October 19, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Montreal Impact (12-15-5, 41 pts)@ Toronto FC (5-20-7, 22 pts), 12:30 pm CT (TSN)
The Montreal Impact will miss the playoffs in their maiden season, but if they can pick up a win or draw against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday, they will finish with the third-best record of any expansion team in MLS history, behind only MLS Cup winners Chicago in 1998 and Seattle Sounders FC in 2009. The match also has regional implications for the Impact, who are within reach of the top seed in next year’s Canadian Championships. TFC would appear ripe for the taking. They are winless in 12 straight, and will stagger into their home finale with a bare-bones roster of 18 players, including the semi-healthy striker Eric Hassli, whose minutes remain limited because of an ankle injury. Starting forward Ryan Johnson will serve a yellow card suspension, and starters Darren O’Dea, Quincy Amarikwa and Matt Stinson have been ruled out with injuries, along with long-sidelined goalkeeper Stefan Frei and DPs Danny Koevermans and Torsten Frings. Second-string goalkeeper Milos Kocic has been dealing with personal issues and, while available, will not start, leaving Freddy Hall in net. Another first-year player, Luis Silva, will be the go-to guy in Toronto’s decimated offense. Montreal are in a skid of their own, winless in their last four, but managed a creditable 1-1 road draw against Houston before the recent international break. They will be without midfielder Felipe Martins (sports hernia) and suspended head coach Jesse Marsch.
Sporting Kansas City (17-7-8, 59 pts)@ New York Red Bulls (15-9-8, 53 pts), 6:00 pm CT (KSMO, MSG+)
It took until September 19 for the New York Red Bulls to lose a game at Red Bull Arena, and the team that beat them pays a repeat visit on Saturday, when Sporting Kansas City comes in needing a win to keep their Supporters’ Shield hopes alive. Meanwhile, a win is the most direct path to the playoffs for the Red Bulls, who will clinch a spot with three points regardless of other results in the nip-and-tuck MLS East. Kei Kamara has scored in both of KC’s prior matches against the Red Bulls this season, and added footnotes in both, scoring an own goal to give the Red Bulls a 1-1 draw August 26 at Livestrong Sporting Park, and being on the receiving end of a head butt that earned Red Bulls DP Thierry Henry a fine and suspension in September. New York is coming off their second home loss, to the Chicago Fire, also by a 2-0 margin, and will be shorthanded on defense, with Wilman Conde out for personal reasons and Brandon Barklage sidelined by injury. Sporting roars into RBA on a 10-game unbeaten run, although they settled for a 1-1 draw with Columbus on October 7. Sapong has helped fuel the recent success with three goals and an assist in his last five games.
Philadelphia Union (10-15-6 36 pts) @ Houston Dynamo (13-8-11, 50 pts), 6:30 pm CT (NBCSN)
The Houston Dynamo will attempt to close out an undefeated home season on Saturday against the suddenly surging Philadelphia Union, who since being eliminated from postseason contention have won three of four. Jack McInerney has tied a Union cub record by scoring in three straight games, and goalkeeper Zac MacMath posted his eighth shutout of the season when the Union edged New England 1-0 on October 6. The Union stunned Houston 3-1 when the teams last met, September 23 at PPL Park. Freddy Adu scored twice for Philadelphia, including a penalty kick. The Dynamo can lock up a playoff spot with a win over the Union plus a Columbus loss to DC United on Saturday. A Philadelphia win, meanwhile, would deliver DC United to the promised land regardless of the outcome of their own match, against the Crew.
Columbus Crew (14-11-7, 49 pts)@ DC United (16-10-6, 54 pts), 6:30 pm CT (FSO, CSNMA)
A DC United win over the Columbus Crew Saturday at RFK Stadium will go a long way toward sorting out the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Not only would United nail down their own slot in the postseason for the first time in five years, they would clinch spots for New York and possibly Houston. And they would do it in front of what is expected to be a rare capacity crowd of more than 19,000. The teams have traded 1-0 wins so far this season, with the home side prevailing both times. United are unbeaten in five straight, including three 1-0 shutouts. The Crew kept themselves on the fringes of the playoff picture by rallying to a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City in their last match. Eddie Gaven saved the day with a stoppage-time header past netminder Jimmy Nielsen.
Chicago Fire (17-10-5, 56 pts)@ New England Revolution (7-17-8, 29 pts), 6:30 pm CT (NBC5.2, CSNNE Alt.)
The New England Revolution and Chicago Fire have split their season series to date, with the rubber match set for Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution shut out the Fire 2-0 at home on June 2, but got some help from the woodwork as Chicago’s Gonzalo Segares and Dominic Oduro both cracked shots off the post. Both teams will be missing players due to suspension – Fire forward Guillermo Franco and Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber. New England also is carrying potentially costly recent injuries to center back AJ Soares and midfielders Chris Tierney and Juan Toja. The Revs are winless in four straight, most recently a 1-0 stumble to Philadelphia on the road, while the Fire ended a two-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over New York on October 6. Sherjill MacDonald scored both goals.
Colorado Rapids (9-19-4, 31 pts) @ Chivas USA (7-17-8, 29 pts), 9:30 pm CT (ALT, FSW)
The Colorado Rapids have not lost to Chivas USA since 2009, and will attempt to extend that unbeaten streak to eight games on Saturday at the Home Depot Center. Colorado went 1-0-1 against Chivas at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this season, including a 4-0 romp on April 28. They will close out the 2012 campaign without midfield stalwart Brian Mullan, who underwent knee surgery this week, while the Goats will be without one of their most productive attacking players, Miller Bolanos (3g, 4a) because of yellow card accumulation. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who has played every minute for Chivas this season, is expected to continue his iron-man streak despite a swollen knee. Chivas-Rapids games at the HDC tend to be barn-burners, with the teams combining for 27 goals over ten matches to date.