The goal watch in Toronto continues as the Fire goes north of the border. Expected to make their MLS debuts are Pablo Richetti for FC Dallas in Kansas City and Juan Pablo Angel for the New York Red Bulls hosts Colorado. Alejandro Moreno reunites with Sigi Schmid. What's up with Carlos Ruiz? Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney previews all of the weekend's MLS action.
TORONTO (0-4-0) vs. CHICAGO (3-1-1)
(Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol)
Chicago fell from the unbeaten ranks against defending champion Houston last week and while no one on TFC has yet shown the rampaging talents of Dwayne DeRosario, who scored twice, Coach Mo Johnston has had two weeks to prepare his team for its second home game.
Johnston, snubbed in his efforts to land midfielder Amado Guevara from Chivas USA, has dealt away Paulo Nagamura since TFC's last match, a 1-0 loss to Kansas City, so the midfield will change its look yet again. Fiesty midfielder Ronnie O'Brien, who suffered a strained ligament in his right knee just days before the season opener and has yet to play, might see his first action. With two more weeks of training to draw upon, striker Danny Dichio should give a better account of his abilities.
Fire coach Dave Sarachan has already expressed misgivings about the artificial surface at BMO Field. His remarks sparked a testy retort from Johnston, whose players will be backed by another boisterous crowd.
COLUMBUS (1-1-3) vs. CHIVAS USA (2-3-0)
(Saturday, 7:30 pm ET Direct Kick)
Alejandro Moreno has joined the Crew in a trade from Houston as Sigi Schmid continues to tinker with his attack, which has scored just three goals and been blanked three times.
As coach of the Galaxy, Schmid drafted Moreno out of UNC-Greensboro in the 2002 SuperDraft. He scored 20 goals from 2003 to 2005, but since the Quakes moved to Houston, he's scored only three and has yet to net this season. After debuting as a sub last week, Guillermo Barros Schelotto is ready to assume more of the attacking burden.
Sacha Kljestan returns to Chivas USA after serving a two-game suspension and also available is Nagamura. Francisco Mendoza has played several sharp games on the left flank and could be a key factor as Chivas USA searches for its first road point of the season following three losses.
Kansas City (3-1-2) vs. FC Dallas (2-3-1) at,
(Saturday, 8 pm ET Direct Kick)
Striker Carlos Ruizshowed up for practice Wednesday, after he returned late from a trip to his native Guatemala and missed Monday and Tuesday sessions. Coach Steve Morrow's decision to name him captain hasn't taken hold, apparently. He hasn't scored in the last four games and Morrow has said he will not start against Kansas City.
Morrow has limited options up front, as Roberto Mina underwent another knee surgery this week, but rookieDominic Oduro has used his speed and aggressiveness to good effect this season. Kenny Cooper has only two goals and like Ruiz, has been blanked in the last four games. Richetti, yet another Argentine midfield addition to MLS, will play but probably won't start.
Kansas City gets a chance to prove it is for real: not on the field, but at the gate. Terrible crowds of 7,438 and 7,426 - yes there was bad weather - have turned out for two home games this season. It has posted three straight shutouts and showed determination last week by scoring in the final minute on a spectacular run and shot by left back Jose Burciaga after battering against a Crew fortress for most of the match.
LOS ANGELES (1-1-1) vs. NEW ENGLAND (3-1-2)
(Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, HDNet, Direct Kick)
The snoozer these teams played in the 2002 MLS Cup, decided by a Carlos Ruiz golden goal, personifies the conservative recent history of these cross-country combatants. The Revs smashed LA, 4-0, last year, but the three previous meetings ended 1-1, 1-1, and 1-0.
However, this will beFrank Yallop's debut as Galaxy coach against New England, and Los Angeles, which didn't play last weekend, erupted for three goals in extra time Tuesday to down New York, 3-1, in the U.S. Open Cup on a superb effort by backup keeper Steve Cronin.
The Revs have been firing sharply, with 11 goals in six games despite playing four of them on the road. Rookies Adam Cristman (three assists) and Wells Thompson (scorer of his first MLS goal last week in a 3-1 defeat of Chicago) are able complements to Taylor Twellman and Andy Dorman, who have seven goals between them. And all Steve Ralston has done is score a goal and assist on five others. So far, he's been the team MVP.
New York (3-0-2) vs. Colorado (2-2-2)
(Sunday, 3 pm ET, Telefutura)
For the second time this season, the Red Bulls host a team that played Thursday and had to travel. Last time this happened, NYRB thumped FC Dallas, 3-0.
More bad news for the Rapids: Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel, who debuted for RBNY in a 3-1 Open Cup loss to the Galaxy Tuesday, scored on a free kick and is looking good. Even more bad news is how bad Colorado looked at home last week while surrendering three goals to Houston in the second half and on Thursday lurching to a 1-1 tie with Real Salt Lake.
RBNY has failed to convert four penalty kicks this season, including a Cronin save of Jozy Altidore's penalty in the Open Cup, and RBNY comes into this game after squandering a 3-1 lead to Real Salt Lake in the final minutes to end up tied, 3-3. Keeper Ronald Wattereus is bothered by an ankle sprain he suffered last weekend.