Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
The SuperClasico has been a one-sided affair of late, with the Los Angeles Galaxy unbeaten in the battle for Home Depot Center bragging rights since 2007. But with three wins in four games and only one loss since March, Chivas USA seems poised to give the Galaxy a run for its money when the clubs meet Saturday.
The matchup highlights a weekend of MLS action that also features a Western Conference playoff rematch between FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, as well as a key Eastern Conference clash between the Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls.
Here is a rundown of the full Week 10 slate:
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Saturday, 8 p.m., Galavision)
Coming off four consecutive draws, Chicago will be looking to break through and pick up the full three points. But doing so at PPL Park against the Union will be a tall order, even if Philadelphia's defense has finally started to show some gaps in recent matches.
The Union, meanwhile, is still trying to get its offense on track and find a combination that will best use the attacking talents of Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz and Danny Mwanga. Despite sitting just a point out of first place, Philadelphia's six-goal total is the worst in the league, and a lack of chemistry between those three has been a big reason why.
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
When these two teams played earlier this season at Red Bull Arena, New York almost walked away with a win, only to see a goalkeeping blunder from Bouna Coundoul gift Houston a goal in what ended as a 1-1 tie.
Since then, both teams' offenses have been among the league's most lethal. With Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers poaching the goals for New York and Brad Davis pulling the strings for Houston's attack, it will no doubt be a stressful evening for all defenders involved. With right back Jan Gunnar Solli ready to mark Davis and possibly exhaust the midfielder with runs forward of his own, the advantage might go to the Red Bulls.
CHIVAS USA vs. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (Saturday, 10 p.m., ESPN2)
Coming off a stunning 3-2 upset at New York thanks to the timely finishing of Justin Braun, Chivas, the last side in MLS to win a game this season, is suddenly one of the hottest teams in the league. Los Angeles, however, is riding high as well after a 4-1 thrashing of Kansas City that saw all its goals notched by Designated Players Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel.
Chivas' makeshift defense, which is missing defenders Jimmy Conrad and Michael Lahoud due to concussions, continues to overachieve, but the Galaxy might have too much firepower, especially when considering the current form of both Donovan and Beckham.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Saturday, 10 p.m., Direct Kick)
A trip to Qwest Field isn't exactly the ideal way to end a road slump like the one Kansas City finds itself mired in. But with striker Omar Bravo set to return from sports hernia surgery and Seattle possibly missing Brad Evans, Erik Friberg and Mauro Rosales, to go along with the already-tough losses of Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White, the circumstances would seem to favor the visitors.
But if Kansas City is going to snap its four-game losing streak, the centerback pairing of Aurelien Collin and Julio Cesar will need to perform better than it did last week, when Los Angeles had its way all match.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
After a season of tremendous underachievement, San Jose finally seemed to get back on track last week with a 3-0 win over Columbus. The only bad news to come from that game was a late red card that will hold centerback Brandon McDonald out of this contest, but Ike Opara should be a more-than-capable replacement.
New England, meanwhile, has been riding the fine peformance of newly acquired playmaker Benny Feilhaber, although the team could be without one of his primary targets up top, Rajko Lekic, who is questionable with a knee contusion.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Saturday, 11 p.m., Direct Kick)
Columbus' usually stern defense looked shaky last week against San Jose, and it will be certainly be tested again Saturday when the Crew travels to Jeld-Wen Field, where the Timbers are 4-0 in MLS play.
The flanks could be key as Columbus fullbacks Sebastian Miranda and Rich Balchan attempt to contain dynamic Portland wingers Kalif Alhassan and Darlington Nagbe. Of course, Columbus will also be focusing on set piece defense after seeing film of Portland centerback Futty Danso notching goals in back-to-back games.
FC DALLAS vs. REAL SALT LAKE (Sunday, 7 p.m., Direct Kick)
This 2010 Western Conference semifinal rematch will be a bit lacking on starpower with midfield maestros David Ferreira and Javier Morales both out due to long-term injuries. But Dallas has been coping well without its playmaker lately, capitalizing on the play of wingers Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo.
Salt Lake, on the other hand, still looks a bit lost without Morales in the mix. Coming off a scoreless draw at home against Houston, it will be hoping to get more out striker Alvaro Saborio, who remains mired in an extended scoring slump.
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. TORONTO FC (Sunday, 7 p.m., Direct Kick)
Colorado returns home having picked up a satisfying five points on a three-game road swing. Perhaps more importantly, striker Conor Casey should be back in the starting lineup after making his return from a hamstring injury with an appearance off the bench last weekend in D.C.
Coming off a midweek tie with Vancouver in the Canadian championship and missing Julian De Guzman to yellow card accumulation, Toronto could have a tough time squeaking out a result in this one.