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Top-two East tussle highlights weekend action
by Ridge Mahoney, June 12th, 2009 7AM

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[MLS PREDICTIONS] Teams bunched closely together in the standings -- or by geography -- highlight several matches during the 13th weekend of league play, with Eastern Conference leader Chicago hosting second-place D.C. United, and the Wizards and the Revs - two of four Eastern teams locked together with 16 points - set to play at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. For all of Soccer America's predictions, as well as TV viewing information, and to see how we've fared so far this season. ...

In the West, fifth-place Los Angeles hosts sixth-place Real Salt Lake, and Texas rivals Houston and FC Dallas square off at Pizza Hut Park. In the only interconference game, Chivas USA continues its road trip after losing in Houston, 1-0, with a Sunday game in Columbus. Colorado, unbeaten in its last six games, has the week off.

(All times ET)
SATURDAY
D.C. UNITED (4-2-7) vs. CHICAGO (5-2-6), 7:30 p.m., Direct Kick

The Fire leads the East by just two points and has lost its last two in a row, both by shutout. Each team is missing a key member to suspension: D.C. forward Luciano Emilio and Fire defender Bakary Soumare. United, though, has more capable attackers than Chicago has reliable defenders, and will be eager for atone for the 1-1 tie it settled for when the teams played at RFK March 28. Plus, D.C. knows that by winning, it goes top.
Prediction: United 2, Fire 1.

TORONTO FC (4-5-4) vs. NEW YORK (2-9-3), 8 p.m., Direct Kick
TFC team management met with fans Thursday to sound out myriad issues, such as losing at home to Los Angeles last week. MLS provides Red Bull Red Alert as a tonic, but TFC captain Jim Brennan is questionable (ankle) and Marvell Wynne is with the U.S. team, so there may be goals at both ends.
Prediction: TFC 2, Red Bulls 1.

FC DALLAS (2-6-4) vs. HOUSTON (7-2-3), 8:30 p.m., FSC/Fox Soccer en Espanol
The last time it met a team playing on just a few days' rest, FCD thrashed the Fire, 3-0, in Chicago. The Dynamo makes the short intrastate trip after beating Chivas USA, 1-0 on Wednesday, and is still without forward Brian Ching and defender Eddie Robinson. Dallas is desperate, or at least it should be. That may not be enough.
Prediction: FCD 1, Dynamo 1.

KANSAS CITY (4-5-4) vs. NEW ENGLAND (4-3-4), 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick
All is not well in Wizardland, where a bizarre defensive catastrophe and a very unlucky penalty kick enabled the Crew to win, 2-0, last week. KC isn't quite comfortable playing on its own cozy home field, and the Revs aren't the ideal team against which to improve a 2-2-2 home record. But the Revs are still far from healthy, and the Wizards are out of excuses.
Prediction: Wizards 1, Revs 0.

LOS ANGELES (2-1-9) vs. REAL SALT LAKE (3-6-3), 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick

The Galaxy toughed out a 2-1 road win at Toronto last week without Landon Donovan and will get Gregg Berhalter back from suspension. Forwards Alan Gordon and Edson Buddle both scored at BMO Field. RSL midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales come off suspension well-rested after Coach Jason Kreis gave them a week off from training.
Prediction: Galaxy 2, RSL 1.

SEATTLE (4-3-5) vs. SAN JOSE (2-7-3), 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick
Since the Sounders beat the Quakes, 2-0, in late April at Qwest Field they've won just one league game. They're due, sort of. San Jose tied in Dallas last week, 2-2, after edging RSL, 2-1, to end a five-game losing streak, but is shorthanded. Bobby Convey is hurt, Simon Elliott is on international duty, and Cornell Glen is out of the country to get his P-1 visa stamped.
Prediction: Sounders 3, Quakes 1.

SUNDAY
COLUMBUS (3-2-7) vs. CHIVAS USA (8-3-3), 3 p.m., TeleFutura

These teams haven't met in more than a year, since a 2-0 Chivas USA win at Home Depot Center, which followed a 4-3 Crew win in Columbus, where it has won its last two home games after tying three in a row. Chivas USA nearly stole a point in Houston Wednesday; it's good enough to get a result here, but on a short turnaround may not have the legs.
Prediction: Crew 1, Chivas USA 0.


RIDGE MAHONEY'S PREDICTION 2009 RECORD
This week: 1-0. Season: 43-50.

 



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