The busiest week of the 2010 MLS season begins tonight with Kansas City visiting DC United in a nationally televised game. Before the weekend is out, MLS will have played 11 games involving all 16 clubs -- six of whom play two games.
One of the teams that will double up is the LA Galaxy, which will play at Colorado tonight before heading to Qwest Field for its Saturday afternoon match with the Sounders.
I asked Sounders coach Sigi Schmid yesterday if the double-helping of games is likely to cause LA coach Bruce Arena to ration out his roster the way Schmid did a couple of weeks ago when the Sounders played in Dallas on Thursday and Toronto on Sunday.
"It depends on where they are at," he said. "They’re going Wednesday-Saturday, two games on the road. Are they going home on Thursday or are they coming straight here. It all depends on how the games go for them. For us, we were doling out minutes because of fitness a little bit. We also wanted to look at some people in combinations, which we thought was important for us to get done early in the season rather than later. Bruce right now his team is on a good run, they’ve gotten a lot of points, he might not feel the need so much to look at other people."
(The answer to Schmid's question, by the way, is that the Galaxy are flying straight from Denver to SeaTac.)
Here's a quick preview from MLSsoccer.com.
TodayKansas City Wizards at D.C. United, 4 p.m. (ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / ESPN360.com)The teams are meeting already for the second and final time this regular season. Kansas City rolled to a dominating 4-0 win to open the season March 27 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.D.C. United’s 0-5 start is the worst in club history, and the third-worst in MLS history, behind the Kansas City Wizards (0-7 in 1999, two by shootout) and the New England Revolution in 2001 (0-6).United are the first MLS club to go without a goal in their first three home games of a season. The MLS record for a home scoreless streak is 452 minutes, set by Toronto FC in 2007.After conceding just one goal over the first four games of the season, the Wizards allowed three goals in their visit to Houston. Chivas USA at New England Revolution, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)The Revolution have never lost to Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium. In five all-time meetings in Foxborough, the Revolution have won four, the last two by shutout.It will be a difficult turnaround for the Revolution, with two players (Kheli Dube and Joseph Niouky) suspended after being sent off at the weekend. They join a longer list of players unavailable to injury and absence.Chivas USA earned their first road point of the season by tying Chicago. Their trip to New England is the second of three away games in a four-game span, all against Eastern Conference opposition. FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)The in-state rivals are meeting for the second and final time this regular season. They played to a 1-1 draw on March 27 at Pizza Hut Park on First Kick 2010.Sammy Appiah made his professional debut as a late substitute against Kansas City, and the third-round pick capped the night with his first goal.Despite holding a man advantage for nearly the entire second half, and a two-man advantage for the final 18 minutes, FC Dallas were unable to leave New England with their first victory. A season ago, FC Dallas won just one of their opening 10 matches, and fell a point short of qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs. LA Galaxy at Colorado Rapids, 6:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)The Galaxy have not won in Colorado in regular season play since July 13, 2002, a 3-1 win at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Rapids have won eight of the last 12 league meetings at home, and three of the four meetings all-time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.Already with nine goals, Edson Buddle has his career single-season high of 15 (set in 2008) in his sights. No MLS Golden Boot winner has finished with a ratio of better than a goal per game; the single-season best was Stern John for Columbus in 1998, with 26 goals in 27 games. DeLaGarza’s goal came after just 51 seconds on Saturday, the third-fastest goal in Galaxy team history, and the club’s first opening-minute goal since Brian Mullan scored in 2001.Claudio Lopez made his league debut for Colorado, coming on as a substitute against San Jose.Saturday, May 8Chicago Fire at Toronto FC, 1 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
The Fire have defeated Toronto FC just once in three all-time meetings at Toyota Park, that coming in 2008.Patrick Nyarko set up his fourth goal in as many games for the Fire, assisting on Baggio Husidic’s opener against Chivas. The MLS record for consecutive games with an assist is eight, set by Martin Machon of the Miami Fusion in 2000.Dwayne De Rosario started on the substitutes’ bench at Real Salt Lake, but still came away with his sixth goal of the season (and extended his goalscoring streak to five games) with a late penalty kick.LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC, 1 p.m. (KONG, TeleFutura)
The teams played to a draw at Qwest Field last season; Sounders FC won the first meeting of the clubs.The Galaxy’s undefeated record faces perhaps its stiffest test with two road matches this week.After trying Brad Evans as a striker the week before in Toronto, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid utilized a three-forward formation against Columbus, with Steve Zakuani and Evans flanking Fredy Montero, and Freddie Ljungberg operating just behind as playmaker. Veteran Peter Vagenas shouldered much of the cleanup duties.New England Revolution at Columbus Crew, 4 p.m. (FSC / FSE)
The Revolution secured a playoff berth by defeating the Crew in the final game of 2009 season at Crew Stadium, snapping a three-game losing streak against Columbus.The Crew will be without Danny O’Rourke once again; he was sent off on Saturday for the second time in three appearances this season.D.C. United at FC Dallas, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
The teams are meeting for the second time in 10 days. United took a 4-2 victory at RFK Stadium in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match.While the teams enter the week as the only two winless clubs in MLS, both are hoping to overturn that in midweek matches.
Real Salt Lake have given up four penalty kicks in six games, but the one conceded to Toronto FC last weekend was a late consolation goal in a 2-1 RSL win.Real last lost at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 16, 2009, a span of 12 league games at home.For the third time in four road matches, Union had a player sent off in Los Angeles when Stefani Miglioranzi received a red card just before halftime. Coach Peter Nowak is preaching patience.Union rookie Jack McInerney scored his first professional goal against Los Angeles, as Philadelphia was without injured leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux.New York Red Bulls at San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
The teams split their league meetings a year ago, while the Red Bulls won a U.S. Open Cup play-in match played at Buck Shaw Stadium in late April.The source of New York’s best start in nine years? Players credit a winning mentality and coach Hans Backe’s relaxed leadership style.Chris Wondolowski has scored goals in three consecutive games since being inserted into San Jose’s starting lineup.Juan Pablo Angel has caught fire with four goals, all coming in the last three games. The last three have come from deadball situations – two penalty kicks and a header off a free kick.Houston Dynamo at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
The teams are meeting for the second and final time this regular season. The Dynamo continued Chivas USA’s long drought at Robertson Stadium with a 3-0 victory on April 17.It will be a quick turnaround for both clubs, with each facing midweek matches. Houston will meet FC Dallas for the second time this season, at home, while Chivas will conclude a two-game road swing at New England.