Three Big Storylines:
- MLS's secondary transfer window has opened. That means all the big name midseason signings are eligible to play this weekend. Frank Lampard, Erik Friberg, Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard lead the list of recent signings by MLS that could debut this weekend. Of course the LA Galaxy have a bye so they can play Club America in the ICC. Pirlo is not expected to make his debut until late July, so the only big names to debut this weekend might be Friberg and Lampard. (Note: it looks like Lampard picked up a calf strain in training and Friberg did not travel to Chicago.)
- With six Gold Cup games being played over the three day MLS weekend, rosters across the league are affected. While Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders are without high profile DPs and the obvious choice to be most impacted, the San Jose Earthquakes host the Houston Dynamo Friday night on national TV. The Quakes will be without Chris Wondolowski but are also missing Cordell Cato who scored a great goal for Trinidad and Tobago against Canada on Wednesday. How teams cope without some of their best players will be a big theme in July.
- The disparity between the Eastern and Western Conference is getting somewhat comical. Coming into the weekend the San Jose Earthquakes 25 points and 1.47 PPG are below the red line in the West. Both marks would be second in the Eastern Conference. There are three cross conference games this weekend and all three are hosted by the Eastern Conference team. Philadelphia Union host the Portland Timbers, Orlando City SC host FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders are at the Chicago Fire. If the Eastern Conference is going to make a move, winning the first two of those matches would be a start.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Point 3 from above pretty much sums it up. The Western Conference is a beast, just keep getting points as they are all going to matter in the end.
We are clearly cheering for the Union to take out Portland and Orlando to beat Dallas. But also would like to see the Dynamo take points in San Jose on Friday night. Long term Sounders fans are not too worried about San Jose but those two results for the Quakes in Seattle have us a little bitter at the Bay Area squad.
The Vancouver Whitecaps return to BC Place Sunday night (6 PM, MLS Live) after an extended World Cup imposed road trip and host Sporting Kansas City. A draw or Sporting KC win would be great. Vancouver is tied with Seattle with 32 points from 19 played (1.68PPG), but Sporting KC are actually leading the Western Conference at 1.69 PPG with three games in hand over the leaders.
National TV Listings:
San Jose Earthquakes v Houston Dynamo
Friday, 8:00 PM
Streaming: Univision Deportes
*SAP Button will have English commentary provided by Ramses Sandoval and Paul Caligiuri.
NYCFC v Toronto FC
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Adrien Healey and Taylor Twellman on the call.