MLS 2012, Week 9 Preview And Fixtures: That Awkward Part Of The Season Is Upon Us

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Peter Nowak of the Philadelphia Union gestures during the game against the Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on October 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Union defeated the Sounders 2-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Do we care about this part of the season too much, or not enough, or is there a right answer? Oh, MLS, how you confound us.

MLS has reached that in-between period of the season where no one is quite sure what to make of things. Is it too early in the season to make judgements on teams and players still? Is the early season excitement really gone? Is it the middle of the season lull where you only kind of care, but pretend to care a lot more because you feel like a bad fan if you say, "whatever"? Nobody knows. All of your answers are valid, or invalid.

Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire

Friday, 11:00 p.m. ET, MLS Live

Of all of the teams, shouldn't Chivas be the ones playing on Cinco de Mayo? Or not. Whatever.

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

Toronto FC vs. D.C. United

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

That group of imposters wearing Toronto jerseys last week against Salt Lake looked like a professional team. Those BMO Field fans dressed as seats hope those imposters up again on Saturday.

Pick: D.C., 3-2.

Seattle Sounders vs. Philadelphia Union

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

The Union have been Nowak-ed.

Pick: Seattle, 100-0.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes

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

How can the team with ALL OF THE STRIKERS not score goals? The Whitecaps' struggles to score goals make no sense, but it can't be blamed on a small sample size anymore. Meanwhile, the Earthquakes will get the real test of an elite team, having to go to their bench after a Wednesday match.

Pick: San Jose, 2-0.

LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls

Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

Most people don't like the Galaxy or Red Bulls. They spend too much money, are on TV too much and get too much hype. All of those people should watch this derp fest then. Saturday night comedy, live on ESPN.

Pick: LA, 2-0.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact

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

Remember Sporting? They're that really good team that two weeks ago were the undoubted top team in the league. You haven't heard about them since. That is partly because they had last weekend off and partly because they play in Kansas City, which half of Americans are convinced was blown off the face of the earth in 1853. But seriously, they're really good and Montreal is, well, Montreal.

Pick: Sporting, 3-0.

Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution

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

Whatever happend to the good, dominating, pretty Salt Lake? It seems like that team has disappeared. I mean, they made Toronto look like a legitimate professional soccer team last week AT HOME. That is an exceptional level of suck, but it would take another five months of that before anyone loses faith on this team.

Pick: Salt Lake, 2-0.

Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew

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

John Spencer thinks it's the fans' fault that they're losing. Stupid fans! Well, you're the boss, John.

Pick: Columbus, 1-Are negatives possible?

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

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

It was only two years ago that these two teams were playing each other in MLS Cup, in Canada, without anybody watching. At least two of those things have changed since then.

Pick: Dallas, 2-1.

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