Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By CARL SETTERLUND
With three MLS games on tap tonight, the focus will be on a pair of teams on the Eastern Conference playoff bubble.
The New England Revolution and Toronto FC will both be in action tonight – although against different opponents — following the Revs’ rout at BMO Field last Saturday.
TFC (9-9-6) will open tonight’s midweek action looking to bounce back by winning on the road against the surging Philadelphia Union (7:30 p.m.). The Union enter
Meanwhile, a few hundred miles north on Interstate 95, the Revs (10-12-3) return home to Gillette Stadium to take on struggling Sporting Kansas City (12-8-6).
The Revs and TFC are both currently in playoff position with 33 points apiece, although the Union have plenty to play for themselves as one of four teams within five points of a playoff spot in the congested Eastern Conference.
TFC will welcome in new coach Greg Vanney, following the tumultuous departure of first-year boss Ryan Nelsen last weekend following a 3-0 home loss. A result might again prove difficult as TFC will be without striker Jermaine Defoe and defenders Steven Caldwell and Justin Morrow.
Philadelphia has been trending upward, with three wins and only one loss in their last seven games, while Toronto has been moving in the opposite direction in their search for a first-ever playoff berth.
The game is the beginning of a home-and-home series, with the two sides meeting again north of the border at BMO Field this Saturday.
New England got a shot in the arm with the recent addition of U.S. Men’s National Team star Jermaine Jones, and he’s set to make his home debut, although it’s unlikely Jones will go the full 90 minutes.
The Revs will look for a makeshift answer at defensive midfielder, with starter Scott Caldwell suspended, and the trio of Andy Dorman, Shalrie Joseph and Stephen McCarthy all injured.
Sporting KC has a bigger obstacle to overcome, with offensive stars Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber both out due to yellow card accumulation.
Sitting securely in second place in the east, SKC might be content with a draw tonight, while the Revs will surely be looking to maximize points to help their playoff cause.
Out on the West Coast, Chivas USA (6-13-6) will welcome current Supporters Shield leader Seattle (15-7-3) to the StubHub Center (10:30 p.m., Direct Kick).
Both teams will be impacted by key players away on international duty as Erick Torres is with Mexico, while Sounders winger Marco Pappa is off with Guatemala for the Copa Centroamericana.
With 14 goals this season, Torres is surely the tougher absence to overcome, as the Goats are currently mired in a seven-game scoreless streak.
Chivas USA will hope new additions Nigel Reo-Coker and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado can help quell a dangerous Seattle attack with both Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins likely in action.