Kick Off: NY-SKC clash highlights massive Weds. slate

Let’s get this on.

One of the biggest matches of the season takes place tonight, as the third-place New York Red Bulls host East leaders Sporting Kansas City (7 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE).

The Red Bulls, just two points behind Sporting, are suddenly one of the deepest teams in MLS, thanks to the recent return of Rafa Márquez, Brandon Barklage, and others. Márquez will most likely be a starter again after his strong return over the weekend. That means Joel Lindpere is on the bench. Not that he cares. Dax McCarty previews the match-up on the latest Seeing Red podcast.

Sporting, as always, aren’t backing down from their big-named opponents, saying they will go for three points on the road rather than play for the draw to preserve their lead in the standings. “At the end of the season, every game’s a playoff game,” coach Peter Vermes said.

In Columbus, the Crew look to get their playoff hopes back on track after two straight losses. They face Chivas USA tonight (7:30 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE), and are focused on defense above all. “It’s way too many goals that we’ve given up lately,” coach Robert Warzycha said.

At the other end of the field, expect a big game from Crew scoring sensation Gonzalo Higuain, who is enjoying life in Columbus off the field, too. “The way people live here, I consider it how it should be to live around the world and the way it should be normally; living in a house that isn’t gated, without having to put the lock on the door, feeling secure in a home with all the doors wide open without fear of being robbed or some other terrible thing happening.”

Chivas, meanwhile, hope no more terrible things will happen after going seven matches winless. Despite that, they’re sticking with their young frontline of Juan Agudelo and Casey Townsend.

In the late game in MLS, the West-leading San Jose Earthquakes host the Portland Timbers (10:30 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE) with one thing on their minds: “Our focus is that Supporters' Shield, we want that,” goalkeeper Jon Busch said.

Portland simply want some more positivity after the weekend’s draw with Seattle. And they’re getting it from their reserve team.

D.C. United could use all the good karma they can get, from wherever they can get it. With Dwayne De Rosario out injured, the pressure’s on Branko Boskovic to deliver and he hasn’t taken too well to getting yanked early from matches due to what manager Ben Olsen has called a lack of fitness: "It’s a little bit stupid to say I am not fit but the season is over. When am I going to be ready if I am not now ready?”

Looks like we’re in for a changing of the guard in Los Angeles. On Tuesday evening, the Anschutz Co. announced that its subsidiary AEG, the longtime holding company for the LA Galaxy, among other sports and entertainment properties, would be put up for sale. Further details were not released, but the news means the Galaxy will most likely be under new ownership soon.

“This is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner,” Anschutz Co. president Cannon Y. Harvey said in a statement.

Meanwhile, on the field, the Galaxy are in action tonight in the CONCACAF Champions League, playing away to the Puerto Rico Islanders (8 pm ET, FOX Soccer). They’ll be without nearly half of their regular starting lineup.

Seattle will be without a few starters when they take on Marathón in Honduras tonight (10 pm ET, FOX Soccer). But Honduran international Mario Martinez did travel and will make his big return to his native country. "Mario will be the star and the focus, so the guys can just concentrate on the game and let Mario do all the press interviews," said coach Sigi Schmid. The Sounders will clinch a quarterfinal berth with a win, and “expect a battle.”

In CCL action on Tuesday night, Real Salt Lake pulled out a dramatic stoppage-time win over Tauro FC in Panama City (watch highlights here). Forward Álvaro Saborío converted a penalty in the 93rd minute to keep alive RSL’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals, but coach Jason Kreis wasn’t happy. “All in all, our quality wasn’t good enough,” he said.

Do you have the MLS Matchday iPhone app yet? You should, according to Yahoo! Sports.

On the app you’ll get the latest in the 24 Under 24 countdown with the league’s No. 3-ranked young star being unveiled later today. Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson came in at No. 4 yesterday. And there was one person who knew Johnson was destined for greatness after just a few weeks on the job.

Lastly, if you live in Philly, getting the iPhone app is just a start. You should really purchase Union season tickets, especially if you like to get phone calls from the club’s players, who were thanking their supporters via phone yesterday. Here’s one fan who shows his appreciation at the gesture.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

Team of the Week: Star-studded frontline in Week 28’s best XI

24 Under 24: Find out the latest rankings in the countdown to No. 1

Castrol Weekly Top 20: Sapong is back in the saddle

 


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