MLS Gamethread: Week 19 (Chicago-KC)

One spark can set ablaze an entire section of opposing fans - USA TODAY Sports

Mike Magee and other additions have given the Fire the SPARK they needed to become playoff contenders

We are at essentially the halfway point of the season. After this weekend, every team (save Seattle) will have played 17 of their 34 games on the way to the playoffs. And while a picture appears to be materializing in the West, the Eastern Conference could see as many as eight teams truly fighting for a spot in September. They may not be the BEST conference, but Garber's dream of parity is alive on the Atlantic.

Saturday:

4:30pm
New England Revolution-San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose was hard done by Robbie Keane and the officiating crew in their midweek game, but things aren't going to be any easier flying across country to face the rested Revolution.
Prediction: Revolution
Ideal: Revolution

6:00pm
Houston Dynamo-Philadelphia Union
Houston's last match was a 2-0 loss in New York, while the Union pulled out a draw in Sandy, Utah. Houston has the advantage of rest and playing at home, but their form hasn't been great as of late. The match is a toss, but it'll be a valuable win if either of these playoff contenders can pull it out.
Prediction: Draw
Ideal: Dynamo

Sunday:

12:00pm
Chicago Fire - Sporting KC (ESPN) (Game of the Week)
It wasn't long ago that Chicago's team could be placed in the corner with the other listless MLS clubs. You know the ones; Toronto, DC, Chivas. But unlike those other teams, Chicago went out and brought in some good players, including a real difference maker in Mike Magee. Back in his home town and away from the White Dwarfs of LA, Magee's own star is beginning to shine. Winning this game could put the Fire into a playoff position; Winning their games in hand with Kansas City could conceivably knock KC out entirely. All this drama will come through the tubeways to your television set tomorrow at noon on ESPN
Prediction: CHI
Ideal: Draw

2:00pm
Columbus Crew - Portland Timbers (ROOT) (Stream of the Week)
The Timbers Army may be somewhat distracted watching this one on the TV if Seattle can win Saturday, but you can bet that Porter's players won't be. They will go into Columbus, and if recent history holds up (Win-Draw-Win-Draw-Win) they will probably leave with a tie.
Prediction: Draw
Ideal: CLB

4:00pm
Montreal Impact - Chivas USA
The Impact have the advantage of home field, the best points per match, and an extra day of rest. Chivas may have Bocanegra. You can draw the line for this one at 2.5 goals.
Prediction: MON
Ideal: CHV

6:30pm
Colorado Rapids - D.C. United
This is the game right here. This is where United breaks out and starts making a run at the playoffs. Sure, they're playing on short rest. Of course, some of their best players still won't be on the pitch. However, I am saying here and now, for the whole world to see, that DC will win this game DESPITE their league-worst ppg and points. Count on it.
Prediction: United
Ideal: United

7:30pm
LA Galaxy - FC Dallas
Dallas has been having some injury issues, which has pushed them out of the top spot in the West. The midweek Chivas game doesn't appear to have cured their ails, with George John and Walker Zimmerman staying in Dallas rather than flying to LA. Their attacking group appears to be more or less ready to go however, so we could see a nice, big scoreline in this matchup. It all depends on how many PKs the Galaxy award themselves.
Prediction: Draw
Ideal: Draw

I won't be joining you all this weekend since I have a date in Vancouver, but have fun and behave yourselves.

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