Toronto FC-Real Salt Lake
The difference between the playoffs and the cellar are so stark. For example, if the Sounders (instead of pooping the bed against Real Salt Lake twice this season) won both games versus RSL, they would be two points behind the Impact and hold two to three games on the top Western teams. Unfortunately, that isn't how it happened. RSL is very good, leading the west in points (shared with Portland) and hold on to a few tiebreakers. They're so good that it is difficult to imagine them dropping any points in Toronto this weekend.
Philadelphia Union-FC Dallas (NBCSN) (Game of the Week)
An intriguing matchup between a team on the ascent (Philadelphia) versus a team seemingly on the decline (Dallas). The Union have snatched seven points from their last three matches, while Dallas has managed only two. They should have their firepower back, but will it be enough to keep pace with the ridiculous Jack the Rippernerney?
DC United-Vancouver Whitecaps
I called it. As soon as I didn't pick United, they went ahead and won a game. Just to spite me. I'm tired of your crap DCU! I tell you to do one thing and you do another! It shows a failure to take direction well. You better get your act together, or I'm just going to keep picking you forever, and you'll never win another game! It's okay, I'm sorry I yelled. Come here and let's hug it out. Look, just lose to Vancouver today so that we know you can handle it. I'll pick you to win another week, and if you win that one we'll be good to go, okay? You can do this.
Montreal Impact-Colorado Rapids (Univision Dep.)
For now, the Impact and their 2.07 PPG are still the standards in the league. Marco Di Vaio looked his age in the Impact loss to the Crew, and where he scores, the team scores. A week later, Di Vaio sealed up the match with the Dynamo, and since then has had a nice long week off at home. The Rapids will need to have their act together on defense, because the Italian will be on the prowl.
Sporting Kansas City-Columbus Crew
They say that Sporting Park is one of the toughest venues to play in MLS, and I believe it. The location (KC=flyover country) and lack of food that won't cause multiple heart attacks becomes a minefield for any group looking to visit. The Cauldron seems pretty intense as well. It will be a good test for the Crew to see whether they are contenders, or pretenders. Win, and they draw even with KC (presumably for one of the five playoff spots). Lose. and the Crew will get relegated to the "Not ready yet" pile. A draw, and everyone goes home scratching their heads wondering what it all means.
Chivas USA-New England Revolution
The Revolution knocked off the Galaxy in Foxborough in part because of the travel stress. The trip from the far north-east to the deep south-west is one of the longest trips in MLS (though it won't compare to the coming Vancouver Whitecaps-Miami Fusion fixtures). It isn't a stretch to think that the gulf between the Revs and the Gals is smaller than the one between the Revs and Chivas. Hence, surviving the flight may not be an issue as New England looks to put away a team with fewer points than matches played.
San Jose Earthquakes-LA Galaxy (Stream of the Week)
To continue the trend of made up California derbies, this week we get the Bay Area versus Hollywood. Considering the animosity citizens of each town seem to hold for each other, they don't seem to have any good sports rivalries. No one can get stabbed at NFL games if those games aren't played. Baseball's Giants and Dodgers...dislike each other? The Golden State Warriors have been so bad for so long that even a Kings fan would have to pity them. And in the NHL... well, everyone is fighting, and it takes a trained eye to see motivation behind those black eyes. Point is, no one is watching this game because of some made up rivalry. If they watch, it will be because this will probably be a pretty good game.
New York Red Bulls-Houston Dynamo (ESPN2)
Brought to you by energy. Energy, the thing that keeps your body revving and your homes warm (or cold). I'd like to think that this game will just feature an insane amount of energy, but more likely everyone will just stand around until Henry pulls one out of his back pocket. There are some old men on both sides, and even fans willing to travel four hours to see the orange in a Cup final won't make it out to New York for this one.