D.C. United vs Seattle Sounders
TV: ESPN 2
This is a very crucial match for both of these teams. Both are sitting near the bottom of the league and desperate to gain some ground. For Seattle, they suffered a disappointing home draw to FC Dallas despite leading for most of the game. They will be looking for a win to bounce back and get some revenge for a home loss to D.C. United earlier in the season. Fredy Montero found the goal last week thanks to great individual effort. He along with Steve Zakuani will have to penetrate an improving but still shaky and inconsistent backline for D.C. A win would do a lot for Seattle, especially against a growing rival in D.C.
D.C. United are bracing for the arrival of two players, Branko Bosovic and Pablo Hernandez. It is unclear whether both will be ready by Thursday to play against Seattle. However, with United facing another match on Sunday, they may be critical to getting results out of those two games. Expect United to rely primarily on Najar, Pontius, and Quaranta in the attack. Defensively, D.C. United has not been able to find a consistent backline. Despite that, there are some signs of hope. Jordan Graye and Julius James had a good game against New York and they will need star efforts again to prevent Seattle from scoring.
Columbus Crew vs New York Red Bulls
TV: Direct Kick, MatchDay Live
With their second game this week, the Crew will be looking to hold on to the top spot in the East, especially with the game being at home. This game also gives them a chance to sweep their biggest rivals in the East. For the Crew, they are going to have to pull from their bench and not rely entirely on the efforts of Guillermo Barros Schelotto in the attack. Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers are going to have to step up, especially against a decent Red Bulls defense. However, it is never easy when playing a second game in a week.
New York will consider last week’s game against D.C. United a missed opportunity. They got a draw, but at home against a bottom team in the league, they probably should have gotten a victory. They did create several opportunities to go up against D.C.. Facing Columbus, they may have a golden opportunity to get the top spot in the East. Juan Pablo Angel is going to have to break down the defense and get into the attack. When he scores, the Red Bulls usually come on top. The Red Bulls defense is a possible concern, as it has been inconsistent throughout the year, but it has improved significantly over their last five games in which the team is unbeaten. They are going to have to defend against a dangerous attack featuring Schelotto and Rogers if they want to get a big win. We see a draw here, with neither team gaining any ground.
FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake
TV: Direct Kick, MatchDay Live
Real Salt Lake are by far the hottest team in the league. Robbie Findley has come back and started to produce for Real Salt Lake. He drew and converted the penalty that gave them the win last week against Chicago. Despite that, he still showed flashes of the Robbie Findley we all know and love, missing a couple of easy chances. They now get an improving but relatively average Dallas team. They are going to need their attacking triangle of Findley, Morales, and Saborio to break down Dallas. It shouldn’t be too hard, especially with all that talent in the Real Salt Lake attack. With Los Angeles showing some signs of struggling, it may Real Salt Lake’s perfect opportunity to gain some ground and try to take the top spot in the league.
FC Dallas are probably the biggest surprise of the year. No one expected much out of them this season and they are slowly creeping up the standings to fifth in the league. They are facing a tough test at home that could stall their rise this season. Kevin Hartman has been the big story, as he has played excellent in goal and organized the defense. His task against Real Salt Lake will be difficult with all their attacking options. In the attack, they will need the talent of Brek Shea to break down the Salt Lake defense on the wing. They also got a great goal from David Ferreira last week and will need his offensive production in a big way this Saturday.
Colorado Rapids vs Kansas City Wizards
TV: Direct Kick, MatchDay Live
Kansas City enters their second game of the week, and they get another tough game against Colorado. Unless Kansas City finds some unsuspected depth, they will most likely struggle again. With the rest of the league moving ahead, Kansas City is fast becoming a team that will be left behind quickly. Unless they get a result out of these two games, they will likely be out of the playoff race. With their struggling attack and Colorado’s staunch defense, I don’t see much hope for Kansas City.
Colorado suffered a narrow loss to Toronto last week and they will be looking to keep their playoff spot. Against Kasnas City on their second game of the week, that is a likely possibility. However first they have to actually break down the Kansas City defense with Omar Cummings and Conor Casey. If they have an off game, Colorado could very well pull up empty handed. They will have the benefit of being rested and should use that to their advantage to get the win at home. Colorado should be able to come away with the easy victory.
D.C. United vs Los Angeles Galaxy
In most years, this would have been a marquee matchup in MLS. Both teams have a celebrated history and have met for many memorable games. Now it looks like a one sided game with D.C. United still at the bottom and the going into their second game of the week with the Galaxy top of the league. D.C. United are going to have to tread lightly with a big Open Cup match the next week that could decide their season this year. I would expect some lineup rotation against Los Angeles and potentially playing for the draw. They are out matched against LA and United lacks depth. We expect D.C. United to play a defensive lineup.
Los Angeles will be looking for a big bounce back after an embarrassing loss to New England last week. They are getting another weak team on the road, which could spell an easy victory. However they are going to need Donovan and Buddle to be the players that they have been all season. Without their efforts, the Galaxy could struggle much like they did against New England last week. A win against D.C. would help further solidify their place as the top team in the league. We see them getting that win, but it won’t come easy on the road. With Donovan’s notoriety growing, a big crowd should expected on Sunday.