Los Angeles and New York meet for the only time this season, plus a look at some of the other key matches in Week 9.1. Los Angeles must rise to the big occasion against New York: Galaxy coach Bruce Arena fielded a weakened side in Seattle and received the expected 2-0 defeat at CenturyLink Field. David Beckham and Robbie Keane will certainly return to the starting XI for this glamorous date with the weakened Red Bulls. Only three points will do for the Galaxy here with Thierry Henry hamstrung and several other members of Hans Backe's side either injured, suspended or working their way back to full fitness.
2. Will the goals now come in bunches for Fredy Montero?: The Colombian striker broke his 1,083-minute drought in style during Seattle's midweek victory with a rasping drive from distance. That goal could provide the breakthrough Montero needs to find the scoresheet regularly again. He displayed the type of form required to help his side well before that stunning goal, but the first tally – plus Eddie Johnson's increasing influence – could serve as his springboard to greater contributions in front of goal. Philadelphia will make it hard for Johnson and Montero on Saturday afternoon, but the Sounders have the tools in place now to break it down.
3. Is Toronto FC destined for infamy?: One more defeat will give the Reds' sole ownership of the worst start to any MLS season. Every opponent presents a problem for Aron Winter's rickety side at the moment, but this adventurous D.C. United team – with former TFC hero Dwayne De Rosario in tow – offers considerably more challenges than the average side. Winter and his players will look to the dull 0-0 draw with Montreal in the Amway Canadian Championship play to boost their confidence ahead of this one. Another dose of defiant and earnest endeavor might not be enough to slow down a United side that put up three goals (and shipped five) at San Jose in midweek.
4. Offense meets defense in Vancouver: It's not quite that simple, but that storyline – San Jose's diverse and effective attack versus Vancouver's resolute defensive shape – tops the pecking order for this clash at B.C. Place. No team will want to deal with the Earthquakes when they are in this sort of form. Vancouver, however, is equipped to cope with San Jose better than most sides – and far better than D.C. United could muster in midweek with its tattered defensive corps – because it can rely on experienced and proven defenders and a well-drilled approach to cope with the myriad threats. It may or may not be enough for Martin Rennie's side to secure all three points, but at least the Whitecaps are going into battle with a chance to come out on top.
5. If Frank Klopas had to pick a night for one of his two experienced defenders to miss, it'd probably be this one: The suspended Chicago coach will likely name Austin Berry in central defense with Jalil Anibaba suspended for his actions against Seattle last Saturday and Cory Gibbs ruled out for the next three to five months. Berry will take his bow against a Chivas USA side that can't seem to round off its decent spells in possession with goals. The situation may change sooner rather than later as the Red-and-White introduces Colombian striker José Erik Correa into the mix and welcomes back a few injured regulars, but the Fire hope the currently misfiring home side will struggle for the final touch for just one more game.
This season: 32/68 (47%)
Chicago @ Chivas USA (11p.m., ESPN Deportes) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Will the arrival of José Erik Correa provide a much needed boost to the Red-and-White's dormant attack (bottom of the league with four goals in eight games)?
Prediction: Chivas USA win.
D.C. United @ Toronto FC (4:00p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: The scoreboard operator might want to keep his hands free as the Reds try to avoid history at BMO Field.
Prediction: D.C. United win.
Philadelphia @ Seattle (4:30p.m., NBC Sports Network) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Sounders FC's cathartic midweek win over Los Angeles should provide the ideal foundation for another home victory.
Prediction: Seattle win.
San Jose @ Vancouver (7:00p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Maybe the Earthquakes should have saved one or two of those goals from Wednesday for this match against the miserly Whitecaps.
New York @ Los Angeles (8:00p.m., ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN 2) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: After flying the white flag up in Seattle, the Galaxy better take care of business against the tattered Red Bulls.
Prediction: Los Angeles win.
Montréal @ Sporting Kansas City (8:30p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: It's hard enough to cope with Sporting's pressure during a regular week. One would expect the effect would intensify after Peter Vermes' side took last weekend off to rest their usually energetic legs.
Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.
New England @ Real Salt Lake (9:00p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: How many times has Jason Kreis told his defenders to push Saër Sène onto his right foot this week?
Prediction: Real Salt Lake win.
Columbus @ Portland (10:30p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: The term 'agricultural' may apply to one or more incidents in this particular affair. Troy Perkins – protective mask and all – should be prepared for whatever may come his way after last week's clash with Sanna Nyassi.
Prediction: Portland win.
Colorado @ FC Dallas (7:00p.m., Galavision) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Rapids boss Oscar Pareja will hope that Marvell Wynne (hamstring) recovers in time to face FCD. If not, then the home side can deploy its array of pacy attackers to run at Tyrone Marshall all night long.
Prediction: Colorado win.
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