Wednesday, October 14
New York Red Bulls at Real Salt Lake, 10:00 p.m. (ESPN2, Deportes)
Real Salt Lake and New York meet in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Championship (won by the Red Bulls), this time with RSL’s playoffs hopes on the line. New York has no shot at the post season, and Real Salt Lake need a victory to realistically remain in playoff contention. The clubs have met nine times in the regular season and Real Salt Lake have never defeated New York. Astoundingly, they have tied six times, including all four games taking place in the state of Utah.
Saturday, October 17
Real Salt Lake at Toronto FC, 4:00 p.m. (DK, Match Center)
Toronto FC must close the season with two victories and hope for other results to go their way. Among playoff contenders, Toronto FC had one of the easier late schedules with two of three games at home against teams at the bottom of their respective conferences. They face a Real Salt Lake team whose destiny is also not entirely in their hands. The teams have met five times and have split the all-time series 2-2-1. Real Salt Lake defeated Toronto 3-0 in their only other meeting this season on June 27 with goals from Kyle Beckerman, Clint Mathis and Yura Movsisyan.
Chicago Fire at New England Revolution, 6:00 p.m. (FSC, FSE)
Chicago and New England are in a battle for the second automatic qualifying spot in the Eastern Conference. Through August, the Fire were vying with the Crew for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but are winless in their last five League games. A Fire victory would clinch their playoff berth and solidify the Fire’s spot as second place in the East. A Revolution victory would leave the race for the second automatic berth up for grabs. The Fire have dominated with series recently going 4-0-1 in the last five meetings. The clubs tied their other encounter this season, 1-1 at Toyota Park on May 9.
Columbus Crew at D.C. United, 8:00 p.m. (DK, Match Center)
With a playoff spot and first place in the Eastern Conference wrapped up, the Columbus Crew travel to face D.C. United without too much worry. A win would put the Crew one step closer to their second consecutive Supporters’ Shield. United are trying to avoid being left out of the post season and a loss or tie would virtually eliminate them. A victory could keep United alive for a wild card berth depending on other results. The Crew are 3-0-1 versus United in their last four meetings. The teams played to a 1-1 tie on July 4, their only other meeting this season.
Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m. (DK, Match Center)
In one of the most intriguing matchups of the season, the two top contenders for the 2009 Budweiser Golden Boot meet. FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham leads the race with 17 goals, and Colorado Rapids forward Conor Casey has 16. Casey, the hero of the U.S. national team’s victory over Honduras, will be coming back from a busy week of World Cup qualifiers, while Cunningham will have had a week to rest heading into this match. Cunningham’s torrid goal scoring pace, 16 goals in the last 13 games, has kept FC Dallas in the playoff hunt. The Rapids currently occupy a playoff spot and might lock up a berth with a victory.
Seattle Sounders FC at Kansas City Wizards, 8:30 p.m. (DK, Match Center)
Sigi Schmid’s squad is looking to become the second expansion team in MLS history to qualify for the playoffs (Chicago did it in 1998). Seattle is coming off a two-week break since their 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew, which snapped the Crew’s 22-game home unbeaten streak in League play. Thirty minutes prior to kickoff, the Wizards will know if their slim playoff hopes remain because a tie or win by New England would eliminate them. The teams have met only once before, with Davy Arnaud providing the game’s only goal on April 11.
San Jose Earthquakes at Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m. (DK, Match Center)
Chivas USA clinched a playoff spot last weekend with a 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards and now they have the top spot in the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield in sight. With three games remaining, Chivas USA have the most points available in order to take the Western Conference regular season crown, and should the Crew slip up they will vie for the League’s top spot. Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton’s 0.72 goals against average and 12 shutouts are best in the League. Thornton has a chance to record the best goals against average in League history set by Houston’s Pat Onstad in 2007 with a 0.82 average.
Sunday, October 18
Los Angeles Galaxy at Houston Dynamo, 3:00 p.m. (Telefutura)
The Galaxy and Dynamo meet in a pivotal match for playoff seeding. Both teams have already qualified for the post season, but seek home field advantage. Houston holds a slight edge (4-4-3) in the all-time series. The teams met on June 28 at The Home Depot Center with Todd Dunivant scoring the game’s only goal. After this match, Houston travels to face Chivas USA in another crucial match that could determine Western Conference playoff seeding. LA’s Landon Donovan has three goals and three assists in seven career games against Houston.