With MLS teams busy with a host of friendlies, this is actually one of the lighter weekends of the season. Just six matches will be played -- as the Philadelphia Union had their match against the Seattle Sounders moved back to October to accomodate a friendly against Real Madrid.
A season that was merely frustrating a few weeks ago has suddenly taken a pretty drastic turn for the worst as the Red Bulls have lost two of their past three and have won one of their past eight. They have also been eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup -- after playing a team of reserves, much to the chagrin of their supporters -- and the Supporters' Shield is all but off the table, meaning their only chance for their first trophy in franchise history is the MLS Cup. Just to add salt to the wound, their supporters are planning a silent protest at this match. FC Dallas meanwhile is buzzing along with the second most points in the league and getting ready for their first ever CONCACAF Champions League match. Not looking good for the Red Bulls. Pick: FC Dallas 1-0.
The Timbers are coming off their first road win in their MLS history, so spirits are probably relatively high. Unfortunately, their going up against a team that has lost just once at home. The Crew do not play pretty soccer, necessarily, but they have quietly worked their way up the Eastern Conference standings and could actually move into a tie for first with a win. Pick: Crew 1-0.
This match marks the start of a rather jaw-dropping run of home matches for Sporting, who will play their next nine matches at Livestrong Sporting Park. Although they've cooled off recently, they are still on an 11-match unbeaten run. That streak includes a 2-0-3 mark at home. Toronto FC is still looking for their first road win and should have their two new Designated Players, as well as their other three recent acquisitions, more fully integrated into the team. Could be a little tighter than it looks at first glance. Pick: SKC 2-1.
Shockingly enough, both teams are coming off midweek wins, as the Rapids delivered a 4-1 beat down to the Red Bulls and the Revolution shocked DC United on the road. The Rapids, despite missing Conor Casey for the remainder of the year, actually look like they could be pretty dangerous. It's hard to see the Revolution turning it around. Pick: Rapids 2-0.
In looking at the Earthquakes' record it's tempting to say they have been hard to figure out. They've registered some impressive results, scored a fair amount of goals, have a positive goal-difference and sit on the precipice of the playoffs. But maybe we're over-analyzing them. Aside from a five-match run from matches 9-13, they have actually been a pretty bad team. It's been seven matches since they won, a span of games which has seen them shut out five times. RSL may not be as good as we thought they were at the start of the season, but losing at home to the Earthquakes would be an absolute stunner. Pick: RSL 2-0.
Even though it might not seem like it, this is one of those so-called "six-pointers." Chivas USA and the Dynamo are both level at 23 points through 20 matches and could very well be fighting it out for one of the final playoff spots. Other than that, though, there's not a lot to get excited about here for a neutral. Neither team is on particularly good or bad form, but rather doing just enough to remain relevant. The Dynamo are winless on the road through nine matches, so this might be a good time to turn that around. Pick: Tied 1-1.