The West Coast will set the stage today for some of the best match-ups in Major League Soccer's Week Four.
We will have our first rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup Final when Real Salt Lake visits Home Depot Center to take on the unbeaten Los Angeles Galaxy. Up north, the unbeaten Kansas City Wizards will look to keep their hot streak going by facing the Seattle Sounders in the tough confines of Qwest Field. Northern California will have its own quality match-up between surprising teams as the San Jose Earthquakes play host to streaking New England.
Here is a breakdown of all this weekend's MLS matches, as well as our picks to win each of them:
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS at SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3pm, Direct Kick)
The Wizards have gotten off to a fast start but must now leave the friendly confines of a small home stadium and face the Sounders in Qwest Field. KC win at Qwest last season, but also benefited from a Kasey Keller red card. This time around the Sounders will be looking to win the battle in midfield, which will be the key to this one.
James Riley will have his hands full against the shifty Ryan Smith, but the Wizards will have their own issues trying to contain the speedy Steve Zakuani. Which ever English-born winger can have the biggest impact will lead their team to glory. We'll give the edge to the Sounders, which will have the home advantage and a goal from Fredy Montero in a hard-fought encounter. Sounders 2, Wizards 1
CHIVAS USA at HOUSTON DYNAMO (4pm, Telefutura)
The Rojiblancos are coming off a win last week but both their performance was hardly dominant. They must now travel to Houston to take on a Dynamo team dealing with its own struggles. The Dynamo attack is already missing Brian Ching, but must now play without suspended Luis Landin. Whether that is a bad thing is up for debate but the Dynamo offense can use a boost.
Don't expect many goals in this one, but we'll give the home team the nod, with Brad Davis providing the difference. Dynamo 1, Chivas USA 0.
CHICAGO FIRE at D.C. UNITED (7:30pm, Direct Kick/SBI LIVE Commentary)
Talk about a Desperation Derby. Few would have pegged these teams to be meeting without a win between them, but that's what we'll have at RFK Stadium tonight.
D.C. United has struggled badly, particularly in the back, and things should tough yet again with Dejan Jakovic suspended and Juan Manuel Pena injured. This will be sweet music for a Fire attack that has underachieved to start the season.
Collins John will prove far too tough for D.C. to handle as the Fire finally finds the win column. Fire 3, D.C. United 1.
FC DALLAS at NEW YORK RED BULLS (7:30pm, Direct Kick/SBI LIVE Commentary)
FC Dallas has scrapped together a pair of draws against tough opponents, but must now hit the road for the first time to take on a Red Bulls team still stinging from last week's disappointing loss to Chivas USA.
Dallas still relies on Jeff Cunningham's speed up top and David Ferreira's creativity, but New York's defense has been extremely tough this year and will make things difficult. Look for Juan Pablo Angel to find his scoring touch and the Red Bulls to keep the shutout streak going at home. Red Bulls 2, FC Dallas 0.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION at SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (10pm, Direct Kick)
The Revs are riding a two-match winning streak, but will face tough opposition from a San Jose team boosted by its win at Chicago last week.
San Jose's offense is still a work in progress, but its defense has vastly improved. The Earthquakes will need to contain rookie Zack Schilawski, as well as the Revs' other speedsters. New England should be able to contain the Earthquakes offense in a match that winds up being a defensive struggle. Revolution 0, Earthquakes 0.
REAL SALT LAKE at LOS ANGELES GALAXY (10:30pm, FSC/FSE/SBI Live Commentary)
The match of the night is a rematch of last year's MLS Cup Final. RSL will have its hands full dealing with a Galaxy offense riding the hot form of Edson Buddle. That said, Real Salt Lake is coming in having scored a late equalizer in league play and won a penalty shootout at mid-week.
The key for the Galaxy will be its defense, which has been rock-solid this season. With Javier Morales still questionable for tonight's match, we'll give the nod to the Galaxy to keep its unbeaten streak going. Galaxy 2, Real Salt Lake 1.
TORONTO FC at COLORADO RAPIDS (5pm, Direct Kick)
Toronto FC will try to carry some momentum from Thursday's vital win vs. Philadelphia when it takes on the Rapids in Colorado.
TFC didn't play a strong match by any means against Philly, and things will only get tougher against a rested Rapids team coming off a tough 1-0 loss to Kansas City. Toronto's defense looks to be somewhat improved, but there are question marks at fullback that persist, and with Colin Clark and potentially Claudio Lopez, the Rapids should create plenty of chances at home. Look for a big game from Omar Cummings as the Rapids roll. Rapids 2, Union 0.
Last Week's Predictions: 3-5 (1-0 this week, Toronto over Philly)
Season Record: 11-11
What do you think of this week's match-ups? See any upsets this week? Which individual match-up are you most looking forward to?
Share your thoughts below.