MLS: Week 20 talking points

Seattle Sounders

Obafemi Martins

The 20th week of the 2014 MLS season kicks off on Wednesday with multiple scintillating matchups lined-up. Even though there are four teams who won’t be in action this week; there are still eight mouth-watering matches that’ll certainly keep the league’s supporters occupied.

Multiple MLS sides will be in action twice this. Columbus Crew take on Crystal Palace and New England Revolution, LA Galaxy will battle Manchester United and Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City will play Manchester City and Toronto FC, and Toronto will also be in action against Tottenham Hotspur and FC Dallas host Aston Villa before they travel to Vancouver.

There’s no doubt that this week will be little bit stressful for the fans, however, it’ll serve them well to monitor these three topics closely.

Who will be triumphant in the battle of struggling teams?

To kick things off this week, San Jose Earthquakes host Chicago Fire with both teams desperately in need of a positive result. The Earthquakes currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, while Chicago isn’t that far off the gutters of the Eastern Conference.

San Jose will be looking to feed off a persistent performance that earned them a draw on the road last week against the New York Red Bulls. And also, Mark Watson is certainly hoping that Stephen Lenhart’s first goal of the season is what the forward needed to raise his confidence.

The Fire are coming off a gut-wrenching draw against the Philadelphia Union. Chicago came undone late in the game when the referee made a bogus penalty call.

Frank Klopas will look to rally up his troops as he returns to his old stomping ground. The game will be aired live on NBC Sports Network on July 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Can the Galaxy continue their surge up the table by taking down the best team in the league?

LA has been in good form over the past few weeks. Even though the fell to Sporting KC last week, Bruce Arena and his men still occupy a playoff spot. However, a much tougher and dreadful task lies before them.

Five days after taking on the most successful team in English Premier League history, they have to travel to Seattle to face in-form Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. Omar Gonzalez’s possible return will go a long way in neutralizing Seattle’s dynamic attack, but will the gangly center back be able to contain the best attacking duo in the league?

This game should be tightly-contested because a lot is at stake for both teams. With Sporting KC and DC United right behind Sigi Schmid’s team in the race for the Supporters Shield, Seattle desperately needs a positive result. And LA could move into second place in their conference if they secure all three points.

Fans can watch this game on ESPN2 on July 28 at 10 p.m. ET.

Can Chivas USA take advantage of Colorado Rapids’ injury problem?

Things continue to get worse for the Rapids. After losing to Portland last week, Colorado might drop three more points to a confident Chivas side this week. There are reports that three crucial members ‒ Deshorn Brown, Jose Mari and Shane O’Neill – of Pablo Mastroeni’s side will most likely miss the game.

Despite their defeat to United last week, Chivas’ players are confident that they can get back to their winning ways.

“We’ll be fine,” captain Carlos Bocanegra said. “We won’t let this one affect us too much. We had won four in a row and were unbeaten in five, and it had to end at some point. It’s OK – we know we didn’t play well. If we would have played well and they beat us, we’d be real, real disappointed.

If Colorado fails to win and Vancouver Whitecaps defeats FC Dallas, the Canadian team will take the Rapids’ playoff spot.

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