Major League Soccer - Week 23 match previews

Well it is the time of year where teams show their true colors and and this weekend will see some huge 6 point matches (matches featuring two teams from same conference).  Perhaps the highlights of the weekend will come as the Philadelphia Union (2nd in East) will travel to Columbus to face the Crew (1st in East) and then as the Seattle Sounders (3rd in West) will head to Pizza Hut Park to take on FC Dallas (2nd in West).  Those may be the highlight matches but there are several others where teams will get a chance to put themselves into the playoff picture.

New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Well for the New York Red Bulls this match is huge, anything less than 3 points and they could see themselves drop out of the playoff picture for the first time all season. While the Revolution have had more than their fair share of issues on and off the pitch this year but with just 9 matches left and being 10 points out of the last playoff spot, they will need to figure something out sooner or risk there not being much of a later.  The focus point of this match might just be the guys in net, Bouna Coundoul is back after Frank Rost went down with an injury and normal Rev's keeper Matt Reis is suspended for the match, so New England will put Bobby Shuttleworth in goal.

Well New York is 1-4-8 on the road and New England is 3-4-5 at home, so I am going to pick this one as a 2-2 draw.

Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick

The Union find themselves staring up at Columbus in the Eastern conference standings but they have that important match in hand, and we all know a match in hand is better than a Juan Pablo Angel rumor on twitter.   Can the Union get their first result against the Crew? The Crew are 3-2-0 in their last 5 matches and that has allowed them to take over first place while the Union have gone 1-1-3 in their last 5 matches.  Both of these teams are fairly solid on defense and opportune on offense, so it should be a classic (that means slow and boring) match.

I think this one has 1-1 or 0-0 draw written all over it.

the rest of the weekends action after the jump:

Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick

For Real Salt Lake the road is never a fun place for them, and in Houston things very often get hotter on the pitch than the hot and humid weather conditions.  RSL is 0-6-1 in Houston, and the Dynamo have gotten themselves back into the playoff picture by going 2-1-2 in their last 5 and are 7-3-3 at home this year.  I have to pick this one to end up in a 1-1 draw.

Seattle Sounders at FC Dallas - 7:00pm MT - Direct Kick

Well this is my match of the week as both of these teams have been good recently and both are coming off big time Champions League wins. If anyone is going to catch LA at the top of MLS it will likely be one of these two, but that means they will need wins and not draws.  This should be one of the more interesting matchups of the weekend, FC Dallas has made a couple trades this week to boost their defense, so they will clearly be playing the defend adn counter attack.  The Sounders are a very solid team from front to back that made no noise on the transfer market, but with the extra CCL matches their depth will be tested.

I have to go with the momentum of FC Dallas who became the first MLS team to ever win a match in Mexico, this one ends up 2-1 with the home team winning.

Chivas USA at Colorado Rapids - 7:00pm MT - Direct Kick

No team has been better over the last 5 matches than the defending MLS Cup champions, the Rapids are 4-0-1, but Chivas have gathered themselves and are 2-1-2 in their last 5 and just out of the playoff hunt.  Chivas found what could be a game changer for them this week, as they picked up Juan Pablo Angel from their Home Depot Center roommates the LA Galalxy.  For a team that has been rebuilding could he be the difference maker down the stretch?  This one could be a real surprise as both sides have scored multiple goals in 9 of their matches, and both teams can score early and late in matches.

I have to pick the home team to get a 3-2 win in what might be the most exciting match of the weekend.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Portland Timbers - 8:00pm MT Fox Soccer

Well the two expansion teams will face off on national TV, and while the Timbers have found a way to get 7 wins so far this season, the Whitecaps have just 3 wins and still haven't cracked 20 points on the season yet (the only MLS team below that mark). One thing is sure neither of these teams play great defense, both have given up 40 goals and only TFC have given up more goals.  If you look at the injury report for Portland there are 9 players listed, while the Whitecaps are much healthier.  The Whitecaps have only scored 9 goals on the road and are 0-9-4, and to be honest that probably won't matter as these two teams simply don't like each other and while this is their first match in MLS they have plenty of history.

You just have no idea what to get from either of these teams, but I have to give an edge to the home side and pick the Timbers to get a 2-1 win.

San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles Galaxy - 8:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Well one of the better rivalries in MLS will be played but I have to imagine that most people will be talking about one player, no not David Beckham, no not Landon Donovan, no it will be Robbie Keane who joined the team this week. It has been over two months since the Quakes got a win and they now find themselves in 8th place in the Western Conference, while the Galaxy seem to have life on auto pilot as they continue to rack up results and only 3 teams have been able to beat them this year, they are the last team to be undefeated at home.  While these two teams have a rivalry going, I don't expect this to be a very competitive match, the Galaxy are too strong.

The Galaxy get a 3-1 win, the only question is will Robbie Keane get a goal?

Toronto FC at Chicago Fire - Sunday 5:00pm MT - Direct Kick

Well TFC have seemed to have found some life as they got a big win over RSL last weekend and then opened their Champions League group with a win and now they will be heading to Chicago to face the Fire who are 1-2-8 at home.  The Red's haven't gotten a win on the road yet and their 0-7-6 record with just 13 goals scored and 30 allowed doesn't give anyone much hope that this will be more than a ugly match of two teams still trying to figure it out.  The Fire have set a MLS record with 15 draws, and they still have 10 matches left to play, you just never know what to expect from them, well that isn't true you should expect a tie.  

That is what I am going to pick, this one is likely to end up a 1-1 draw.

DC United at Sporting KC - Sunday 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Well many people thought that the addition of Charlie Davies would make DC United a contender for MLS Cup and beyond, but the reality is that this is still a very average team as their 7-6-10 record would attest to.  While Sporting KC started the season with a brutal 10 match road trip but now they have opened their state of the art home stadium and the team has started playing like a contender, they have moved themselves up to 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference and this will be a huge 6 point match for both sides as they look to secure a spot in the post season. Both teams have scored more than 30 goals and given up more than 30 goals, so this one should be exciting and high scoring, as both teams know what is at stake.

I have to pick Sporting to get a hard fought win at home 3-2, hopefully nobody will be tossing bobble heads around on Sunday.

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