MLS preview: why the Hudson River Derby isn’t this weekend’s big game17 days ago
The two best teams in the West meet on Saturday, and Dallas and Colorado should serve up a treat for the fans
Colorado and Dallas clash in game of the weekend
This is a real lip-smacker. Dallas have surged to 40 phases, and stand clear at the top in the West. Colorado are on their tail, three points back but with three games in hand. Colorado are unbeaten in 14 games; Dallas have won four of the last five. Dallas score objectives, and plenty of them; Colorado have the leagues best keeper and a superb defensive record, having conceded merely 13 all season. Forget the derby in New York: this is the weekends biggest game.
Its a difficult game to predict , not least because Dallas have the unfortunate they are able to capitulate when things arent gone wrong. Their home kind is awesome, but all six of their defeats this season have come away from Toyota Stadium, and they havent managed a objective in any of them. When theyre good, theyre very good; when theyre bad, theyre horrible the 5-0 recent thumping by Seattle a case in point.
But they come into this one after sneaking a 1-0 US Open Cup victory over their competitors Houston on Wednesday. Fabian Castillo followed up his breathtaking rabona assistance against Chicago with a last-minute objective at BBVA Compass Stadium, and set Dallas into the last four.
Colorado, who didnt play in the week, might offer a stylistic contrast from Dallass all-action style. In the is a lack of the influential Jermaine Jones, coach-and-four Pablo Mastroeni might be happy for his team to sit in, protect Tim Howard, and take their chances when they come.
Possession can be your friend, Mastroeni said in the week, but it can also be your greatest enemy. As weve learned this year as well, some of our adversaries best opportunities came from us turning the ball over in bad regions.
The Hudson River derby, part three
Two weeks after New York City FC and the Red Bulls is in conformity with their second derby of the season, were at it again. The conference-topping NYC FC travel to Harrison for the latest instalment of a growing rivalry.
Dont expect another 7-0, though. The Red Bulls havent been in the best of form lately, and things came to a head with some selection terms from their captain after their 2-2 depict against Philly last week. Dax McCarty slammed his team-mates for having no spine, and Sacha Kljestan told: We played like sons , not humen.
Just in case his on-field tactics dont work up, coach-and-four Jesse Marsch got the mind games in early, and encouraged Sundays referee to disregard any antics from NYC FCs stars. If[ David Villa ], Pirlo or Lampard get touched, they go down, they depict pollutes, they draw yellow cards, Marsch said. Its an epidemic across the league of these referees who simply want to give the benefit of the doubt to star players. Well ensure who gets assigned to this game and well see if he can handle the business.
Vieira, on the other hand, has been relaxed in the build-up, and its easy to see why: his side have won five of the last six, and theyre three clear of Philly at the top of the East. Things seem to be coming together for the team: Frank Lampard has been among the goals, David Villa is as reliable as ever, and No1 draft pick Jack Harrison has brought energy and dynamism in midfield.
Lampard has been maligned, perhaps unfairly, for not playing enough since joining from Manchester City last year, but the former England star is in fine kind. Im loving playing at the minute, Lampard said. Being injured is frustrating for anyone. I was especially frustrated. I couldnt do what I wanted to do, and thats contribute and score goals and help the team.
Dont bet against another objective on Sunday.
Orlando Citys new coach to watch the Lions
Orlando City have a new man at the helm. Jason Kreis, the former Real Salt Lake and NYC FC coach, was announced as Adrian Heaths replacing earlier this week, and will watch from stands as the Lions aim to end their four-match winless run against Columbus. He takes over officially on Monday, so Bobby Murphy and Anthony Pulis will continue in the interim.
Kreis was unveiled at a press said he wasnt concerned right now with outcomes. Hes taking a longer-term opinion, and the message to fans was simple: dont expect Orlando to win MLS Cup any time soon. The most immediate priority for me is an off the pitching issue, Kreis said. I need to get with the team and dictate to them and try to spell out clearly our vision for the club going forward, what it is going to mean to be an OCSC member, and ask the players if thats what they want. If you want to be here it requires a certain sum of commitment and sacrifice, and, if you do not want to be here, we need to learn that quickly and move you on.
Columbus, one place back of Orlando in ninth, have attempted to solve some of their defensive issues by signing Norwegian defender Nicolai Naess from Stabaek in Norway. The Crew have mined a rich seam in the Norwegian Tippeligaen its where Steve Clark and Ola Kamara came from but Naess wont have completed his paperwork in time to feature against Orlando.
I think Nicolai, for such a young age, has played a number of top-flight games in Norway, Crew coach Gregg Berhalter told. Being 23, we assure a lot of potential in him. Hes not afraid to put his body in front of the ball and adversaries. He plays with a lot of passion and a lot of attempt while still being a skilled defender.
An upgrade at centre-back was needed ever since Gaston Sauro sustained a knee trauma in late May, but with Columbus riding a seven-game winless streak, more acquisitions are likely required, particularly in assault. The Crew have won merely three of 19 league games this season, and as we enter the second half of the season, specific comments on their report card are clear: must do better.
Montreal look to get going at home against Philadelphia
It was big news in Quebec: Real Madrid were in town to train with the Impact. There were hugs between Zinedine Zidane and Didier Drogba, and the hope for Montreal is that some of Reals stardust will rub off on a talented squad thats hit the skids in recent weeks.
For the Montreal Impact it means a lot that Real Madrid are developing here, given the history of the club, Drogba said. Its important to see how such a major team go about the performance of their duties. Real Madrid is a really great club and an extremely prestigious one. Its an honour to have them here.
The Impact have gone off the boil after a good start to the season that insured them pick up four wins from the first six. Since then, theyve managed simply two wins from 13, which isnt good enough for a squad containing the quality of Drogba, Igancio Piatti, Dominic Oduro and Lucas Ontivero. Drogbas form, though solid, has dipped from the earlier heights, and the team seems to be treading water just now. Its imperative they do more at Stade Saputo.
In the second half[ of the season] we need to improve our home record, without question, coach Mauro Biello told. We have to be much better and maximize our phases. If we can do that and continue the form weve had on the road, well be contending with the top squads in the East.
They take on a Philadelphia Union squad that, alas, wont be going to a third straight US Open Cup final. Fabian Herbers tied things up for Philly at the end of 90 minutes against New England Revolution on Wednesday, and after a goalless 30 minutes of extra time, it went to penalties. Andre Blake couldnt repeat his heroics from earlier in the game, though, and when Brad Knighton stopped Sebastian Le Toux and CJ Sapong, the Revs went through to the semi-finals.
Coach Jim Curtin had only kudo for Blake, named an All-Star earlier this week. I dont like when he makes saves, to be honest, because I feel theres things we can do to prevent[ the shoots ], Curtin told. At the same time, when we do get broken down, hes there to bail us out. Hes playing in top form. Theres no astound that he is an All-Star this year and will be starting against Arsenal.
Real Salt Lake take over San Jose after historic conflict against Inter
Fans of MLS may have perturbed to hear that RSL had pulled, and later reinstated, the credentials of a Salt Lake Tribune journalist who was felt to be insufficiently positive about the team, but we got back to football matters on Tuesday when RSL entertained Inter in a mid-season friendly in Utah.
The game created a little piece of history: it was the first time Salt Lake have faced a European club at the Rio Tinto Stadium, and just the third day overall. Stevan Jovetics audacious last-minute backheel devoted Inter a 2-1 win, but video games, which featured a number of Inters top stars, including Samir Handanovic, Miranda and Mauro Icardi, was notable for the performance of RSLs children, many of whom were called up from the USL affiliate Monarchs, and the eye-catching showing of Jordan Allen, who opened the scoring in the first half.
When he plays that stance he does things differently than our other No10s, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said of the homegrown starring. Were able to get into behind a little bit more and cause the defense some problems. Jordan is learning the things that he is able to be successful with. Now hes able to play quicker. Hes learning really fast and I believe his ceiling is actually high and hes getting better and better.
In spite of some arousing assaulting talent, RSL have cooled off just recently, and have just one win in seven. A gap is beginning to open up between them and the top three. Right now, its a busy hour of the year, Cassar said. Its a period where we need to get results and get points and set ourselves in a position for the playoffs. I fully believe that if we take care of that, the other things will fall into line.
The up-and-down Quakes are 6-7-6 this season, which is classic mid-table sort, but such is the depth of quality in the Western Conference, they find themselves down in eighth, merely two places off the bottom. And the evidence for Friday nights televised clash points to a home win: the Quakes havent won away all season, and RSL are unbeaten at home.
Last week San Jose got their first win since June 25, a fiery 2-1 victory against Toronto, and coach-and-four Dominic Kinnear reckons that might kickstart their season. Things were against us in all regions of the evening, but the position was fantastic, Kinnear told. This is the type of game that could certainly be a turning point. The dubious red cards presented to Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero in the TFC were reported the coming week to have been repealed, although were still is looking forward to official confirmation from the league.
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