MLS 2012, Week 14 Preview And Fixtures: All-Star Break Is Kind Of Close

PORTLAND, OR - JULY 10: Timber Joey cuts a slice from a log after a goal in the Portland Timbers score a 2nd half against the Seattle Sounders on July 2, 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

With the All-Star break creeping up, teams are fighting to get into good position at an arbitrary period in the season.

We like to use the All-Star Game as a marker of a season's halfway point. It's just what we do in the United States and Canada, for whatever reason, and it doesn't matter the sport. It's not smart because it's not really played halfway through the season and with unbalanced scheduling isn't really a fair marker, but it's what we do. Don't get all offended at the lack of sense in it. Just say "OK."

So as MLS gets closer and closer to their All-Star Game, there is a clamor to finish the first half of the season strong so they are in a good position at the All-Star break. Being in a good position the week before or after just won't do it.

Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution

Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live

Toronto earned their one point for the month of June on Wednesday. They've met their quota.

Pick: New England, 2-1.

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City

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

The Union are not Nowak-ed, but still feeling the after effects. It's like the post-concussion syndrome for a team.

Pick: Kansas City, 2-0.

Montreal Impact vs. Houston Dynamo

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

Stade Saputo served the Impact well last week against the Sounders and even in losing midweek they didn't look out of their depth. Jesse Marsch has this team coming along nicely.

Pick: Montreal, 1-0.

Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew

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

These teams are both pretty good. That doesn't mean you want to watch them.

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes

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

A week ago Salt Lake were the unquestioned best team in MLS, but then they blew a 2-0 lead to LA. Now questions are being raised about them. They better make sure they keep it together if they go up against San Jose because they are the comeback kings of the world and Alan Gordon sold his soul.

Pick: Salt Lake, 2-1.

FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA

Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET, Galavision

Ugh.

Pick: Why?

LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

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

Are the Galaxy back? It was easy to overlook their win over the Timbers. I mean, it's the Timbers. But coming back from two down against RSL in Salt Lake? Hmmmm.

Pick: Vancouver, 2-0.

Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders

Sunday, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

Wheeeeeeeeee! Rivalry! Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Pick: Draw, 1-1.

New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United

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

This used to be a cool rivalry, then both teams got really bad. Ben Olsen is the MLS All-Star Game manager though! MLS super nerds rejoice! Then go have human interaction. You need it.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

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