VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 10: Justin Mapp #21 of the Montreal Impact delivers the ball while Young-Pyo Lee #12 of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC approaches during their MLS game March 10, 2012 at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
This weekend is one of the more exciting weekends as a Fire and as a Club America fan. It's the season opener for the Fire in front of a large, hostile crowd. Club America faces one of its bigger rivals in a Mexico City derby. There are also a few good games to watch in MLS. Join me after the jump to see what games have the chance to be must watch games.
Saturday, March 17th
Cruz Azul v Santos-Estadio Azul, Mexico City-KO 6:00pm-Azteca America
Cruz Azul is coming off a game an entertaining game against Corinthians in Copa Libertadores. But the last league game was heartbreaking as they lost in the last five minutes to Chivas after leading into the 88th minute. Santos on the other hand, a win last week against Puebla and then the whooping on Sounders FC. Hercules Gomez has scored in his last five but went out of the game versus Seattle. Will he be ready for this big match up? Also, can Christian Suarez step up if Hercules is out?
Sunday, March 18th
Toluca v Monterrey- Estadio Nemesio Diez, Toluca-KO 1:00pm Univision
This game has the making of a high scoring game. Ivan Alonso is coming off "disappointing" game. Disappointing because he failed to score for the first time in quite a while. Will their last victory boost them against a red hot Monterrey. Humberto Suazo is on Fire. Scoring in CCL and proving to be a handful in league play. This frees up Aldo De Nigris. This game has the making of a high scoring affair.
Club America v Pumas-Estadio Azteca, Mexico City-KO 5:00pm Telefutura
One point is what keeps Club America from the top. One wouldn't think that America would be in this spot especially after drawing with a nine man Tijuana and the struggling Atlas and Estudiantes Tecos a few weeks ago. Pumas are on the other side. Even though the team has been doing well in CCL play (8-0 win versus San Isidro Metapan from El Salvador), their league form has been less then stellar. This game can salvage the season as this game is always a hotly contested game. El Joven Clasico is one that is also contested in the stands. Large away crowd and even bigger numbers in the home areas, its a high priority game for police and security. Players have already called for no violence in the stands. This will be a must watch in all aspects.
Saturday, March 17th
Montreal Impact v Chicago Fire-Olympic Stadium, Montreal-KO 1:00pm-TSN/CSN Chicago
What's to say about this game? It's the flippin' Fire season opener! The Impact are looking to bounce after lackluster showing in Vancouver. But one has to wonder how the Impact will get the scoring chance as one of their creative players in Justin Mapp. For the Fire, this is the season opener as previously mentioned. Lingering questions are, how will Jay Nolly perform as the number 1 with Sean Johnson being out with the U-23's? When will all transfer/visa problems be solved for Robayo and for Friedrich? Will Grazzini stay healthy all season? Can Oduro produce like last season? There is a lot of potential on this Fire squad but can it all come together like it did in the closing games of the season?
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers-FC Dallas Stadium, Frisco-KO 7:30pm-MLS Live/Direct Kick
Both teams are coming off of wins but the Dallas victory was one proving their 2011 may not have been a fluke. Portland struggled a little against the Union but at the end, they pulled off the victory. Could be one of the exciting games of the week in MLS.
Real Salt Lake v New York Red Bulls-Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy-KO 9:00pm-MLS Live/Direct Kick
After opening up the season with a road win against the champion, LA Galaxy, RSL looks to keep it going against the overhyped NYRB. Meanwhile, Red Bulls are for the second time on the road trying to win. They'll be playing in one of the toughest stadiums to play in as a visitor. Can their defense start to play better? Will Henry be grumpy this weekend?
Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC-CenturyLink Field, Seattle- KO 9:00pm-MLS Live/Direct Kick
Here is a game of two teams that had polar opposite games this week in the CCL. Seattle was manhandled in Torreon by Santos. Burned all game by Hercules Gomez and Christian Suarez exposed the defense and suspect goalkeeping. Toronto on the other hand was able to subdue the LA attack. Frei looked solid in goal. The attack with Danny Kovermans and Joao Plata, they should prove to be a hell of a challenge for Seattle's backline.