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Light schedule has heavy playoff implications
by Ridge Mahoney, October 9th, 2009 6:45AM

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[MLS PREDICTIONS] Of the six teams in action Saturday, only the Quakes are out of the playoff chase, yet they can dent the hopes of D.C. United. New England sorely needs a win in the first of two late-season meetings with the Crew, but even more desperate are the Wizards, who are at Home Depot Center to face a Chivas USA team that can still capture the Supporters' Shield. For details on this weekend's matchups, all of Soccer America's predictions, as well as TV viewing information.

(All Times ET)

SATURDAY
TORONTO FC (9-10-8) vs. SAN JOSE (7-13-7), 4 p.m. ET, Direct Kick

The Quakes midfield, deprived of three starters because of international duty, held up pretty well in a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas Wednesday after recovering from a shaky start. TFC won't be as strong in the center as it could be, because a training-field collision on Tuesday has sidelined Carl Robinson for the rest of the season and Amado Guevara is on international duty. Right back Marvell Wynne is hobbled by a thigh strain, which may offer left mid Bobby Convey more space flying forward.

San Jose will arrive at BMO Field on just two days' rest, is 0-4 on turf this season, and suffered a 3-1 loss to TFC in July. It is playing well enough to earn at least a point yet just might not have the legs to hold off a hungry team and rowdy crowd.
Prediction: TFC 2, Quakes 0.

NEW ENGLAND (10-9-8) vs. COLUMBUS (12-5-10), 7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol
The Revs have a prime opportunity to knock off the defending champion as well as a desperate need to do so. Robbie Rogers, Frankie Hejduk and Alejandro Moreno are on international duty, Chad Marshall has a sprained MCL, and Danny O'Rourke is suspended, so New England's own injury-depleted roster doesn't look quite so overmatched.

These teams last met more than a year ago at Gillette Stadium with the Crew winning, 1-0, on a Marshall goal. In three 2008 meetings, only Kheli Dube managed a goal for the Revs, and his eighth goal of the season last weekend earned a 1-1 tie in Colorado. With Edgaras Jankauskas (doubtful), Dube needs some help up front and on the flanks to crack open the Crew back line that has conceded only 15 goals in 13 road matches.
Prediction: Revs 2, Crew 1.

CHIVAS USA (12-9-5) vs. KANSAS CITY (8-11-8), 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick
With a late-season push of four games unbeaten, Kansas City is clinging to faint playoff hopes. The Wizards trail eighth-place New England by six points and both teams have three games left. They can do no worse than the Revs do against the Crew, and will know the result of that game when they take the field. Chivas USA is back to its stingy ways: shutouts in three of the last four games and five of the last seven.

The teams tied, 1-1, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in May; since then, loan players Marcio Santos, Yamith Cuesta and Jesus Padilla have all assumed prominent roles for the Red-and-Whites. Both teams are missing a vital central defender, with Jonathan Bornstein and Jimmy Conrad on duty with the U.S. in Honduras. Shavar Thomas will probably take Bornstein's spot alongside Cuesta; Rauwshan MacKenzie may replace Conrad.
Prediction: Chivas USA 1, Wizards 1.

RIDGE MAHONEY'S 2009 PREDICTION RECORD
This week:
1-0 (a spot-on!). Season: 96-110.



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