Within nine days, we will know who will be the winner of the 2013 Cascadia Cup will be. Sunday's match will go a long way to deciding the winner of the contest this year. A draw makes things easy: get a result against Vancouver on Wednesday and the Cascadia Cup is ours. Vancouver beats Portland at BC, and suddenly the Sounders need two points from their games vs VAN and at POR. If the Timbers get their first win of the competition this season, then they'll be at six points with their home fixture against Seattle remaining. To then wrap up the Cup, beating Vancouver or tying both is the only way. It's a big week in the northwest. The ground will rumble, the lahars will flow, and in the end, the right team will reclaim the cup. Or so my prediction goes.
5:00 pm DC United-Chicago Fire (NBCSN)
The first team to be crowned champion this season wasn't Salt Lake. It wasn't Seattle. It wasn't LA. It was DC United a team whose confidence will never be higher this season than for this weekend. Of course, that confidence also comes with two days of rest and some serious flyer miles on their victorious bodies.
Ideal: No rooting interest
5:30 pm Houston Dynamo-Montreal Impact
Houston hasn't seen a loss in three matches, but Montreal is hardly the likes of Philly or Chivas. Can the Canadians head to Texas and survive the heat to pull out a victory?
4:00 pm New York Red Bulls-New England Revolution
It's surprising to see that MLS has made no move to try to ignite this rivalry. In every other North American sport, New York and Boston are supposed to be sworn enemies. The Yankees and Red Sox come to blows every other week (on national television). The Giants have owned the Patriots in two of the last six Superb Owls (on national television). The Knicks and the Celtics... I think they don't like each other (on national television). And then of course, there's the Bruins and Rangers. The less said about those the better (on national television). So as of right now, the MLS rivalry (or lack there-of) is an outlier. Maybe that will change this weekend. I have doubts, however.
4:30 pm Columbus Crew-Sporting KC
Will the real KC, please stand up? We haven't seen that team perform to expectations for a month now, squeaking by mediocre teams, even at home. Columbus has supposedly found its form, refusing to sleep on the job despite massive odds stacked against it. Still, they have the lowest PPG of any remaining possible playoff team in the East. KC beat them less than a month ago by three goals to nil. This one is anyone's guess, but my guess is that KC loses much hope at the Supporter's Shield and Columbus loses hope of the postseason.
6:00 pm Real Salt Lake-FC Dallas
This can be called Dallas' swan song. if (when) they lose this game, their best possible point total will be 49 from their three remaining matches. It's rather unfortunate that they are tasked with going into the house of a mourning, vengeful RSL team. I expect a fury unlike anything we have seen from the club, with teeth gnashing galore. And that's just Jason Kreis.
2:00 pm LA Galaxy-Chivas USA (UniMas)
After his *ahem* comments following their last match, Bruce Arena has been suspended for their home-home fixture with Chivas. Can't imagine it'll make much of a difference. Mr. Magoo could coach The Three Stooges to victory against Chivas, on pseudo-national television. Now if Keane had been suspended as well, perhaps something could have changed... nah. LA will win.
5:00 pm Vancouver Whitecaps-Portland Timbers
This is the week. Vancouver will finally claim their first victory over the Portland Timbers in the MLS era. Sure, they are on poor form especially when compared to Max Urruti and the Timbers, but this win is vital. They can still win silverware this season, but it is going to come down to their final matches. Players are playing for jobs. Coaches are coaching for jobs. This team's mettle will be tested and it will result in a Cascadia lead.
Ideal: Draw (Take 'em ALL)