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Weekend Preview: East-West matches could leave RSL in strong position

There’s plenty to anticipate this weekend as RSL jockeys for playoff position.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC vs. Houston Dynamo, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Houston and RSL are level on points, and we’re ahead for the simple fact that we have more wins. They haven’t won in four matches. Over in the Eastern Conference, NYCFC, who are jockeying for position to maintain a favorable home seed in the playoffs, haven’t been in the hottest form, winning only once in four.

A NYCFC win would leave RSL between level on points to three points ahead of Houston, who still have two games in hand.

D.C. United vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday, 5 p.m.

The odds of D.C. United doing us a favor here are slim, with the team sitting at the foot of the Eastern Conference. They’re on a two-game losing streak, but they did win three before that — a good response to an eight-game period where they earned only one point from a possible 24. San Jose are in some mixed form at the moment, which is similar to their midseason performance.

A D.C. win would leave RSL between one point behind to two points ahead of San Jose, who have one game in hand.

Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas, Saturday, 6 p.m.

This is our first intra-conference match of the set, and it’ll be an interesting one. Minnesota have the chance to play spoilers for a very severely lagging Dallas side that haven’t won since July 22. That’s nine matches without a win. Meanwhile, Minnesota haven’t strung together two wins in their debut MLS year. This could be a dull draw, or it could be a blowout victory for either side. This is a huge wild card.

A Minnesota United win would leave RSL between level to three points ahead of FC Dallas.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids, Saturday, 8 p.m.

This is a huge match for Vancouver. A win could see them start to seal a place at the top of the Western Conference. A loss wouldn’t put us much closer to touching distance, but it could see them fall as low as fourth in the group. Let’s hope they beat Colorado simply because everyone should beat Colorado. This match shouldn’t affect us too much, but it’s worth watching for the fate of the conference.

Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy, Sunday, 12 p.m.

This is another one that shouldn’t affect us too much. It’s not likely we can get six points ahead of SKC in only four matches for us, and LA Galaxy is basically out of the running. But just like the match above, I’d love to watch LA Galaxy win this one, because really, let’s knock down that Kansas City team a peg after their US Open Cup win.

Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City SC, Sunday, 6 p.m.

Again, this one’s about the fate of the rest of the conference. Let’s hope Orlando gets a victory, for Jason Kreis’s sake.

Of course, let’s not forget about us.

Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

If we beat Seattle, and if other results go our way, we could end up three points ahead of Houston and Dallas, and two points ahead of San Jose. Those are a lot of results going one direction, but you know what? I choose to believe.

A win here would help us as we fight for a playoff spot. A loss and results going the wrong way, and we’re out of serious contention. This is huge.