MLS Speaking Factors: California Clasico a conflict of strugglers | Soccer


So far as MLS derbies go, few have extra historical past than the LA Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes rivalry. Sadly, there’s additionally no derby within the league that has misplaced extra luster than this conflict of multiple-time MLS Cup winners.

It has been some time since both workforce has appeared like a professional title contender, and this yr is not a lot completely different. The Galaxy appeared like they may flip issues round with the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, however as an alternative discover themselves struggling once more.

Final Monday’s win in Montreal, which got here down a person after Ibrahimovic’s purple card, ought to present the Galaxy with some momentum. It’s going to additionally imply having to play with out Ibrahimovic for the primary time since his memorable arrival. Ola Kamara will be capable of reprise his function because the workforce’s goal striker, although Gio Dos Santos’ availability stays a query mark.

The Earthquakes employed a brand new coach, and shook up their roster, however head towards the summer time close to the underside of a weak Western Convention. Final week’s Three-1 residence loss to lowly D.C. United felt like rock-bottom for an Earthquakes facet that has been uncharacteristically shaky at residence.

Whereas the California Clasico could not have its traditional sizzle, Memorial Day Weekend in MLS has a number of tasty matchups, together with the Columbus Crew’s go to to Sporting Kansas Metropolis and FC Dallas’ trek to Canada to tackle Toronto FC. The Crew are unbeaten in six, however they go to an Sporting KC facet with only one loss in its previous 11 matches. Gyasi Zardes will look to proceed his sizzling type by beating reigning MLS Defender of the 12 months Ike Opara in among the finest one-on-one matches of the weekend.

The Houston Dynamo have hit their stride in current weeks and play host to NYCFC in one of many weekend’s extra underrated matchups. Rumors are swirling about Patrick Vieira’s future with NYCFC, and Friday’s match ought to present is whether or not it is develop into a distraction.

Here’s a nearer have a look at the important thing speaking factors for MLS Week 13:

Match of the Week: Sporting Kansas Metropolis vs. Columbus Crew

Wil Trapp Roger Espinoza MLS 09102017

Sporting Kansas Metropolis and the Columbus Crew are each having fun with good seasons to date, and owe their early success to enhancing in areas that was seen as weaknesses.

Sporting KC was recognized extra as a defensively stingy workforce earlier than the 2018 season, however got here out of the gate scoring objectives in bunches. Final yr’s finest protection shook off a gradual begin to ultimately regain its stingy type, however the assault stays the highest-scoring group within the Western Convention.

The league’s stingiest protection to date this season is now the Crew, which enter the weekend using a streak of 4 straight shutouts. Led by goalkeeper Zack Steffen, and an improved Lalas Abubakar thriving in his second professional season, the Crew at the moment are the kind of well-balanced workforce that would problem for a title.

Will the Crew’s protection hold its run going, or will Johnny Russell and Sporting KC be capable of discover the weak spots? That conflict of in-form models makes Sunday’s showdown the most effective of the weekend in MLS.

Match-ups to Watch

Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC

Sebastian Giovinco vs. Matt Hedges. Pretty much as good as Hedges is, even he could have hassle with the elusive Giovinco, so assist from midfield will probably be key to Dallas containing the Atomic Ant.

Gyasi Zardes vs. Ike Opara. The league’s co-leader in objectives, Zardes could have a tricky time cracking Sporting KC’s stingy protection, led by the dominant Opara, who has the dimensions and pace to neutralize the Crew striker.

Mauro Diaz vs. Michael Bradley. Now that he is again in his regular place, Bradley can deal with shutting down Diaz’s playmaking presence as TFC rebounds from an terrible begin in league play.

Sacha Kljestan vs. Bastian Schweinsteiger. With Dax McCarty sidelined, Schweinsteiger will probably be wanted to assist win the battle in central midfield, and a part of that’s making an attempt to maintain Kljestan quiet.

C.J. Sapong vs. Tim Parker. Sapong can normally overpower most defenders, however that will not be the case in opposition to Parker, who’s in the most effective type of his profession.

Clint Dempsey vs. Justen Glad. Glad should still solely be 21, however he is had his share of battles with Dempsey earlier than, and should hold the U.S. legend quiet if RSL is to tug off the street win.

Alberth Elis vs. Ben Sweat. Elis is in among the finest type within the league, however Sweat has been sturdy as properly. If Patrick Vieira goes with a Three-Four-Three, then it’s going to probably be Ronald Matarrita with the duty of stopping the Honduran speedster.

Yordy Reyna vs. Wilfried Zahibo. The Peruvian playmaker has begun to discover a good rhythm, however Zahibo has been a drive in his first season with the Revs, and has the muscle to frustrate Reyna.

Romell Quioto vs. Anton Tinnerholm. Quioto normally advantages from groups having to key on Elis, however he additionally does not usually see proper backs nearly as good defensively as Tinnerholm.

Luciano Acosta vs. Benny Feilhaber. Acosta is coming off his finest recreation of the yr, and can hold Feilhaber busy in a match-up D.C. United must win to have any probability of an upset.

Week 13 Predictions

Bradley Wright Phillips Alejandro Bedoya MLS 05062017

(*Greatest Wager)

TORONTO FC 2, FC Dallas zero. As its protection will get more healthy, TFC will get nearer to wanting just like the reigning champion. Sebastian Giovinco’s return is large, however search for Victor Vazquez to be the difference-maker.

Dynamo 1, NYCFC 2. Houston is hard at residence, however the NYCFC assault ought to break by way of in opposition to the Dynamo protection, with Jesus Medina being the important thing to a street win for the guests.

GALAXY 2, Earthquakes 1. Monday’s win in Montreal ought to assist give the Galaxy some momentum, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence will not be practically as detrimental as you’d anticipate. Ola Kamara scores once more in a win.

SOUNDERS 2, Actual Salt Lake zero. Drama is effervescent over at RSL, which will probably be with out disgruntled playmaker Albert Rusnak. Seattle is lacking a number of key gamers as properly, however this recreation has Clint Dempsey written throughout it.

Whitecaps 2, Revolution 2. Kei Kamara will internet not less than one purpose in opposition to his former workforce, however the Whitecaps protection continues to wrestle as Teal Bunbury matches his former teammate on the scoresheet.

RED BULLS Three, Union zero. The Union have received two straight, and are feeling good, however going to Pink Bull Area is a unique animal. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kaku ought to discover loads of possibilities in a cushty win.

ORLANDO CITY 2, Fireplace zero. The Lions have hit a little bit of a stoop, however closes losses to high groups does not make Orlando Metropolis any much less robust, particularly at residence. That does not bode properly for a Fireplace protection struggling of late.

MINNESOTA UNITED 2, Affect 1. The Montreal freefall ought to proceed, regardless that the Loons are one of many league’s most inconsistent groups. If they’ll hold Ignacio Piatti from working wild, Minnesota ought to seize three factors.

Rapids 1, TIMBERS 2. This has the makings of a traditional MLS entice recreation, with the Timbers using a five-match profitable streak. That stated, it is robust to select the Rapids, even at residence.

*LAFC Three, D.C. United zero. A win in San Jose appears to recommend D.C. is displaying indicators of life, nevertheless it’s robust to see the D.C. protection with the ability to deal with LAFC’s dynamic assault. Diego Rossi has a monster recreation in a romp.

SPORTING KC 1, Crew zero. The Columbus protection is on a roll, as is the Crew’s assault, however Sporting KC could be very robust at residence and matches up properly with the Crew. Do not anticipate many objectives, however search for Daniel Salloi to notch the winner.

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