Every MLS match over the next few weeks that doesn’t pit some combination of D.C. United, Toronto FC and Chivas USA will have something to say about the sensational pileup of a playoff race that has developed.
Some will be a little more influential than others, naturally. Here three tonight and what they will mean:
Vancouver at FC Dallas: As we are in Round 28, some of these will start to look like “elimination matches.” We aren’t quite there yet, but this one is darn close. Martin Rennie’s Whitecaps and Schellas Hyndman’s FC Dallas are dead even in matches played and points (37), tied for sixth in the West. That’s one spot out of the playoffs. FC Dallas simply must get the points at home against a Whitecaps side that isn’t nearly as strong as it was earlier this summer; the Caps are 1-4-2 since mid-July.
Columbus at Sporting Kansas City: Sporting KC is one of the East’s best teams on the road, but if things go sideways from here and Peter Vermes’ team falls out of the playoff picture (or hangs in there but suffers in the positioning), blame a humdrum 7-4-3 record at home. Facing a Columbus team tonight whose playoff fate hangs in the balance, and who are once again without suspended offensive leader Federico Higuain, SKC cannot miss this opportunity for three points. It won’t be easy, however: SKC is without Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, not to mention just-transferred winger Kei Kamara. Time for DP striker Claudio Bieler (pictured left) to step up.
Colorado Rapids at LA Galaxy: The Galaxy will make the playoffs. Book it. Too many of the pursuers have too many issues, and Bruce Arena’s team has that look once again. But Arena and crew don’t just want to make the playoffs; they want Supporters Shield and that top spot in the West, for best chances of hosting a third consecutive MLS Cup. Greedy, perhaps … but thems the rules. Colorado, meanwhile, is in the pack of the hard-trying flawed. Oscar Pareja’s ridiculously young team has to show it can stand the playoff stretch heat; no better place to do so than the StubHub Center against the two-time defending champs (who are without four key men.)
(MORE: Galaxy-Rapids preview from ProSoccerTalk)
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.