MLS Week 25: Complete Schedule and 5 Things to Watch for This Weekend
Another version of the three Rs will be on display in MLS Week 25. This time, the return, the rebound and the rematch will be on display.
A total of nine matches have been scheduled for this weekend. Eight alone will fill your Saturday viewing pleasure to the brim. But with so much action on tap, what warrants your attention in Week 25?
Read on to find out.
Note: Unless otherwise mentioned, credit all statistics to the official MLS Press Box Stats and Standings.
Complete Schedule and Guide
Before we delve into the featured storylines for this weekend's action, here is the complete schedule and guide for Week 25.
Chivas USA are idle.
Montreal Impact vs. DC United, 7:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders, 9:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 9:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas, 11:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:00 p.m. ET, Univision Deportes
The Story to Watch: Will the Red Bulls Rebound...Again?
New York was shot back to reality following last Saturday's loss to the Crew.
A four-game unbeaten run was snapped. The club's reign atop the Eastern Conference—which lasted a grand total of seven days—was short lived.
Surprisingly, the Red Bulls are no stranger to shutout losses in 2013. In fact, the 2-0 loss suffered in Columbus was New York's fifth shutout loss of the season. But that will bode well for head coach Mike Petke and his squad in Week 25.
According to the club's official website, the Red Bulls have made a habit of rebounding following a scoreless performance that resulted in a loss.
The table below tells the story:
|Sporting Kansas City||0-1||L||New England||4-1||W|
Obviously, flippant prognostication is not enough to guarantee a victory in MLS. After all, there's no such thing as a "sure thing" in sports.
But quality talent is enough to breed optimism.
That's exactly what New York has returning in Week 25.
According to MLS' official website, both Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry will be returning to the pitch on Saturday. Coach Petke expects his captain, Henry, to start. Cahill is likely to play in some capacity.
The Red Bulls enter the weekend three points behind the Supporters' Shield lead. A victory is essential if the Red Bulls hope to keep pace with the MLS elite.
Another chair might not survive the fury of Mike Petke if they don't.
The Number to Watch: 9
Can they make it nine?
The Rapids enter Week 25 as the most in-form club in MLS. They've failed to taste defeat since a 3-0 loss suffered at the hands of the Timbers in Week 17.
That's eight consecutive unblemished performances. That's a current league-best.
The good news kept rolling in for Colorado when the club announced the signing of its first-ever designated player last Thursday. Gabriel Torres—a 24-year-old Panamanian striker—finally inked his deal with the Rapids.
The good news didn't end there.
The man they call "El Fantasma" scored the game-winning goal in a reserve match for the Rapids this past Monday. His 84th-minute strike was enough to lead the Colorado Reserves to a 2-1 victory over the Chivas USA Reserves side.
The good news still refused to stop.
According to the club's official website, Torres received his P-1 work visa and is expected to make his MLS debut this Saturday before a home crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado's eight-game unbeaten run is on the line.
Will the good news continue running through Week 25?
The Player to Watch: Luis Silva
Luis Silva leads DC United in scoring this season with three goals.
He's only made three MLS starts for the Black and Red in 2013.
The 24-year-old midfielder was acquired from Toronto FC in July in exchange for allocation money. The No. 4 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft played 3,001 minutes in two seasons with the Toronto, scoring five goals in the process.
It only took Silva 249 minutes with DC to show the Reds they may have traded his talents prematurely.
In the minimal time allotted, Silva has already produced 23 percent of United's anemic offense.
A mild concussion—which he suffered against the Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal—kept Silva from joining the action in last Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Union. But according to the club's official website, Silva has been cleared for full participation. He passed his final concussion test early Wednesday afternoon and will rejoin training on Thursday.
A rematch against Montreal awaits on Saturday.
The Team to Watch: The Seattle Sounders
The Sounders should be the "team to watch" for the rest of the 2013 season.
It's difficult to compete with—at least on paper—a star-studded roster boasting the talents of Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
At least one of those talents won't have an impact in Saturday's visit to BBVA Compass Stadium.
Johnson played 63 minutes in Wednesday's 4-3 win for the United States men's national team. The match took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Expect Johnson to rest after traveling 10,000-plus miles in less than a week.
But the story surrounding Houston, Texas remains the return of one Clint Dempsey.
The Texas native will return to his home soil for the first time since rejoining MLS. His appearance was eagerly anticipated enough to spur a marketing campaign for the Dynamo. See the video above for more details.
According to an interview posted on Seattle's official website, Dempsey's return to Texas means more than a showdown against Houston:
Anytime you can play in front of family, it's always nice. You can see them after the game. That's great, and Texas is where it all began for me. [Texas] gave me the opportunity to play club ball and to conquer my dreams. So, I owe a lot to where I'm from.
After a porous 1-3-3 start to the season, the Sounders "owe a lot" to their fans.
The repayment can start with a road win on Saturday.
A victory could see Seattle back in the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The Match to Watch: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. DC United
According to the Galaxy's official website, the club will announce its third designated player in a press conference Thursday afternoon. Thanks to ESPN's Marc Stein, we now know the unveiling will be a contract extension for defender Omar Gonzalez.
With that bit of contractual business over and done with, the Galaxy can focus on more pressing matters in Week 25.
A familiar Western Conference foe is coming to town.
Real Salt Lake—the current Supporters' Shield leaders—will visit the StubHub Center this weekend. According to Tyler Gray—a writer for SoccerByIves—RSL head coach Jason Kreis believes his group should be confident entering enemy territory:
Every player in this group right now should be a confident person...I believe that if not everybody–we're darn close to everybody–has not only just contributed for the team, but contributed in a positive fashion, contributed to either a road result or a win.
A third encounter awaits this Saturday.
For the Claret and Cobalt's sake, there better be plenty of "confidence" entering the StubHub Center.
The Galaxy are 7-1-2 at home this season.
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