This second week of MLS action is fairly lacking in what I would call "Must See TV!", but that shouldn't stop us from taking a gander at what will be on the docket.
Two matches besides the ESPN game of the week stand out.
Colorado Rapids @ Philadelphia Union // Saturday, MLS Live, 5:00 p.m. CT
Call it premature, but I'm pretty excited to see what Pareja can get out of his team this year, particlarly after witnessing a solid display on our home field on opening day. The additions of Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown have added speed and danger reminiscent of the Omar Cummings of old. The return of a healthy Pablo Mastroeni helps solidify a good Colorado midfield that has the potential of breaking down the Union back line.
Philadelphia, just like the Rapids, are looking to get their first win of the season. Their second home game of the year requires nothing less than a win against a team they are capable of beating, but it will not be easy work. Look for Sebastien Le Toux to be the main threat, like old times (Old Times, circa AD 2010), with Keon Daniel's size and dribbling giving him a link up man. With Zac McMatch looking slightly more certain in goal, there will be no excuses for rookie keeper mistakes that plagued last year's team.
After the howler Ceus had against the Toros and McMath's shaky first year, I can't imagine either team really wants more spills and thrills cause by the only men on the pitch who can touch the ball with their hands.
Maybe I have a soft spot for expension teams, but after watching Montreal's gutsy performance at the hostile Clink in Seattle, I expect they will be full of confidence for this one. The Sounders are, on paper and by the eyeball test, an appreciably better team than the Timbers, so the Impact should feel that this is a game where points can be had. If Montreal displays the same solid defensive structure, and relies a little bit less on luck to keep the ball out of the net, I fancy their chances to pull a draw.
A draw, of course, will not be considered acceptable to a Portland team that played two completely different halves of soccer last week. Which Timbers side will come out onto the field? While Silvestre will surely be better coming out of the gates for his second game, it wasn't just Silvestre that was the problem. A static Timbers attack will effectively ensure a good chance of success for Montreal's defensive schemes. However, if Dr. Jekyll Portland comes out and is ready to spread the field, make runs behind the defense and give Diego Valeri the ball, the Impact could be in trouble.
This will be a shorter preview, but I am not certain I can see DC United pulling out the win here, not against an RSL team that just beat the Quakes at home. Without headbutter-in-chief Dwayne De Rosario, the United midfield lacks any real spark or threat from distance, and as a whole they looked pretty pedestrian against Houston.
It is entirely possible though, that the crowd boosts DC to greater heights than they showed against the Dynamo, and with such notable absences to Real Salt Lake (they will likely be missing Nat Borchers, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert and Ned Grabavoy) perhaps DC will come out with renewed vigor, dominate the midfield and score three goals.
This is the match that is going to draw all the attention I believe, as it involves another potentially exciting (read: bad defending) meeting between two of the league's more porous defenses.
Chris Wondolowski is going to need to take off his cement boots for this one, as the misfiring Quakes got hosed by RSL partially due to Wondo being unable to hit water if he had fallen out of a boat. With Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart and Marvin Chavez still all on the injury list, this is a match that the Quakes could easily drop. The injury situa
New York, meanwhile, has a man who better back up his bravado with results in Thierry Henry, who was pretty ineffective last week against the Portland Timbers. This past week he effectively accused people around him that they don't know what they're doing by saying "it's easier [to win] when you have guys who knows what it takes." Now, no one here can accuse Henry of not knowing what he's doing, but that's not the best way to go ingratiating yourself to your teammates and new management. A goal or two against Portland's generous defense should help matters.
RSL and DC draw 2-2
New York beat San Jose 3-2
Philadelphia lose to Colorado 2-1.
Portland beats Montreal 2-1