MLS Week Three: A Look Ahead

MLS Week Three: A Look Ahead

Major League Soccer

MLS Week Three: A Look Ahead

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The busiest day in Major League Soccer history will take place on Saturday, when a record eight MLS matches will be played across the country.

You name it and it's probably on the schedule. Conference rivals doing battle? Check. cross-country showdown? There's that too. Expansion team making its home debut? It's all on tap this weekend.

The Western Conference features the top match-ups, as Seattle faces Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy takes on the Houston Dynamo.

The spotlight will be on Philadelphia, where the Union will make its home debut against new rival D.C. United.

Here is a rundown of this weekend's matches, along with our predictions:

CHIVAS USA vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (4pm, Telefutura)

The Martin Vasquez era is off to a slow start in LA, and things don't get any easier against a reborn Red Bulls squad that enters unbeaten and unscored upon. Chivas USA could be in for a long day if it employs a 4-5-1 against a Red Bulls defense that has been impenetrable early on this season.

The key for New York will be feeding Juan Pablo Angel, who is still searching for his first goal. New York could also find success on the flanks, where Chivas USA has struggled this season.

Chivas USA should improve on its first two performances of the season, but that won't be enough to stop the Red Bulls from taking three road points. Red Bulls 2, Chivas USA 0.

PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. D.C. UNITED (6pm, Fox Soccer Channel)

The Philadelphia Union makes its home debut at Lincoln Financial Field in a game that has turned into a vital one for both teams. D.C. is looking to avoid a three-match winless streak to start the season while Philly looks to improve on a disappointing season opener.

Philly will have the home crowd boost, and will welcome back Fred from suspension, but it will still be a struggle to deal with a D.C. team that is still looking for its first goal. D.C. should be able to win the battle in midfield and Jaime Moreno should be a handful for the Union defense.

Defensively, the D.C. United defense will need to contain Fred and Roger Torres, a dynamic duo that should create some chances for the home team. They won't be enough chances though as D.C. United prevails in the first installment of what should be a great rivalry. D.C. United 2, Philadelphia Union 1.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. TORONTO FC (7:30pm, Direct Kick)

New England has managed to do pretty well despite missing Shalrie Joseph for its first two games, but now a home debut at Gillette coupled with the possible return of Joseph should lead to a successful day at Gillette against a struggling Toronto team in turmoil.

Look for Stevie Nicol to call on his speedsters to go after a slow TFC defense. New England's stingy defense should handle the rest in a Revs victory. Revolution 1, Toronto FC 0.

KANSAS CITY vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (8:30pm, Direct Kick)

The Wizards got off to a great start, but will now take on a dangerous Rapids team that is unbeaten in two.

This one will be won and lost in central midfield, where the Wizards will look to outduel the Rapids tandem of Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz. KC may have better luck on the flanks, with Ryan Smith a good bet to find success against Kosuke Kimura (assuming Julien Baudet doesn't return, thus pushing Marvell Wynne to right back).

The Rapids attack begins with speedy Omar Cummings, who is so tough to keep a handle on. The small field for KC should help deal with Cummings, limiting his room to roam. Look for the Wizards to win at home. Wizards 2, Rapids 1.

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (8:30pm, Direct Kick)

A potential Western Conference final preview pits these unbeaten teams against each other.

Neither team has played to its potential this season, but something tells me this match-up will bring the best out of both teams. Edson Buddle has gotten off to a great start, but Houston's defense is tougher than any he's faced this season. That said, Landon Donovan should find success creating chances for himself.

The key for Houston will be generating chances without Brian Ching, who is out with a hamstring injury. Without him, Houston will struggle to break through the Galaxy's staunch defense. We see the Galaxy pulling the road upset. Galaxy 1, Dynamo 0.

FC DALLAS vs. COLUMBUS CREW (8:30pm, Direct Kick)

As dangerous as Dallas' attack can be, we don't see it finding success against the Crew's tough defense. Conversely, the FC Dallas defense will be hard-pressed to contain Columbus playmaker Guillermo Barros schelotto.

Jeff Cunningham should find a goal, but Columbus will find many more in a romp. Crew 3, FC Dallas 1.

CHICAGO FIRE vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (8:30pm, Direct Kick)

The Fire is winless after two matches, but the talent is there and the production should come here against a bad San Jose team. Collins John should wreak havoc on the Earthquakes centerbacks,while Marco Pappa finally gets off his own mini-slump. Fire 2, Earthquakes 0.

REAL SALT LAKE vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (9pm, Direct Kick)

Our pick for the game of the weekend, look for chances galore in a fast-paced game as both teams look to erase the taste of last week's tough losses.

The battle to watch is in central midfield, where Osvaldo Alonso will look to neutralize Javier Morales. Kyle Beckerman will be called on to do the same to Freddie Ljungberg.

Who wins? Seattle should find the net, with Steve Zakuani a potential scorer, but RSL is too tough at home and Robbie Findley will get his season off to a good start with some goals. Real Salt Lake 2, Sounders 1.

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Last Week's Predictions: 2-3

Season Record: 7-6

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