Well we will be over the 10% point of the season after Sunday, and there are some very interesting matches this week headlined by a couple of Western Conference showdowns: San Jose Earthquakes at the Seattle Sounders, and Real Salt Lake at the Portland Timbers, but let's start with the Friday night match on NBC Sports.
FC Dallas at D.C. United - Friday 5:30pm MT - NBC Sports
DC United haven't had the start they wanted, and I doubt that FC Dallas has either, DCU find themselves 0-2-1 with just 1 goals scored and 4 allowed after the first 3 weeks of the season, while FC Dallas are 1-1-1 with 4 goals scored and 4 goals allowed. Last year these teams battled to a pair of 0-0 draws (why did NBC Sports pick this match to put on TV? Really?). FC Dallas got a couple of their U23 players back from Olympic qualifying, but DC is still missing Andy Najar. For Dallas I understand their issues this year, injuries and call ups have hit them hard, but they have battled on, and given their all, while DC United went out and got a a DP striker to boost their offense Hamdi Salihi, they also picked up Maicon Santos, then toss in Danny Cruz added to their midfield and don't forget 2011 MVP Dwayne De Rosario. How have they scored just 1 goal? Well I think this match is likely to end up like their matches did last year a 0-0 draw.
Columbus Crew at Toronto FC - Saturday Noon MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live
OK, I am going to say it now, this could be the ugliest match of the weekend, the Crew aren't very good or entertaining and TFC is clearly going to be focused on their 2nd match against Santos Laguna in Champions League action. Traditionally these matches end in ties, 7 of their 13 meetings have ended that way and 5 of their matches at BMO field have been draws. I have to believe that the Crew could pick up 3 big points but this one has 1-1 or 0-0 draw written all over it.
the rest of the weekend after the jump:
Montreal Impact at New York Red Bulls - Saturday 2:00pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live
Well if the New York Red Bulls of last weekend show up this could be ugly, ugly for Montreal, the Impact have scored just 1 goal this year but have given up 5, only two teams have given up more (TFC and Philly). Now the Red Bulls have given up 5 goals as well, but they have also scored 5 goals, and now with Luke Rodgers' visa being denied and the team cutting him, they can move on to the full time combo up top of Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry. The Impact will have to do without Jeb Brovsky who is on red card suspension as well as Evan James and Carl Haworth who are both with the Canadian U23 team trying to qualify for the Olympics. This one is a blowout waiting to happen, I am going with 4-0 for the Red Bulls.
Vancouver Whitecaps at Philadelphia Union - Saturday 2:00pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live
If you had thought one of these teams would be undefeated in week 3 and the other without a win, few would have expected it to be the Whitecaps with a 2-0-1 record and the Union at 0-3-0, but that is where we are and it is hard to see things changing much this weekend. The Union get some players back for Olympic qualifying but will it be enough to get this team moving in the right direction, Peter Nowak says they need to learn how to fight for wins, I say they need to stop sending the talent away to other teams or sitting them on the bench. Still I think the Whitecaps saw last week in their draw with DC United that having lots of offensive power may not be enough every week, this one ends up being a 2-2 draw.
Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers - Saturday 8pm MT - ABC4, Direct Kick and MLS Live
You can check out my full preview of this match here.
San Jose Earthquakes at Seattle Sounders - Saturday 8m MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live
Along with the RSL vs PDX match, this is a huge week 4 match that features two Western conference teams that are doing fairly well so far this season. Both sides are playing solid defense, San Jose has given up just 1 goal in 3 matches, while the Sounders have given up just 1 in their 2 matches. Both sides have a large number of injuries that will impact their lineups and how they play, but there is another factor that I fear may have a negative impact on this match. Mark Kadlecik, the guy who made a mess of several Sounder matches last year, and did the same last week in RSL's match, will be in charge. Expect a very choppy match, with at least one call that will affect the final score. I see the Sounders pulling out a 2-1 win in a very good match.
New England Revolution at Los Angeles Galaxy - Saturday 9pm MT - NBC Sports
Well after a bye week, the question in this match is what LA Galaxy team will show up? The one that struggled in Champions League, or the one that beat DC United 3-1? The reality is that it probably won't matter as either one is probably good enough to beat the beaten up New England Revolution, who finally scored a goal and got a win. The Rev's injury list is depressing: Zak Boggs, Benny Feilhaber, Sainey Nyassi, all out, John Lozano is doubtful, Darrius Barnes is questionable, and Kevin Alston, Shalrie Joseph and Chris Tierney are just probable. I still don't think it will matter as LA picks up another 3-1 win.
Chicago Fire at Colorado Rapids - Sunday 5pm MT - Galavision
This is another match that could be interesting, the Rapids are still dealing with injuries and the most important one will keep Pablo Mastroeni out again this week, so can the Rapids step up at home, they looked awful last week in New York. The Fire ground out a 1-0 win over Philly last weekend and may be the healthiest team in MLS, but there are a lot of question still, for me can the 4 P's in the midfield (Marco Pappa, Pavel Pardo, Daniel Paladini, and Logan Pause) work together to create some offensive chances for the Fire, will being without Sean Johnson for the next few weeks expose their questionable defense? I think this one ends up a 2-2 draw.
Sporting Kansas City at Chivas USA - Sunday 7pm MT - Direct Kick and MLS Live
The only 3-0-0 team heading into week 4 will find themselves facing a team that will frustrate them the way they did RSL last weekend, Chivas US will clog up the midfield, disrupt passing lanes and generally be a pain in the butt. So will SKC have more luck breaking them down than RSL? That is hard to say as Chivas will be playing at home, but unless they get a lucky break it is unlikely that they will be able to break down a fairly good Sporting defense. I think that Chivas will grind out a result on Sunday, so I wouldn't be surprised if this one ended up a 1-1 draw.
So there you have my picks for the 4th week of MLS action, last week I got 5 of my 9 picks right, not great but still better than most did last week. So who are you picking to win this weekend?
OFF MY SOAPBOX