Starting XI: Lions, Goonies, dogs, Chipotle & everything you need to know heading into Week 4

 

Still catching up on what to watch for this weekend in MLS? Here's everything you need to know ahead of Week 4 (get the complete match schedule here):

I. BRADLEY OR BECKERMAN? That's the question that's proven to be the topic of the week in MLS circles thanks to RSL veteran Nat Borchers, who claimed Kyle Beckerman's the better player (LISTEN to the Borchers declaration at 10:00 here). A bold statement given that Toronto FC's Michael Bradley is a big-money DP and a USMNT starter, while RSL's Beckerman is arguably one of the most underrated players in MLS. While the numbers tell their own story, the field is the ultimate arbiter and will render judgement on Saturday night when the two go head-to-head (9:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE and TSN2).

II. LION'S OUT OF THE CAGE: That's how one Montreal media member described the return of Montreal Impact top scorer Marco Di Vaio (20 goals in 2013) after serving a three-game suspension (WATCH: Playoff incident that got Di Vaio suspended). The Impact lost all three matches Di Vaio sat out and they hit the road to face a Philadelphia team (Sat., 4 pm ET on MLS LIVE) that will have the Italian's mouth watering like a real famished lion at the sight of their young center-back pairing. What's the over/under on the minutes needed for Di Vaio to get his first of 2014?

III. TO CELEBRATE OR NOT AGAINST YOUR EX-TEAM? Defenders don't usually have to worry about these things because they don't score. But Seattle Sounders center back Chad Marshall is that good in the air and he says he's already wondered how crazy he might get if he scores against the team he served for a decade (LISTEN to his conclusion on ExtraTime Radio). The Sounders host the Columbus Crew in the Chad Marshall Bowl on Saturday night (10 pm ET, MLSsoccer.com's FREE STREAM OF THE WEEK), but Marshall is already at a disadvantage. He can't find a place in Seattle that serves his Floridian French toast breakfast pregame meal!

 

VIII. TINKER, TAILOR, SOCCER PLAYER, COACH: Making adjustments is the name of the game for both FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers when they square off at Toyota Stadium (Sat., 8:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE). FCD's midfield has been devastated by injuries to Andrew Jacobson and Adam Moffat and a suspension to Hendry Thomas. "It's a beautiful opportunity for the youngsters," says coach Oscar Pareja. Paging Victor Ulloa! The Timbers, meanwhile, will replace suspended goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts with (gasp!) former Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Andrew Weber.

Watch what Ricketts did to earn his suspension (CLICK HERE) and then the image below will make plenty of sense.

IX. WAIT! CHIVAS USA HAVE TWICE AS MANY POINTS AS THE RED BULLS? Yes, it's true. While the Red Bulls are buzzing about a recently announced friendly with Arsenal, the Goats come to town (Sun., 3 pm ET, UniMas) with a better record than the defending Supporters' Shield winners. Actually, that shouldn't strike anyone as odd: Chivas USA have the better record all-time against the Red Bulls:

Can the shaky RBNY defense stop "Cubo" Torres, who is tied atop the Budweiser Golden Boot standings with a goal in each of the Goats' first three matches?

X. WHERE IN MIAMI IS DAVID BECKHAM? It's the new game that residents of the prospective MLS expansion city are playing these days that is sure to continue through the weekend. That's because Beckham is truly embedding himself in South Florida and "has grown to truly love our city," according to the Miami Herald's veteran soccer writer. He's made trips to meet lawmakers (see this selfie shot by the governor of Florida), visits to local colleges (he stopped by Florida Memorial University this week) and stops to bring some cheer to kids in hospitals. Surely, one of the topics of conversation is the plan for the new stadium that he's hoping to build for his new club right on the water. The images are more jaw-dropping than his H&M commercial spots.

XI. WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: The LA Galaxy have a bye weekend – so what does a player do to take advantage of the rare break? If you're Omar Gonzalez, you get married! The Galaxy Designated Player and USMNT starter was even nice enough to share some pictures. We hope this doesn't mean his underwear-playing saxophone days are over!

And you know how Gonzalez capped his wedding day off? With a live John Legend concert and a personal Twitter message from the celebrity himself. Which musical artist or band would you want (or would have wanted) to serenade you on your wedding day?

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