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MLS Week 27 preview, TV schedule

Friday, Sept. 9
8:00   Sporting Kansas City - Houston Dynamo UniMas
Saturday, Sept. 10
6:00   Columbus Crew - Vancouver Whitecaps MLS Live/TSN 2
7:00   Philadelphia Union - Montreal Impact MLS Live
8:00   New England Revolution - New York City FC MLS Live
8:30   Chicago Fire - Toronto FC MLS Live
9:00   FC Dallas - Colorado Rapids MLS Live
10:30   Portland Timbers - Real Salt Lake MLS Live
10:30   San Jose Earthquakes - Seattle Sounders MLS Live
Sunday, Sept. 11
1:00   New York Red Bulls - D.C. United ESPN
7:30   LA Galaxy - Orlando City FS1

All times p.m. ET.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo: The Houston Dynamo could do the playoff-chasing pack in the West a big favor with a result in Kansas City on Friday night, but the job will be a tough one with goalkeeper Tyler Deric (elbow sprain) and forward Will Briun (left knee) likely out of action. A win for the home side could offer a bit of a cushion in the playoff race, with Sporting currently holding the fifth of six playoff spots.

Columbus Crew vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: The two coldest teams in MLS meet up in Ohio in a mid-Spetember clash that should have meant so much more. The traveling Whitecaps have lost five of their last six games and are dropping down the Western Conference table like a stone. It'll come as bittersweet solace that they are facing one of only three teams with fewer points on the season, as the Crew have suffered a 2016 from hell that saw them fall from MLS Cup contenders to dead last in the entire league in just a few months' time.

Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact: Two sides that once looked like they would be challenging for the top spot in the East have both hit a big summer slide, although neither is in danger of falling below the red line just yet. The Impact got a reality check of just how good they are when Orlando came to town on Wednesday and delivered a humbling 4-1 beating, and now the Quebec side must travel to Philadelphia on short rest to face a Union team sitting in fourth place. 

New England Revolution vs. New York City FC: One team below the red line and one sitting atop the Eastern Conference. Prior to the season, most would have guessed that the roles would be reversed at this stage of the season, but conference-leading NYCFC rolls into Gillette Stadium looking to stave off eager challengers for the No. 1 berth in the division. The Revs, however, need all the points they can get as they in the unenviable position of chasing the last playoff berth having played more games than the rivals ahead of them but also balance having the U.S. Open Cup final to play for Tuesday.

Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC: The Fire desperately need maximum points to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, while TFC is looking to regain top spot in the Eastern Conference. Even though the two teams are on very different paths, motivation should not be lacking for either. Toronto will have to make do without Sebastian Giovinco, who is out for a few more weeks, but it will welcome Tosaint Ricketts, captain Michael Bradley, red-hot Jozy Altidore back from international duty. In addition, Panamanian loanee Armando Cooper could see his first MLS minutes in this match.

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids: FC Dallas is on the verge of locking up the top spot in the Western Conference and took another step in the right direction with a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers during the international break, despite having five players away with their national teams. Now Dallas faces an even sterner test in the form of the Colorado Rapids, who come into the match third in the West table but likely missing star midfielder Jermaine Jones, who had a quad injury keep him out of international play. 

Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake: The Timbers are in the final playoff spot in the West and hope to continue to play well at home to make up for a terrible road record. The Timbers are still winless away from home but have nine wins in front of their home fans. Portland will also welcome back Darlington Nagbe from international duty after the playmaker missed last week's loss to FC Dallas. Real Salt Lake sits in second place in the West after overcoming a two-goal second-half deficit to earn a 3-3 draw with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders: Three straight wins saw the Sounders surge up the standings but earning just a point in the two games since leaves them four points out of a playoff spot. One point ahead of Seattle, in seventh place, are the Earthquakes, who are winless in three. Clint Dempsey (irregular heartbeat) has not returned to Sounders practice, which leaves him very doubtful for the weekend, though Seattle will welcome Jordan Morris and Joevin Jones back from international duty. The Earthquakes are very banged up, and are likely without Quincy Amarikwa, Anibal Godoy and possibly David Bingham and Victor Bernardez. 

New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United: These two rivals met three weeks ago, with D.C. United rallying at home from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw. Since, the Red Bulls have earned themselves a pair of 1-0 victories and are up to second in the Eastern Conference. They'll have Sacha Kljestan back from U.S. national team duty, but won't have Mike Grella because of yellow-card accumulation. United enters having won one, lost one and drawn one since that last Red Bulls encounter, now holding a narrow edge on Orlando City and New England for the last playoff spot in the East. Luciano Acosta will miss the contest because of suspension. 

LA Galaxy vs. Orlando City: The banged-up Galaxy broke a six-game winless streak last weekend against the Crew and nearly made it two in a row before surrendering a two-goal lead at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, settling for a 3-3 draw. It's unlikely Steven Gerrard, Jelle van Damme and Robbie Keane will be available for LA, and Gyasi Zardes will definitely be out. Could Landon Donovan step into the side so soon after his return was announced? Meanwhile, Orlando snapped a four-game winless streak of its own against NYCFC last week and followed up that result with an impressive 4-1 win in Montreal on Wednesday.