Major League Soccer Week 18 weekend matches - Previews and Picks

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Well a bevy of midweek matches is followed up by 9 more matches this weekend (5 on Saturday, 4 on Sunday) to help keep everyone busy watching matches. So let's start with the Saturday matches:

Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City - 6:00pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live

Sporting KC found a way to get a win at Montreal on Wednesday, get PK calls, two of them in fact but they were both solid calls and it puts them within striking distance to take back the top spot in the Eastern conference. Houston had a midweek 0-0 draw with the Chicago Fire and are holding on to the final playoff spot in the East. Sporting is a very good team at home where they are 6-2-0 with just 5 goals allowed, Houston is 2-5-3 on the road, for me this should be a 2-1 win for the home side Sporting KC.

San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas - 7:00pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live

If you had asked me last weekend I would have picked San Jose to walk away with this match with little question, but after the Quakes lost at Portland, the question will be if they rebound or not. For FC Dallas getting David Ferreira his first MLS minutes of the season has be a boost both mentally and on the pitch. Still FC Dallas have a ton of injuries and have simply lacked an effective offense, their 17 goals scored is less than half of the 36 that the Quakes have scored this year. I just don't think that FC Dallas will be able to keep Chris Wondolowski in check as the Quakes pick up a 2-0 win.

the rest of the weekend after the jump:

Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake - 7:00pm MT - CW30, Direct Kick & MLS Live

You can check out a full match preview of this match here.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Chivas USA - 8:30pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live

Vancouver moved into 3rd place in the Western Conference with their Wednesday win over Colorado, while Chivas USA had the week off but are just 3 points out of the final playoff spot in the West. The question for Chivas USA is still where will the goals come from their 11 goals scored is the lowest total in MLS, but their defense has given up just 18 goals one of the best totals in the league. The Whitecaps have scored 19 goals so far this year but I think most people thought they would have scored many more, on defense they have given up just 19 so they are a good example of a very balanced team. This could be a very interesting match, I have a feeling that Chivas may be able to get a result in this one, going for a 0-0 draw.

Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders - 9:00 pm MT - NBC Sports

These two clubs are both facing some strange issues, for the Rapids a fight with their fans over "Free Teddy", and for the Sounders the first real patch of tough times since their launch is testing both their fans and their staff as both aren't used to not getting wins. For the Sounders there is an upside, they are still in a playoff spot but there is also the fact that Cascadia rivals Vancouver are ahead of them in the standings. The Rapids are dealing with the fact they have lost over half their matches played, are trading away players in the belief that a DP may be headed their way soon. If the Rapids want to get a result in the match they will need to get the first goal, the Sounders are 0-5-4 when giving up the first goal this season. I am going with a 1-1 draw in this one.

LA Galaxy at Chicago Fire - Sunday 1:00pm MT - ESPN

I feel for the fans of the Chicago Fire, the team finally seems to be clicking well on the pitch with 3 wins in their last 4 matches, they get Sebastian Grazzini resigned, and all of a sudden he leaves the team for personal reasons, then rumors start that Marco Pappa may be gone by the end of next week as well. The LA Galaxy have the on field drama of David Beckham who clearly has had some issues with officials all season long, but as the meal ticket of MLS, it took until last week for MLS to put their foot down (OK fine, they put a toe down, and not their big toe), but with a Landon Donovan who looks very distracted, even the return of Omar Gonzalez may not be enough to help this team find the form they had the last couple seasons. This one could go either way but I am going with a 2-2 draw.

Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union - Sunday 2;00pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live

After the worst start in MLS history TFC haven't lost a match in their last 5, now we have to remember they have just 1 win in those last 5 and still just 2 on the year, but clearly the changes have helped but one is still left to wonder what TFC might be capable of. The Union picked up a huge win last weekend over the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center, but there still is no sign of consistency with this team. Both sides are looking for guys to step up and become real leaders, it is clear in Toronto that a number of players like Danny Kovermans and Torsten Frings have that capability, in Philly I am not so sure. This one could go either way with these two sides who have shown they and surprise anyone, but I am going to go with a 2-1 win for the home side Union.

New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution - Sunday 5:00pm MT - Galavision

The recent struggles of the Red Bulls have seen them drop to third place in the Eastern Conference, but they still are a dangerous team with 32 goals scored this year, only two teams have scored more, their road record is a fairly impressive 4-4-2. New England has been solid at home with a 4-1-3 record, but we know they are rebuilding and this week they added a new DP level player to the mix but will Jerry Bengtson be cleared and ready to play? For New York it is all about Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry, and I have to go with the Red Bulls to pick up a hard fought win in this one, going to say 3-2.

Columbus Crew at Montreal Impact - Sunday 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick & MLS Live

It seems as if the signings just don't stop at Montreal and one has to be left wondering what type of MLS magic was used to let them sign Alessandro Nesta this week without him counting as a DP? Meanwhile the Crew are staring to figure things out, just one loss and three wins in their last 5 matches and doing it by allowing the fewest goals (15) in MLS. Montreal will also be missing Davy Arnaud and Felipe Martins who will be suspended for the match. I think this one could very well end up a 0-0 or 1-1 draw.

OK, there you go all the MLS action of this weekend previewed for your enjoyment.

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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