MLS week 7 previews for Saturday, April 21 include: Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew vs. Houston Dynamo, Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy, Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. FC Dallas, Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, and Chivas USA vs. Philadelphia Union.
Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 3:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
- Looking for a First: Toronto FC have never won at Toyota Park.
- TFC’s “W” Woes: Toronto FC’s 0-5-0 start is the worst in club history, and tied for the third-worst in MLS history. The 1999 Kansas City Wizards started 0-7 and in 2001, D.C. United began 0-6-0. United also started 2010 at 0-5-0.
- Pause gets the applause: Logan Pause was credited with the Fire’s goal in the 1-1 draw vs. Houston, his first goal since 2010. Pause has scored three goals in his 10-year MLS career.
- Total Abandon: The Fire-Dynamo game was the first since the 2000 season that ended before the completion of 90 minutes and ruled an official game. The D.C. – KC game June 10, 2000 was stopped at halftime with the game scoreless, a result that stood.
Columbus Crew vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m.
- Third Goal’s the Charm for Bruin: Second-year striker Will Bruin collected his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw in Chicago. The Dynamo’s first two goals this season were scored by a defender (André Hainault) and midfielder (Brad Davis).
- New Dynamo Low vs. the Crew: The Dynamo have not defeated the Crew since a 2-0 win Aug. 2, 2008. The Crew have won three of the last six meetings, with three draws.
- Hesmer Likely out: The Crew learned goalkeeper William Hesmer will likely be out for the season after undergoing hip surgery last week. Hesmer has been the first-choice ‘keeper for the Crew for six seasons, the second-longest stretch with a single club among active MLS goalkeepers (behind New England’s Matt Reis).
- The Crew Is Sailing in Seven: With seven points to start their seven-game season-opening road trip, Columbus have the best record with an extended road trip to open a season is within view. The Columbus Crew took 11 points from their season-opening seven-game road trip to start 1999; the Chicago Fire took 10 points from 10 games in 2006.
Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy, 9 p.m.
- A Beckham Strike for the Ages: David Beckham’s long-range strike to close out the 3-1 win vs. Portland was his first goal in open play since October 2010. Both of Beckham’s goals last year in league play came directly from set pieces.
- The 23-Year-Old Shines Again Outside-the-18: Juninho continued his long-range prowess, scoring his first goal of 2012 vs. Portland. Juninho has scored nine goals in his MLS career – eight have come from outside the penalty area.
- Colorado Rapidly Returns to DSG Park: Colorado return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park having been shut out in back-to-back games and with three consecutive losses on the road. The Rapids are 2-0-0 in Commerce City.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. FC Dallas, 10 p.m.
- Dallas Dynamite in OT: FC Dallas have won two games in a row, both thanks to late game-winners. Brek Shea’s goal in the 88th minute in the 2-1 win vs. Montréal followed Ugo Ihemelu’s goal deep in stoppage time for the 1-0 win against New England.
- Perez Pads Stats: Blas Perez contributed his third goal of the season in the win vs. Montréal, and also added his third assist on the season.
- Le Toux a bastion of strength: Sebastien Le Toux put an end to Vancouver’s 251-minute goal drought with his strike to open the scoring in the 3-1 loss in San Jose. It is the third-longest stretch without a goal in MLS this season.
Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.
- KC to Go Three for Three?: Sporting KC won both meetings a year ago in the Timbers’ first MLS campaign, winning 2-1 at Jeld-Wen Field on July 2.
- While extending their season-opening winning streak to seven games, Sporting Kansas City also lengthened their current shutout streak to 337 minutes – second in MLS this season (behind Vancouver’s 426).
- Graham the Assist Man: After seeing his five-game streak with an assist come to an end, Graham Zusi collected his sixth assist of the season in the 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake, giving him the MLS lead.
- Timbers Look to Cut Loss Record: The Timbers have lost a club-record four consecutive matches after their 3-1 defeat by the LA Galaxy last weekend.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m.
- Going for a third: Real won both meetings between the teams last year by shutout, a 1-0 win April 19 in Santa Clara, and a 4-0 win July 23 in Sandy. San Jose last defeated RSL in league play May 30, 2009; Real have won three of the five meetings since, with two draws.
- Three’s Company: Chris Wondolowski pulled into a tie atop the MLS Golden Boot standings, along with New York Red Bulls teammates Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, after his goal in the 2-2 draw with New York. Wondolowski has scored in four consecutive games and in 10 of last 11 league contests, dating back to Sept. 24, 2011.
- Superior-in-Standings Showdown: When Real met Sporting KC, it was just the third time since 2002 (when MLS returned to a two-conference alignment) that two conference leaders with leads of more than three points met in a top-of-the-table clash. D.C. United and FC Dallas met in 2006, and the LA Galaxy and Columbus in 2010, when both led by three points or more.
Chivas USA vs. Philadelphia Union, 10:30 p.m.
- Chivas, the Vexing Visitor: Chivas USA return to The Home Depot Center after winning for the third time in three matches away from home in their 1-0 triumph at Toronto FC. Chivas is 0-3-0 at home this season.
- Philly’s First 2012 Win: Union put an end to their four-game winless streak to start the season – six games dating back to the end of last year – with the 1-0 win against Columbus.
- Shutouts Still Coming: Union extended their shutout streak to 244 minutes despite missing Danny Califf for a third match this season, after he was scratched following warm ups vs. Columbus.
- Looking for their first win: Chivas USA have never defeated the Union. Philadelphia has won both encounters at PPL Park, including a 3-2 victory last season; the teams have played to a pair of 1-1 draws at The Home Depot Center.