1. Dynamo's home dominance on the line at BBVA Compass Stadium: Dominic Kinnear's side enters this weekend with a 34-match home unbeaten run in all competitions. It currently shares the MLS record with Real Salt Lake in that particular department. One more result against Chicago on Sunday afternoon would leave the Dynamo atop the heap alone in that category and bring them into a tie for the MLS-only mark. Kinnear will hope to name injured duo Will Bruin (hamstring) and Boniek García (ankle) in his squad to bolster the efforts to secure the necessary result against the Fire.
2. How will Los Angeles and Seattle fare after their CONCACAF Champions League exits?: Both clubs acquitted themselves fairly well in midweek, but they will not have much time to ruminate on their CCL exits with MLS concerns now back on the docket. It isn't easy to switch gears so quickly, though. The commitment and the focus to the task at hand must remain firm in order to ensure a smooth transition.
3. Galaxy return to domestic duties with tricky trek to Frisco: FC Dallas poses a few tactical problems for Bruce Arena's side with its mix of pace and power and its preference to attack quickly through the wide areas. Los Angeles must guard carefully against the counter to retain any chance of success in Texas. If FCD can move quickly through midfield with its front four, then the visitors will find themselves hard pressed to catch up to them.
4. Sigi Schmid's guarantee amplifies the meaning of an already important match: The veteran boss appeared on KJR (Seattle) yesterday and said Sounders FC would defeat New England on Saturday afternoon, according to the Twitter feed of KJR afternoon host Dave Mahler. The peculiar circumstances surrounding this game – the emotional considerations for the visitors in the wake of Kevin Alston's leukemia diagnosis earlier this week and the injury concerns faced by Sounders FC with Obafemi Martins (knee) ruled out again – make that boast a bit of a gamble, but Schmid's confidence should provide a necessary boost of confidence to his improving side as it seeks its first win of the season.
5. Keeping the dreams alive for another week: Chivas USA and Montréal surprised just about everyone with their success during the first month of the campaign. Both teams took last weekend off, but they cannot afford to squander the opportunities presented by home matches against Colorado and Columbus, respectively, on Saturday. Every positive result offers yet another chance to show that the early returns reflect a new reality instead of a brief run of form.
Last week: 3/7 (43%)
This season: 17/49 (35%)
Montréal – Columbus (2:00p.m., TSN/RDS) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Expect both teams to keep it relatively tight. The first goal will dictate how the remainder of the match unfolds.
Prediction: Montréal win.
Vancouver – Real Salt Lake (4:00p.m., TSN/RDS) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Keep a careful eye on returning RSL playmaker Javier Morales. He played the entire second half in Colorado last weekend for his injury-hit side. Is he ready for a starting role against the Whitecaps? If so, then Nigel Reo-Coker will welcome him brusquely.
Prediction: Vancouver win.
Philadelphia – Toronto FC (4:00p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Jack McInerney doesn't warrant those fanciful comparisons to Javier Hernández just yet, but the blossoming striker does score goals from time to time. If he can work his way into the right spots against the revamped TFC rearguard, then the Union should collect maximum points.
Prediction: Philadelphia win.
Seattle – New England (4:00p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: A series of unfortunate and unique circumstances place just about any outcome on the table in this intriguing match at CenturyLink Field.
Prediction: Seattle win.
D.C. United – New York (7:00p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Dwayne De Rosario's return to the fold stands in stark contrast to the injury complaints hovering around the Red Bulls' front men right now. And the previous few weeks suggest Peguy Luyindula isn't the man to grab the goal or two required to secure a result at RFK Stadium.
Prediction: D.C. United win.
FC Dallas – Los Angeles (7:30p.m., NBC Sports Network) – Goal.com preview
Overview: FCD must keep the tempo nice and high in order to topple the MLS Cup holders.
Prediction: FC Dallas win.
Chivas USA – Colorado (10:30p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Can the tattered Rapids muster a second win in succession? It isn't likely against a side more than capable of keeping the ball and locating the inevitable holes in the Colorado rearguard. One bonus for Oscar Pareja's side, though: Drew Moor is set to return from a two-match ban.
Prediction: Chivas USA win.
Houston – Chicago (5:00p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: One home win over New York isn't enough to prepare the Fire for this test or stop the Dynamo from entering the history books.
Prediction: Houston win.
Portland – San Jose (10:30p.m., NBC Sports Network) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Caleb Porter's side prepared well for the physical battle ahead in this affair by hosting Houston last weekend. A similarly robust approach should yield another result here.
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