Philadelphia and Montreal Are on Upset Alert in MLS This Weekend

With CONCACAF Champions League now underway, some teams will have even more congested schedules than normal. Busy schedules sometimes make it easier to trip a team up, simply because they're tired. This week's teams on Upset Alert are connected to one semifinal in the U.S. Open Cup through their opponents. Let's take a look at the two teams I think need to be watching their backs this week.   Upset Alert No. 1: Philadelphia Union vs. DC United For most of the season, DC United has been a pretty bad team. There has been one exception to that "rule," and that has been the US Open Cup. On Wednesday, they upended the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park 2-0 to advance to the final. It's one of the few times, if any, they've managed to win two consecutive games in all competitions, having beaten Montreal 3-1 at the weekend. Philadelphia, on the other hand, finds themselves in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, only four points behind first-place New York. They did win the only meeting so far this season between the two clubs, a 3-2 win in Philadelphia on April 21. I think DC United can pull off the upset because they're hungry to build on their ...
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Real Salt Lake, L.A. Galaxy on Upset Alert in MLS This Weekend

Hope you all have been enjoying the Gold Cup so far. Personally, I was kind of rooting for Martinique to qualify for the knockout stage, if only because no one really expected them to get that far. If not for a 4-0 win for Cuba over a 10-man Belize, they would have made it. The matchups I've selected for this weekend have been affected by the Gold Cup in one way or another, on both sides in one case. Let's get to it, shall we?   Upset Alert No. 1: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City Real Salt Lake is on top of the table when it comes to the Supporters Shield race, but how long that lasts is now under threat. With Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman away with the U.S. national team, their depth was already a little thinner than they'd like. Last weekend, however, it got a little worse. Backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders tore his ACL and will be out indefinitely, while defender Carlos Salcedo will miss Saturday's match after having his gall bladder removed Sunday. RSL did make a move to shore up their defense by acquiring Brandon McDonald from DC United for a couple of draft picks. Sporting Kansas City, on the ...
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FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City on Upset Alert in MLS This Weekend

Before I begin, I would just like to say I hope all of you had a fun, safe holiday and you still have all of your fingers and toes.In the midweek games over the past couple of days, there have been a few shocking results.For example, if you'd told me Chivas USA would hold FC Dallas scoreless at all, much less on the road, I would have thought you were crazy. Chivas has allowed 31 goals this season, more than any other team in the league.If you also told me that the Colorado Rapids would hold the New York Red Bulls scoreless, I would have asked you if you were current on your medication; the Rapids defense has allowed almost as many goals as the Red Bulls.Who needs to watch their backs over the weekend? Let's take a look. Upset Alert No. 1: Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago FireThe two teams haven't played since an absolutely dreadful, mind-numbing scoreless draw on March 16. I remember it because I was there for Sporting KC's home opener. A few weeks later, I asked a friend if Frank Klopas would be the first coach fired in MLS this season.His answer? "Frank Klopas should be ...
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Sporting KC, FC Dallas on Upset Alert in MLS This Weekend

If not for a red card for C.J. Sapong against FC Dallas last weekend, I might have gotten that upset right. After all, Sporting Kansas City had a 2-0 lead at the time of the ejection.But like the saying goes, "If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas."Only two teams are on Upset Alert for me this week. Let's see if you agree. Upset Alert No. 1: Philadelphia Union vs. FC DallasSchellas Hyndman may still have one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference, but when FC Dallas travels to PPL Park this weekend to take on John Hackworth's Philadelphia Union, Dallas needs to be careful.FC Dallas may have started well, but it has no wins in its last three matches. Philadelphia has two straight wins and is unbeaten in its last three. Those two wins were by identical 3-0 score lines.Dallas also needs to watch its back line. Its goal differential is a +9 at home but a -4 on the road. Upset Alert No. 2: Sporting KC vs. ColumbusSporting KC may have played better last week, but its run of results is still pretty bad lately. The two-time defending Eastern Conference regular-season ...
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FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake on Upset Alert This Weekend

After last week, I'm either lucky or good: I put two teams on upset alert, and both of them lost.Considering one of those teams was D.C. United, I don't suppose that's saying very much. They haven't won since March 9, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time until Ben Olsen updates his resume (if he hasn't already).With that in mind, let's look at the Upset Alert list for the weekend of June 22-23. Upset Alert No. 1: FC Dallas vs. Sporting KCFC Dallas is on the top of the Western Conference standings with 28 points (out of a possible 45) and have the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup to get ready for on Wednesday.Sporting Kansas City sits in a three-way tie for third in the Eastern Conference and hasn't played a league game since June 1. They are also 2-4-2 in their last eight league matches.I'm putting FC Dallas on Upset Alert because Sporting KC should be a team that is hungry, if not desperate, for a win. Their last competitive match, on June 12, was a disappointing home loss to Orlando City. Their last league match was also a disappointing home loss, this time to Montreal.Sporting KC, ...
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Two Teams on Upset Alert in MLS for Father’s Day Weekend

When you only have five matches to choose from over a weekend, it's not easy to come up with a whole bunch of teams to put on upset alert.Sometimes, you have to really stretch the meaning of the word "upset."Which is what I've done for this weekend's matches in MLS. Upset Alert #1: D.C. United v. TorontoIt's really a stretch to call either team winning this match an upset. Considering they have two wins between them in the league this season, the word for either team winning this match would probably be "shocking," "unbelievable" or "miraculous."However, I will put D.C. on upset alert due to the fact that they will be feeling pretty good about themselves after their 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night. Dwayne De Rosario's hat trick in that game was 1 more goal than DC scored in the entire month of May, unless you count the penalty kicks in their game against the Richmond Kickers in the third round of the Open Cup.Toronto, on the other hand, has not played since June 1—a 1-1 home draw with Philadelphia. They've also scored twice as many goals in ...
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MLS System for Officials Answering Press Questions Is a Joke

As I mentioned on Twitter last weekend, I am the second alternate pool reporter for Sporting KC when it comes to asking officials questions after games at Sporting Park. These reporters have to be designated before the season starts.When reporters want to ask the referee questions after the game, Major League Soccer, like every other league, has a system by which those reporters can ask those questions.In the case of MLS, the pool reporters decide what questions they want answered. They can submit up to three questions (with one follow-up), in writing and signed by the primary pool reporter. The host team then has to post the questions inside the officials' dressing room within five minutes of the final whistle. The referee then has 15 minutes to review them before the pool reporter gets to ask the questions and record the interview.In what seems to be a growing pattern, Sporting KC's match at Sporting Park on Saturday night once again featured at least one controversial call. This marked the third straight Sporting KC match with a questionable decision being made.First, on May 19 against D.C. United at RFK Stadium, a goal from Ike Opara was ruled out ...
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MLS Supporters Groups Are Really Taking Anti-Discrimination Campaign to Heart

Sunday was Diversity Day in Major League Soccer and, coincidentally, Robbie Rogers made his debut for the L.A. Galaxy as the first openly gay player in MLS.The league's "Don't Cross The Line" campaign, with public service announcements during games and on stadium signage featuring some of the league's best players, has been popping up everywhere.Evidence that supporters groups are taking the campaign seriously have popped up league-wide, most notably in Kansas City on Sunday and earlier this month in Portland.In addition to the rainbow-colored fabric used to cover the Members Stand at Sporting Park on Sunday, there were also several smaller banners. They included "Wiz on the Haters," "Rainbow Glory," "Be Excellent To Each Other" featuring Abraham Lincoln from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," and "Homophobia, Ain't Nobody Got Time For That" featuring Sweet Brown.On May 12, the Timbers Army held up what looks to me like colored poster board, a different color for each section, to make up their rainbow. They also had a large banner that said "Pride Not Prejudice" in pink.The players in MLS are an incredibly diverse bunch. According to statistics compiled by the Elias Sports Bureau, 213 of the league's 530 players (or just over ...
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Sporting KC Celebrates Cinco De Mayo with Win over 10-Man Chivas USA

Sporting Kansas City threw its own Cinco de Mayo party at Sporting Park on Sunday afternoon. Led by a brace from forward Claudio Bieler, Sporting KC defeated Chivas USA 4-0 in front of a capacity crowd of 18,811. It was the club's 21st consecutive sellout.It was evident early on that Chivas had come to play a physical match. In the first minute, Sporting KC defender Mechack Jerome played a long ball forward for Bieler. Chivas defender Joaquin Velazquez brought Bieler down from behind just outside the 18-yard box and was shown a yellow card.Chivas got a little lucky in the 12th minute. Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made a bad clearance that fell to Bieler. However, Bieler's first touch failed him and he was unable to take advantage of an empty net.That, however, was one of the few times Chivas got a break to go their way.Sporting KC's first really good chance of the match came in the 18th minute. Graham Zusi made a nice run up the left wing and put the ball across the face of goal, but just out of reach of an onrushing Jacob Peterson, who would have only needed to make contact with the ball to ...
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Sporting Kansas City Loses at Home, Despite Brace from Myers

Normally, when your club scores 40 seconds into the match, it's a good sign of how well your night will go.Unfortunately for Sporting Kansas City, that wasn't the case Saturday night as defender Chance Myers notched his first career MLS goal in the first minute, but the Portland Timbers came from behind twice to notch a 3-2 win at Sporting Park in front of a sellout crowd of 20,186.The loss marked Sporting KC's first at home since a 2-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew July 28, 2012.In the postgame press conference, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said the uncharacteristic breakdowns on defense cost the club dearly. Vermes said:"When you lose the ball like we did in the areas of the field that we did and then you have to travel so far to win it back, at some point you're going to then open up as a team. And credit to them, they went right to goal and finished off those two chances. The set piece is a set piece but the other two plays, again we gave up the ball in critical areas of the field that we normally don't do. And we (did) ...
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