"MLS doesn't care about the CONCACAF Champions League," the old refrain goes, and to be fair, there are times when it appears that way (like when they schedule league matches at the same time as the Champions League they celebrate so much), but this weekend certainly isn't one of those times. The LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo, all of whom played the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinals this week and will play the second legs next week, have all been given this weekend off.
"Rest up, prepare and go beat those evil Mexicans/Costa Ricans" is MLS's new mantra (catchy, ain't it?). That or "wow, what a coincidence" because you know there is a 50/50 chance MLS gave them the weekend off by accident.
Unfortunately, giving the fearsome Champions League trio the week off means a less-than-inspiring slate of matches, but fear not, Deshorn Brown, Luis Gil and Darlington Nagbe are here to save weekend. Seriously.
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET - MLS Live
When Toronto played their first home match seven years ago, the TFC fans made BMO Field rain seat cushions when Danny Dichio scored the team's first ever goal. In this year's home opener the fans may do the same, but it won't be after a Toronto goal and they will probably be aiming for the TFC players.
Pick: Not Toronto, 99-0
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET - MLS Live
Gary Smith would have made Deshorn Brown a ballboy. Peter Nowak would have traded him to Bethlehem Steel. All hail Deshorn Brown.
Pick: Draw, 1-1.
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET - MLS Live
Dwayne, Dwayne, wherefore art thou, Dwayne De Rosario? But while MLS taketh away in the case of the ageless magician De Rosario, they giveth in the form of boy wonder Luis Gil.
Pick: Draw, 1-1.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET - NBC Sports Network
Why, NBC. Why?
Pick: Good job, good effort.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Columbus Crew
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET - MLS Live
A 90 minute group hug for Jay DeMerit would be better than this match, and this match will be perfectly fine, too.
Pick: Vancouver, 2-0.
Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET - MLS Live
What's more fun than watching Mikael Silvestre run in circles? Diego Valeri. What's more fun than watching Diego Valeri flick and skip his way past defenders? Darlington Nagbe. What's more fun than Darlington Nagbe looking like he actually enjoys soccer again? [Unsuitable for a family friendly-ish website]
Pick: Portland 2-1.
Chivas USA vs. FC Dallas
Sunday, 5 p.m. ET - UniMas
I will not make fun of Chivas. I will not make fun of Chivas. I will make fun of Chivas. See, the thing about Chivas is ... nope, I will not make fun of Chivas.
Pick: I will not make fun of Chivas.
Sunday, 10 p.m. ET - ESPN2
Poor Quakes, so injured and short-handed. Poor Red Bulls, so Red Bullsy.
Pick: San Jose, 2-1.