MLS: Weekend Preview (April 27-28)

Saturday, April 27

Columbus at MetroStars

Location: Giants Stadium

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (EDT)

Television: Sportschannel Ohio; MSG Network

Satellite: Galaxy C4, Tr. 5 (raw feed); Galaxy 5, Tr. 17 (broadcast)

Injuries: Columbus -- none; MetroStars -- GK Tony Meola (mild shoulder separation) is day-to-day, D Jeff Zaun (concussion, broken nose) is probable, M Ted Gillen (torn hamstring) is out, M Nidal Baba (strained groin) is out.

Preview: The good news for the MetroStars is the arrival of Tab Ramos (whose Tigres team fell to Necaxa in the Mexican League playoffs last week) and Colombian forward Ruben Hernandez; the bad news is a nervous Zach Thornton in goal if Tony Meola's shoulder is still tender... Meola counseled Thornton at the Olympic Training Center earlier this year... Whoever plays between the posts will be tested; the MetroStars' back line is shaky, even if Caricola cures his severe case of owngoalitis... The Crew plays its first game outside of its Ohio Stadium corridor, and there will be space for Hernandez... MetroStars midfielder Miles Joseph could be a key factor if released by the Olympic team.


Columbus -- Oshonyi, Clark, Watson, Battelle, Michallik, Thompson, Khumalo, Bliss, Maisonneuve, Paz, McBride.

MetroStars -- Thornton, Caricola, Knowles, Restrepo, Zaun, Vermes, Ramos, Joseph, Kydes or Silvera, Rodriguez, Hernandez.

Prediction: The MetroStars play better than they did in their dismal home opener, but not well enough: They lose 3-2.

Washington at New England

Location: Foxboro Stadium

Kickoff: 7:30 (EDT)

Television: Home Team Sports

Satellite: Spacenet 3 , Tr. 23

Injuries: Washington -- M John Harkes (blisters) is day-to-day, M Sterling Westcott (strained groin) is day-to-day, F Ben Crawley (sprained ankle) is probable, M Mario Gori (hamstring) is out, D Mike Huwiler (shin splints) is out; New England -- F Giuseppe Galderisi (strained hamstring, sprained knee) is probable, D Iain Fraser (groin surgery) is out.

Preview: Turmoil is tearing away at D.C. United; its Bolivian stars didn't return as scheduled, "Chicho" Suarez reportedly will not come back, and MLS may have to find a replacement... Forward Raul Diaz Arce came to life last week and John Harkes played more like a captain and less like a prima donna... New England must sort out its goalkeeping dilemna: Jim St. Andre is back from his one-game suspension, but Aiden Heaney played well last week in shutting out the MetroStars and should be capable enough as long as he isn't bombarded... United defender Eddie Pope may be able to keep New England's Rob Ukrop somewhat tamed, but Welton and Giuseppe Galderisi might be too much to handle... Injuries further hamper United, which took only 15 players on the road... The Revolution sold out its downsized capacity of 22,385 10 days ago and opened up a limited number of seats to New England soccer fans this week.


D.C. United -- Causey, Agoos, Peay, Pope, Harkes, Imler, Medved, Kelderman, Williams, Rammel, Diaz Arce.

Revolution -- Heaney, Burns, Lalas, Ibsen, Weitzmann, Aunger, DeBrito, Welton, Woodring, Ukrop, Galderisi.

Prediction: United still can't get off the schneid. The Revs win their home opener 3-1 in front of 32,000 fans.

Sunday, April 28

Dallas at Tampa Bay

Location: Tampa Stadium

Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. (EDT)

Television: Univision

Satellite: Spacenet 3, Tr. 5

Injuries: Dallas -- G Jon Walker (torn rotator cuff) and D Tom Soehn (torn ACL) are out; Tampa Bay -- D Tayt Ianni (sprained knee) and M Peter Hattrup (torn ACL and MCL) are out.

Preview: Will the Burn sizzle, as against KC, or fizzle, as against Colorado?... Colombians Alvarez and Valderrama square off (having disposed of Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday)... Both teams have exhibited a disquieting mix of attacking explosiveness and defensive self-immolation... This could be another thriller like Tampa's win over New England, and the Mutiny's potency on the flanks might be the difference... The Burn showed some sharp finishing against the Wiz, but Tampa's defense is much tougher, although a bit short of pace... Irony of ironies: Univision, the network of non-commerical interruption and staunch respect for the game, has televised two straight shootouts.


Dallas -- Dodd, Pollard, Lozzano, Sonora, Santel, Rodriguez, Ashton, Alvarez, Kreis, Kerr, Eck.

Tampa Bay -- Dougherty, Pittman, Diffley, Vasquez, Yallop, Kooiman, Ralston, Valderrama, Wise, Viera, Lassiter.

Prediction: Mutineers roll on, 2-1.

San Jose at Los Angeles

Location: Rose Bowl

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (EDT)

Television: KICU-36 San Jose

Satellite: Galaxy C6, Tr. 18 (raw feed)

Injuries: San Jose -- D Rafael Amaya (strained knee ligament) is out; Los Angeles -- M Andrew Shue (strained hamstring) is probable.

Preview: This weekend, Los Angeles could see another crowd approaching the 70,000 that attended the Galaxy's home opener... The Westlake Village lads, Eric Wynalda and Cobi Jones, meet head-to-head, but the main event is the heavyweight tussle between Galaxy forward Eduardo Hurtado, who might be fatigued after scoring twice in Ecuador's 4-1 win over Peru on Wednesday, and Clash defensive stalwart John Doyle... San Jose must find a way to counteract the Galaxy's strength down the middle, particularly the playmaking of Salvadoran midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos... A shootout might seem inevitable, since the Clash has lost its last two games in the postgame crapshoot, and Galaxy head coach Lothar Osiander's Atlanta team rode the shootout into last year's A-League finals... Possible changes for the Galaxy are Salcedo for Motajo, and Vasquez for Karpetyan... Rumor has it Andrew Shue will go on 15-day injured reserve again this weekend.


San Jose -- Liner, Doyle, Emenalo, Dayak, Martin, Iroha, Rodas, Holocher, Mella, Bravo, Wynalda,

Los Angeles -- Campos, Fraser, Calichman, Semioli, Noamouz, Armas, Salcedo, Jones, Cienfuegos, Vasquez, Hurtado.

Prediction: Clash's woes continue with another tough loss.

Looking ahead to next week:

Wednesday: Dallas at Washington

Thursday: Columbus at Kansas City (ESPN2)

Saturday: San Jose at New England, Tampa Bay at MetroStars

Sunday: Columbus at Dallas, Kansas City at Colorado, Washington at Los Angeles (Univision).

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