Friday, April 25, 2014

RSL only unbeaten team left, Sounders back home

Earthquakes, Chivas USA look for points, Impact visit Philly

Seven rounds gone and Real Salt Lake remains the sole undefeated side, just three points out of the Western Conference summit along with Seattle as FC Dallas enjoys the top overall record early on in the campaign.

Colorado, Vancouver and L.A. Galaxy aren't far off but a negative streak could complicate matters.

In the East, the familiarity of a tightening top-half sets in as Kansas City, Columbus and New York all sit in comfortable settings for now but Toronto, D.C. United, New England and Philadelphia give chase and have the capacities to do so.

Here are some games to look out for:

Colorado at Seattle, 4pm Sat. -- April has been kind to the Sounders as they accumulated seven points this month, all on the road (Portland, Dallas & Chivas USA). Now they come home for a three-match homestand in front of one of the best crowds in the world. But the Rapids also possess the visitors mystique as they took six points at Vancouver and Toronto and have also produced a backline that's produced three shutouts so far.

Philadelphia at Montreal, 4pm Sat. -- Montreal sits in the cellar of the East and need points fast to calm supporters and not let the season slip out of their hands. Panic? Not yet. They now move back home to intimate Saputo Stadium where fans are right on top of the action, compared with the massive Olympic stadium. Philly knows about intensity from the crowd as Union games are packed with rabid fans, as a team in Philly should be. This will be the first match that the two opposing forwards--Jack McInerney and Andrew Wenger--play each other since the sides swapped them in a trade last month.

Chivas USA at San Jose, 10:30pm Sat. -- Injuries plague the Goonies' firepower as Chris Wondolowski is isolated up top with target man Alan Gordon being questionable and Steven Lenhart out for another week or so. Other depth players are out through suspension and injuries as well, making it difficult for the Earthquakes to get their first win. And along comes the Goats, whose striker Erick Torres has more goals than San Jose altogether this year. 

Other matches:

Dallas at D.C. United -- Won't be huge, but Ben Olsen's side can make a statement if it takes three points against a talented Dallas team.

New York at Columbus -- Although the Crew is winless this month, their three wins in March has helped settle nerves, just as Michael Parkhurst has settled down the backline.

Kansas City at New England -- The Revs face a sturdy test when they host the attack-minded defending champions. New England have not allowed a goal at home this year. And they've welcome back Shalrie Joseph.
Vancouver at Salt Lake -- Veteran goalkeeper has a chance to equal the league's shutout record at 112, currently held by the now-retired Kevin Hartman.

Portland at Houston -- The Dynamo got spanked in Red Bull Arena this week; the Timbers are winless. Will be a nervy start to the match.

-Tio Pelotas