Real Salt Lake, L.A. Galaxy on Upset Alert in MLS This Weekend
Hope you all have been enjoying the Gold Cup so far. Personally, I was kind of rooting for Martinique to qualify for the knockout stage, if only because no one really expected them to get that far. If not for a 4-0 win for Cuba over a 10-man Belize, they would have made it.
The matchups I've selected for this weekend have been affected by the Gold Cup in one way or another, on both sides in one case.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Upset Alert No. 1: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
Real Salt Lake is on top of the table when it comes to the Supporters Shield race, but how long that lasts is now under threat.
With Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman away with the U.S. national team, their depth was already a little thinner than they'd like. Last weekend, however, it got a little worse. Backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders tore his ACL and will be out indefinitely, while defender Carlos Salcedo will miss Saturday's match after having his gall bladder removed Sunday.
RSL did make a move to shore up their defense by acquiring Brandon McDonald from DC United for a couple of draft picks.
Sporting Kansas City, on the other hand, was missing Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jerome, playing for Haiti in the Gold Cup. With Haiti's elimination, both have returned to Kansas City and will be available for selection on Saturday.
However, 2012 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler was called up to the U.S. national team for the knockout stage of the Gold Cup. I'm sure manager Peter Vermes is thankful Jurgen Klinsmann did not also call up midfielder Graham Zusi.
With Sporting KC coming off of one of their best games of the season last weekend, it will be interesting to see if RSL can handle it and defend their home turf.
Upset Alert No. 2: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Last Sunday, the Galaxy had their two-match win streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to Portland. I'm sure Bruce Arena would have liked to have had Landon Donovan available for selection, but Donovan is trying to complete his comeback with the U.S. national team.
The Galaxy back line took a hit on Wednesday when Klinsmann called up defender Omar Gonzalez for the Gold Cup knockout stage. I'm sure Arena would rather have Gonzalez available, considering the club's consistently inconsistent form this season.
Vancouver, however, was only missing backup goalkeeper Simon Thomas, but I would guess he was at minimum third on the team's depth chart, behind Joe Cannon and Brad Knighton.
The Whitecaps are on a six-match unbeaten streak (5-0-1) and currently sit in third place in the Western Conference, one point behind Cascadia rival Portland.
The key for me will be how the Galaxy react to the loss of Gonzalez and the continuing absence of Donovan while also taking on one of the hotter teams in MLS.
Thoughts? Think I'm loony? Tell me what you think in the comment section below.
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