Three Big Storylines:
- Friday night MLS on Univision returns after an off week due to the All Star Game with an interesting match featuring our Southern Cascadia brethren hosting the Chicago Fire. The Portland Timbers are integrating new Argentine DP Lucas Melano, but more importantly they want to get current Argentine DP Diego Valeri back to his near MVP form of last year. Valeri missed a penalty (hammering it off the crossbar) that would have won their game last weekend in San Jose. Last week's "From a Sounders Point of View" was happy as that miss secured the coveted draw.
- All the DPs! Designated Player signings and debuts are en vogue right now. Seemingly every MLS team made significant additions in the secondary transfer window that closed on Thursday (sorry Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution) and many teams will begin integrating their additions over the weekend. This weekend will be one to keep the lineups handy as there will be a lot of new names trickling in. edit: It looks like Colorado added Sean St. Ledger. Your move New England.
- New York Soccer Warz, part 3. The New York Red Bulls have won the first two meetings between these clubs to great consternation of the New York City FC fans. NYCFC supporters will be making the trip on the PATH train to New Jersey with the intention of taking three points at Red Bull Arena. Speaking of DP's, Frank Lampard finally made his debut for NYCFC last weekend with a 21 minute substitute appearance. It was 53 weeks after NYCFC first announced Lampard's signing. Andrea Pirlo started the game and played well, but there were the predictable concerns about his mobility. Pirlo's mobility has not changed since his last start for Juventus in the Champions League Final, but his midfield teammates are slightly different in how they cover ground in the Yankee Stadium outfield than Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal. And lastly in NYCFC DP talk, David Villa is second in MLS with 13 goals scored coming into the weekend.
- Bonus 4th Big Storyline. Herculez Gomez is back in MLS after having the longest running beef between a player and his former club come to an end. Sporting KC has owned Gomez's MLS rights for 17 years (estimated) due to some arcane MLS roster rules that the player was vocally upset about. It is worth pointing out that Gomez's first game back in MLS for new club Toronto FC is a good one, they host Sporting KC (1 PM Saturday, MLS Live). It is unlikely that Gomez is fit enough to make the gameday roster.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Let's stick to the theme. Three points. Three points from the home team (of Sounder at Heart) is needed. That task will be tough in LA but a nice road draw in CCL play mid-week will have boosted the confidence.
With the absolute logjam atop the Western Conference standings, anytime an Eastern Conference team plays a Western team we have a rooting interest. That goes double on Friday night with the Fire visiting the Timbers. Toronto FC hosts Sporting Kansas City, let's hope Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez can get the result.
If the Columbus Crew can get a result at the suddenly resurgent Colorado Rapids (6 PM Saturday, MLS Live), that would take a bit of the steam out of their sails. And Vancouver hosts RSL (7 PM Saturday, MLS Live) in a game we are looking for a draw. A win by RSL puts them tied with Seattle on 32 points while Vancouver have 39 points with the same games played as Seattle.
National TV Listings:
Portland Timbers v Chicago Fire
Friday, 8:00 PM
Streaming: Univision Deportes
New York Red Bulls v New York City FC
Sunday, 4:00 PM
TV: Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Week 23 Gamethread. Watch with us.