National TV Games:
Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC
UDN (That's Univision Deportes), 11:00 AM Saturday
Sporting KC and New York Red Bulls
NBC Sports Network, 4:30 PM Saturday
Chivas TBD at Columbus Crew
UniMas, Noon, Sunday
Three Big Storylines:
- The Fire travels to New England in #BlindDrawGate the match. A refresher, the Fire did most of the legwork to bring Jermaine Jones to MLS with the consent of MLS HQ. When Jones was about to agree to a contract with the understand that he would go to Chicago (Jones is a DP of "A Certain Threshold" not subject to the Allocation Order) Bob Kraft remembered he owned an MLS team. Jones did not want to go to New England, but they somehow offered more money which is basically what single entity and the allocation order and discovery rights (among other things) are specifically designed to prevent. The TL:DR is that Jones got the slightly higher contract offer and signed with MLS then was assigned to New England via a blind draw. New England host Chicago on Sunday in the grudge match. 4 PM on MLS Live.
- FC Dallas travels to RSL in a match with major Western Conference implications. They played on August 22nd where the storyline was that Blas Perez earned a second yellow card because Chris Schuler shoved him in the chest as he was getting off the ground and Perez promptly went back down. Perez might have embellished the shove and he was being Lenhart'ish all match, but that was a harsh second yellow. Dallas went on to the home win with 10 men 2-1. Rimando is expected to play after backstopping the USMNT in the second half of a 1-0 win in Prague over the Czech Republic where Jordan Morris did not play but we saw our first glimpse of
SchellasEmerson Hyndman instead.
- Toronto see the home debut of Greg Vanney's tenure as the 17th manager (estimated) in Toronto FC's history. Interestingly Toronto are hosting the Union who they lost to on Wednesday in Vanney's debut. MLS seems to like these home and home series. Rumor has it there is an important one to finish the season in the Western Conference. Vanney's first order of business is seemingly to get Michael Bradley to be a bigger influence on the match and complain less about the refereeing.
From a Sounders standpoint, we are hoping that the Rapids can upset the Galaxy. Robbie Keane is away on Ireland duty so it will likely be the Alan Gordon, Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes attacking trio. Donovan is six assists shy of Steve Ralston's all time MLS record and seems to be gunning for the assist record over taking shots himself. Let's hope that Zardes forgets how to finish against the Rapids. Even a draw would be great.
Outside of LA, RSL and Dallas are eight and nine points behind the Sounders respectively with the same number of matches played. Choose your result there, but I am looking for a draw. And we are cheering for our Cascadia brethren (no not that one) when the Whitecaps host DC United. If United get a win at BC Place we might have to take notice of their Supporter's Shield ambitions seriously for the first time. The added bonus of a Whitecaps victory would be putting the Timbers below the red line before their match on Sunday against San Jose.
Great matchups across the league all weekend with a robust Five National TV Listings. Enjoy your weekend gamethread.