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MLS Gamethread Week 31 (The Playoff Picture Coming Into Focus)

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Your Week 31 Gamethread and National TV Listings.

Fabian Castillo is back from injury and ready to take on the Galaxy.
Fabian Castillo is back from injury and ready to take on the Galaxy.
Stephen Dunn

National TV Games:

New England Revolution at Montreal Impact
Univision Deportes, 1 PM Saturday

Toronto FC at New York Red Bulls
Univision Deportes, 4 PM Saturday

Panama at Mexico
ESPN2, 2 PM Sunday

LA Galaxy at FC Dallas
ESPN2, 4 PM Sunday

Three Big Storylines:

  1. The Galaxy travel to Dallas in the featured match of the weekend.  Landon Donovan played 41 minutes on Friday in his US National Team send-off but has rejoined the Galaxy.  With Robbie Keane out on Ireland duty and Omar Gonzalez likely still with the USMNT the Galaxy are shorthanded against an FC Dallas team that is one point back of RSL for third in the West.  Dallas will be going all out to get the win and keep the pressure on RSL while attempting to avoid the 4/5 playoff play-in game.  Dallas are missing Raul Fernandez (Peru), Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) and Blas Perez (Panama) to international duty but should have Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz back from injury.
  2. New England might be the hottest team in MLS having won seven of their last eight matches.  With a win the Revs can secure their playoff berth.  Montreal have been relegated to playing spoiler as they have nothing to play for.
  3. The Eastern Conference playoff race is starting to come into focus.  With DC United, Sporting and New England virtual locks for the playoffs there are five teams vying for the last two spots.  The Red Bulls and the Crew hold the upper hand, but Toronto and Philadelphia visit those two teams above them and could state their case with three games to go.  Houston is also lurking and they host DC United at Noon on Sunday.

From a Sounders standpoint, this is again an easy choice.  We are all FC Dallas fans.  If they win their remaining three games DC United could earn 61 points, while the Sounders currently have 60 points.  Might as well cheer for Houston this weekend to ensure the Sounders are locked into either first or second in the Supporter's Shield standings when the season ends, plus a Houston win makes the Eastern Conference playoff race even more jumbled with two weeks remaining.

Great matchups across the league this weekend, enjoy your Week 31 Gamethread.

(edit: After some twitter research this morning, it looks like Omar Gonzalez is on the same plane as Landon Donovan and will be available for the Galaxy.  Robbie Keane is still in Ireland dispatching Gibraltar.)