With no MLS games Friday, most American soccer fans will turn their focus to Kingston, Jamaica, where they United States National Team plays a World Cup qualifier. Sounders supporters may be paying really close attention, not only will the team be in Seattle shortly after for a game against Panama, but there may possibly be two Sounders in the starting 11 for the USA.
Brad Evans seems a logical choice to start at right back again after a strong showing against Germany in a friendly earlier in the week. And Eddie Johnson could start on the left wing with Fabian Johnson rumored to be battling an injury. If Fabian can't go, then Jurgen Klinsmann will likely choose between EJ and Brad Davis for the left side of his midfield - two very different players with very different strengths.
Here's a nice preview of the game, the team, and their inconsistencies, from the L.A. Times.
Over on Soccer by Ives they are debating whether a couple of rough showings by Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez means the big Texan should be benched for former-Dynamo-midfielder-now-Stoke-defender Geoff Cameron.
And over at American Soccer Now they break down the Jamaican defense and find plenty of holes for the U.S. to exploit going forward.
In league news, that crazy, fun-loving Timbers owner Richie Rich ... uh, Merritt Paulson, has announced he wants his team to be the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League. I don't know, wouldn't every owner say this? Wouldn't it be good if his team qualified for a tournament before they talked about winning it?
I first heard about the Vancouver Whitecaps' trade of defender Alain Rochat yesterday on Facebook, where my buddy Butch, a 'Caps season-ticket holder, put up the most unhappy status report I have ever seen from him. His thoughts are echoed by the writer over at Eighty-Six Forever, where no one can seem to understand what the Caps are thinking with this move. They got back a couple of draft picks for a guy who has been a regular starter for the team since its inception (not to mention making less than $200k a year).
In Columbus, the Massive Report, says coach Robert Warzycha is "firmly on the hot seat" after his team's uninspiring 3-0 loss to Philly Wednesday night.
In Salt Lake, the team is preparing for the idea of losing midfielder Luis Gil soon. The theory is that once he features on the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team, someone with bigger money than the MLS salary cap allows is bound to come calling.
Chivas USA's somewhat notorious Mario de Luna (handling ball-boys, heading in goals for the Sounders) used to play for Guadalajara. He says new CUSA coach José Luis "El Güero" Real will bring positive results to L.A.
Finally today, some interesting work by some stats-crunchers on the likelihood of MLS teams winning the Supporters Shield and making the playoffs. The math says the Sounders need to average about 1.4 points per game the rest of the way to make the playoffs. Rather than try and explain it all, I'd encourage you to head over and read the piece and take a look at the model.
- Scott Ayers