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Full slate kicks off stretch run
by Ridge Mahoney, September 11th, 2009 7AM
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[MLS PREDICTIONS] San Jose takes the week off as the other 14 teams resume regular service. Conference leaders Columbus and Houston meet on Sunday, the same day Chivas USA and New England - tied with 33 points and both with eight games to play - square off at Home Depot Center. The Saturday slate pairs Toronto and Colorado, which played last week with the Rapids winning, and pits D.C. United against Seattle in a rematch of the U.S. Open Cup final. For Soccer America's predictions, as well as TV viewing information, and to see how Ridge Mahoney fared so far this season ...


(All time Eastern)

TORONTO FC (8-9-7) vs. COLORADO (10-7-6), 4 p.m., Direct Kick

Only by reversing their loss in Colorado last weekend can TFC stay in the playoff hunt. Midfielder Amado Guevara has returned from international duty but may not have the legs to contribute much, and both Adrian Serioux and Amado Sanyang are suspended.

Pablo Mastroeni will sit out the second game of his three-match suspension. BMO is a tough place to play, but the Rapids are in better form, have tied three times on the road this season, and haven't tied in their last 10 matches.
Prediction: TFC 1, Rapids 1.

D.C. UNITED (8-5-12) vs. SEATTLE (8-6-10), 7:30 p.m., Direct Kick
After prevailing against Kansas City, 1-0, at RFK Wednesday in a free-wheeling game that could have ended 3-2 or 4-3 for either team, D.C. United welcomes back the Sounders 10 days after their acrimonious meeting in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Seattle controlled the play for most of that match and won, 2-1; Freddie Ljunberg is suspended for the MLS rematch, but Tyrone Marshall (hamstring strain) and Nate Jaqua (concussion) have trained this week and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who sat out the final because of suspension, is available.
Prediction: United 2, Sounders 2.

NEW YORK (4-16-4) vs. KANSAS CITY (6-11-6), 7:30 p.m., Direct Kick
The Wizards created enough chances to win two games Wednesday, but converted none of them and lost to United, 1-0. Defender Matt Besler is suspended, the Red Bulls have a long list of players, including Juan Pablo Angel, listed as questionable. New York has been off since beating the Crew, 1-0, at Giants Stadium two weeks ago while posting just its second shutout of the season and could take advantage of a tiring opponent in the late stages.
Prediction: Red Bulls 2, Wizards 1.

REAL SALT LAKE (9-9-6) vs. CHICAGO (10-6-8), 9 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Soccer en Espanol
If Cuauhtemoc Blanco is able to break into a trot during the game he should be named Player of the Week, after two good games for Mexico, both victories, by the way. The return of Brian McBride, who has been out the past two months, might lift the Fire in this tough road test.

RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman is suspended, which could enable Chicago to control the center. But RSL has posted shutouts in four straight home games and while that run may be snapped, its excellent home record (7-1-4) is likely to carry the day again.
Prediction: RSL 2, Fire 1.

LOS ANGELES (9-4-11) vs. FC DALLAS (6-11-6), 10:30 p.m.
Even if Landon Donovan and David Beckham are below par because of fatigue, the Galaxy can improve on its moderate home mark of 4-3-4. But it will likely need a sharp defensive effort, since it has scored only 10 goals at home this year. Edson Buddle is one of several players whose health is in question.

Marvin Chavez and Daniel Hernandez could debut for Dallas in this match. FCD tied United, 2-2 last week after losing away to Columbus and New York in its previous two games. Defender Daniel Torres is suspended.
Prediction: Galaxy 1, FCD 1.

CHIVAS USA (10-9-3) vs. NEW ENGLAND (9-7-6), 3 p.m., TeleFutura

Tied in points, and just one goal apart in goal difference (Chivas USA is slightly better at minus-1), these teams are also even with each having eight games left to play, the most in MLS.

Revs striker Kheli Dube started his hot run of scoring - six goals in the last eight games - by netting the first goal when New England beat Chivas USA, 2-0, at Gillette Stadium July 19. Without the suspended Shalrie Joseph to anchor midfield, the Revs will rely on Steve Ralston get balls to Dube and forward partner Edgaras Jankauskas.

Chivas USA coach Preki won't have the suspended Maykel Galindo and Paulo Nagamura, and his new players are still learning his system.
Prediction: Chivas USA 1, Revs 2.

COLUMBUS (10-4-9) vs. HOUSTON (11-7-7), 5 p.m., Direct Kick
This meeting of conference leaders falls just a few days before they resume play in the Concacaf Champions' League, but since neither team played a league game last week, nobody will want to sit this one out. Crew coach Robert Warzycha gave his team a week off to prepare for a rough stretch of seven games in 21 days.

Stuart Holden, Brian Ching and Ricardo Clark have been on U.S. duty. In their absence Coach Dominic Kinnear has worked to incorporate Mexican forward Luis Angel Landin, who debuted as a sub in the 59th minute of a 1-0 loss to Colorado Aug. 30.
Prediction: Crew 1, Dynamo 0.

This week: 0-1. Season: 85-91.


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