Major League Soccer: Week 12 talking points

LA Galaxy

LA Galxy forward Robbie Keane

As Major League Soccer 2014 season progresses, the matchups are becoming more intense, physical and results carry more weight.

In the 12th week, this is when teams start to show what they’re made of. They’ll reveal to the world whether or not they are capable of taking the next step and how big of a step will they take. Players start to show some fatigue, the turf stadiums around the league become an issue, especially for foreign players, and little things like the weather and distance affect the player’s mindset.

After last week’s phenomenal performances, it’ll be ill-advised to miss a moment of this week’s action. Predicting results would be virtually impossible because the upcoming games are better matched than previous weeks. Perhaps it’s best to forget about predictions, but instead monitor these three talking points.

Can Los Angeles Galaxy bounce back in double week?

Bruce Arena thinks his team should be undefeated, but the fact of the matter is that they are not. After last week’s loss to Houston Dynamo, the Galaxy sits at the bottom of the Western Conference after eight games.

However, this week’s match-ups are exactly what the doctor ordered for LA. The Galaxy faces two teams that are just recovering either from a confidence shattering performance or repetitive bad luck.

The Galaxy’s first match is at the StubHub Center against FC Dallas. Right now, the Texas club can’t catch a break. After losing midfielders, Mauro Diaz and Hendry Thomas, to longtime injuries, Oscar Pareja will be without leading goal scorer, Michel.

The second game of the week will be against a visiting Philadelphia Union. The Union is coming off a disgraceful home loss, 5-3, at the hands of New England Revolution, and John Hackworth will be without star midfielder Maurice Edu.

If Arena plays his cards right, his team can easily pick all six points and move out of the dreaded last place.

Will Sporting Kansas City end a two game losing streak?

World Cup snub Jermain Defoe isn’t very pleased with the exclusion, and he showed it last week by dominating New York Red Bulls. This week, he leads his short-handed team into one of the toughest places to win in the league, hoping Sporting’s recent short-comings will pave way for an upset.

The current MLS Cup champions dropped two games last week, both by a 2-1 result, and without Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, the home team isn’t a clear favorite to win the game. Peter Vermes will also be without Aurélien Collin, Ike Opara and Erik Palmer-Brown, which means the American coach has no center back.

However, Vermes’ spirit will be lifted by a motivated Dom Dwyer. The team’s leading goalscorer told, “Two-nil. Two goals. Three points. Defoe’s jersey. That’d be nice.”

With his goal tally this season, it’s hard to bet against Dwyer finding the back of the net twice, but without a center back and Defoe lurking, a clean sheet might be impossible.

Who will prevail in Cascadia Cup clash?

Seattle Sounders travel to Canada to face a red-hot Vancouver Whitecaps. Two weeks ago, the Whitecaps might have been clear underdogs, but the departure of Clint Dempsey, Deandre Yedlin and Brad Evans has leveled the field.

Vancouver’s youngsters are repaying their manager’s trust in them by securing six points from the last two league games. However, they’ll face a different animal when Obafemi Martins and the Sounders come into BC Place. The Nigerian is currently playing at his highest level and not many teams in league have successfully slowed him down.

With the cherished Cascadia Cup on the line, this contest is setup to be one of the best games of the season.