Can Toronto Keep Pace?: Toronto FC raised plenty of eyebrows by defeating the LA Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League and will head to the semifinals against Mexico’s Santos Laguna early next week. In their 3-1 loss at Seattle last weekend, Toronto looked tired, and with Torsten Frings out for 4-6 weeks it will be a challenge to keep up pace in a busy schedule. Toronto will be at home Saturday, hosting Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquake.
Panic Button for NY and Philly?: Let’s face it, the Eastern Conference has started out the season poorly, and this largely can be attributed to the problems involving two of the conference’s most popular franchises–Union and Red Bulls. Philadelphia had a controversial offseason, trading away some of their big-name stars, but Sunday’s embarrassing loss at home versus Colorado showed signs of problems on the field and in the locker room. New York, on the other hand, is same old, same old as far as their issues: the inability to start a squad with the right chemistry or find the poise to win a match. Both teams have yet to win a game in 2012. Philadelphia will head to Chicago on Saturday, while New York is at home hosting Colorado.
Sporting KC vs Dallas: Two of the league’s on-the-rise franchises will face off Sunday night in an Eastern Conference vs Western Conference matchup. The winner of this contest will show where each young club is early on in the season, and in Kansas City’s situation, a could provide a lead in the Eastern Conference standings. Both Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas will be lacking some players because of U-23 qualifiers and injuries, but it should still be a exciting match in Kansas City showcasing the best of MLS.
U-23s: With the Olympic Qualifiers taking place in the new few weeks, MLS teams will be without some of their best talent. This will force managers to shift lineups and get creative with their rosters to add depth. Philadelphia is one team that has been influenced negatively by the qualifying call ups. What other teams will be hurt from their roster losses this weekend? Some notable U-23 players that will not make league appearances this weekend are: Bill Hamid (GK DC United), Sean Johnson (GK Chicago Fire), Ike Opara (D San Jose Earthquake), Freddy Adu (M Philadelphia Union), Amobi Okugo (M Philadelphia Union), Juan Agudelo (F NY Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (F Sporting KC), and Brek Shea (F FC Dallas).
Is David Estrada Fredy Montero’s New Wingman?: David Estrada was brilliant in his MLS regular season debut, scoring three goals on St. Patrick’s Day. Estrads had been bright in 2012, coming out of nowhere to quickly become a hero in Seattle, and his success is a positive for Seattle. But it adds a layer of complexity to Sigi Schmid’s plans for offseason pickup Eddie Johnson. Will Estrada be able to continue his form throughout the season after a hot start? And will he be the complementary wingman to Montero, who is quite a Maverick himself?