Difficult as it is, let’s try to skip the part where we wonder about Major League Soccer’s ongoing, stubborn insistence of playing through this week’s FIFA international break.
In fairness MLS has made some progress here, attempting to shrink the slate of league contests around World Cup qualifiers and other international dates – but this “progress” is arriving at a plodding pace.
But, again, let’s just power through that for now. Rather, let’s talk about which teams will be taxed the most star power.
The Galaxy, on such a roll lately, top this unfortunate list. They will miss fabulously in-form Landon Donovan (pictured), league MVP candidate Robbie Keane and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for this week’s visit by Colorado.
That’s going to hurt, especially as L.A. has ground to recover in the Supporters Shield chase. Keane and Donovan will take so much of the offense with them, while the goalkeeping gloves will be handed back to Carlo Cudicini, who just can’t help the team with the big save the way Penedo can. (We all remember the work of wonder from just a couple weeks back, right? Video of that one is at the bottom of this post.)
FC Dallas, desperate for points to help arrest that long summer slide and still in pitched battle with about five teams for three playoff spots, will also miss its starting goalkeeper and leading scorer. In fact, Dallas’ date at home against Vancouver could be called a “playoff six-pointer.”
And then there is Sporting Kansas City, where Kei Kamara just flew the KC coop for a second England adventure. Peter Vermes’ team will also be without center back Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi, both called into Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man camp for the pair of important upcoming qualifiers.
Kansas City hosts Columbus, which will be in “fresh start” mode under interim boss Brian Bliss – but without its top man, suspended playmaker Federico Higuain.