October 6, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Sporting Kansas City (17-7-7, 58 pts) @ Columbus Crew (14-11-6, 48 pts), 3:00 pm CT (KSMO, FSO)
Playoff implications abound when Sporting Kansas City visits the Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon. Although Sporting are secure at the top of the Eastern Conference table at least through this weekend, the Crew’s performance can make or break postseason hopes elsewhere in the conference. A Crew tie or loss could deliver the Chicago Fire to the postseason, and a loss would also open the postseason doors to DC United. Sporting also can nail down home field advantage through the conference playoffs with a win this weekend. They are riding the longest unbeaten streak in the league this season, nine games. But their last loss was to the Crew, 2-1 at home on July 28. Sporting shut out Chicago 2-0 last weekend, behind two goals from Graham Zusi. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen leads the league in g.a.a. (0.81) and shutouts (14) and is one win away from tying the MLS single-season record at 17. The Crew are much more vulnerable in back, with goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum racking up a league-high 113 saves. Jairo Arrieta has powered the Columbus offense down the stretch, recording a goal or an assist in four straight games, and scoring twice against Sporting when the teams last met.
FC Dallas (9-12-10, 37 pts) @ Chivas USA (7-17-7, 28 pts), 6:00 pm CT (FSSW+. Prime, Galavision)
FC Dallas are five points out of playoff position in the MLS West, but have a solid shot at catching fifth-place Vancouver because two of their last three games are against spiraling Chivas USA, starting Sunday at the Home Depot Center. Chivas dropped their second straight 4-0 decision on Wednesday night, to the Whitecaps. They have dropped seven straight, are winless in their last 11 and have not scored a goal in 532 minutes. They did play the Hoops to a scoreless draw on June 23, with goalkeeper Dan Kennedy recording three saves. FCD came within seconds of beating conference and Supporters’ Shield leaders San Jose last weekend, but settled for a 3-3 tie after Steven Lenhart scored in stoppage time. Blas Perez had a breakout night for the Hoops, scoring two goals. David Ferreira notched his seventh assist of the season, all in the last ten games.
Portland Timbers (7-15-9, 30 pts) @ Seattle Sounders FC (13-7-10, 49 pts), 8:00 pm CT (ESPN)
Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers could decide the 2012 Cascadia Cup on Sunday in front of an anticipated crowd of 67,000+ at CenturyLink Field. The Timbers are out of the running for the playoffs, but could still walk away with their regional Cup with a draw or win. A Sounders win will leave the Cup race undecided until the Timbers face Vancouver on Oct. 21. The Sounders are winless in three after last weekend’s scoreless draw with Vancouver. The point from the draw, however, was enough to guarantee the Sounders a spot in the postseason for the fourth straight year. Portland meanwhile are winless in five after rallying to a 1-1 home draw with DC United last weekend, but have yet to post a win on the road this season. Bright Dike has caught a late spark on offense for the Timbers, scoring four goals in the last eight games, including the comeback equalizer against United.