Season 15 of Major League Soccer is ready to get into full swing this weekend with seven matches on the schedule, including a couple of top rivalries.
Texas rivals Houston and FC Dallas square off, while Eastern Conference foes New York and Chicago meet in Red Bull Arena's MLS debut. Toronto FC travels to Crew Stadium for their annual visit, while defending champion Real Salt Lake begins defense of its title at San Jose.
Here is this weekend's MLS schedule:
10:30pm- Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA (Direct Kick)
4pm- Toronto FC at Columbus Crew (Direct Kick)
4pm- Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas (Telefutura)
7pm- Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls (ESPN)
8:30pm- D.C. United at Kansas City Wizards (Direct Kick)
9pm- Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes (Fox Soccer Channel/FSE)
11pm- New England Revolution at Los Angeles Galaxy (Fox Soccer Channel/FSE)
Here is a closer look at this weekend's matches, along with predictions:
Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA– The Rapids boast one of the league's best forward tandems in Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, which should test a questionable Chivas USA defense. We see a close match, with the Rapids taking the road point. Chivas USA 1, Rapids 1.
Toronto FC at Columbus Crew– Toronto's roster is still a work in progress, which spells bad news for an opener against the strongest team in MLS. Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Steven Lenhart should beat up on a suspect TFC defense. Crew 3, Toronto 1.
Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas. I know Dallas finished the year very strongly in 2009, but there are still questions about the defense that keep me from rating them too highly. Houston lost Holden and Clark, but Brian Ching, Brad Davis and Geoff Cameron will find the cracks in Dallas' defense. Dynamo 2, FC Dallas 1.
Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls. The Fire come into the season as the stronger team than New York, but with a young goalkeeper in net on the road in what should be a hostile environment at Red Bull Arena, I can see New York stepping up and starting the year in style. Red Bulls 1, Fire 0.
D.C. United at Kansas City Wizards. Two teams that saw plenty of roster movement in the off-season collide. D.C. bolstered its defense and features a red-hot Jaime Moreno. The Wizards should be tough at home, but not tough enough to hold off D.C. from taking the road point. D.C. United 2, Wizards 2.
Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes. RSL is the defending champion, but its road woes are notorious. A road win to start the season would be key, and we see it happening as Alvaro Saborio and Robbie Findley prove too tough to handle. Real Salt Lake 2, Earthquakes 1.
New England Revolution at Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy are extremely tough at Home Depot Center, but things are made even more difficult by New England with Shalrie Joseph set to miss the match. Without their leader, the Revs have no chance to take road points. Galaxy 2, Revolution 0.
What do you think of this weekend's MLS matches? Which match are you most looking forward to?
Share your thoughts below.