The United States' success in Copa America Centenario is a boon for American soccer fans, but the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City must now face tough challenges minus their top players.
June 18, 2016
SHARE THIS STORY
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER resumes this weekend following a two-week break for Copa America Centenario, and with the United States men's national team still plugging away, depth will be an issue for many teams. No matter who is missing, however, these games still count and some teams have very important contests.
Seattle heads to Red Bull Arena
Clint Dempsey is hanging out with some exclusive company atop the Copa America leaderboard, but his success, and the team's, mean that the Texan won't be there to help the Sounders on Sunday night in a crucial matchup against the New York Red Bulls in New Jersey.
His club could really use him, as the Sounders are currently second to last in the Western Conference and four points out of the playoffs. The good news is that Seattle has played only 13 games, fewer than most of the teams it is chasing. The bad news, of course, is that Seattle is has rarely played like a playoff team this year.
The Red Bulls are close to full strength and are surging up the Eastern Conference standings. On Friday the club announced the extension of head coach Jesse Marsch's contract. It will provide a difficult matchup for Seattle and without Dempsey, Jordan Morris and others will have to step up. Offense has been hard to come by for Seattle which has scored just 13 goals in 2016.
Seattle which could fall to last place with a loss and a Houston win. Without its veteran leader, the task will be extremely difficult.
NYCFC hosts Philadelphia
On Thursday, the Philadelphia Union made the surprising announcement that starting midfielder Vincent Nogueira had his contract terminated by mutual consent due to health issues.This is unsettling news for the Union, which has been one of the biggest surprises in the league this year and is in first place in the Eastern Conference. Nogueira is an important player for Philadelphia and has scored twice in eight appearances this season.
How Philadelphia responds will be interesting and could go a long way in determining how successful the team continues to be.
Awaiting the Union will be a New York City FC team that began the season in strong fashion but over the past month the wheels have completely come off. The team's demise began with a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the New York Red Bulls and then continued until the break. In the midweek NYCFC was bounced from the U.S. Open Cup by the New York Cosmos and the Bronx-based has lost all six games against New York area opponents.
Patrick Vieria has his work cut out for him as he tries to turn things around.
FC Dallas has big opportunity vs. SKC
Dallas, perhaps the best team in MLS, is also one of the squad's least affected teams by Copa America. Yes, Carlos Gruezo is still likely tired from his recent campaign with Ecuador but overall, it is nothing compared with what Sporting Kansas City faces without Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, who are still with the United States.
FC Dallas has played second fiddle in the early part of the season to the very surprising Colorado Rapids. But Colorado will be without a few players, including Jermaine Jones, when it takes on Chicago.
As a result, Dallas has the opportunity to sneak back into first place. Meanwhile, Kansas City is in eighth place in the Western Conference and has not played particularly well this season scoring just 14 goals in 16 games.
New York City 1-2 Philadelphia Union
Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 New England Revolution
Toronto FC 1-2 LA Galaxy
Columbus Crew SC 0-1 Montreal Impact
Orlando City 2-0 San Jose
Houston Dynamo 1-1 DC United
Colorado Rapids 0-0 Chicago Fire
Real Salt Lake 2-0 Portland Timbers
Sporting Kansas City 0-3 FC Dallas
New York Red Bulls 3-1 Seattle Sounders