Major League Soccer 2012, Week 4 Preview: Crowds Continues To Pack MLS Stadiums

Chris Pontius #13 of D.C. United controls the ball against Zach Loyd #19 of FC Dallas at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

The crowds are looking good through three weeks of MLS play and week four could bring some more fun.

MLS attendance hit an all-time high last season and if the first three weeks of this season are any indication, this season's attendance numbers will only be better. That the Impact got to play the first match of their season in a sold out Olympic Stadium boosted attendance in previous weeks, but there were no oddities in the MLS schedule last week and the numbers were still impressive.

As is usually the case, the Sounders led the way with with 38,304 in attendance and unsurprisingly, the Revolution were at the bottom with 12,925 at Gillette Stadium, but almost everyone else was very good. Six of the seven remaining matches had at least 18,075 fans in attendance with Columbus drawing 18,197, which would have been their second-highest attended match last season, and Salt Lake drawing an over-capacity 20,415. Not too shabby, MLS fans.

D.C. United vs. FC Dallas

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

Dallas put in a good effort last week despite being without several players, but those players are back now. Brek Shea? Check. Fabian Castillo? Check. Ricardo Villar? Looking healthy. If David Ferreira ever gets on the field and in form, look out.

Pick: Dallas, 1-0.

Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

Who needs Torsten Frings? Toronto sure didn't in picking up a nice draw against Santos Laguna, but that's the Champions League. The Reds are still yet to prove that they're not the same ol' TFC in the league.

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact

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

Were the Red Bulls not horrendously awful last week, and bordering on good, because they finally got to play at home or because they inserted Wilman Conde, Rafael Marquez and Kenny Cooper into the starting lineup? It doesn't really matter this week because they are at home with all three available for selection. That means Hans Backe will probably move the match to Montreal and sit all three. He might even play with 10 men because that's all that could fit on the plane.

Pick: New York, 3-1.

Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

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

The Union have been Nowaked. Sebastien Le Toux and Jordan Harvey will further remind the fans of that this weekend.

Pick: Vancouver, 100-0.

Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake

Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

The Timbers want to be a real contender. Whether that's just a playoff team or better is unimportant. If they want to be more than that cool novelty with a great home crowd then they win this weekend.

Pick: Draw, 2-2.

Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

For whatever reason, a lot of Quakes fans have developed a strong hate for the Sounders, but Seattle is good and San Jose isn't so no one in Seattle cares.

Pick: Seattle, 2-0.

LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution

Saturday, 11:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

These teams used to play each other for MLS Cups. That was a lot of Revolution teams ago.

Pick: Los Angeles, 2-1.

Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire

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

So the Rapids are good, but they're not good enough to win without either starting central midfielder and best striker. Then again, who is? In fun news, Martin Rivero is finally cleared to play! I don't think the crowds at Dicks Sporting Good Park will quite match those he experienced with River Plate.

Pick: Colorado, 1-0.

Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City

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

Name a team that can handle Sporting's right side of Chance Myers and Kei Kamara. Exactly.

Pick: Sporting, 2-1.

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