If FC Dallas are to remain at the top of the Western Conference table, they will need to dispatch everybody's favorite punching bag for the past few years, the New England Revolution. While the Revs are better than some people realize, that doesn't mean they are a strong team. FC Dallas can pull out a result, but can the other teams that need results this week pull them out as well?
Marquee Matchups: Week 5
Sporting look to regain their form while Chivas attempt to continue their impressive scoring binge.
The 4-0-0 Impact travel to the nation's heartland to take on stumbling Sporting.
Sporting KC haven't really impressed this season, with just one win, two draws and a loss to open up their campaign. Their offseason acquisitions made many observers pick them for Best Offseason, but so far their form doesn't match the lofty expectations. Losing Roger Espinoza has visibly hurt them, and with defensively stout Montreal looking to pull one over them at home, KC will need to be aggressive if they are to score against one of the best defenses in the league (.5 GAA is a nice number for Montreal). While Sporting's defense is nothing to scoff at, their scoring touch seems to have left them with Kei Kamara.
Montreal is turning heads and impressing everyone with their drastic turnaround from last season. I'm still uncertain as to how long they can keep their unbeaten streak alive, but I think they can manage one more game.
Here is a tale of two teams whose current positions are nowhere near their fans' expectations. I mentioned that Sporting's scoring has been suffering a bit, but Seattle is even worse. They are currently level with the Chicago Fire for least goals scored, with both sitting at one tally apiece.
One goal is through four games is less than ideal for a Sounders team that is usually known for its dynamic offense. With most of their major players back in for this one, and the recently signed Obafemi Martins expected to play, look for the Sounders to open up with an even more aggressive style than is usual from them.
Real Salt Lake is still more General Hospital than MLS team, but that can't be helped. RSL has been trying to avoid using the "rebuilding year" tag, which is a bit disingenuous considering their roster situation, but there is a case to be made that if not for all the injuries they could well be a contender for a top three spot.
Joao Plata and Robbie Findley's speed and work rate up and down the field will be needed to deal with a tough and physical Seattle defense, but I don't think Jason Kreis' boys have what it takes to wrangle a point, even at home. Seattle will be too much for them.
This is a match where a draw would serve FC Dallas just fine. With the Goats hot on our tail for first in the West and Vancouver needing points to climb from fifth into the top four, the game should be wide open.
While Chivas' goal scoring has drawn plenty of well-earned praise, their defensive discipline still leaves much to be desired. Their efforts to track back are to be lauded, as they swarm like angry hyenas on whoever has possession, but Dan Kennedy cannot constantly be bailing them out if they expect to contend for a playoff spot. How long can Chivas' success continue? One more convincing win and they will go from "are they serious?" to "Oh yes, they're serious".
Vancouver meanwhile has had a decent start to the season, as they're sitting in fifth and have won two games already. I would assume Chivas might actually be able to win this game, but their home crowd support is so sad that it will hardly be enough to really sway a referee in a close match. Besides, I want them to lose. Dallas could use it.