MLS Weekend Preview: Aug. 31 - Sept. 1

Saturday, August 31

New England at Tampa Bay

Location: Tampa Stadium. Kickoff (ET): 7:30 p.m. Television:
none. Satellite: none.

Series History: April 13 at Tampa Stadium -- Tampa rallied for a 3-2 victory in its home opener; August 21 at Foxboro Stadium -- New England crushed the injury-riddled Mutiny 4-2.

Injuries: New England -- D Mike Burns (knee surgery), D Tom Lips (recovering from chicken pox) and M Welton (strained knee) are probable, F John Kerr (strained groin) is questionable; Tampa Bay -- D Frank Yallop (abdominal strain) and M Derek Backman (bruised toe) are probable, D Steve Pittman (bruised knee), M Ivan McKinley (bruised thigh), and F Roy Lassiter (strained groin) are questionable, D Cle Kooiman (fractured cheekbone, and M Peter Hattrup (torn ACL and MCL) are out.

Of Note: Both teams will be missing important players for this game.... New England will be without its three Canadians -- defender Iain Fraser, midfielder Geoff Aunger, and the newly acquired Mark Watson -- all of whom will be playing for Canada against Panama in World Cup qualifying.... Tampa will be without midfield star Carlos Valderrama, who will lead Colombia against Chile, defender Frank Yallop, also playing for Canada, and midfielder Evans Wise, who'll play for Trinidad & Tobago against Guatemala.... Roy Lassiter's status (he will be returning from the U.S.-El Salvador friendly) will be a game-time decision for Tampa coach Thomas Rongen.


New England -- Heaney, Lalas, Burns, Wylie, Okaroh, Naveda, Welton, Sawatzky, Debrito, Moore, Baba.

Tampa Bay -- Dougherty, Diffley, Pittman, Frye, Ralston, Backman, Vasquez, McKinley, Hunjak, Viera, Galderisi.

Prediction: Playoff race heating up after Revs grind out a 2-1 win.

Sunday, September 1

MetroStars at Kansas City

Location: Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff (ET): 3:00 p.m. Television: Univision. Satellite: Spacenet 3, Tr. 5.

Series History: May 22 at Arrowhead Stadium -- The Wiz rallied for a 2-1 victory in Eddie Firmani's last game as the MetroStars' coach; June 25 at Giants Stadium -- Tony Meola and the MetroStars blanked K.C. 2-0.

Injuries: MetroStars -- D Nicola Caricola (hairline toe fracture) and M Manny Lagos (torn ACL) are out; Kansas City -- D Diego Gutierrez (bruised knee), D Uche Okafor (strained patella tendon), and M Frank Klopas (strained hamstring) are probable.

Of Note: MetroStars forward Anthony De Avila, who has made an excellent contribution since his arrival in MLS, will miss the match to play with the Colombian national team against Chile.... Look for Ian Hennessy to replace Chris Unger in midfield for the Metros.... The Wiz clinched a playoff berth when Colorado lost to D.C. United on Thursday, and a win today would put K.C. in sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.... Garth Lagerwey has solidified his position in the Kansas City nets with some outstanding recent play


MetroStars -- Meola, Zaun, Harty, Knowles, Vermes, Donadoni, Hennessy, Ramos, Joseph, Johnson, Wood.

Kansas City -- Lagerwey, Uderitz, Okafor, Bowers, Gutierrez, McKeon, Sorber, Preki, Chung, Takawira, Johnston.

Prediction: Wiz are magical in a 3-2 win.

Los Angeles at San Jose

Location: Spartan Stadium. Kickoff (ET): 7:00 p.m. Television: KTLA-Los Angeles. Satellite: SBS 6, Tr. 15 or Spacenet 3, Tr. 15.

Series History: April 28 at the Rose Bowl -- Mauricio Cienfuegos' free kick was the winning strike in L.A.'s 2-1 win; May 12 at Spartan Stadium --
Greg Vanney scored a later winner as the Galaxy remained unbeaten with another 2-1 victory.

Injuries: Los Angeles -- D Dan Calichman (pulled hamstring) is questionable; San Jose -- D Troy Dayak (strained neck) and D Tim Martin (strained hamstring) are probable, D Michael Emenalo (sprained ankle) is questionable, M Paul Holocher (torn ACL) is out.

Of Note: Los Angeles, losers of five straight, will try to break out of its funk against the Clash, but Ecuadorian international Eduardo Hurtado won't be around to battle San Jose's bulky defenders.... "El Tanque" leads Ecuador against Venezuela in World Cup qualifying.... Despite its recent slide, the Galaxy clinched a playoff berth when Colorado lost to D.C. United on Thursday.... Lothar Osiander has been doing some serious lineup tinkering of late, and after Wednesday's loss in Columbus (in which Mauricio Cienfuegos played up front), expect more changes for today's game.... San Jose's can wrap up a playoff spot with a regulation win, but Laurie Calloway's squad needs to show it can score some goals.... The Clash have just three goals in their last four games.... San Jose keeper Tom Liner has notched consecutive shutouts.


Los Angeles -- Campos, Calichman, Fraser, Motajo, Semioli, Vanney, Armas, Cienfuegos, Jones, Karapetyan, Jara.

San Jose -- Liner, Martin, Dayak, Doyle, Emenalo, Baicher, Rodas, Lewis, Bravo, Espinoza, Wynalda.

Prediction: Third time's the charm for San Jose -- Bravo stars in 2-1 win.

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