[MLS] There will be plenty of tired legs this weekend in MLS; six teams play their third game in eight days following a slate of four midweek matches. Colorado and Kansas City sit out this Saturday. There are two tasty Western Conference matchups; in Seattle, the Sounders play the unbeaten Galaxy, and with LA out of town, Chivas USA hosts Houston, which looked very ordinary while losing to FC Dallas, 1-0, on Wednesday. Speaking of Dallas, it hosts another team that posted its first victory in midweek, surging D.C. United.
Here are a few things we’ll be keeping tabs on:
SWEEP? Heading into Qwest Field, the Galaxy is riding the momentum of wins Saturday and Wednesday. Alan Gordon did the honors at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to down the Rapids, 1-0, with a close-range diving header. The Sounders didn’t play in midweek so they’ll be rested, and there’s anxiety in Seattle, not that Coach Sigi Schmid needs extra motivation against the team that dumped him in 2005.
The chips are stacked against the Galaxy. It is the only team that played on Wednesday with a Saturday afternoon game scheduled, and it also had to travel from Colorado. Leading second-place Houston and Chivas USA by nine points, Coach Bruce Arena can give more time to a few of his younger players and see how they fare in a harsh environment, and maybe still get a win. With that 'D' and Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, anything is possible.
WINNERS MEET. FC Dallas finally got a victory it deserved but failed to obtain while tying four of its first five games. Conversely, D.C. had often looked abysmal while scoring two goals and conceding 13 during its 0-5 start, yet it capitalized on a pair of Kansas City errors to get the first two MLS goals for Danny Allsopp, and played well enough defensively to stymie the Wizards until Kei Kamara scored in stoppage time.
Defending the flanks has been a problem area for D.C. United this season, and Houston struggled to contain the forays of Brek Shea, who also set up the goal by reaching a Dax McCarty free kick as it was about to fly over the goal line and volleying a ball that Ugo Ihemelu headed into the net. Which team is fitter and can fight through fatigue might determine the outcome.
TRAVEL PLAN. The stress of playing two games in four days prompted Toronto FC coach Preki to rest several of his starters last Saturday at Real Salt Lake, and after falling behind, 2-0, at halftime he returned Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman to the lineup but still lost, 2-1. He admitted his experiment failed, and he needs a new plan in a hurry.
TFC returns to action Saturday against Chicago in one of two home games it will play this month. The rest of May will be spent traveling to three league games and two Nutrilite Canadian Championship matches. TFC has won both of its home league games this season, but the opponents were expansion Philadelphia and Seattle, which had played at home just three days earlier and traveled a long, long way. TFC is about to follow suit, which is another reason it needs points Saturday.
The Chicago game starts a run of five games in 14 days, which includes a West Coast trip to play Los Angeles and Vancouver, and then a quick return back home to host New England May 22. A week later, TFC is back on the West Coast to play San Jose.