Starting XI: Will LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan finally get the MLS all-time goalscoring record?
The Starting XI: Eleven storylines we're following this weekend (get all the updated MLS TV listings here):
I. WILL LANDON GET No. 135? Landon Donovan has been chasing the all-time MLS goalscoring record for a while now. Will it finally come on Saturday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE/TSN in Canada)? And who will be the next defender burned by LD? MLS Insider tracked down some of those who have lived to tell the story (WATCH VIDEO ABOVE).
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 11, 2014
II. DALLAS A BIGGER DEAL THAN PORTLAND: That's how Seattle Sounders forward Kenny Cooper sees it. He's played for both FC Dallas and the Timbers, but the return to his hometown for Saturday's battle between Western Conference contenders is a bigger deal (8:30 pm ET, MLS Free Stream of the Week). FC Dallas are leading the league in points, but Seattle's Clint Dempsey is also leading MLS: in goals and salary, according to the numbers released by the MLS Players Union.
III. KLOPAS BOWL AT BIG O: Montreal Impact manager Frank Klopas was Mr. Soccer in Chicago for the longest time until his spell as Fire boss ended last year. He says there's no bad blood, but you have to imagine he'd enjoy keeping the Fire winless when they visit Olympic Stadium on Saturday (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Current MLS MVP Mike Magee should have an extra spring in his step after an eventful week that saw him earn a new contract and respond to a homophobic tweet directed at him.
IV. WILL STARS TAKE FIELD FOR TFC? Toronto are on a roll with three wins in their first four matches, but will star players Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley be on the field Saturday to host Colorado (4 pm ET, TSN/RDS2, MLS LIVE)? Their status is in question and they missed training on Friday, but perhaps that sets the stage for fellow DP Gilberto to have his breakout game against a team that's lost every match vs. TFC at BMO Field. Then again, reigning Rookie of the Year Dillon Powers of the Rapids does his best work on the road ... video work (WATCH HERE).
V. INTO THE DEEP END: If the Revs, sans suspended manager Jay Heaps, are going to get off the goalscoring schnide (two goals scored in five matches, one an own goal), they might have their best opportunity vs. the Houston Dynamo on Saturday (5 pm ET, MLS LIVE), who will likely be starting a rookie center back. But the Orange say that A.J. Cochran is actually going to be "scary good" in MLS. Will they be proven right?
— HoustonDynamo (@HoustonDynamo) April 10, 2014
VI. ALL EYES ON WENGER: The Philadelphia Union admit that things are different without last year's top scorer Jack McInerney, who was traded away. But the player they got in exchange is expected to pick up the slack. Can Pennsylvania native Andrew Wenger break into the starting lineup? If he does play in Saturday's match vs. RSL (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE), he's going to have his hands full getting the ball past RSL backup 'keeper Jeff Attinella, who's proven more than capable for injury-riddled RSL (WATCH VIDEO PREVIEW HERE).
VII. HE HATE ME: D.C. United forward Fabián Espíndola spent just one season with the Red Bulls, but it doesn't seem like he looks back on it that fondly. "I don't care about them," he said ahead of Saturday's Atlantic Cup rivalry (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE), which still means a lot. But it's Espindola's teammate Eddie Johnson who'll have the spotlight shining on him. He has yet to score in MLS this year and the World Cup is right around the corner. But he's clearly not worried about it. Here's what he needs to do to reacquaint himself with the goal.
— MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) January 28, 2014
VIII. WHAT ABOUT JOZY? If fans are worried about EJ's goal drought, they're losing their hair about Jozy Altidore's plight at Sunderland, where he was reportedly dropped to the Under-21 side earlier this week. It remains to be seen if he's called into action when the Black Cats face high-flying Everton and US 'keeper Tim Howard. If you think that's dramatic, American left back Jonathan Bornstein could be facing relegation in Mexico this weekend with Atlante.
Tweets I wish I'd never tweeted. Sometime last Aug: " I think the Sunderland move is exactly what Jozy Altidore needs" #unmitigateddisaster
— Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey) April 7, 2014
IX. HAIRY TIMES IN PDX: The Portland Timbers, still reeling from last week's late collapse at home to the Sounders, hope a visit from suddenly struggling Chivas USA (Sat., 10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) will be the panacea they need to get on track. Despite being winless through their first five matches, the Timbers are keeping their sense of humor. And don't ever suggesst that Pa Modou Kah has ever had a bad hairdo.
Meanwhile, the Rojiblancos are grappling with some withering criticism from their coach Wilmer Cabrera after last week's humbling loss to LA: "The team stopped fighting." While the backline remains in flux, they have been boosted by the arrival of former Colorado Rapids playmaker Martin Rivero.
X. MYSTERY AT BUCK SHAW: After a bye week, the San Jose Earthquakes are back in action on Sunday when they welcome the Columbus Crew (3 pm ET, UniMas), who are still smarting from their first loss of the season vs. Toronto. But first things first: There's a mystery to be solved at Buck Shaw Stadium and Crew boss Gregg Berhalter will take his measuring tape to solve it. When he does that, then Berhalter will likely have to contend with one of his ex-players from his days coaching in Sweden.
XI. LONG-TERM PLANNING: If you've signed up for MLS Fantasy, you'll need it this weekend. That's because there's the first midweek matchup of the MLS season is right around the corner. The experts break it down for you here. Be sure to set your lineup by Saturday afternoon at 3:45 pm ET.