Friday MLS Forecast: Week 4 - Preparing for the return of beloved, brotherly souls

The Forecast ponders Sébastien Le Toux's visit to Philadelphia and sorts through all of the Week 4 fixtures.
1. Le Toux makes his triumphant return: Philadelphia coach Peter Nowak quite plainly didn't want to talk about Sébastien Le Toux's trip to PPL Park during a conference call in midweek, but he simply couldn't avoid it. Le Toux's first match against his former mates generates the type of buzz MLS doesn't receive from a run of the mill affair. It isn't the best of times for Nowak to welcome his former charge back to his old home after that controversial close season swap. In truth, Le Toux's presence serves as a massive distraction for a Union side that has started slowly and desperately needs to collect all three points against the unbeaten Whitecaps. Will all of the attention on Le Toux inspire Philadelphia to focus a bit more keenly or will the distractions cause them to waver once again?

2. D.C. United goes in search of goals:
Few people thought Ben Olsen's group would struggle to produce in front of goal with the array of attacking options in the starting XI. Instead of banging in the goals, United has failed to score in two of its first three matches and has yet to tally at a meaningful juncture in a match. Olsen closed off the last portion of his training session on Thursday, presumably to underscore a few key tactical points ahead of Friday night's date with FC Dallas. Those alterations need to take hold in order to push United forward after a solid 0-0 draw at Vancouver last weekend.

3. Disappointed U.S. U-23s settle back into life with their clubs: FCD's visit to RFK Stadium could serve as the platform for Brek Shea's return to the fold. The dynamic winger could use some time off, certainly, but Schellas Hyndman may not possess enough depth on the flanks to rest him entirely with Fabián Castillo (left knee) ruled out once again. Those concerns won't hinder Olsen or Chicago coach Frank Klopas as they fill out their lineup sheets without their beleaguered goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (ankle) isn't fit enough to play, while Sean Johnson will sit behind Paolo Tornaghi after the ex-Inter man submitted two solid displays in his absence. Other potential first-choice players after the Olympic disappointment include Union trio Freddy Adu, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams and United midfielder Perry Kitchen (recent replacement Marcelo Saragosa isn't with the team as he attends to personal matters in Brazil, according to the Washington Post).

4. Watch out for fireworks in Portland: The Timbers weren't too pleased with their defeat and their performance in a 1-0 setback at New England on Saturday. They host Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a match between two teams seeking a drastic response. RSL suffered its own shock defeat when Chivas USA nabbed a 1-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium last Saturday, but Jason Kreis' side could have Nat Borchers and Javier Morales back in the starting XI to bolster the chances of securing a result at JELD-WEN Field. Expect a few earnest moments between the two sides as they try to claim the points.

5. No need to panic over Landon Donovan's knock: The veteran U.S. international midfielder may sit out Saturday's visit by New England with a quadriceps complaint, according to a report by ESPN Los Angeles. It isn't the best of news, but it isn't something that should cause U.S. fans any undue worry, either. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena will likely use this match as an opportunity to give his star man a breather to nurse his seemingly endless array of minor complaints and keep him fit for the more arduous tasks that lay ahead.

Last week: 5/9 (56%)
This season: 16/26 (62%)


FC Dallas @ D.C. United (7:30p.m., NBC Sports Network) match preview
Overview: At some point, United needs to score a goal that means something. There's no time like the present to engineer the breakthrough and start the process of improving that dodgy home form.

Prediction: D.C. United win.


Columbus @ Toronto FC (2:00p.m., TSN/RDS) – match preview
Overview: It should be easy to get up for a league match against the Crew after the midweek CONCACAF Champions League game ended in a scuffle, right?

Prediction: Columbus win.

Montréal @ New York (4:00p.m., TSN/RDS) – match preview
Overview: Wrong place, wrong time for an Impact side that must compensate for Jeb Brovsky's absence through suspension and concoct a way to keep the Red Bulls' potent attack off the board.

Prediction: New York win.

Vancouver @ Philadelphia (4:00p.m.) – match preview
Overview: What are the odds that Le Toux scores at least once in this game and sticks it to his former boss in the process? 50 percent? 75 percent?

Prediction: Vancouver win.

Real Salt Lake @ Portland (10:00p.m.) – match preview
Overview: Two frustrated teams will take the pitch at JELD-WEN Field. One will leave with the type of result designed to salve the pain from a disappointing showing last weekend.


San Jose @ Seattle (10:00p.m.) – match preview
Overview: Is this the week David Estrada stops his one-man rampage through MLS defenses? Or is it the week Sigi Schmid wonders why he dropped Jeff Parke in the first place?

Prediction: Seattle win.

New England @ Los Angeles (11:00p.m., NBC Sports Network) – match preview
Overview: Donovan may not feature, but the Galaxy should have enough depth to dispatch a Revolution side without a win in the Pacific time zone since 2009.

Prediction: Los Angeles win.


Chicago @ Colorado (7:00p.m., Galavision) – preview
Overview: Jeff Larentowicz's return from suspension should ensure the Rapids offer some semblance of midfield play after the New York debacle. A significant improvement in that department should secure at least a point against the plucky Fire.

Prediction: Draw.

Sporting Kansas City @ Chivas USA (9:00p.m.) – preview
Overview: One victory with a rookie striker leading the line represented a significant achievement. A second in a row against the Eastern Conference leaders? Perhaps that hope isn't particularly realistic.

Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.

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