MLS Weekend Preview: Clash of the Titans on tap
Saturday is loaded with big games around MLS. San Jose heads across the border to battle playoff-contending Toronto FC, sizzling Kansas City will try to burn the hottest team in MLS and the Rocky Mountain rivalry will draw first blood - this all following a Friday night fight between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls.
Here's a snapshot of what's to come:
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls (Fri., 8 p.m. PT / ESPN2 & ESPN Deportes)
MLS is pumping this match up as a heavyweight fight - and it is. The Galaxy are in pursuit of the Supporter's Shield while New York has its eyes on the Eastern Conference title. Although Thierry Henry has been ruled out of this match, there will be plenty of big names on the pitch - Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juan Pablo Ángel and Rafael Márquez to name a few.
Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Sat., 1 p.m. PT / MLS Direct Kick)
This match is crucial for Toronto's playoff hopes. While the Quakes can feel slightly more safe at 36 points, three clear of charging Kansas City, it's the Reds who find themselves chasing with only fives games to go. San Jose is beginning a stretch of three games in eight days and would certainly prefer to find points across the border this weekend to avoid additional pressure against Chicago on Sept. 29 and Columbus on Oct. 2.
Philadelphia Union vs. Chivas USA (Sat., 1 p.m. PT / Telefutura)
Both team's playoff hopes are slim, but the Union have bragging rights on the line. A win for Philadelphia could potentially vault them past Chivas USA, the New England Revolution and the Chicago Fire.
D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo (Sat., 4:30 p.m. PT / MLS Direct Kick)
United are eliminated from playoff contention and the Dynamo could be as well with a loss on Saturday. Both teams have pride on the line as they try to climb out of their conference cellars.
New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew (Sat., 4:30 p.m. PT / MLS Direct Kick)
The Crew can clinch a playoff berth with three points against the Revs and losses by Kansas City and Seattle. Regardless, Columbus remains in the driver's seat atop the Eastern Conference table. The Revs gave Columbus a scare in their first meeting, ultimately losing 3-2. Expect the Crew to come out with vengeance in mind following a jaw-dropping 4-0 loss to Sounders FC last week.
Kansas City Wizards vs. FC Dallas (Sat., 5 p.m. PT / MLS Direct Kick)
Kansas City appears to be a team of destiny. The Wizards earned perhaps the most dramatic win of the 2010 MLS season on Wednesday, a 4-3, 97th-minute marathon over the Houston Dynamo. FC Dallas is riding a 15-game unbeaten streak - could Kansas City be the one to end Dallas' run?
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC (Sat., 5 p.m. PT / MLS Direct Kick)
The Fire and Sounders took opposite paths last week. While Seattle greatly enhanced its playoff chances with a 4-0 win over Columbus on the road, Chicago may have seen its post-season aspirations end in a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. With just five games to go, Seattle needs the points to stay ahead of Kansas City and keep pace with San Jose - both of which have games in hand on the Sounders.
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids (Sat., 7 p.m. PT / FSC)
Real Salt Lake are chasing the LA Galaxy for the Supporter's Shield while the Rapids could use a win to keep that one-point buffer between the comfort zone and streaking Kansas City. It's the first meeting between the Rocky Mountain rivals in 2010. Expect a quality match.