It is a great day to be a soccer fan! Opening day of the EPL in the morning and then a six game MLS slate in the afternoon means most of us might not leave our couch all day. As we look at today’s MLS Game Breakdown I will be analyzing some injury concerns and look for potential breakout players. Also follow me on Twitter (@jwl_15) for injury and lineup updates throughout the day.

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Sporting KC @ Toronto FC

Game Analysis

Toronto FC picked up a huge win midweek against Orlando City behind another unbelievable performance by Sebastian Giovinco. He passed Kei Kamara with his 14th, 15th, and 16th goals of the season and now looks like the clear cut league MVP. Jozy Altidore will return from his suspension, but Michael Bradley may still be in doubt with his calf injury. They also made the signing of Hercules Gomez official, but his status will be in doubt due to the timing. As for Sporting KC, they are winless in their last two matches and will be without both Dom Dwyer and Roger Espinoza who are suspended. Also defenders Ike Opara, Jalil Anibaba, and Seth Sinovic will be out with injuries. With Toronto FC returning home after a convincing win midweek, I expect them to play well against a shorthanded Sporting KC.

Line: (Pick) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -143, u: -101)

Players to Watch

  • Benny Feilhaber, Sporting KC ($9,500)
  • Krisztian Nemeth, Sporting KC ($8,000)
  • Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC ($13,000)
  • Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC ($7,500)


Philadelphia Union @ Orlando City SC

Game Analysis

Orlando City SC played midweek and were dismantled by Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto FC. Their 4-1 loss showed how much Kaka really means to their team’s success. Cyle Larin was unable to get into the game without the service and creativity of Kaka, leaving the team struggling in attack. With Kaka still questionable, along with Carlos Rivas and Rafael Ramos, expect Philadelphia Union to exploit the weakness in attack. The Union have now lost three in a row after their slight midseason surge before the All-Star break. Their midfield has lost a bit since Vincent Nogueira picked up his quad injury, but Sebastian Le Toux has played well in attack. CJ Sapong still remains a threat moving forward, but has only one goal in his last four starts. The Union may have the spark they need if newly acquired Tranquillo Barnetta is inserted into the starting lineup on Saturday.

Line: Orlando City (-1) O/U: 3 (o: -139, u: -103)

Players to Watch

  • Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC ($8,800)
  • Luke Boden, Orlando City SC ($4,200)
  • CJ Sapong, Philadelphia Union ($7,200)
  • Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union ($5,500)


DC United @ Montreal Impact

Game Analysis

Montreal will have their work cut out for them on Saturday as they take on the league leaders on short rest. The Impact played midweek without Didier Drogba and lost their defensive leader, Laurent Ciman, to a red card. Drogba looks like he should be available on Saturday and could start up top with Dominic Oduro. It will be interesting to see how these two play when on the field together, as the pacey forward has played very well so far without Drogba. As for DC United, they are riding a two game win streak and will look to build on their six goal performance last weekend. Bill Hamid will still be out with an injury, putting even more pressure on the DC United defense that will be without Sean Franklin. DC United have only scored six goals so far this season away from home, compared to 27 at home, so Montreal will have a real shot if they can get a couple past backup keeper Andrew Dykstra.

Line: (Pick) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -143, u: Even)

Players to Watch

  • Chris Rolfe, DC United ($7,600)
  • Taylor Kemp, DC United ($4,900)
  • Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact ($7,000)
  • Dominic Oduro, Montreal Impact ($7,200)


San Jose Earthquakes @ Houston Dynamo

Game Analysis

The San Jose Earthquakes are winless in their last five matches as they inch closer to the bottom of the Western Conference. Chris Wondolowski has returned from international duty, but he wasn’t able to help the team find a win last weekend. To make matters worse, top defender Clarence Goodson picked up a leg injury and is questionable for Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo are another team that is slipping down the Western Conference standings. With only two points separating these teams, this match will be crucial if either of these teams want a chance to get back into the playoff picture. Houston will be missing a slew of players including Nathan Sturgis to suspension and Ricardo Clark, Jermaine Taylor, and Oscar Boniek Garcia to injury. Center forwards Will Bruin and Giles Barnes are also listed with minor injuries, none of which should keep them out of Saturday’s match. Both teams will be desperate for three points so expect this to be a very open game.

Line: Houston Dynamo (-1/2) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -105, u: -115)

Players to Watch

  • Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes ($9,500)
  • Quincy Amarikwa, San Jose Earthquakes ($6,200)
  • Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo ($8,400)
  • Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo ($7,200)


Columbus Crew @ Colorado Rapids

Game Analysis

The Columbus Crew’s rollercoaster of a season continued last week with their loss to Orlando City SC. Their defense continues to pose an issue after giving up five goals last weekend and losing both Waylon Francis and Mohammed Saeid to suspension. Kei Kamara and company have been scoring goals at a great pace, but unfortunately the defense has now given up 38 goals on the season, which is second worse behind the Philadelphia Union. Hopefully a clash against the Western Conference bottom feeders, the Colorado Rapids, will help change their fortunes. The Rapids lost last weekend after winning three straight before that match. Luis Solignac nears his return from a hamstring injury, but if he isn’t fully fit they will not take the chance in rushing him back into the starting lineup. Expect Kevin Doyle and Charles Eloundou to carry much of the attacking responsibilities once again in Solignac’s absence. The Crew should be favorite to win this game, but with their patchy defense, it is never a sure thing.

Line: (Pick) O/U: 2 ½ (o: +110, u: -140)

Players to Watch

  • Kei Kamara, Columbus Crew ($10,900)
  • Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew ($8,600)
  • Kevin Doyle, Colorado Rapids ($6,200)
  • Marcelo Sarvas, Colorado Rapids ($4,800)


Real Salt Lake @ Vancouver Whitecaps

Game Analysis

In the nightcap of Saturday’s MLS action, Vancouver will be looking for their third straight win against a surging Real Salt Lake squad. The Whitecaps win streak has pushed them to the top of the difficult Western Conference and a win will keep them on top for another week. They are fairly healthy as well, with only Mauro Rosales and Ben McKendry questionable with injuries. As for Real Salt Lake, they are still on the outside looking in to a Western Conference playoffs spot, and will need to pick up a few wins against some of the stronger squads if they want to move up the standings. Centerbacks Jamison Olave and Chris Shuler look to still be out with injuries, and Nick Rimando may be joining them on the sidelines. Joao Plata and Sebastian Jaime have been very good in attack as of late, but it was the defense that faltered last weekend. They will need to stand strong on Saturday against a Vancouver Whitecaps team that beat the Sounders 3-0 last weekend.

Line: (Pick) O/U: 2 ½ (o: +110, u: -140)

Players to Watch

  • Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake ($7,400)
  • Sebastian Jaime, Real Salt Lake ($6,000)
  • Pedro Morales, Vancouver Whitecaps ($8,700)
  • Octavio Rivero, Vancouver Whitecaps ($9,000)