1. #DempseyWatch moves to Toronto...: Clint Dempsey trained with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's trip to Toronto. Seattle boss Sigi Schmid hinted the former Fulham and Tottenham star could make his Sounders FC debut at some point during the excursion to BMO Field. The big moment, of course, will come later this month when Dempsey likely takes the field against Portland at a sold-out CenturyLink Field. But this little cameo – and several consecutive days of training next week after his reported omission from Jurgen Klinsmann's travel party to Bosnia, according to SI.com – serves as a nice little appetizer.
2. ...as #GabyWatch finally concludes in Commerce City: Colorado meandered through the inevitable transfer chicanery inspired by Gabriel Torres' Gold Cup heroics and secured the signature of its first Designated Player on Thursday night. The signing of a genuine center forward comes at the perfect time for this in-form Rapids outfit, but the Panamanian international must make the transition quickly in order to assist in his side's postseason push.
3. Charlie Davies returns to MLS: New England has acquired the former U.S. international striker on loan from Danish side Randers FC, league sources confirmed to Goal.com on Thursday. Davies returns to the United States in a bid to obtain regular playing time and state his case for a permanent move during the winter. He isn't the same operator who once captivated supporters across the country, but his presence provides Jay Heaps with another attacking option at a meager cost (in the form of modest compensation shipped to his MLS rights-holder, D.C. United, in exchange for his services).
4. Houston creates even more attacking angles with swoop for Alexander López: The perennial contenders increased their options in the final third by adding the promising Honduran international as a young Designated Player on Thursday. López naturally operates in the middle of the park, but his ability to veer off into different areas should dovetail nicely with Brad Davis, Andrew Driver and Oscar Boniek Garcia and pose problems for opposing defenses. It may take the 21-year-old some time to settle into the league after his move from C.D. Olimpia, but he could provide an important alternative for Dominic Kinnear during the waning stages of the campaign.
5. New York swoops for another Australian international: Former Sheffield United and Sydney FC man David Carney isn't quite in the same class as Tim Cahill, but he does offer reasonable cover at left back and left midfield for a Red Bulls side always in need of moderately priced depth. It is the low-risk, modest-reward sort of move good teams make at this point of the campaign.
Last Forecast: 4/9 (44%)
This season: 77/182 (42%)
Toronto FC – Seattle (7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Kevin Payne's rousing interview during the lucrative and meaningless midweek friendly against AS Roma should have the Reds fans nice and riled up for this affair.
Prediction: Seattle win.
Columbus – New York (7:30 p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Crew coach Robert Warzycha brushed off questions about his future earlier this week. A victory here – perhaps aided by stand-in goalkeeper Matt Lampson – might help his cause. Unfortunately for him, he goes up against an in-form New York team sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Prediction: New York win.
Vancouver – San Jose (7:30 p.m., TSN/RDS 2) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Earthquakes coach Mark Watson can turn to most of his starters in the wake of the CONCACAF Champions League defeat at Montreal on Wednesday, but the likely absence of Marvin Chávez through injury could prove problematic.
Prediction: Vancouver win.
Philadelphia – D.C. United (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Can United use its triumph over Montréal last weekend to string together a series of positive results? Probably not at this stage of its development.
Prediction: Philadelphia win.
Sporting Kansas City – New England (8:30 p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: The recent frailty within the New England defense – particularly early in games – must dissipate in order to hand the Revs a chance to atone for the home defeat to Toronto FC on Sunday.
Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.
Chicago – Montréal (8:30 p.m., TVA Sports) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Did Marco Schallibaum exchange a CONCACAF Champions League win in midweek for a potential league result at Toyota Park?
Prediction: Chicago win.
Real Salt Lake – Houston (9:30 p.m.) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Expect Jason Kreis to tweak his starting XI a bit after the midweek triumph over Portland in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake win.
FC Dallas – Los Angeles (8 p.m., ESPN2)
Overview: FCD desperately needs a result to slide its season back on track after seeing its winless streak extend to nine games. It probably isn't forthcoming here, though.
Prediction: Los Angeles win.
Chivas USA – Colorado (11 p.m., UniMas) – Goal.com preview
Overview: Colorado must cope without the banned Hendry Thomas. Chivas USA must live without the suspended Carlos Bocanegra. In that particular swap, the Rapids hold a decided edge given their relative depth and their current run of form (league-best seven matches unbeaten).
Prediction: Colorado win.