Summer friendly season gets an early start, as Schalke visits PPL Park to take on the Philadelphia Union tonight at 7:30.
The match gives U.S. national team fans a chance to check out Jermaine Jones' before his expected call into May training camp in addition to seeing Bundesliga-leading scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and star Spanish striker Raul, who will not be returning to Schalke after this season and is entertaining transfer moves to other leagues.
For the Union, the match presents an opportunity to get tested against a UEFA Champions League-caliber opponent while trying to develop some momentum that they can carry into league play. Philadelphia followed two victories with consecutive losses to San Jose and Seattle and have a key matchup with Interstate-95 rival New York looming on Sunday.
In other MLS news:
KEY INJURIES PILING UP
The MLS injury report always contains a bevy of names, but the most recent edition suggests that Week 10 is going to be played without some of the more important players to their respective teams. For example:
FC DALLAS: The club is gutted up the middle, as Ugo Ihemelu is listed as "out" with concussion symptoms. His absence means that FCD will be without him and the suspended Blas Perez and Daniel Hernandez — the vital components through the middle of Schellas Hyndman's lineup — for Wednesday night's match against the Seattle Sounders. Brek Shea's status for the match is unknown, as he is listed as "questionable" with the turf toe injury that casued him to miss Sunday's match against Colorado.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: The Western Conference leaders will be without winger Marvin Chavez for the next 2-to-4 weeks as he deals with a hamstring injury. Fortunately for the Quakes, they've proven to be one of the deeper teams in the league and can play the likes of Rafael Baca out wide while leaning on Tressor Moreno, Khari Stephenson and Simon Dawkins in attacking midfield roles.
PHILADELPHIA UNION: Starting goalkeeper Zac MacMath suffered an inadvertent blow to the head from Seattle's David Estrada over the weekend, and even though he remained in the game, he is listed as "out" with concussion symptoms. If those don't go away by the weekend, the club will be looking at starting Chase Harrison against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION: Starting forward Jose Moreno continues to be out for New England with a calf strain after missing Saturday night's match against Real Salt Lake. The onus falls on Saer Sene and Blake Brettschneider to carry the load up top for Jay Heaps' side, although youngster Diego Fagundez and Swedish striker Bjorn Runstrom could see more time in Moreno's absence.
COLUMBUS CREW: Stalwart centerback Chad Marshall has a history with concussions, which makes his "doubtful" distinction on the injury report because of concussion symptoms worrisome. He missed the Crew's match against the Portland Timbers over the weekend and could very well leave centerback duties to Eric Gehrig and Josh Williams against FC Dallas this weekend.
CHICAGO FIRE: Ever since returning to the club, Chris Rolfe has yet to see the field after spraining his ankle in training, and that trend will continue as he remains out for the club according to the Chicago Tribune.
REAL SALT LAKE: Just when Jason Kreis finally had his first-choice XI all healthy, goalkeeper Nick Rimando suffered a minor shoulder injury and is out for Wednesday night's match against Chicago. He is fully expected to return for this weekend's key match against Seattle.
BROWN INDUCTED TO RING OF FIRE
Wednesday's Chicago Fire-Real Salt Lake match will be a sweet one for former Fire original and current RSL assistant coach C.J. Brown, as he gets inducted into Chicago's Ring of Fire.
Brown will be entered into some esteemed company, as he becomes the seventh inductee to join Bob Bradley, Peter Nowak, Frank Klopas, Lubos Kubik, Chris Armas and Peter Wilt in the club's Hall of Fame.
Brown spent his entire 13-year MLS playing career with the Fire, helping the club to the 1998 MLS Cup title and retiring as the club's all-time leader in appearances (372).
Will you be attending the Union-Schalke match? Which team do you think is in the worst position when it comes to injuries? What's your favorite C.J. Brown memory?
Share your thoughts below.