The first four weeks of MLS action have been mired by uninteresting match-ups. The schedule makers must have been banking on early season excitement carrying the league in the early going (and attendance number indicate it worked) because the matches were as dull as can be, but that run of matches is over.
This weekend is the first marquee weekend of the season. The preseason Western Conference favorites, Los Angeles, are struggling and going up against the preseason Eastern Conference favorites, Kansas City, who are off to a perfect start. There is a battle of two surprise teams in the early going, San Jose and Vancouver, and rivalry matches in the Rockies and Canada.
MLS, thank you for this weekend. It. Will. Be. Awesome.
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
It's Montreal vs. Toronto, a rivalry for the ages, or at least for the Mounties. And you know who wins? No, not MLS. Bank of Montreal. BMO for all!
Pick: Toronto, 2-1.
Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
Thierry Henry has been the best player in MLS and the Red Bulls have started to turn things around, but that was at home and they are still winless away from Red Bull Arena. Make them prove they can do it.
Pick: Columbus, 2-1.
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
National TV, all of the stars on LA, the most exciting team in MLS going up against them and a packed crowd at the league's best stadium. Sounds great, but that isn't even the best part of this match.
Sporting is a perfect four-for-four to start the season, winning each of their matches and doing it in impressive fashion to make a case for not just being the best in the East, but the best in MLS. On the flip side is the Galaxy, who are the defending MLS Cup champions and were favorites to repeat before the season, but have won just one of their first three matches and have conceded seven.
These are two teams in the MLS spotlight and going in opposite directions. Oh, and there is still that stars, TV, great atmosphere thing. Drama!
Pick: Kansas City, 3-1.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
So now that they have beaten the Sounders in Seattle we all agree that the Quakes are for real, right? Good.
Pick: San Jose, 1-0.
D.C. United vs. Seattle Sounders
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
The Sounders are like every other supposedly top team in MLS -- confusing. They lost to the Quakes ... at home. Someone explain that. You know what can be explained, though? United is not that good, or are they? Last week threw that, "D.C. is not that good" thing into question. Seriously, this league is confusing.
Pick: Draw, 1-1.
Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live
This match should be pushed up to Friday morning so it can be played in the snow. A Rocky Mountain Cup in the snow! With the orange ball! Do the right thing, MLS!
Pick: Draw, 2-2.
Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
This is the bad match of the weekend. A sold out JELD-WEN Field, a surging Chivas team and the thought of warm, soft pretzels with cheese dipping sauce. Damn this weekend is great. So are soft pretzels dipped in cheese.
Pick: Portland, 2-1.