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MLS Gamethread Week 33 (Which is actually Week 34)

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Your final regular season Gamethread and National TV Listings.

Dan Kennedy Captains Chivas USA for their last match ever on Sunday.
Dan Kennedy Captains Chivas USA for their last match ever on Sunday.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

National TV Games:

Houston Dynamo at Chicago Fire
NBC Sports Network, 5 PM Friday

LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders
NBC, 11:30 AM Saturday

Portland Timbers at FC Dallas
Root Sports, 5:30 PM Saturday (Technically not National TV, but available and of interest to local SaH readers.)

Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew
Unimas, 1:00 PM Sunday

San Jose Earthquakes at Chivas USA
MLS Live, 1:00 PM Sunday (Also not National TV, but let's all pour one out for Chivas USA's last ever game)

New York Red Bulls at Sporting Kansas City
ESPN2, 5:30 PM Sunday

Three Big Storylines:

  1. The Supporter's Shield will be decided in Seattle.  This site will have you covered in many other places for that huge storyline, but it is still worth mentioning.  Third place in the Western Conference is the last spot that avoids the 4 v 5 elimination match.  With an odd number of teams in MLS (this year) one club inevitably finishes the season before the final weekend.  That team was RSL who are on 56 points and lead FC Dallas by two points for third place.  FC Dallas hosts the Portland Timbers at 5:30 on Saturday and can finish third with a win.  Portland is chasing Vancouver for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot.  Portland is one point behind Vancouver and would own the tiebreaker if they finished tied on points.  Vancouver host Colorado at 7 PM Saturday (MLS Live) and will know exactly what they need to do when they take the field at BC Place against a Colorado squad that has two points in their last 13 matches.
  2. The Eastern Conference playoff race is more straightforward, DC United have won the Eastern Conference and will be joined by New England, Sporting KC, Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls in the playoffs.  The Red Bulls could finish as high as third with a win over Sporting KC and the Crew losing to Philly.  The New England Revs have been the trendy Eastern Conference pick to upset DC United but recently the Crew are becoming the new Revs as the current hipster pick in the East.  Seeding will matter as someone decent is going to be knocked out in the 4 v 5 elimination game.  Also this is surely Thierry Henry's last regular season MLS match (at least as a Red Bull).
  3. The Final Three Big Storyline for the year is reserved solely for Chivas USA.  Chivas will not finish last in this their final year in MLS.  That honor currently belongs to the Montreal Impact but San Jose could catch the Impact for last with a loss at Chivas and an Impact win while hosting DC United.  At approximately 3:00 PM Sunday, when referee Sorin Stoica blows the final whistle, Chivas USA will never play a game again.  MLS HQ might spin it as a hiatus, but LA2 is essentially going to be an expansion franchise and Chivas USA is going to be contracted.  Probably the most indelible player for the franchise is also the photo used for this article.  It seems fitting that Dan Kennedy, a goalkeeper, is the player most associated with the franchise.  Chivas were not always bad, but they had more managers (11, including interim) than seasons in MLS (10).

RIP Chivas USA
April 2nd, 2005 - October 25th, 2014

Our last section always focuses on what to cheer for as a Sounders fan.  That's simple: a Win (or a Draw would work as well, but a win would be sweet) over LA Galaxy at home on Saturday gives the Souders the Supporter's Shield.  With all the matches involving Western Conference clubs following the Sounders, you can manipulate your rooting interests as you see fit in regards to Western Conference playoff seeding.  Although if Vancouver edges out Portland for the last playoff spot then this could possibly be the worst week in Timbers franchise history (Cal FC notwithstanding) since they already were knocked out of CCL on Tuesday.

Enjoy your Week 33 Gamethread and National TV listings.  I've enjoyed sharing these posts and commentary threads with you since taking over this space during the summer and will be back here for the playoffs.