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Major League Soccer Week 17 - Weekend match previews

Well if the weekend can live up to the excitement of the Wednesday matches it is going to be a lot of fun:

Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City - 5:30pm MT - Galavision

Sporting had to come from behind to get a 1-1 draw with the Rapids on Wednesday, while Chivas USA got a 2-0 win over San Jose and both teams are hoping they can get all 3 points on Saturday to climb to 24 points on the season which would help keep them in the playoff race.  

I think Sporting will be able to rebound for a less than stellar performance on Wednesday but Chivas proved that they can be a dangeorus team so I expect a wide open match similar to the last time they played and it ended in a 3-2 win for Sporting KC.  Chivas will be without Alejandro Moreno who is on national team duty, but those sides are almost at full strength for this time of year.  Both teams are very good at the end of the first and start of the second halves, of the teams combined 45 goals 20 of them have come between minutes 31 to 60.  Telling stat is that SKC has allowed 6 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, and Chivas have scored 4 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.  So this should be an exciting match, I am thinking this is going to end a 2-2 draw.

rest of the weekend action previewed after the jump:

DC United at New York Red Bulls - 5:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Well if DC United can win all three matches they have in hand over New York, they would actually catch them in the standings, DC's 19 points from 16 matches have them in 6th place in the East and out of the playoff picture, while New York has 28 points from 19 matches and find themselves at the top of the Eastern conference.  DC has no wins in their last 5 matches, while NYRB have just 1 win in their last 5, but what a win it was a 5-0 beat down of Toronto FC on Wednesday.

I don't think that the defense of DC United which has given up 29 goals (2nd most in the league) while the Red Bulls have turned into the offensive force that most of us expected they might be this year, their 34 goals scored is 8 more than the next closest team but aside from this weeks win over TFC they haven't been a very good defensive team having given up multiple goals in 4 of their 5 matches before Wednesday.  This one could be another high action match and see it coming down to a 4-2 win for the Red Bulls.

Toronto FC at Houston Dynamo - 6:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Both of these teams are on the outside of the playoff picture at the midway point of the season, so a win would be huge for both sides as each team has just one win in their last 10 matches. For Toronto this will be their 10th road match of the season, they have yet to get a win away from home and have a 0-5-4 record with 6 goals scored and 19 goals allowed.  Toronto will be trying to also put behind them the 5-0 thrashing they got at New York on Wednesday, TFC also has been dealing with a number of injuries.  It could the the last match that the Red's play without their two new DP signings who should be able to finish their transfers before the next TFC match on July 20th.

Houston still has a number of issues but I believe the biggest one is a real creative and controlling player who can lead their midfield.  We know they have the king of crosses in Brad Davis but they simply haven't had a quality creative player in their midfield since Stuart Holden left the team.  It is an interesting trend over their last 9 matches, they have alternated getting shut out with scoring 2 goals, on Sunday they were shut out so if the trend continues they should score two goals.  I am going to pick Houston to win 2-0.

FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake - 7:00pm MT - Direct Kick

You can check out the full match preview here.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Colorado Rapids - 7:00pm MT - Direct Kick

There has to be a level of heartbreak for the Whitecaps as they lost at home on Wednesday 1-0 to the Columbus Crew on a late goal.  The defending MLS Cup Champions have just 1 win in their last 10 matches and are 1-2-2 in their last 5 matches. The Whitecaps have lost 3 straight matches and are 0-7-3 on the road with just 6 goals scored and 15 goals allowed.  Both teams will be missing players with injuries and each side will be missing a player due to suspensions, for Colorado it is captain Pablo Mastroeni and for the Whitecaps it will be Shea Salinas.

As much as I think the Rapids will continue to struggle, I have to believe they can get a 1-0 win over the Whitecaps.

Chicago Fire at Los Angeles Galaxy - 8:30pm MT - Fox Soccer Channel

This is a face off of two of the top 3 teams in Major League Soccer, not in wins, goals, or points but rather in draws. The Chicago Fire lead MLS with 12 draws as part of their 2-4-12 record and their -3 goal differential comes from 19 goals for and 22 goals against.  The LA Galaxy are the top team in MLS as far as points go with 36 points from 20 matches played, they are also 3rd in the league with 9 draws as part of their 9-2-9 record.  

The Galaxy should win this match since they are at home where they have a 4-0-5 record, the Fire are just 1-3-6 on the road, for me this match simply comes down to one question.  Can the Fire find a way to keep Landon Donovan from making a difference in the match?  If they can they might sneak out a draw, but most likely this one ends up a 1-0 win for the LA Galaxy. 

Philadelphia Union at San Jose Earthquakes - 8:30pm MT - Direct Kick

Well the Union have been the top team in the East but after Wednesday night the Red Bulls took the league back by a single point, but the Union have two matches in hand so I have no doubt that they will find their way back to the top and maybe as quick as this weekend.  If the Union can get a win at San Jose they will do it without two of their defensive starters as Jordan Harvey was traded to Vancouver, Carlos Valdes is out sick, and then Danny Califf is nursing an injury.  The Union also will be without Carlos Ruiz who didn't make the trip so one of their top offensive weapons will be gone as well.  

San Jose is coming off a 2-0 loss to Chivas USA last weekend, it was the second straight match and their 3rd in 5 matches where the Quakes defense has allowed multiple goals.  San Jose will be without the guy who has been their top offensive weapon of the last month as Steven Lenhart will miss the match serving a suspension.  I still think with Simon Dawkins and Chris Wondolowski give them enough offensive punch to keep them competitive but I just don't know if they can break down the Union defense which is averaging giving up less than a goal per match. I think this one ends up a 1-1 draw as the two teams are fairly evenly matched.

Seattle Sounders at Portland Timbers - Sunday 2:00pm MT - ESPN

Well two teams going in completely different directions since they faced each other on May 14th, in that match the Timbers got a 1-1 draw at Seattle, but since then they are 1-5-1 including 3 losses at home.  The Sounders are 5-1-3 since that match, and they will be looking for their first win in the Cascadia Cup (0-2-0).  It is that Cascadia Cup rivalry between the Timbers, Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps that is one of the big stories of the year with Portland and Vancouver joining MLS this year.  Portland's defense has fallen on hard times in recent weeks and have given up 9 goals in their last 3 matches and haven't had a clean sheet since may 21st.  The Sounders have scored 9 goals in their last 5 matches.

This one is going to be a high emotion match and while you have to believe that on paper the Sounders should get the win, I am going with an upset pick as the Timbers get a 2-1 win.