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Shakeup possible in Eastern Conference
by Ridge Mahoney, July 31st, 2009 6:45AM
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[MLS PREDICTIONS] The Galaxy takes the week off to play some Spanish team (Barcelona by name), giving several Western Conference foes opportunity to move up at its expense. Also off this week are Chivas USA and New York. So bunched are the Eastern Conference's top teams that third-place D.C. United could take over the lead by winning, or drop to eighth overall by losing in Houston. The Revs can tie fourth-place Toronto by beating TFC at Gillette, and Chicago could go on top by handling RSL at home. For all of Soccer America's predictions, as well as TV viewing information, and to see how Ridge Mahoney fared so far this season ...

(All times Eastern.)

NEW ENGLAND (6-6-5) vs. TORONTO FC (7-7-5), 7:30 p.m., Direct Kick

Several important players on both teams are questionable - Shalrie Joseph and recent signing Edgaras Jankauskaus for the Revs; Nana Attakora-Gyan, Amado Guevara and Adrian Serioux for TFC - but the real question is whether Toronto can rebound from blowing a 2-1 lead in Columbus last weekend, and falling to USL-1 club Puerto Rico at home Tuesday. The Revs have won two in a row and are 3-0 at Gillette Stadium against TFC, which it can tie in the standings by winning.
Prediction: Revs 2, TFC 1.

FC DALLAS (4-9-5) vs. KANSAS CITY (5-6-6), 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick
Beware the Zoltan! Kansas City's newest addition, Hungarian striker Zoltan Hercegfalvi, has completed his paperwork and is available. The Wizards have won twice on the road this season and desperately need this game to become number three. They also need to atone for a 1-1 home tie with Landon Donovan-less Los Angeles last week. After collapsing in Salt Lake City last weekend in a 4-2 loss, FCD coach Schellas Hyndman has to decide if recent arrivals Jair Benitez and/or Atiba Harris will keep their starting spots. Kenny Cooper has returned from the Gold Cup, but the problem for FCD this year has seldom been firepower. With 30 goals allowed, it is tied for third-worst in MLS.
Prediction: FCD 1, Wizards 2.

CHICAGO (7-3-8) vs. REAL SALT LAKE (6-7-5), 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick
RSL spotted FC Dallas a 2-0 lead at home last week before rallying to win, 4-2, but against a tougher foe will have to overcome a dismal road record (1-6-2) this season. Two goals by Yura Movsisyan started and finished the comeback The Fire has conceded only two goals in its past five games, though two of them - including last week's game in Seattle - have been 0-0 ties. Keeper Jon Busch rescued that point with a superb performance. John Thorrington is suspended but Logan Pause and Gonzalo Segares return from their performances in the Gold Cup.
Prediction: Fire 2, RSL 0.

HOUSTON (9-5-5) vs. D.C. UNITED (6-3-10), 8:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol
The big game of the weekend falls between United's Concacaf Champions League matches against Luis Angel Firpo, which it tied in the first leg, 1-1, at RFK Tuesday. Its players may struggle in the Texas heat, though several members of the Dynamo are tuckered out, too, from Gold Cup and All-Star duty. Houston lost its unbeaten record at Robertson Stadium against New England, 1-0, last weekend and don't take kindly to Eastern dudes messin' up the home front.
Prediction: Dynamo 1, United 0.

COLORADO (7-5-6) vs. COLUMBUS (7-3-9), 9:30 p.m., Direct Kick
The return of Crew midfielder Adam Moffat, who played the last 17 minutes in a 3-2 win at Toronto last weekend after missing three months with a hamstring strain, adds yet another element to an improving team. Robbie Rogers and Chad Marshall return from the Gold Cup. Victories in the last two games and avoiding defeat in the last five has pushed the defending champ atop a very tight Eastern Conference. Colorado has jettisoned English winger Terry Cooke and replaced him with Scottish midfielder Jamie Smith. It unveiled new French defender Julien Baudet in a friendly against Club America two and a half weeks ago, and last week introduced Argentine forward Facundo Diz during a 4-0 thrashing of New York. It lost at home to the Crew last year yet tied in Columbus earlier this year. Repeat?
Prediction: Rapids 1, Crew 1.

SAN JOSE (3-10-5) vs. SEATTLE (7-3-8), 3 p.m., Telefutura

Last week, the Quakes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie D.C. United, 2-2, which gave them a point but left them winless for July (four games). A recent signing, Salvadoran midfielder Ramon Sanchez, played the full 90 minutes against United in his debut. Ryan Johnson, whose team-leading seventh goal of the season started the comeback, left the United game with a sprained shoulder and is questionable for Sunday. Eight of the Sounders' last 12 games are on the road, and one of the few blemishes on its expansion season is a 1-2-4 road record. Freddie Ljungberg played the full 90 minutes Wednesday in the All-Star Game, so others may need to spark the attack.
Prediction: Quakes 1, Sounders 1.

Last week: 5-2. Season: 71-66.


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