Week 14 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is upon us — can you believe we’re just three weeks from the halfway point? — and this weekend just so happens to throw up a number of intriguing matchups. So many so that choosing just four to focus on this weekend was a serious challenge for yours truly.
So, if you’re to watch just four MLS games this weekend — who am I to tell you to watch only four games? — might I suggest the following four:
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live)
This will be the game that everyone (again) falsely calls the Galaxy “underwhelming” and/or “past it.” Why? Because thanks to international call-ups, they’ll be without Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes, Jaime Penedo and Bradford Jamieson IV.
Somehow, folks will forget that little tidbit when the Whitecaps finally look like a real team again and snatch a rare road victory. Keep an eye on Jose Villarreal, who has impressed thus far in his injury-hampered 2015. If the Galaxy are to look at all functional going forward, it’ll be in large part down to his creativity and flair.
Prediction: Galaxy 0-2 Whitecaps
D.C. United vs. Toronto FC (Saturday, 7 pm ET, MLS Live)
No Michael Bradley (international call-up) and no Jozy Altidore (injured), so TFC should be dead in the water without two of their three hired guns, right? Wrong. This is the week that people buy into TFC as a team, when Sebastian Giovinco (yeah, he’s good) and Benoit Cheyrou will their team to a positive result away to the current Supporters’ Shield leaders.
Believe me, it will not be pretty, but we’ll see more fight in TFC this Saturday than we’ve seen from them the last eight years combined. Their much-improved defense will also shock a lot of people against United’s rigid attack. It’s actually a really good matchup for TFC, who I’m pretty much ready to go all-in on.
Prediction: United 1-1 TFC
Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live)
The best game least affected by international call-ups this weekend? Surely so, with Juan Agudelo set to be the lone absentee at Providence Park. The Revs will be just fine without Agudelo, who’ll likely be replaced by Kelyn Rowe, whose diagonal runs into the channel will give Alvas Powell fits all night long.
Prediction: Timbers 2-2 Revs
Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders (Saturday, 8:30 pm ET, MLS Live)
Disclaimer: This game could be the Stinker of the Weekend, but it could also be ridiculously ridiculous and entertaining while resembling nothing close to soccer. Why? Because Obafemi Martins (injured), Clint Dempsey (birth of child), Osvaldo Alonso (suspended), Dom Dwyer (injured) and Krisztian Nemeth (national team) are all different levels of questionable to play.
They say that when someone goes down, it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up, but filling the shoes of the aforementioned stars will be a tall task, to say the least. For that reason, we may see a 0-0 at Sporting Park, or we may see 4-4 with lots of late goals.
Prediction: Sporting KC 2-1 Sounders