Three MLS games to watch

[WEEK 10: Preview] Of the nine league games split between Saturday and Sunday this weekend, the Mother’s Day matchup of Portland and Los Angeles (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Providence Park is the most compelling. Both teams are languishing outside the playoff tier, though the Galaxy (2-2-2, 8 points) gets a smidgen of excuse for playing the fewest league matches to date and the Timbers (1-3-5, 8 pts.) did get off the winless schneid last week by beating D.C. United, 3-2.

Still, they are five points back of fifth-place Vancouver and Portland’s desperate rally generated feelings of relief more than stone-cold confidence going forward. Of the two teams, the Timbers may have a slightly brighter outlook for reasons articulated by head coach Caleb Porter before the season even started.

“It’s an interesting thing in that we’re one of the better teams that doesn’t have guys who will be gone for the World Cup,” said Porter, whose team hasn’t been one of better ones so far in 2014 but won’t be affected by the national team departures of next week as Brazil 2014 preparations ramp up. “The nice thing is we don’t have anybody that we’re going to lose. We’re one of the few teams that won’t have to manage guys leaving, so hopefully that’s going to be an advantage for us. Honestly, that was kind of the way we built the team.”

After the match in Portland, forward Landon Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez will presumably leave the Galaxy and join up with their USA teammates for the start of training camp in Northern California. Neither has been at the top of his game so far this season and the team has announced that Gonzalez will sit out the Portland game to rest a knee injury. He could be replaced by Kofi Opare, who took over for him against Colorado. Tommy Meyer and A.J. DeLaGarza are other possibilities.

Los Angeles had a relatively strong squad available last weekend but was unable to generate any goals or points in a 1-0 loss at Colorado. Though he leads the team with four goals, Robbie Keane hasn’t looked sharp in several games and against the Rapids pushed a penalty kick wide of the post. The ineffectiveness of Canadian forward Rob Friend, signed during the offseason to add height and experience up front, has impaired the Galaxy offense. He was fined an undisclosed amount by the league office this week for embellishment.

PHILADELPHIA-D.C. UNITED. The Union continues a rough run of tests unsure if this will be the last game played by midfielder Maurice Edu before he reports to the U.S. camp.

Philly hasn’t won since beating New England nearly two months ago and though it has played well in spurts players and coaches are left frustrated by a costly breakdown or two in each game. The Union lost, 2-1, in Seattle last weekend after taking an early lead on a Brad Evans own goal. Head coach John Hackworth is hopeful Edu stays with the team until Wednesday to play against Sporting Kansas City.

United also comes into the game after surrendering a lead; it faltered in Portland yet given Philly’s struggles will be confident of getting at least a point. The performance of Eddie Johnson, another possible USA camp attendee, will bear watching. He has yet to score this season but those Philly defensive breakdowns could recur to his benefit.

HOUSTON-REAL SALT LAKE. These perennial contenders meet with storylines abundant. RSL head coach Jeff Cassar has yet to taste defeat, and by storming back from a 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2, in Chicago he and his players are riding enough momentum to pose a real threat to the Dynamo.

By beating Columbus, 1-0, on Wednesday, Houston improved its home record to 3-0-1, but only some poor finishing by the Crew and two excellent saves by Tally Hall enabled it to post a shutout and claim all three points. RSL attacker Joao Plata, who scored twice against Chicago, is nearly impossible to contain if isolated against a centerback, and it will be a long night for Hall and Co. if Plata is scything open spaces for Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio. Those three have combined for 10 goals and six assists.

MULTIPLE TRADES. Three deals took place on Thursday that resulted in Chivas USA acquiring Honduran midfielder Marvin Chavez from the Colorado Rapids and forward Ryan Finley from the Columbus Crew. Chivas USA sent little-used Englishman Luke Moore to the Rapids and a conditional second-round pick in the 2016 SuperDraft to the Crew. Moore was subsequently traded to Toronto FC for defender Gale Agbossoumonde.

MLS WEEK 10, Results:
Wednesday, May 7
Houston 1 Columbus 0.
HOU: Will Bruin (Brad Davis) 50
Att.: 15,030.

Seattle 2 FC Dallas 1.

DAL: Michel pen. 16
SEA: Lamar Neagle (Obafemi Martins) 62
SEA: Kenny Cooper (Obafemi Martins) 88
Att.: 38,489.

San Jose 0 Colorado 0.

MLS WEEK 10, Schedule:
Saturday, May 10
4 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. D.C. United, MLS LIVE
Montreal vs. Sporting KC, MLS LIVE, UDN
7 pm ET
New York vs. Chicago, MLS LIVE
7:30 pm ET
Columbus vs. Vancouver, MLS LIVE
10:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. FC Dallas, MLS LIVE
Sunday, May 11
2:30 pm ET
Portland vs. LA Galaxy, NBCSN, MLS LIVE
3 pm ET
Colorado vs. Chivas USA, UniMas
6 pm ET
New England vs. Seattle, MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
Houston vs. Real Salt Lake
MLS Standings:
14 Sporting KC 4-2-2 11/6
14 Houston 4-4-2 13/14
14 New England 4-3-2 9/10
14 New York 3-2-5 14/12
12 Columbus 3-2-3 10/10
11 D.C. United 3-3-2 12/11
9 Toronto FC 3-4-0 7/9
8 Philadelphia 1-4-5 10/13
6 Montreal 1-4-3 7/14
6 Chicago 0-2-6 12/14

22 Seattle 7-2-1 22/14
17 Real Salt Lake 4-0-5 16/10
16 FC Dallas 5-4-1 19/17
15 Colorado 4-2-3 10/9
13 Vancouver 3-2-4 15/12
8 LA Galaxy 2-2-2 7/5
8 Portland 1-3-5 12/15
7 San Jose 1-3-4 8/10
6 Chivas USA 1-5-3 9/18
MLS: Leading Scorers
8 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
7 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
6+1 Will Bruin, Houston
6 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
5 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
5 Chris Wondolowski
, San Jose
5 Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake
5 Vicente Sanchez, Colorado
5 Fabian Espindola, D.C. United

MLS WEEK 11, Schedule:
Wednesday, May 14
8:30 pm ET
Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia, MLS LIVE
Saturday, May 17
4:30 pm ET
Toronto FC vs. New York, MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Montreal, MLS LIVE
Philadelphia vs. New England, MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, MLS LIVE
Houston vs. LA Galaxy, MLS LIVE
9:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado, MLS LIVE
10 pm ET
Seattle vs. San Jose, MLS LIVE
10:30 pm ET
Portland vs. Columbus, MLS LIVE
Sunday, May 18
3 pm ET
Chicago vs. Sporting KC, UniMas

MLS WEEK 12, Schedule:
Wednesday, May 21
7 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Houston, MLS LIVE
10:30 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, MLS LIVE
Friday, May 23
8:30 pm ET
Sporting KC vs. Toronto FC, MLS LIVE, UDN
Saturday, May 24
7 pm ET
Vancouver vs. Seattle, MLS LIVE
New York vs. Portland, MLS LIVE
7:30 pm ET
Columbus vs. Chicago, MLS LIVE
New England vs. D.C. United, MLS LIVE
9 pm ET
Colorado vs. Montreal, MLS LIVE
9:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, MLS LIVE
Sunday, May 25
8 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia, UDN
10:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. Houston

MLS WEEK 13, Schedule:
Tuesday, May 27
8 pm ET
Sporting KC vs. New York, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
Wednesday, May 28
10:30 pm ET
Chivas USA vs. Portland, MLS LIVE
Saturday, May 31, 2014
4 pm ET
Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake, MLS LIVE
5 pm ET
Toronto FC vs. Columbus, MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
Montreal vs. New England, MLS LIVE
D.C. United vs. Sporting KC, MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. San Jose, MLS LIVE, UDN
10:30 pm ET
Chivas USA vs. Philadelphia, MLS LIVE


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