Looking for a can’t-miss weekend on the MLS regular-season calendar? The schedule gods have heard your prayers. Fourth of July weekend features a slew of delectable matchups, including five nationally televised games in three days.
In fact, you may not be able to get off the couch for a week after what could be a third straight US vs. Mexico showdown in this summer’s Gold Cup. Here’s a quick look at a dream week for fans following the final of the CONCACAF championship on June 25:
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29
Toronto vs. Vancouver (7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT): Who is Canada’s team? Toronto supporters aren’t about to let the Whitecaps lay claim to that title anytime soon. This marks the Reds’ first visit from another MLS squad from North of the Border, and it’s guaranteed to be a show from Aron Winter’s squad.
SATURDAY, JULY 2
Chivas USA vs. Chicago (10 pm ET/7 pm PT, Galavisión): There’s some nice Latin draw here – e.g. former Club América player and coach Carlos de los Cobos leading the Fire into the home of his onetime archrival’s daughter club. But we also like this showdown of future US national-teamers: Chivas striker Justin Braun on Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson.
San Jose vs. New York (10:30 pm ET/7:30 pm PT, ESPN2): New York haven’t forgotten being ambushed at Red Bull Arena in last year’s postseason by the nervy Quakes. Bobby Convey, Chris Wondolowski and Jon Busch crashed the party on what was supposed to be a march straight to Toronto. Here’s RBNY’s chance for revenge. Expect Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez & Co. to return to Buck Shaw with guns blazing.
SUNDAY, JULY 3
Colorado vs. Houston (9 pm ET/6 pm PT, ESPN2): Dominic Kinnear never wanted to trade Brian Mullan last July, but the Denver native was set on ending his career with his hometown club. Now Mullan’s former teammates – many of whom date back to the pre-Dynamo San Jose days – pay him a visit. And they’re not about to get sentimental on their old buddy and the defending champs.
MONDAY, JULY 4
Real Salt Lake vs. New England (8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT, ESPN2): There’s probably no opponent the Revs want to beat more than RSL – the Salt Lakers hold a combined 14-4 score line in their past four meetings, including twin 6-0 and 5-0 shellackings. Here’s guessing that’s all the motivation Steve Nicol’s crew needs.
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle (10:30 pm ET/7:30 pm PT, ESPN2): Last July 4, a sell-out crowd greeted returning heroes Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle following their World Cup adventure in one of the most-watched games of the 2010 season. Might there be an encore for Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin after the Gold Cup final? Meanwhile, the Sounders are looking for payback, not just from that 3-1 beating, but from being eliminated from last year’s playoffs by Bruce Arena’s boys. This is must-see TV.
Others to watch:
D.C. United vs. Philadelphia (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT) – I-95 rivals gets together in a battle of exciting, young talent
FC Dallas vs. Columbus (Saturday, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT) – Pioneer Cup combatants get it on
Portland vs. Sporting Kansas City (Saturday, 11 pm ET/8 pm PT) – Title-minded KC make first trip to PGE Park cauldron
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