MLS Weekend Preview
Dempsey News Clouds MLS Weekend; Kreis v. NYCFC
August 27, 2016
Dempsey to miss time with heart ailment
On Friday, the Seattle Sounders announced that star forward Clint Dempsey, 33, is undergoing medical evaluation for an irregular heartbeat and would miss Sunday's game against Portland (5pm ET, ESPN).
This is huge news on many fronts. First for Seattle, it could not have come at a worse time. After starting the season miserably, Seattle has rallied under Dempsey's leadership to move within striking distance of the playoffs.
This will also affect the U.S. national team as Dempsey will be out for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Even without Dempsey, however, the team should be fine against Trinidad & Tobago and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. With Jozy Altidore in superb form and Bobby Wood now playing in his first Bundesliga season, Klinsmann will have plenty of options
Irregular heartbeats have a wide range of severity. For some, including Dempsey's close friend Eddie Johnson, it has ended careers. Others have made quick and full recoveries. Dempsey has been a crucial and devoted figure to the U.S. national team, MLS, and American soccer overall. Here's wishing him the best.
Altidore on a good run of form
It has been a rough few years for Jozy Altidore on many levels. He struggled badly with Sunderland, and his return to MLS has been mostly underwhelming. Internationally, injuries limited him at the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Gold Cup, and kept him out of the 2016 Copa America entirely.
The last time Altidore enjoyed sustained success was in 2013, as a striker with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
Over the past month, however, Altidore has been in exceptional form and is now on a four-game goal-scoring streak. He has netted five goals in six games for a Toronto team that has surged into first place.
Everyone knows how dominant Sebastian Giovinco has been in this league but with Altidore now living up to his expectations, Toronto becomes tough team to beat.
On Saturday Toronto will host a struggling Montreal Impact team (7:30pm ET, MLS Live) that has managed just one point in its last three games. Both Canadian teams will likely make the playoffs but this Toronto team is looking like a strong contender to be the first Canadian MLS Cup winner.
Kreis takes on NYCFC
On Sunday Orlando City will host New York City FC (7pm ET, FS1) and all eyes will be on new Orlando head coach Jason Kreis who will take on the team that fired him in 2015 after just one season on the job.
Kreis has been critical of NYCFC for dismissing him so quickly. He does not feel like he got a fair shake—and that's understandable.
NYCFC has enjoyed a strong 2016 and currently sits in second place in the Eastern Conference despite relying heavily on older players David Villa, Frank Lampard, and Andrea Pirlo. The notable exception is star attacker Tommy McNamara who might begin to attract interest from the U.S and Irish national teams.
But Orlando is just one point out of the playoffs at this point and Kreis needs a win. So far in his tenure Orlando he has won just once in five games. This will be a perfect opportunity for him to start a push for the playoffs.
Philadelphia - Sporting KC clash
The most intriguing game of the weekend will take place Saturday night when Philadelphia hosts Sporting Kansas City (7pm ET, MLS Live) in a game between two teams heading for the playoffs.
Philadelphia has won two of three since the arrival of U.S. international Alejandro Bedoya. It's most recent game was an impressive 2-1 away win over Columbus Crew SC with rookies Fabian Herbers and Keegan Rosenberry providing the goals. That win lifted the Union into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City is coming off a 2-0 win over Vancouver last weekend and boasts more experience than the young Union team.
It should be a lively crowd in Philadelphia which finally has a good team to support.
Philadelphia Union 2-2 Sporting Kansas City
D.C. United 1-1 Chicago Fire
Toronto FC 3-0 Montreal Impact
Columbus Crew 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes
Houston Dynamo 1-2 FC Dallas
Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
New York Red Bulls 3-1 New England Revolution
Portland Timbers 2-0 Seattle Sounders
Orlando City 1-1 New York City FC