MLS returns to the schedule with a busy night of midweek action, as five games populate Wednesday’s schedule.
Headlining Wednesday’s action is a clash of contenders from opposing conferences when the Philadelphia Union host the surging LA Galaxy. Another of the West’s hottest teams, the Colorado Rapids, joins the action as well with a match against a struggling Sporting KC team.
FC Dallas enters the week in a bit of a rut, but will be hoping a return home will aid them in a clash with the reigning MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers. In the evening’s late games, the Vancouver Whitecaps take on the Chicago Fire, while the San Jose Earthquakes host the Houston Dynamo.
Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s MLS action:
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. LA GALAXY (Wednesday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
The Philadelphia Union have been one of the surprises of the early season, but their status as contenders faces a stiff test in Wednesday’s clash with one of the league’s elite.
Heading into Wednesday’s meeting with the LA Galaxy, the Union sit just two points behind the East-leading Montreal Impact, despite maintaining two games in hand. The Union will head into a crucial double game week riding a bye, ensuring fresh legs for Wednesday’s clash.
The Galaxy will not have the benefit of added rest, but they will have the added bonus of good form. The weekend’s beatdown of the New England Revolution served as yet another statement for the club, as Robbie Keane, Gio dos Santos and Steven Gerrard have all stepped up in a major way.
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Wednesday, 9 p.m. MLS Live)
The Colorado Rapids are surging, while Sporting KC is struggling, making Wednesday’s encounter all the more vital to the two Western Conference foes.
Led by Jermaine Jones, the Rapids sit atop the Supporters’ Shield standings following a defeat of Real Salt Lake over the weekend. Luis Solignac and the rest of the Rapids’ supporting cast have also stepped up in recent weeks, propelling a five-game unbeaten run.
That run began on April 13 with a defeat of Sporting KC, who have now gone six straight without a win. Peter Vermes has tinkered throughout the desolate period, and even opted to switch tactics, but Dom Dwyer remains isolated as the Sporting KC attack looks to find a second outlet.
FC DALLAS vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS (Wednesday, 9 p.m., MLS Live)
FC Dallas has lost three straight on the road entering Wednesday’s clash with the Portland Timbers, making a return to Toyota Stadium a welcome event for Oscar Pareja’s team.
In the aftermath of a shutout loss to Toronto FC over the weekend, FC Dallas sits just fourth in the competitive Western Conference. Mauro Diaz continues to return from an injury layoff, but the introduction of the talented playmaker has not quite inspired the attack as many would have thought.
Their opponents, the Timbers, are also riding a loss after falling to their Cascadia rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Facing FC Dallas, the reigning MLS Cup champions will need to tighten up defensively, having not registered a clean sheet to this point.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. CHCIAGO FIRE (Wednesday, 10 p.m., MLS Live)
Following a sputtering start, the Vancouver Whitecaps are seemingly back on track.
A defeat of the Portland Timbers was one of the club’s most comprehensive performances of the season, especially given the team’s early issues in front of goal. Aiding the team’s cause will be a return to BC Place, a venue where the Canadian side has been spectacular this season.
Looking to provide that first loss will be the Chicago Fire, who will be making up several games in hand starting with Wednesday’s match. However, the Fire will be without David Accam and Khaly Thiam, neither of whom made the trip to Vancouver.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. HOUSTON DYNAMO (Wednesday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)
The San Jose Earthquakes have been stellar at home, while the Houston Dynamo have been abysmal on the road. Following a statement win over the weekend, Owen Coyle will hope to see his Dynamo team begin a turnaround.
Mired in a six-game winless run entering last weekend, the Dynamo broke out in a big way with a defeat of Sporting Kansas City. Led by Giles Barnes and Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres, the Dynamo’s attack once again demonstrated that it is as potent as any in the league on its best day. The questions lie in defense, a unit that will have to be at its best against Chris Wondolowski.
The San Jose Earthquakes forward is tied for the league lead with seven goals, but missed a vital penalty kick in last week’s loss to the Sounders. The status of fellow forward Quincy Amarikwa remains a doubt, putting more pressure on Wondolowski to lead the Earthquakes attack as he has done for so many years.