Starting XI: USMNT doubleheader, Montreal's perfect run dominate weekend questions
11) Has Landon Donovan embarked on a Rocky-style training camp in frigid Wisconsin?
Isn't Twitter great? How else would we know that American soccer's most famous vision quester has popped up in Madison, apparently to take in sessions with Badgers football strength and conditioning coach Brian Bott? LD has family in the area, but it sure looks a lot like he's building the fitness base he'll need to hit the ground running when he returns to the Galaxy next week.
10) Will D.C. United find their flow when Columbus come to town on Saturday?
Four points from the first three games of the season marks a decent, but hardly domineering start for last year's Eastern Conference finalists. Goals have been scarce (just one in all) and spells of fluid possession limited, as head coach Ben Olsen admitted this week. The Crew backline will present a stout obstacle for attacking lynchpins Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius, who are both due for breakout performances (3:30 pm, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
9) Who will inspire Sporting Kansas City at New England without Graham Zusi?
With a goal and two assists already this season, Zusi (right) has been his usual productive self in Sporting colors, no doubt a factor in his call-up to the national team. His participation in these crucial qualifiers forces his SKC teammates to conjure up some creativity on their own when they visit the Revolution on Saturday (4 pm ET, MLS Live).
8) Will the Orange Obliteration System work for Vancouver in Houston?
The first-place Whitecaps appropriated FC Dallas' clever poke at the Dynamo this week, noting the success of the OOS in FCD's impressive win over Houston. And in truth, the British Columbians need all the help they can get as they enter BBVA Compass Stadium (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live), where the Dynamo have yet to lose in 32 games, on Saturday. For their part, the Orange have their sights set on breaking Real Salt Lake's league record, which is just two games away.
7) Can RSL overcome their grisly history in the Lone Star State?
Speaking of Real, they're currently carrying a streak of a much less distinguished nature on their trip to Frisco to battle FCD (8 pm ET, MLS Live). The Claret-and-Cobalt are a stunning 0-18-3 all-time on Texas soil, and to make matters worse the heart of their lineup has been ripped away by international call-ups for the likes of Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Álvaro Saborío.
6) Who can get the nets billowing when San Jose and Seattle tangle?
Another surprising feature of the current league standings: The attack-minded Sounders and Earthquakes have managed just four goals total in their combined six games. Even with a range of contributors missing through injury and international duty, it seems hard to believe that state of affairs will continue when they do battle at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
5) Will Chelís and Chivas USA build on two weeks of dramatic improvement?
With a comeback victory over Dallas followed by a hard-earned draw with defending MLS Cup champions LA (right), the Goats have come a long way since their 3-0 loss to Columbus on opening weekend. Head coach José Luis "Chelís" Sánchez Solá seems to be coming to grips with his new league and his players have bought in to his tactics and personality. Their first road test of the season is up next: a visit to chilly Chicago to face the winless Fire (Sunday, 5 pm ET, UniMas).
4) Can the US national team calm the waters with a W?
Underwhelming performances earlier this year, uncertainty in the locker room and the crushing pressure of World Cup qualifying have made this a dicey week for the Yanks as they prepare for Friday's clash with Costa Rica in Colorado (10 pm ET, ESPN, UniMas, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). The best – perhaps the only – remedy for what ails Jurgen Klinsmann & Co. is a victory over Los Ticos and the three points it would bring.
3) And will they have anything left for Mexico City on Tuesday?
The USMNT coaching staff selected DSGP as Friday's venue with an eye towards getting their squad acclimated to thin mountain air ahead of next week's clash with El Tri in the smoggy, lung-burning environs of Estadio Azteca, surely the toughest road trip in CONCACAF. Few outside the US camp give them any chance of earning their first-ever qualifying win on Mexican soil, though last year's 1-0 friendly victory over Mexico at Azteca will linger in the minds of players and coaches alike.
2) Do injury-ravaged Colorado have a ghost of a chance in LA?
GOAL: Deshorn Brown opens MLS account
As if their starting midfield and attack options hadn't already been devastated by health issues, the Rapids are now set to visit the defending champs with a 23-year-old reserve named Clint Irwin starting in goal thanks to Matt Pickens' broken arm. The Home Depot Center is a tough place for the Mile High Club to chase their first win of the season, and they'll probably need another good display up front from 2013 SuperDraft selection Deshorn Brown to get a positive result on Saturday evening (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
1) Can the Montreal Impact stay perfect?
Not many would have predicted a month ago that the league's only 3-0-0 team at this point would be the Impact. New coach Marco Schällibaum's tactics and team selections have been solid, making light of his lack of MLS experience, and the team has shown admirable spirit and cohesiveness. The New York Red Bulls have a tall order on their hands as they visit Quebec without the services of Designated Players Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill (Saturday, 4:30 pm ET, MLS Live).