-to-back defeats, both Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids could surely use a win Sunday.
Playing for the Rocky Mountain Cup, the two teams find themselves bottom of the Western Conference as things stand. In terms of the rivalry, Real Salt Lake has won seven of the last eight years, but will be without Kyle Beckerman due to USMNT obligations.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. FC DALLAS (Sunday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Chris Wondolowski has scored in four straight games and will now face an FC Dallas side that’s in a bit of a rough patch.
Led by Wondolowski’s finishes, the Quakes have grabbed just five points from four games and currently sit just one point out of a playoff position. FC Dallas, who will be without Zach Loyd due to suspension, have lost back-to-back games by a combined 6-1 scoreline, signaling a bit of a crisis for Oscar Pareja’s side.
Hey, SBI, you’re falling down on the job. I had to go to Goal.com to find out about NYRB v. Houston and Ives had two good articles about the Netherlands game there, but nothing here. And where is your Weekend Soccer on TV article? I’ve learned I can’t rely 100% on my local paper listings and I look forward to your coverage of TV coverage.
NYRB,…losers of three straight,…winning once in their last 8 (!) matches. Disappointing but not surprising. So I guess they will move up a couple of spots in the SBI Power(less) Rankings? No?
Klestijan and Felipe continue to underwhelm. Marsh says Klestijan is only getting started. Really? Starting what? Whining like a little girl? He is the anti-Roy Keane.
What was so surprising was how poorly McCarty played. He was a step behind Houston’s attacking movements all night. In addition,…BWP flummoxed a great chance with the ball at his feet.
Heads and shoulders are going to slump as the players look around, recognize their collective limitations and start to tune Marsh out. You can see it happening already. Klestijan flailing hands around, whining like a little b!tch is all you need to see. Truth is that unless the core players,…McCarty, Sam, BWP and Robles bring their A+ games every game,…this team is going to lose a lot.
Somewhere, Ali Curtis has turned to page 237 of his self-styled sophisticated plan.