FC DALLAS vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Saturday, 8:30pm, MLS Live)

After meeting twice in the space of a week in late April, FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps close out their season series at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday, with a nearly healthy Jay DeMerit among the Whitecaps squad on the road trip.

Both teams have a number of injured players though, with Whitecaps centerback Brad Rusin out and FC Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson still working his way back to full fitness. The hosts lose Blas Perez and Raul Fernandez to international selection while five players including Darren Mattocks are away for the visitors. Kenny Cooper is also suspended due to a red card.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Saturday, 8:30pm, MLS Live)

Brian Bliss began his reign as Crew head coach on the right note with a 2-0 victory mid-week against the Houston Dynamo, but a visit to Sporting Park is a whole new challenge.

Even without Kei Kamara (transfer) and international call-ups to Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, Sporting KC have one of the deepest teams in the league and the ability to cover in the lineup for the coming match. The Crew meanwhile return Federico Higuain and Danny O’Rourke from suspension.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Saturday, 10pm, NBC Sports Network)

The Sounders look for their fourth consecutive win on Saturday evening when the Chicago Fire visit CenturyLink Stadium in front of a national audience.

Eddie Johnson has been a key player for the Sounders all season but the club will have to survive without him and Clint Dempsey, who have joined the U.S. Men’s National Team squad in Costa Rica. The Sounders will also be without Brad Evans (calf injury) and Obafemi Martins is questionable with an ankle strain. The Fire won’t have the services of new signing Arevalo Rios and veteran Joel Lindpere.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Saturday, 10:30pm, MLS Live)

Two teams chock full of youngsters will be able to test them out in what could be an eventual playoff match as the Colorado Rapids travel to Carson City, California to face the Los Angeles Galaxy.

With Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez, and Jaime Penedo missing from the hosts as well as Gabriel Torres missing from the visitors due to the international matches this weekend, the likes of Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, and Deshorn Brown should all get plenty of minutes.

PORTLAND TIMBERS VS. TORONTO FC (Saturday, 11pm, MLS Live/TSN)

The Portland Timbers will be hoping to return to the winning column when they welcome in Toronto FC to Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday evening.

The Timbers will be without their Jamaican trio of Ryan Johnson, Donovan Ricketts, and Alvas Powell, but Rodney Wallace was not called up by Costa Rica, allowing head coach Caleb Porter to use one of his stars this weekend. TFC will be without four of their Canadian players, Kyle Bekker, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan, and Doneil Henry.

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Sunday, 5pm, UniMas)

Two teams with volatile league form meet for the first of two meetings in the next seven weeks as the Houston Dynamo host the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.

The last time the team’s met ended with a Red Bulls 2-0 victory, but Mike Petke’s club will be without leader Tim Cahill for at least three weeks due to an ankle injury, while left back Roy Miller is injured and on international leave. The Dynamo are missing Oscar Boniek Garcia and Jermaine Taylor but they’ll surely hold the advantage at home in their backyard, as they look to return into the top five places in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Bulls are also without Ibrahim Sekagya due to a red card suspension.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (Sunday, 7:30pm, MLS Live)

Both the New England Revolution and Montreal Impact enter Sunday’s tilt on three-match unbeaten runs, and the clubs are relatively unscathed by international call-ups.

The Revolution lose new signing O’Brien Woodbine and forward Jerry Bengtson, but neither were expected to play as Juan Agudelo, Kelyn Rowe, and Diego Fagundez have formed a talented young group of players in attacking positions on the field. However, the Montreal Impact’s two summer signings, Hernan Bernardello and Adrian Lopez, are both set to miss out after suffering injuries in the past week.

CHIVAS USA vs. D.C. UNITED (Sunday, 9pm, MLS Live)

The two worst teams in MLS meet up on Sunday evening, with more than just pride on the line.

D.C. United slumped to their 18th defeat this season last Saturday and lost Jared Jeffrey in the first half to a sprained ankle, an injury that will likely keep him out when they visit Chivas USA. Ben Olsen also won’t be able to select Dwayne De Rosario, Dejan Jakovic, and Kyle Porter in this week’s lineup due to joining the Canadian National Team. Chivas meanwhile ended their two-match point streak with a defeat to the Seattle Sounders, but don’t lose anyone to international call-ups, the only team in the league to be left off that list.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION (Sunday, 11pm, ESPN2)

The Philadelphia Union’s usual starting XI will be forced to chance on Sunday when they visit the San Jose Earthquakes.

Amobi Okugo misses out due to a red card while Ray Gaddis continues to be bothered by an ankle sprain. Reserve midfield/defender Michael Lahoud is also away on international duty. The Earthquakes meanwhile are without Honduras duo Victor Bernardez and Marvin Chavez, but USMNT pool players Alan Gordon and Clarence Goodson were left of the qualifying roster.

usa v jamaica

WCQ Preview: US look to stave off disaster vs. Jamaica

After compiling a 10-0-8 record against Jamaica, the US men’s national team picked perhaps the worst time to snap their unbeaten streak against the Reggae Boyz when they lost 2-1 at Independence Park in last Friday’s World Cup qualifier.

The upshot? They won’t have to wait long to make amends. The Yanks will take the field at Crew Stadium on Tuesday (8 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN3, Galavision, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) for another round with Jamaica, and with a win they can make up the ground lost in their setback at the Office.

READ: Full USMNT coverage

History says they should be able to get the job done. The US are 5-0-3 all time in Columbus – with just one goal conceded across those eight matches – and are still unbeaten against Jamaica on American soil with a 8-0-3 record.

History would also suggest that the scheduling should play into the USMNT’s favor. The Jamaicans were the first team to face the US after the events of 9/11, and the Oct. 7, 2001, date put the match on the same date as the start of the war in Afghanistan. Needing a victory on the final fixture date of the 2002 World Cup qualifying cycle, the US delivered by notching a 2-1 win in Foxborough, Mass., both goals courtesy of Joe-Max Moore. It may be that the US once again rise to the moment.

But of their nine meetings in World Cup qualifying, the US and Jamaica have drawn six times. And if Friday proved anything, it’s that history is no guarantee.

It also proved that the Americans have some serious work to do to nail down this result.

Studio 90: Back to Columbus

USA

Eyebrows were raised around the US soccer community when the Yanks lined up on Friday without their usual captain, Carlos Bocanegra, instead pairing Clarence Goodson with Geoff Cameron at center back. With Goodson suspended for Tuesday’s game due to yellow-card accumulation, US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has confirmed that Bocanegra will be back in the starting XI, and will be wearing the captain’s armband.

Defense, however, is probably the least of Klinsmann’s concerns coming out of Friday’s game in Kingston. Starting the match with three defensive-minded players in the center of the park – Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, and Jermaine Jones – the midfield struggled mightily. Jamaica patched together long spells of possession, and the US seemed ill-equipped to cope with the Reggae Boyz’ speed. Jamaica earned seven set-piece free kicks on the night. The result? Two goals off direct free kicks in the 23rd and 62nd minutes after fouls by Beckerman and Edu, respectively.

Altidore: US need to be more “free-flowing”

The US experienced hiccups on their offensive end, as well. Apart from the play to set up Dempsey’s first-minute goal, they scraped together six shots, four of which were outside the box, and of the two that were on target, one was blocked. While Clint Dempsey was his normal, dangerous self, Jozy Altidore never quite got into the game while Herculez Gomez drifted wide in an attempt to stretch the field.

Altidore, for his part, has already gone on record saying that the US should forget trying to maintain possession for Tuesday’s match, and instead resort to a more “free-flowing” style. It remains to be seen whether Klinsmann agrees with his young striker, but it seems unlikely that the coach will stick with the Beckerman-Edu-Jones set-up.

To reach the final “Hexagonal” round of qualifying, the US will have to finish in the top two of CONCACAF Group A. The Yanks are currently tied for second place with Guatemala, both on four points with a plus-one goal differential. The Guatemalans face off against group cellar-dwellers Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday, days after putting up a 3-1 win on the tiny island nation.

Klinsmann: No more cheap free kicks

A win would draw the Yanks back on level terms with Jamaica – and possibly Guatemala – with seven points apiece; if not, they face the prospect of looking up at the top two spots in the group with just one more round of matches to play.

It may not yet be absolute must-win for the US, but it’s about as close as it gets. Look for Klinsmann to play more positively on Tuesday, possibly bringing in Jose Torres, Graham Zusi or habitual go-to Brek Shea. If Altidore gets isolated again, Klinsmann can also switch in Terrence Boyd to provide energy to what was a fairly lackluster US side on Tuesday.

Jamaica

While the US are reeling, Jamaica are exultant following the Reggae Boyz’ historic win. But head coach Theodore Whitmore isn’t ready to stop just yet.

“Well yes, definitely,” he said when asked if Jamaica could win again. “It’s 11 v. 11 and with the help of the Almighty – we can leave out God in nothing we do – with the help of the Almighty, the players, they’re confident, the support, we can do it.”

The players are similarly confident, despite the travel, the history and the prospect of a sold-out Crew Stadium.

Jamaica revel in historic win, look for repeat in Columbus

And why not? Between Friday night and their Aug. 15 friendly win over El Salvador at RFK Stadium, the Reggae Boyz have notched four goals in two games. Three of those strikes came courtesy of Luton Shelton, who laced in a stunning free-kick goal against the US. Besides the Karabükspor striker, however, Jamaica bring plenty of attacking talent to the table, including Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks, Colorado Rapids striker Omar Cummings and Toronto FC’s Ryan Johnson.

It’s clearly enough skill to undo the Yanks. Whether or not the midfield and backline can withstand a more attacking US side is up for debate, and, having flown to Ohio on Sunday – in coach class, no less – it remains to be seen how the travel will affect the Boyz.

Even if Jamaica don’t manage to pull off another historic win, a tie would still see them pushed into sole possession of first place in Group A with just two games to play. Look for them to play to their strengths – speed and athleticism – to try to win the free kicks that proved so lethal on Friday, and to stay compact to frustrate the US attack.

Key Players

United States: Brek Shea

It’s been an off year for the FC Dallas star, but the US need offense from the midfield, and Shea has proven in his last two games that he can give it to them. Klinsmann has put faith in the young winger in the past, and he may do so again on Tuesday.

Jamaica: Luton Shelton

You don’t bet against the hot hand, and Shelton’s hand is absolutely smoldering right now. With three goals in his last two games, the US’ first priority should be stopping Jamaica’s No. 21.

Rosters

USA

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander/Spain), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/Germany), Maurice Edu (Stoke City/England), Clarence Goodson (Brondby/Denmark), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis/Mexico), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland/Denmark), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City/England)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/Germany), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca/Mexico), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/Germany), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna/Austria), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/Mexico)

JAMAICA

GOALKEEPERS (3): Dwayne Miller (Syrianska/Sweden), Duwayne Kerr (Strommen/Norway), Jacomeno Barrett (Montego Bay United/Jamaica)

DEFENDERS (8): Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo), Adrian Mariappa (Reading/England), Dicoy Williams (Toronto FC), Andre Campbell (Waterhouse/Jamaica), Nyron Nosworthy (Watford/England), Shavar Thomas (Montreal Impact), Lovel Palmer (Portland Timbers), O’Brian Woodbine (VPS Vaasa/Finland)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Rodolph Austin (Leeds United/England), Je-Vaughn Watson (Houston Dynamo), Errol Stevens (Arnett Gardens/Jamaica), Jason Morrison (Aalesund/Norway), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United/Jamaica), Joel Senior (Harbour View/Jamaica)

FORWARDS (7): Luton Shelton (Karabukspor/Turkey), Ryan Johnson (Toronto FC), Kavin Bryan (Vicem Hai Phong/Vietnam), Dane Richards (Vancouver Whitecaps), Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids), Tramaine Stewart (Aalesund/Norway), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Toronto v Portland

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TORONTO

Injured: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg, gk 0/0); FW Danny Koevermans (L knee ACL tear, mains triker, topscorer, 16/9); DF Matt Stinson (R quadriceps strain, mf 3/0); DF Jeremy Hall (L ankle sprain, df 13/1), O’Dea (df 0/0, new player)

International absences: Terry Dunfield (mf 20/1), Doniel Henry (df 16/1) – both Canada; Dicoy Williams (df 1/0), Ryan Johnson (mf 22/5, 2nd scorer) – Jamaica

Suspended: Logan Emory (through Aug. 15, df 14/0)

Transfers out: Plata (att 10/0), de Guzmán (mf 16/0), Aceval (1/0)  , Burgos (2/0) and Soolsma (att 9/0)  lest club in last month

They are missing lot players, most important offensive players + defensive missings

PORTLAND

Injury: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery, 0/0); PROBABLE: GK Jake Gleeson (R groin strain, 0/0)

International absences: Lovel Palmer (Jamaica, mf 15/0); Steve Purdy (El Salvador, df 3/0)

Suspended: Franck Songo’o (caution accumulation; through Aug. 15, mf 17/0)

Transfers out: Andrew Jean Baptiste (df 4/1), Perkins (mf 21/0), Mike Chabala  (mf 9/0)

They dont have such missing problems but they are in bad form. Maybe they can take point(s) today against much weaker hosts which are also out of form and have important missings..

mls preview

Real Salt Lake – Vancouver Whitecaps

Second-place in the West RSL hosts third-place Vancouver, as these two teams jockey for position in the playoff race.

Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Rimando; Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Borchers, Wingert; Grabavoy, Alvarez, Steele, Morales; Saborio, Espindola.

INJURY REPORT

OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist stress fracture)

QUESTIONABLE: DF Jamison Olave (L hamstring strain)

PROBABLE: MF Ned Grabavoy (L knee MCL strain); DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain); FW Fabian Espindola (R ankle sprain)

Vancouver Whitecaps (4-5-1): Cannon; Lee, DeMerit, Bonjour, Rochat; Richards, Koffie, Robson, Davidson, Sanvezzo; Mattocks.

INJURY REPORT

OUT: FW Omar Salgado (R foot fracture)

QUESTIONABLE: MF John Thorrington (R quad strain)

evening preview

Vancouver Whitecaps – San Jose

KEY PLAYERS :

ATTACKING

After going through a rough patch of performances, most of them coming as a sub, Camilo Sanvezzo is starting to find the form that made him team MVP last season. He is looking more dangerous coming off the left wing but still needs to show more confidence in his shot as it seems like he is a little gun shy. He has added an impressive defensive side of his game, if Wednesday’s game is anything to go by.

Acquired in the offseason from FC Dallas, Marvin Chavez is a dynamic player with pace who can whip a nice cross in. Playing on the right side of the midfield, he is leading the Quakes in assists with eight and even contributed with his first goal on Wednesday.

DEFENCE

After completing his one game suspension for yellow card accumulation, Alain Rochat returns to lineup against the Earthquakes. It has also been a while since he has played on the backline, five games, but his return there will benefit the Caps as he brings more physicality and more attack to the position.

The battle of the midfield will be a key and one of the better young holding midfielders in MLS is Sam Cronin. The former draft pick of TFC competes hard for the ball with timely tackles and is showing the ability to contribute offensively in his fourth MLS season.

WHO’S ON FORM :

It was quite a home debut for Barry Robson in front of a sold out crowd at BC Place. Not only did he score a goal but he also controlled the midfield with Koffie. The Scot was very dangerous throughout the match, especially on set pieces where he came very close to giving the Caps a third and grabbing the win.

The much travelled striker Alan Gordon seems to have found a home playing next to Chris Wondolowski up front. Since starting in place of the injured Steven Lenhart, the forward has three goals in four starts and four goals in his last six appearances.

2012 RECORD :

Vancouver:

8W-7D-6L
4th in Western Conference
Last Match: 2-2 Draw vs LA Galaxy

San Jose:

13W-4D-4L
1st in Western Conference
Last Match: 2-1 Win vs FC Dallas

PROJECTED LINE-UPS :

INJURIES/MISSING :

Vancouver:

Out: FW Omar Salgado (foot)

Questionable: MF John Thorrington (quad), FW Atiba Harris (knee)

Away with U18s: MF Bryce Alderson, FW Caleb Clarke

San Jose:

Out: MF Romiro Corrales (back), MF Sam Garza (rib), MF Joey Gjertsen (knee), FW Steven Lenhart (concussion), DF Tim Ward (muscle)

GAME ANALYSIS :

The Whitecaps return to their home pitch as they try to forget their disappointment against LA and focus on their next opponents, the Conference leading Earthquakes from San Jose. The two clubs have split their first two meetings of the season, with San Jose winning 3-1 at home, while the Caps did the same by scoring a late winner at BC Place for a 2-1 victory.

There is no surprise who starts in goal as Joe Cannon returns and could have his top backline in front of him with Lee on the right side with Rochat on the left. The central pairing will be Jay DeMerit and Martin Bonjour, with Jun Marques Davison in front of them as the holding midfielder.

The two other central midfielders will be Gershon Koffie and Barry Robson who paired well in the last match against the Galaxy. Up top Darren Mattocks will start as the striker where he will be flanked by Dane Richards and Camilo on the left side, with a chance that Kenny Miller starts on the bench.

For the fourth straight game, the Whitecaps are either saying goodbye to a key player or welcoming one to the fold. This time it is their first designated player Eric Hassli who was traded to TFC for a 1ST round pick in 2014 and an international spot. Whilst this recent trade came as a shock for many, considering how much Hassli was playing the trade really makes sense.

On the pitch the Caps now have two ways to attack, through the middle with Koffie and Robson, and down the wing using the pace of Richards. In addition, the Quakes have never faced the speed of Darren Mattocks as he makes his runs down the middle of the pitch.

When defending, while it is easy to say, the Caps must keep track of Chris Wondowloski, who is on record breaking pace for goals in MLS. They can’t allow him to slip away from them and find space in and around the box or they will be digging the ball out of their net. Another part of San Jose’s game that the Whitecaps will have to take care of is their ability to cross the ball from wide areas.

The Whitecaps will have a tough task to beat the best team in the league twice in a year, even if they are playing them at home two times. With so many fan favourites leaving, the pressure will be on the new look side to get immediate positive results but there will need to some patience displayed by the supporters. However if this team plays the full 90+ minutes they are capable of, acquiring the full three points as they enter the non existent All-Star break is very achievable.

Club Friendly Preview: Paris Saint-Germain – Chelsea

The friendly at Yankee stadium offers PSG an early chance to test its might against one of Europe’s tradition powers.

PSG  Nicolas; Maxwell, Lugano, Alex, Loick; Menez, Mathieu, Verratti, Nene, Pastore; Lavezzi

Chelsea  Hilário; Ferreira, Luiz, Chalobah, Ivanovic; Marin, McEachran, Lampard, Hazard, Obi Mikel; Lukaku