Major League Soccer - Week 24 Match Previews and Hurricane Irene impact

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Well I have been a fan of MLS for a very, very long time and I can say that this is the first time I have seenmatches preemptively rescheduled due to a hurricane, as Irene closes in on the East coast the following matches have been rescheduled:

D.C. United vs. Portland Timbers (at RFK Stadium)
NOW: TBD *
WAS: Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution (at PPL Park)
NOW: Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET (Galavisión)
WAS: Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET (Galavisión)

New York Red Bulls vs. LA Galaxy (at Red Bull Arena)
NOW: Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
WAS: Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)

Now that takes a few matches off what was going to be a very busy schedule but we still have a good number of matches that will take place, including a couple of very big matchups:

Columbus Crew at Seattle Sounders - 2:00pm MT - Direct Kick

Well the Columbus Crew are the top team in the Eastern Conference and the Sounders are number two in the West but the Sounders hold a 5 point edge over the Crew in total points earned.  This becomes the highlight match of the weekend as both teams have been in great form as each have just one loss in their last 5 matches.  The Crew will be a bit shorthanded as defender Julius James will be suspended for the match and a good number of players are on their injury list including Tony Tchani, Eddie Gaven, Shaun Francis, Jeff Cunningham and others. These teams have played twice in MLS action in Seattle, both matches were draws and when they faced off in Columbus earlier this year they drew 1-1 on a 7th minute goal by Fredy Montero which was answered by Emilio Renteria in the 57th minute.  Perhaps the most important person on the pitch will be Baldomero Toledo the referee in charge of the match who is no stranger to controversial calls and decisions.

I am expected an interesting match from these two teams and I am going to pick a 1-1 draw.

more previews and picks after the jump:

Houston Dynamo at Vancouver Whitecaps - 5:00pm MT - Direct Kick

The expansion year of the Whitecaps has been far too typical for the liking of most of their fans, their 3-13-9 record is the worst in MLS, and only one team has allowed more goals than the 42 that Vancouver have given up.  Houston comes in unbeaten in their last 5 and in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with a 8-7-11 record and 35 points. The Whitecaps will be missing one of their top weapons as Camilo is suspended for the match, he is second on their roster with 8 goals and 2 assists, Eric Hassli is the top dog with 10 goals and 1 assist.  No other Whitecap has more than two goals, but Davide Chiumiento has the most assists on the roster with 8.  Houston has 7 players with 3 or more goals, lead by Brian Ching with 5 goals and 1 assist, but perhaps their most dangerous players is Brad Davis with his 3 goals and 13 assists (and my choice for MVP at this point of the season).

You would have to normally pick the Dynamo to win, but they are 0-4-8 on the road but I am going to stick with my instinct that they should be able to get a road win over a Whitecaps team that continues to struggle.

San Jose Earthquakes at Toronto FC - 5:00pm MT - Direct Kick

Two teams heading in the wrong direction at this point of the year, TFC has just two wins in the last 3 months and find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 23 points from a 4-12-11 record. San Jose have a 5-10-10 record and 25 points, the Quakes haven't won a match since June 11th when they got a win at DC United.  They have just 6 goals scored in the 12 matches since then, to put it simply they are really missing Steven Lenhart who had started to shine with 5 goals and 3 assists for the Quakes.  If you want to know what chaos looks like, 41 different players have wore the TFC colors this year.  

These two teams tied when they faced off in April and I can't see anything but a 0-0 or 1-1 draw in this one.

FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Perhaps two the best stories this year will face off on Saturday night, FC Dallas had high hopes at the start of the year but got off to a slow start and when 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira went out with an injury things looked bleak.  Schellas Hyndman however showed why he might be the coach of the year as he adjusted the entire style of play and now only two teams in MLS have a better point total than the 43 points that FC Dallas have from their 12-7-7 record.  Sporting KC started with 10 straight road matches and they had just a single win during that streak, on June 9th they opened LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.  Since that date they have just one loss and 8 wins, it has been good enough to move them into second place in the Eastern Conference with a 9-7-9 record.  Sporting has 6 players with 3 or more goals this year, with Kei Kamara's 7 goals and 2 assists leading the team, 6 other players have contributed a single goal this year.  Both teams have a lot of speed on the pitch and that should make this a very exciting match to watch.

I am going to give Sporting a slight edge because FC Dallas had to play a half of a match on Wednesday night and then a full match on Thursday in Champions League action, that with additional travel will like leave them fatigued. Sporting gets a 2-1 win in this one.

Colorado Rapids at Chicago Fire - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick

No team has fewer wins at home this year than the Chicago Fire who are 2-2-8 at home and just 3-7-15 overall and hosting the defending MLS Cup Champions will make getting that third home win a real challenge, the Rapids have just 1 loss in the last two months and are 3-0-2 in their last 5 matches.  The Rapids have found goals lately from a likely and unlikely source, Caleb Folan was expected to make a big impact and he has 6 goals and 2 assists this year, but who would have expected 6 goals from Jeff Larentowicz? While the Fire haven't had the chaos of Toronto, this team has really failed to do much this year other than set a record for the most draws in a season.  The Rapids have just 3 wins all time in Chicago, 13 losses and 2 ties.

I am going for a bit of an upset and will pick the Fire to get a 2-1 on Saturday.

Real Salt Lake at Chivas USA - 8:30pm MT - Fox Soccer

Well I will be doing a full match preview Saturday morning but these two 2005 expansion sides both need a win in the worst way, RSL have a 1-4-0 record in their last 5 matches (yes that is as many losses as in all of 2010) and Chvias USA are looking to fight their way back into a playoff spot as the try to recover from a 1-0 midweek loss at Portland on Wednesday.  I want to believe RSL can secure another road win but I would be happy just to get a draw to be honest.

Well there you go, despite the cancelled matches and conditions that will hammer the East coast this weekend, there will still be some great MLS action, so check it out and stay safe.

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