MLS 2012, Week 23 Preview And Matches: It's A Six-Team Race For The Supporters' Shield

San Jose, Kansas City, New York, Salt Lake, Houston and Chicago are all in the race for the Supporters' Shield as the MLS season nears its stretch run.

It was a good week in the CONCACAF Champions League for MLS as Salt Lake, Houston and LA all picked up wins, but it is time to turn back to league play, where the playoff field is starting to take shape. Barring something bordering on unbelievable, Dallas is the only team that can really challenge the top five in the West, while a couple wins by D.C. can bury the chasers in the East.

What is most interesting now is the race for the Supporters' Shield, which San Jose currently leads, but as many as five other teams have a shot to chase them down. Of course, the Supporters' Shield comes with not just an ugly trophy, but a berth in next year's Champions League, where they can play for another ugly trophy. Then again, no trophy looks ugly when it is in your trophy case.

Philadelphia Union vs. Real Salt Lake

Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

RSL will be hoping that a Champions League win on Wednesday can spark them after losing four consecutive matches. If that can't then maybe Kyle Beckerman's extra dirty mustache can.

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United

Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

Montreal have won four straight matches. At some point they will remember that they are an expansion team, unless it gets lost in translation. In which case, watch out fifth place D.C.

Pick: Montreal, 2-1.

Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live

If the players' mothers don't want to watch then you don't have to.

Pick: Columbus, 2-0.

Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC

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

The last time that Toronto went to Houston three players got suspended. They will be lucky if this time the match gets suspended because if MLS has taught us anything this season it is that the Dynamo don't lose at home. Also of note, Toronto is bad.

Pick: Houston, 2-0.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids

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

The Rapids have won once since June 30, which could be attributed to being poor defending, poor attacking and poor in the midfield. Besides that, they are fantastic. Everything the Rapids are bad at, the Quakes are good at.

Pick: San Jose, 3-0.

Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

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

Relegate the Timbers.

Pick: Seriously, relegate them.

Chivas USA vs. Seattle Sounders

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

It's been a revolving door in defense for the Sounders this season, yet there they are, leading the Western Conference with just 26 goals allowed. The only real concern in Soundersland right now is if Sigi Schmid has a taste for capital punishment and doesn't start Fredy Montero. Sounders fans are currently taking suggestions on the method of execution, but beware, even if your suggestion is the method used, Seattle invented it.

Pick: Seattle, 2-0.

LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas

Sunday, 7:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

The Galaxy are fresh off of a wild CONCACAF Champions League match on Thursday, Landon Donovan is dealing with an injury and Dallas are red hot. Even Schellas Hyndman and Brek Shea agree that this one is Dallas' for the taking.

Pick: Dallas, 3-1.

Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls

Sunday, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Both of these teams are right in the middle of the Supporters' Shield race, but the Red Bulls' big match chops couldn't fit on their plane, much like their 18th player.

Fun fact: This match is being broadcast in three different languages -- English, Spanish and Canadian.

Pick: Kansas City, 2-1.

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