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Major League Soccer Week 25 - match previews

OK, 6 big MLS matches this weekend, all of them have some impact on the playoff hunt.  I wish there was time to do more than just a quick hit on these, but it is getting late and RSL has a day match so you get some brief match previews:

Chicago Fire (6-8-8 26pts) at Real Salt Lake (12-4-8 44pts) - 2pm MT - Telefutura

Well since the day starts with the RSL match, of course there is a full match preview available.

Seattle Sounders (9-9-6 33pts) at Columbus Crew (13-6-5 44pts) - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Well this match will impact the playoff hopes of the Sounders, the Crew are as close to a done deal as there may be at this point of the season, they are 16 points in front of Toronto FC and there is no way that gap gets closed.  The Crew will be either the top or second place team in the East and are going to be in the playoffs, the question is with a CCL match already this week, and another CCL match in a few days will they put out their top notch lineup or rest some players for the home rematch against Santos?  

The Sounders are sitting in spot #8, a win would give them a little bit of distance over those chasing them.  That gap right now is 5 points, a win could move them as high as spot #6 before the weekend is up.  They are coming off a Wednesday match in Costa Rica and after this match they will head to Mexico to face Monterry, they put out a mixed lineup in their match on Wednesday and you have to believe that they will put as much effort into winning at Columbus as possible.  It also allows them a chance to judge themselves against the team they will face for the championship of the US Open Cup in a couple weeks.

Huge match with each team having different goals but both wanting and needing a win, I think this one will end up a 1-1 draw.

more after the jump:

Toronto FC (7-10-7 28pts) at Houston Dynamo (6-12-5 23 points) - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Folks I am going to say it again, neither of these teams is going to make the playoffs, Houston simply won't catch up with anyone for one of the 8 spots as they are 10 points behind and with recent trades are clearly in the rebuilding mode already.  Toronto FC fired their coach and head of soccer, and while they are just 5 points out of the last playoff spot, but I will let you in on why they won't make the playoffs.

TFC has some of the very best fans in MLS, but their team plays like a bunch of little kids and unless their new coach can pull off a miracle they won't even come close to making the playoffs.  Toronto are 1-8-2 away from their home at BMO pitch, and of their remaining 6 matches, 4 are on the road, and those facts are simply too much for them to overcome.  The upside to this match is that it is likely that Dwayne De Rosario will have a stellar match against his former team, he tends to do really well.

Houston has been a team in denial for most of the season, they simply didn't understand that they didn't have the depth to replace Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark.  They didn't have the depth to suffer the long injury to Geoff Cameron, and now they have started making moves as they will look to rebuild one of the cornerstone franchises of MLS.  Houston have had two weeks off and that should have given them enough time to put together a plan to deal with TFC, I know their injury list is as short as I remember seeing it all year.

I think Houston gets the home win 1-0, and puts the final nail in the TFC playoff dreams.

New England Revolution (7-13-3 24pts) at Colorado Rapids (9-7-7 34 pts) - 7:00pm MT - Direct Kick

One team is in the playoff hunt, one is on the outside looking in, and I don't imagine that changing.  The Rapids are coming off a 3-1 defeat at New York and will look to regroup after making a number of trades this week.  The Revolution got beat 2-0 by Chivas USA and that may have been the match that ended their playoff hopes.

The Revolution have suffered from huge injury issues all year long and still have lost major parts of their lineups for this match in Denver.  Add in the fact that New England is the worst road team in MLS with a 1-9-1 road record and just 7 goals away from home, no team has scored fewer.  Only one team has given up more goals this year than New England, and that is expansion side Philly.  I don't know if that will be true after this match.

Colorado finds themselves in a playoff spot, but they still were making roster moves.  Gone is Ballouchy and in is Kandji, gone is Colin Clark and in is Brain Mullan.  They are hoping that these moves will boost them from place #7 in the playoffs up to a more secure spot, a win on Saturday could move them up to #6 and put some breathing room between them and those chasing them.

Colorado is solid at home with a 6-1-4 record and I have to believe they will add to that in a 2-0 win over the Rev's.

DC United (5-16-3 18pts) at Los Angeles Galaxy (14-5-5 47pts) - 8:30pm MT - Fox Soccer Channel

Well what happens when you take the worst team in MLS and make them travel all the way across the country and face the very best team in MLS?  Well you get a match that at the start of the season looked much more attractive than it does now.

DC United found a way to get a rare win last weekend, just their 5th of the year, just their 2nd on the road, and they handed TFC just their second home loss of the year.  All of that is wonderful, but the reality check is that this is still a team looking for a leader on the pitch, trying to figure out what to do with a hot young star, and likely still shopping for the guy who will coach their team next year.  No team has scored fewer goals than their 16, and no team has a worst goal differential than their -21.

Well not only did LA handle the Crew last weekend,  they got back the original DP as David Beckham returned to the lineup.  That allowed LA to take back the top place in both the Western Conference and the Supporters' Shield and now they will be looking for back to back wins for the first time since the end of May.  It is easy to get up for the big matches against top teams, it is easy to get up for big matches when guys like Beckham are coming back, but can the Galaxy stay focused for facing the lovable losers that are DC United?

Yeah, they can the Galaxy win this one but it will be tougher than they expect 2-1.

Kansas City Wizards (7-9-6 27pts) at Chivas USA (7-12-4 25 pts) - Sunday 6:00pm MT - Direct Kick

I don't think there are two teams who need a win more than these two teams, both are on the outside looking in on the playoffs and without a win on Saturday it is unlikely that either of these outsiders could make any kind of playoff run.

After a loss at San Jose a month ago, it looked the you would have to find Dorthy to have any chance of the Wiz getting back on the yellow brick road to the MLS playoffs.  Then they cranked off back to back wins, including a 2-0 upset of the LA Galaxy and after 3 matches without a loss there is just a glimmer of hope for KC to fight their way back into the playoffs.  They will need to find a way to score some goals on the road, they have just 7 so far this year.

Chivas USA was all but done a month ago, and while a real long shot still, two wins in their last 3 matches have them believing that they can dream about a playoff run.  For it to not turn into a nightmare they will need to find a way to get a win over Kansas City and most likely it will involve Justin Braun, who is quietly making a case for a big pay raise and could be a MVP candidate if Chivas can get into the playoffs, with his 9 goals and 3 assists.

I am going to go with Chivas on this one, the home team is almost always the favorite in MLS and this one ends up 2-1.

There you go every MLS match previewed, by the time they are all over we should have a much better idea of who has a real shot at making this years playoffs.