1. Bring out the orange balls: Those elusive orbs could make an appearance for the Rapids' home opener against the Union. Five to eight inches of snow are expected to fall in the Denver suburb on Saturday, according to the Weather Channel. The extra powder won't halt this match (no New York – D.C. United visions here) or stop a hearty group of fans from braving the conditions to see this match.
(Note: Maybe the Rapids should lean on the services of makeshift weatherman Chris Pontius to help them prepare for the storm.)
2. Bostock signs as Toronto FC continues its rebuild at Rogers Centre: The former Tottenham winger did not earn a contract with San Jose earlier in preseason, but he agreed to terms on Friday to join ex-Spurs teammate Ryan Nelsen with the Reds. Nelsen needs every player he can find to help rebuild this side. The reinforcements – even including recent signings Robert Earnshaw and Hogan Ephraim – may not prove enough to overcome Sporting Kansas City on the dodgy indoor surface at home on Saturday afternoon, though.
3. Real Salt Lake attempts to break its hex at RFK Stadium: Jason Kreis' side has not secured a victory in its eight previous visits to RFK Stadium (0-4-3 in league play, 0-1-0 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup). This affair represents a pretty good time for RSL to break that duck with Dwayne De Rosario ruled out through suspension and RSL buoyed by the 2-0 victory at San Jose on Sunday.
4. Chicago continues without experienced figures Friedrich and Pause against New England: The veteran duo will likely miss out for a second straight week. Friedrich's hamstring injury proves more troublesome because it deprives the home side of his calming presence and the stout partnership formed with Austin Berry last season. Pause's quadriceps injury further limits the options because Jalil Anibaba cannot leave his usual right back berth to fill the vacancy in the middle. The fallout leaves Fire coach Frank Klopas with Anibaba on the right and Steven Kinney alongside Berry at center back until both players return to the fold over the next couple of weeks.
5. Sliding back on track in San Jose: RSL ended the Earthquakes' 18-match home unbeaten run last weekend, but Frank Yallop's side will hope to start a new streak against New York on Saturday night. Even with the injury problems facing the home side, Yallop will expect his charges to produce a response against a New York outfit that shipped three goals in Portland last weekend.
Last week: 4/9 (44%)
This season: 4/9 (44%)
Toronto FC – Sporting Kansas City (1:00p.m., TSN, RDS 2) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Expect the shoddy artificial surface at Rogers Centre to receive plenty of flak after this affair. At the very least, it should distract from another likely home defeat.
Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.
Colorado – Philadelphia (6:00p.m., Univision Deportes) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Bring the handwarmers and the hot chocolate. Even if you plan to watch the game from the comfort of your own living room.
Prediction: Colorado win.
D.C. United – Real Salt Lake (7:00p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: United needed an easier home opener with De Rosario still banned, but the home side must find a way to scrape out a point against a RSL outfit playing with house money after the victory at San Jose on Sunday.
Chicago – New England (7:30p.m., NBC Sports Network) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Even with Friedrich and Pause likely sidelined through injury, the Fire can still lean on its historical home dominance in this series (11-4-6 all-time in Chicago, including 1-6-2) and quick work through midfield to unsettle the Revs.
Prediction: Chicago win.
Vancouver – Columbus (7:30p.m.) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Brad Rusin's trial in central defense starts now for the Whitecaps with Jay DeMerit (Achilles surgery) ruled out for six months.
Prediction: Vancouver win.
Portland – Montréal (10:30p.m., TVA Sports) – Goal.com match preview
Overview: Timbers coach Caleb Porter will have pointed to the Impact's win at Seattle last weekend and told his players, “We can't afford to give up a soft goal this week. That sort of error could decide the game.”
Chivas USA – FC Dallas (5:00p.m., UniMas) – Goal.com preview
Overview: File this match into the same category for FCD as last Saturday's narrow victory over Colorado: a playoff team wins this sort of game.
Prediction: FC Dallas win.
San Jose – New York (10:00p.m., ESPN2) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Look for Chris Wondolowski's movement – and, this week, his finishing – to flummox a New York rearguard still trying to find its footing. Juninho Pernambucano's likely absence with a calf injury likely won't help the Red Bulls' cause, either.
Prediction: San Jose win.