Now that the All-Star festivities are over, it’s time to return to MLS regular season action. With the playoffs a few months away, it is crucial that teams pick up some points in Week 22.
Here three topics worth monitoring this weekend.
The beginning of the end for Landon Donovan.
A day after announcing his pending retirement, Donovan will suit up against the team that brought him to the league; San Jose Earthquakes. The California Clásico rivalry is the perfect match for the American legend to begin his retirement tour.
At the moment, the Earthquakes are full of confidence due to their last two results. Mark Watson’s side had an offensive outburst against Chicago Fire and placed a defensive wall in front of Jon Busch in their 1-0 win against Seattle Sounders.
However, Yannick Djalo’s injury could derail their rise up the Western Conference table. The Portuguese international is expected to miss four weeks with a right quad strain.
The last time these two teams met, Gyasi Zardes scored the game’s only goal. Since then, Zardes has scored five goals, helping LA Galaxy rise to third place in the west.
This game will certainly be one of the best games of the season, and you can watch on Friday on NBC Sports Network at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Can Seattle end their losing streak?
The Sounders push for the Supporters’ Shield has taken two big in the last two weeks. First, they were demolished at home by the Galaxy, and then they could not engineer a comeback against San Jose.
Because of those two results, Sporting Kansas City has overtaken Seattle at the top of the Supporters’ Shield table.
However, Sigi Schmid is confident that his team will bounce back and get back to their winning ways.
“It’s a streaky league and we’ve been on pretty good streaks. For us, right now maybe this is our bad streak and we’ve just got to make sure we get out it … quickly. And I think we have the talent and ability to get out of it,” Schmid said after a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. “It happens to everybody. There’s nobody in this league that goes from A-through-Z without having a dip somewhere.”
This weekend, they host a rejuvenated Houston Dynamo that’s coming off a morale-boosting win against DC United. DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido’s acquisition appears to be paying off as Dominic Kinnear’s men dominated one of the best teams in the league. The new defensive structure was solid and Will Bruin got the goal he’s been desperately searching for.
Can Chicago turn their season around?
The Fire welcomes New York Red Bulls into Toyota Park on Sunday, hoping that they could somehow find a way to steal all three points. Frank Yallops side has only won three games this season, that’s tied with Montreal Impact for the worst in the league. Yet, they still have a shot at making the playoffs.
All they have to do is conjure up a winning streak, which might be impossible because they failed to bring in reinforcements during the summer transfer window. Despite Lupe Fiasco’s attempt at recruiting, the Fire’s top target, Jermaine Jones, turned down their Designated Player offer. That leaves Yallop with the same group of players who have been so disappointing this season to try and stop Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Good luck.
For more rumors, news and opinion, check out our Soccer page.