Starting XI: Whitecaps, LA Galaxy rumble again | Fire-Revs in fantasy fight?
I. LET’S DO THIS AGAIN: The Vancouver Whitecaps and LA Galaxy are back at it, one week after Robbie Keane scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win for the Galaxy at StubHub Center, after which the Galaxy world went gaga over the fashion collaboration with James Bond. This time, the Caps play host (#VANvLA : Sat., 7 pm ET, TSN in Canada, MLS Live in USA), and up in British Columbia the talk is about squad rotation, Russell Teibert and, um, retro hairdos.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) April 17, 2014
II. LET'S DO THIS AGAIN AGAIN: D.C. United and the Columbus Crew opened their 2014 campaigns against each other a little over a month ago. It didn't go so well for United. But since then, things have changed. United have found enough good form to have observers debating their playoff credentials. On the other side, the Crew have tasted a bit of realism after their hot start, going winless in their last two. Now the two sides meet again (#CLBvDC: Sat., 7:30 pm ET, MLS Live), aiming for momentum and maybe some more bleeped comments from Ben Olsen:
III. ENOUGH WITH THE DRAWS: The Chicago Fire have not won yet in six matches. But they've only lost once. It's got to be getting frustrating to only come away with one point again and again. Mabye this weekend's nationally televised match against New England (#CHIvNE: Sat., 4 pm ET, NBCSN/Watch free on NBCSports.com) will do the trick. They'll be helped by the fact that the Revs will be without center back José Gonçalves. Potential field day for the Fire's hottest weapon, Quincy Amarikwa?
VI. UNFULFILLED PROMISE: They’re all the rage in MLS Fantasy right now thanks to having the first two-game week of any team in the league this year, but the Philadelphia Union’s reality is much harsher with the team on three days’ rest following a midweek loss to New York and desperately seeking a win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon (#PHIvHOU, 4 pm ET, MLS Live). John Hackworth’s revamped squad hasn’t won since their second game of the season despite some strong performances, though the Dynamo are in equally dire straits after dropping each of their last three games. Making it tougher for the Dynamo is the fact that star playmaker Brad Davis is a doubt for the game at PPL Park.
— HoustonDynamo (@HoustonDynamo) April 18, 2014
Will Davis’ possible absence tip the scales in favor of the much-vaunted but yet-to-produce Union, or can Houston snap their cold streak and retake their place as one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams?
V. ON THE RECORD: The Colorado Rapids will be hoping to see one record fall and another one made when they host the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon (#COLvSJ, 6 pm ET, MLS LIVE). One the one hand, Colorado have yet to beat the winless Earthquakes since the 2011, with Mark Watson's team holding a 5-0-2 record over the Rapids since then. However, they may have a good chance of snapping that drought if Edson Buddle can net his landmark 100th MLS goal in the game. Currently sitting on 99, the eyes of Rapids fans – and the Earthquakes' backline – will be firmly focused on the 32-year-old big man. Buddle talked to former USMNT star and Rapids broadcaster Marcelo Balboa about his impending milestone:
VI. HEARTS ON THEIR SLEEVES IN KC: It should be an emotional night at Sporting Park when the Montreal Impact come to town (#SKCvMTL: Sat., 8:30 pm ET, MLS Live) just days after the tragic shootings that rocked the Kansas City area this week. On the field, SKC certainly won't be very accommodating hosts: They haven't lost at Sporting Park since Sept 27, 2013. Plus, Graham Zusi is playing well again. Can "JacquesMarc" – that is, the Jack McInerney-Marco Di Vaio partnership – overcome all that?
VII. CAN DALLAS REBOUND? FC Dallas were brought down to earth last week with a home loss to the Sounders. But this week, when Toronto FC come to town ((#DALvTOR, Sat., 8:30 pm ET, MLSsoccer.com Stream of the Week), they'll likely have forward Blas Pérez back in action. Big boost there. On the other side, the Reds will get an even bigger boost, as both Michael Bradley and Jonathan Osorio are with the squad, a big boost to the midfield. By Bradley, of course, we mean The Cobra:
VIII. LET'S. DO. THIS. Six matches in 2013 between Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers turned this matchup into one heated – and goal-filled: 3.66 goals per game last year – rivalry. Will there be more fireworks this weekend (#RSLvPOR, Sat., 9:30 pm ET, MLS Live) at Rio Tinto Stadium? Maybe healthy-again Sebastian "The Rat Tail" Velasquez will bring the spark this time. Without a win on the season, the Timbers will be focused on defending first, then unleashing the ever-improving Darlington Nagbe.
IX. HELLO, MAURO: The first chance Chivas USA's Mauro Rosales will have to make his former club pay for shipping him out (#CHVvSEA, Sat., 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live). Good luck with that. The Sounders, led by the en fuego Clint Dempsey, are arguably the best team in MLS right now. For all of Dempsey's goals – he's leading the Budweiser Golden Boot race – the player that seems to be making the Sounders go is actually Obafemi Martins, who has suddenly become an assist man.
X. NOTES FROM THE INFIRMARY: Along with the aforementioned Gonçalves (New England), several other big names are on the injury report this weekend. Toronto FC will get Bradley and Osorio back, but they'll be without Jermain Defoe and Dwayne De Rosario. No C.J. Sapong for Sporting KC, no Steven Lenhart for San Jose, and still no Chris Klute for Colorado. But Brad Evans should be back for Seattle.
XI. THE PARTING SHOT:
— MLS Fantasy Manager (@MLSFantasy) April 17, 2014