October 20, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
LA Galaxy (15-12-5, 50 pts) @ San Jose Earthquakes (19-6-7, 64 pts), 6:00 pm CT (TWC Sports, CSNCA, Galavision)
The San Jose Earthquakes already have wrapped up the MLS Supporters’ Shield and top seed in the playoffs, and Chris Wondolowski is all but a shoo-in for his third straight Golden Boot award, making him only the third player to lead the league in scoring for three straight seasons (he tied with DC Dwayne De Rosario last year). Two goals over the Quakes’ last two games also would give Wondolowski the league’s all-time single-season scoring record. The LA Galaxy also are going to the playoffs, but have only two games, starting with Sunday’s match at Buck Shaw Stadium, to escape the wild card bracket by picking up at least three points on third-place Seattle. The Quakes won the first two meetings between the two teams, 3-2 on Alan Gordon’s stoppage time goal on May 23, and 4-3 on one of Wondolowski’s league-record ten game-winners on June 30. The Galaxy have been dealing with some high-profile injuries, including a bone bruise that kept captain Landon Donovan out of the USA’s two recent World Cup qualifiers and an ankle sprain that limited David Beckham’s availability heading into the international break. Robby Keane, who has scored 11 goals in his last 14 MLS games, and leads the Galaxy with 15 goals overall, aggravated a hamstring injury in training with the Ireland National Team, but played and scored a goal in last Tuesday’s World Cup Qualifying win over the Faroe Islands and is expected to be fit on Sunday. San Jose is riding a seven-game unbeaten streak after beating Colorado 4-1 in their last match. The Galaxy, meanwhile snapped a seven-game unbeaten run with a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy are thin in back, with only inexperienced replacements for injured defenders AJ DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant.
Portland Timbers (7-16-9, 30 pts) @ Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11-12-9, 42 pts), 6:00 pm CT (ROOT, OMNI BC)
The Portland Timbers have one last chance to avoid becoming the fifth team in MLS history to go an entire season without a win on the road, but they’ll have to snap a six-game winless streak and get past Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on Sunday to do it. The Whitecaps will book passage to the postseason, which would be the first in the team’s MLS history, with a win over Portland. In addition to the postseason implications, the match also will decide the winner of the Cascadia Cup. Portland will take their third fan-awarded trophy with a win – any other result will leave Seattle Sounders FC on top of the regional table. A seven-game winless streak left the Whitecaps clinging tenuously to fifth place in the MLS West, but a 4-0 win over Chivas USA in their last outing opened up a four-point cushion over sixth-place Dallas, and well within reach of becoming the first Canada-based team to advance to the MLS postseason. Vancouver is coming off the most lopsided win in their MLS history, 4-0 over Chivas USA on October 3. It was also their 11th defensive shutout of the season. Camilo led the way on offense with a goal and two assists. Dangerous rookie Darren Mattocks also is expected to return to action this weekend after recovering from a hamstring injury.
FC Dallas (9-12-11, 38 pts) @ Seattle Sounders FC (14-7-11, 53 pts), 8:00 pm CT (ESPN)
Sunday night’s match against Seattle Sounders FC at Century Link Field might – or might not – have huge playoff implications for FC Dallas. If Vancouver defeats Portland earlier in the day, the Hoops already will be out of the playoff chase. If not, fifth place in the MLS West will still be up for grabs. The Sounders, meanwhile, are still trying to nail down a top three seed and avoid the wild card bracket. Neither team got what they wanted out of their last match, FCD settling for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA and the Sounders playing second-place Real Salt Lake to a shorthanded scoreless draw on Wednesday night. Both of the teams’ previous meetings this season have been at FC Dallas Stadium, a 2-0 Sounders win on May 9 and a scoreless tie on September 2. Seattle historically hasn’t had much luck against the Hoops at home, where their last win over Dallas was in 2009, but they are on a strong defensive roll at the moment, not allowing a goal in 330 minutes. And scoring leader Eddie Johnson, who netted his 14th goal of the season in a 3-0 win over Portland on October 7, will be back in action after two games – and two goals -- with the US National Team. Seattle defender Zach Scott will miss Sunday’s match after receiving a red card against RSL, while Dallas DP Julian De Guzman is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid also will be suspended after leveling some pointed criticism at referee Ricardo Salazar after Wednesday night’s match. The Hoops are unbeaten in four, and have gotten an offensive spark from Blas Perez, who has three goals in his last two games.