MLS 2012, Week 21 Preview And Fixtures: U.S. Open Cup Hangover Is A Wonderful Thing

July 21, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chivas USA forward Ryan Smith (22) and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Bryan Gaul (35) battle for the ball during the first half of the game at the Home Depot Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The U.S. Open Cup is in the books and all we want is our MLS.

The U.S. Open Cup final was the best thing that could have happened for MLS this weekend. It was a dramatic match that got people talking and the quality of play was so low that everyone can't wait to see really difficult things like passing the ball five yards to someone in a similarly colored shirt. I want my, I want my, I want my MLS.

New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo

Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

They just played last Friday on NBC Sports Network. It's de ja vu all over again.

Pick: Houston, 2-1.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake

Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

The Whitecaps have been solidly in the playoffs despite pulling apart their team, putting it back together again, pulling it apart one more time then putting it back together again. But how good are they? A win over RSL would tell us.

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

Sporting Kansas City vs. D.C. United

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live

The Sporting players will probably show up to Livestrong Sporting Park still hungover, give it 14 goals in the first 16 minutes and nobody in Kansas City will care. U.S OPEN CUP CHAMPIONS WOO!

Pick: D.C., 2-0.

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

Now that the Rapids have finally won a game can they get back to looking like a professional soccer team? That's all they need to beat FCD.

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders

Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live

This would be the marquee match in almost any week and it would be a shoo-in to provide top notch soccer, but this week that top notch part may be in danger. The Sounders will be tired after Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup final and probably angry too. To send that team to San Jose is a recipe for a Sounders disaster. Can we have a fixture switch and play this next week instead?

Pick: San Jose, 3-1.

Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire

Sunday, 7:00 p.m. ET, Galavision

12 points out of fifth place with two matches in hand, holy hell the Union are kind of in the playoff race. All hail John Hackworth.

Pick: Philadelphia, 1-0.

New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact

Sunday, 7:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

Holy irrelevancy, Batman!

Pick: Reuben sandwich.

Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy

Sunday, 11:00 p.m., ESPN2

The Sounders roundhouse kicked the Galaxy in the face on Sunday and now LA sits just seven points clear of their cross-hall neighbors with four matches in hand. If Chivas can pull off a win in the SuperClasico then the sky might fall in Galaxyland.

Pick: LA, 2-1.

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