Friday MLS Forecast: Week 7 - Weighing the tribulations of the past with an eye toward the future

The Forecast discusses the fallout from the Disciplinary Committee actions rendered on Thursday and previews the Week 7 slate.
1. Rafa Márquez's ban forces New York to tinker in midfield: The furious debate over the length of Márquez's three-match absence (and the Forecast thinks it should have extended by another game or two) doesn't alter the fact that the Red Bulls will now enter Sunday's visit to D.C. United with significant selection questions in central midfield.

The answers will depend on how New York coach Hans Backe wants to approach the match. Joel Lindpere is expected to slide into his preferred role in the center of the park alongside Dax McCarty with Márquez ruled out and Teemu Tainio sidelined through injury. That duo offers more attacking support and more industry than most potential pairings in the engine room, but the Red Bulls may miss the presence of a dedicated holding player with Dwayne De Rosario lining up on the other side. Backe has mentioned the more conservative Victor Pálsson as a potential alternative to Lindpere for just that reason. If Pálsson comes into the fold ahead of the more talented Lindpere, he might provide some necessary support for a Red Bulls back four that has conceded regularly this season.

2. Chávez suspension, Salinas injury strip San Jose of key elements ahead of Real Salt Lake visit: Márquez's ban won't do anything to diminish the disappointment of Salinas' lengthy absence after collarbone surgery in midweek or quell the furor over Chávez's one-match suspension for his ill- advised tackle on Roy Miller. This week isn't the best week to miss both starting wingers with RSL set to visit Buck Shaw Stadium. Most teams try to hamper RSL's possession game by stretching out the tightly packed midfield diamond and unsettling the fullbacks. Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop does have Simon Dawkins in reserve to help fill the void out wide, but he will likely find those objectives much harder to accomplish without the speedy Chávez or the in-form Salinas available.

3. Solid work in midweek allows Sporting KC to lay foundation for Portland visit: Peter Vermes used the opening provided by his side's cushion at Vancouver on Wednesday night to withdraw Bobby Convey and C.J. Sapong ahead of Saturday's visit to Portland. That extra bit of rest could prove crucial to help Vermes field much of his starting XI yet again at JELD-WEN Field. It isn't the end of the world if Convey and Sapong don't start – center forward and left wing are two of three spots where Sporting currently possesses ample depth with Júlio César hobbled – against the Timbers, but it'd be nice to keep the band together given the unblemished start to the campaign.

4. It only took a $5,000 fine and a public spat to entice David Beckham to visit Colorado again: The former England international attracted ire and scrutiny from Coloradans when the Galaxy left him off the travel roster last season without noting his absence on the injury report. Beckham attempted to make amends this week by granting an interview to the Denver Post and stating that he would indeed travel to Dick's Sporting Goods Park this weekend. If he does play in the match, then Beckham will make his second appearance in Colorado since joining the Galaxy in 2007.

5. Will Toronto FC finally pick up its first point this weekend?: Aron Winter's men haven't snatched any type of result in their first five matches. The return of Torsten Frings would help matters immensely, but a home date with Chicago – one of the league's most adept counterattacking units and a group strengthened by the recent addition of Chris Rolfe – isn't the ideal opportunity for a club that has left holes exposed in transition all season.
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Last week: 4/9 (44%)
This season: 26/51 (51%)


Chicago @ Toronto FC (3:30p.m., NBC Sports Network/TSN2) match preview
Overview: Chicago employs the usual approach on a visit to BMO Field – sit back, soak up pressure, surge forward at the right time and take home all three points with a goal snatched on the break – better than any team TFC has faced so far this season.
Prediction: Chicago win.

Houston @ Columbus (7:30p.m.) match preview
Overview: It's probably not a great sign that Robert Warzycha spent the early part of the week tinkering with this lineup. One silver lining for Crew fans: it's buck-a-brat night.
Prediction: Draw.

Los Angeles @ Colorado (9:00p.m.) match preview
Overview: This venue doesn't suit how the Galaxy want to play these days. Too much altitude, too much space and too much tempo for the visitors to cope with here.
Prediction: Colorado win.

FC Dallas @ Vancouver (10:00p.m.) match preview
Overview: Martin Rennie will want to see more of the final quarter of an hour from that midweek defeat to Sporting. The first 75 minutes? Maybe not so much.
Prediction: Vancouver win.

Philadelphia @ Chivas USA (10:30p.m.) match preview
Overview: Can the potential return of Juan Pablo Ángel spark Robin Fraser's road warriors to a first point at the Home Depot Center?
Prediction: Draw.

Real Salt Lake @ San Jose (10:30p.m.) match preview
Overview: Frank Yallop would probably like to have both of his starting wingers in tow for this match. Without them (and injured defender Victor Bernárdez), the Earthquakes lack the pieces to match RSL.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake win.

Sporting Kansas City @ Portland (10:30p.m.) preview
Overview: This match looks like it should pose some problems for Sporting as it continues its march through MLS, but the Timbers simply haven't coped well with pressure of any sort this season.
Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.


New York @ D.C. United (6:00p.m., ESPN2) preview
Overview: If this game turns into a madcap dash to five goals, then the smart money remains on the visitors.
Prediction: New York win.

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