There's no reason to lie, Week 2 of the Major League Soccer season lacks a bit of oomph. Of the nine games on the schedule, just two of them feature two teams that were in the playoffs last year. Of those two games, Real Salt Lake-New York Red Bulls is probably the only one that's really intriguing. Of course, that's not the one that will be on national TV as NBC Sports Network continues to show a very odd decision-making process when choosing which game to broadcast.
Anyway, here's what to watch for this week and how to watch it:
Will they come back?
There are supposed to be close to 60,000 people when the Montreal Impact make their MLS debut against the Chicago Fire. The Impact probably weren't quite as bad as some of us made it seem last week, but a better showing would be a good way to help ensure that a good chunk of those people that come to today's game will be inclined to stick around. Remember, they have four more games at Olympic Stadium before moving into their new soccer-specific home. Time: 2 p.m. TV: TSN (Canada), MLS Live, Direct Kick.
Believe it or not, fans of the San Jose Earthquakes still dislike the Houston Dynamo quite a bit. The Dynamo, of course, left San Jose after the the 2005 season and went on to win a couple MLS Cups. Although San Jose eventually got their Earthquakes back, the wounds have yet to heal. Truth be told, no one outside of San Jose seems to care much, though. Time: 5 p.m. TV: MLS Live, Direct Kick.
Just a bit of life
Just about everyone who doesn't have a rooting interest in the New England Revolution think they are going to be awful this year. Their lackluster loss to the Earthquakes in Week 1 hardly changed any perceptions. Now they travel to Sporting Kansas City, a team most people think will be pretty good. The Revs could go a long way toward convincing their fans not to give up early by showing some life. Time: 8:30 p.m. TV: MLS Live, Direct Kick.
Are the Timbers' road woes gone?
Just one team claimed fewer points on the road that the Portland Timbers in 2011. Last week's win over the Union have a lot of people talking about how improved this team is. But let's not forget that the Timbers looked like world-beaters at home last year, too. Today's game against FC Dallas is a great test for them. Time: 8:30 p.m. TV: MLS Live, Direct Kick.
CONCACAF Champions League hangovers?
The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC are coming off very different CCL quarterfinal results, which could affect today's game. The Sounders will be looking for a massive bounce back from a massive loss to Santos Laguna, while the Reds will be trying to avoid a hangover from the biggest win in franchise history. Time: 10 p.m. TV: MLS Live, Direct Kick.
Keeping the momentum
The Vancouver Whitecaps can't prove they are for real by beating Chivas USA today, but they can go a long way toward convincing us they aren't total fakes. Last year, they were the only MLS team to go winless away from home. They can end that streak today, something they really should do if their attack is really as good as we're being led to believe. Time: 10:30 p.m. TV: MLS Live, Direct Kick.
Why is this game on national TV?
The Philadelphia Union look like they are going to be awful this year. The Colorado Rapids should be improved, but are no one's idea of an intriguing side. Still, some of us will watch just because we like the idea of watching Arlo White... Time: 4 p.m., Sunday. TV: NBC Sports Network
How far have the Galaxy fallen?
Losing at home to Real Salt Lake is one thing, but losing at home to D.C. United would be something else entirely. Not to take anything away from United, but if the Galaxy lose this one it might be time to start panicking. Time: 7 p.m. TV: Galavision.