22 July 2014 07:11
Both conference leaders in the MLS face tough tests to finish July, while New England Revolution will aim to end their losing streak.
The Revolution have lost every game in July in all competitions – six defeats in a row – and were knocked off 2-0 by FC Dallas in their most recent fixture.
The main issue for the Revolution has been their lack of goals with just three scored in their six consecutive defeats.
New England coach Jay Heaps described the streak as “gut wrenching” following the loss in Dallas, but the 37-year-old argued his team had showed enough for end their poor run in Texas.
“The last seven games have been absolutely gut wrenching, with highs and lows in this big low,” Heaps told the Revolution’s website.
“Tonight’s effort, you just felt from the beginning we were going to be good enough to get something from this game but we didn’t and that’s the way it goes.”
New England will look to end their losing streak versus Columbus Crew on Saturday, while Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders – the leading clubs in the Eastern and Western conferences respectively – face rivals high in their respective standings.
Reigning MLS champions Sporting will travel to the East’s third team Toronto FC on Saturday, while Seattle host Los Angeles Galaxy, who sit fourth in the West, on Monday.
Sporting won their first home MLS match in five last week, overcoming Galaxy 2-1, but their away form has been keeping them at the top in the Eastern Conference with four straight wins on the road.
Kansas City coach Peter Vermes will hope that continues against Toronto, who drew 2-2 at Houston Dynamo in their last match.
With three games in hand on Sporting, Toronto could take a big step towards their conference leaders with a win.
Toronto could move within six points of Sporting if they win at BMO Field.
In the West, the Sounders could notch a fifth win in six matches after overcoming arch-rivals Portland Timbers in their most recent game.
Captain Clint Dempsey struck on his return to Seattle’s line-up, netting his ninth goal of the season, and LA will have to be wary of the United States international at CenturyLink Field.
If Galaxy (27 points, + 10 goal difference) win they could rise as high as second in the Western Conference if Dallas and Real Salt Lake (both 29, +3) fail to beat Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact respectively.
In other fixtures, Chicago Fire will travel to San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids host Chivas USA.
Montreal will back up from their trip to Real on Thursday by hosting Portland on Sunday.