Marquee Matchups: Midweek Morsels


Monitor matches that merit musing.

The USMNT play tonight against an Honduras team that bested them earlier in San Pedro Sula, but after that, there is midweek MLS action.

Let it be known that these are not your usual ho-hum midweek affairs. See the matchups below and prepare for excellent clashes.

Montreal Impact vs. Houston Dynamo // 7:00 p.m. CDT, Stade Saputo, MLS Live

This is exciting for many different reasons, not the least of which is that Montreal should be able to crush the Dynamo in their home turf. I say should, because we all know how soccer goes in this country.

The Impact are coming off a rare loss to the Columbus Crew, but that shouldn't dent anyone's impression of this team. The Impact are hot on the heels of FC Dallas for the Supporter's Shield, and look to be in a strong defensive position to maintain that charge. With Alessandro Nesta back from suspension, and Marco Schällibaum back on the sidelines, the Impact are back at full strength against a Dynamo squad that has struggled in the past month. Marco Di Vaio is also on a scoring tear, with five goals in his last five MLS appearances.

The Dynamo have a very tough task ahead of them travelling to Quebec. The strength of Montreal's home record speaks for itself: they have not lost a single game yet this season on their turf. While the Dynamo's road record has been quite poor, they have recovered just a bit and now boast two wins and three draws away from BBVA Compass Stadium. Will the Dynamo continue their improving road form to garner a result at Montreal? With Boniek Garcia missing and Brad Davis out on international duty, it seems a tall order for Houston.

If I had to put money on it, I'd wager Montreal win, though not by a hefty margin. Houston likes to disrupt the flow of play through incessant fouling, but Montreal is a team that can dish out fouls as well as they can take them.

Montreal win this one. Houston don't have what it takes to hang with the Impact.

Chicago Fire vs Colorado Rapids // 7:30 p.m. CDT, Toyota Park, MLS Live

The Colorado Rapids hit a bit of a speedbump last week with their loss to the woeful San Jose Earthquakes. Despite a decent effort, the team was just too lackluster against a middling San Jose and allowed themselves to lose to a side who is in disarray. It doesn't help that they seem to be incapable of coming back after trailing in a game. In all the five matches the Rapids have fallen behind in, they have lost. Ick. Not the prettiest of statistics when you're staring right at a fast and suddenly-dangerous Fire offense. Of course, that won't deter them from trying to take down the Fire away at Toyota Park.

The problem with that plan is that, unlike before, the Fire have steadied the ship amidst stormy waters. For now at least, the Fire have managed several good results, including knocking the Crew out of the US Open Cup last week. Frank Klopas was next in line for the hot seat (after Ben Olsen, obviously) but with three wins and three draws in their last seven games, perhaps things can yet be salvaged in Chicago. Newly acquired Mike Magree has been paying his trade back in spades. His addition to the Fire roster have made them a far more competent team on offense.

If Chicago score the first goal, Colorado will be in a lot of trouble.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers // 9:30 p.m. CDT, The Home Depot Center, MLS Live

LA needs to win this. Every Hoops fan should be pulling for the Galaxy in this one, because while they might eventually put it all together and start behaving like the defending champions, there's no guarantee that will happen. Portland is a clear and present danger to our SS hopes, and should be dispatched posthaste by the Galaxy.

The Timbers have been on a very good run. They defeated FC Dallas this past Saturday and while they weren't completely dominant, they looked a very good team. They are still without one or two of their internationals, but are still quite strong. Donovan Ricketts has backstopped Portland to several draws and wins, and their smothering possession game is still giving most teams they face trouble.

You could argue that possession doesn't score you goals, but every moment the opposing team doesn't have the ball is another moment they can't score. While the Timbers defense is nothing spectacular, but they take care not to lose possession foolishly, and that is a defense all on its own.

The Galaxy have had a nice break during which to recuperate since their loss at New England. It's possible the hammering they took against the Revs have compelled them to shore up all the areas that were lacking in that performance, but no one will know for sure until they take the field. Landon Donovan will surely be trying his best to impress Jurgen Klinsmann now that his spot on the USMNT roster is looking more and more perilous. Yes, he has the Gold Cup to try and make his mark, but his club form is no less important. If Donovan plays like the old Landon Donovan did, the Galaxy will be able to make a game of it.

Being at home, on real grass, also helps the Galaxy's case just a tiny bit.

By the way, have you seen the Galaxy's horrifying third kit? It's a monstrosity worthy of scorn and derision. As I mentioned on twitter, it looks as if a Tostitos bag threw up on climacool.


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