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Three games to watch
by Paul Kennedy, April 10th, 2014 8:42PM

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TAGS:  mls

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[MLS: Week 6] The hottest team in MLS is FC Dallas, which has started out 4-0-1 to open up a four-point lead on second-place Real Salt Lake (the only other unbeaten team at 2-0-3) in the Western Conference.

Nothing new here: FC Dallas started out 4-1-0 in 2013. It went 8-2-3 through its first 13 games, then won just two of its last 17 games.

It will look to continue its hot start when it hosts the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night. FC Dallas leads MLS with 13 goals in five games and has done it without any contributions from Colombian winger Andres Escobar or Uruguayan forward David Texeira, who were supposed to tear up MLS but have no goals and no assists between them and have been on the field for only 163 minutes.

MLS: Millionaire club up to 12 players

Fortunately, others have picked up the slack. Five players have scored two or more goals, led by Jamaican Je-Vaughn Watson with three goals and an assist. Mauro Diaz has two goals and three assists, and the young Argentine is making a strong case for being the best playmaker in MLS.

TRIVIA. New FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja did not have much luck against the Sounders, currently fifth in the Western Conference with a 2-2-1 record, when he coached Colorado. The Rapids' 5-1 win over Seattle in October was the high point of their surprise 2013 campaign but it was their only win in six regular-season games in two seasons under Pareja against the Sounders. Seattle also ousted the Rapids from the 2013 playoffs with a 2-0 play-in win that turned out to be Pareja's last game in charge of Colorado.

Also worth watching are two other matches involving top 5 teams ...

PHILADELPHIA-REAL SALT LAKE. The Union is only 1-1-3 for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but it has played some very good soccer. The game should mark the Philly debut of Andrew Wenger, who was acquired from Montreal for Jack McInerney but was suspended last weekend. Jeff Attinella will again start in the Real Salt Lake goal for the injured Nick Rimando, and RSL will have to go without starters at three other positions with Joao Plata and Robbie Findley out up front and U.S. national team players Tony Beltran and Luis Gil also sidelined. The good news: Chris Wingert and Sebastian Velasquez are back.

MLS: Sporting KC loses Opara for season with ankle injury

TORONTO FC-COLORADO. Toronto FC is second in the Eastern Conference behind Columbus with a 3-1-0 record after its 2-0 win at the Crew, while Colorado, fourth in the Western Conference with a 2-1-1 record, also won last weekend on the road with a 2-1 win at Vancouver. Toronto FC's injury list is long and getting longer as Michael Bradley joined the group of players missing from practice earlier in the week with injuries that included Jermain Defoe, Canadian youngsters Doneil Henry and Jonathan Osorio and Spaniard Alvaro Rey. The Rapids have scored seven goals in four games -- five directly or indirectly from the penalty spot, plus two Jose Mari bombs -- without their attack yet hitting high gear. Of concern, second-year Panamanian star Gabriel Torres has no goals, no assists with only one shot in four games.

The USA 20:
SATURDAY:
M Kyle Beckerman
, Real Salt Lake, at Philadelphia
D Tony Beltran, Real Salt Lake, at Philadelphia
M Michael Bradley, Toronto FC, vs. Colorado
M Brad Davis, Houston, at New England
F Clint Dempsey, at FC Dallas
M Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy, vs. Vancouver
M Maurice Edu, Philadelphia vs. Real Salt Lake
D Brad Evans, Seattle, at FC Dallas
M Luis Gil, Real Salt Lake, at Philadelphia
D Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy, vs. Vancouver
GK Bill Hamid, D.C. United, vs. New York
F Eddie Johnson, D.C. United, vs. New York
GK Sean Johnson, Chicago, at Montreal
D Michael Parkhurst, Columbus, at San Jose
GK Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake, at Philadelphia
D DeAndre Yedlin, at FC Dallas
SUNDAY:
D Clarence Goodson
, San Jose, vs. Columbus
F Chris Wondolowski, San Jose, vs. Columbus
IDLE:
D Matt Besler, Sporting KC
M Graham Zusi, Sporting KC

MLS WEEK 6, Schedule:
Saturday, April 12
4 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. Real Salt Lake, Univision Dep. MLS LIVE
Toronto FC vs. Colorado, MLS LIVE
Montreal vs. Chicago, MLS LIVE
5 pm ET
New England vs. Houston, MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
D.C. United vs. New York, MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Seattle, MLS LIVE
10:30 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver, MLS LIVE
Portland vs. Chivas USA, MLS LIVE
Sunday, April 13
3 pm ET
San Jose vs. Columbus, UniMas
------------------------------------------------
MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
9 Columbus 3-1-0 7/4
9 Toronto FC 3-1-0 5/4
8 Sporting KC 2-1-2 5/4
6 Houston 2-2-0 7/6
6 Philadelphia 1-1-3 6/6
------------------------------------------------
4 D.C. United 1-2-1 4/6
4 New England 1-3-1 2/8
4 Chicago 0-1-4 8/9
4 New York 0-1-4 6/9
2 Montreal 0-3-2 5/9

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
13 FC Dallas 4-0-1 13/6
9 Real Salt Lake 2-0-3 8/4
8 Vancouver 2-1-2 8/5
7 Colorado 2-1-1 7/5
7 Seattle 2-2-1 9/8
------------------------------------------------
5 Chivas USA 1-2-2 6/10
4 LA Galaxy 1-1-1 4/2
3 Portland 0-2-3 7/10
1 San Jose 0-2-1 4/6
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
4+3 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
4 Vicente Sanchez
, Colorado
4 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
3+2 Je-Vaughn Watson, FC Dallas
3 Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake
3 Federico Higuain, Columbus
3 Kenny Miller, Vancouver
3 Will Bruin, Houston
3 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC<


1 comment
  1. Leonardo Perez
    commented on: April 12, 2014 at 1:20 a.m.
    Yes, that Dallas/Seattle game will be one to watch, but it seems Dallas blacks out their games here in San Antonio. Why? I am over 200 miles from Frisco, yet they black out there games to San Antonio. I live over 190 miles from Houston, yet they don't blackout their games, so why Dallas do so? Is there an MLS rule that says they can do that? Can you please tell me?


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