By THOMAS FLOYD
While the calendar may say it’s Memorial Day weekend, the pair of high-profile playoff rematches on the docket will be giving MLS fans a tantalizing taste of November soccer.
After having their 36-game home unbeaten run ended by Sporting Kansas City earlier this month, the Houston Dynamo will look to return the favor with a road result of their own at Sporting Park in a key clash for the crowded Eastern Conference.
At the Home Depot Center, a Los Angeles Galaxy side that has lost three of four will try to get back on track when they host the Seattle Sounders, who have won three in a row and are unbeaten in six.
Here is a rundown of the Week 13 slate:
D.C. UNITED vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS (Saturday, 7 p.m., Univision Dep.)
United haven’t won since March 9, which just so happens to be the last time the Timbers lost a match during this breakout campaign under Caleb Porter. As such, it would appear the odds are firmly stacked in Portland’s favor.
The returns to health of Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius, however, do make United a more respectable side, and Portland missing suspended centerback Mamadou Danso gives further hope to D.C.
MONTREAL IMPACT vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION (Saturday, 7 p.m., MLS Live)
Still in search of their first truly impressive win of 2013, the Union will get an opportunity for that marquee result when they travel to face a Montreal team tied with Dallas for the league lead in points per game.
Days after trading Bakary Soumare to Chicago, the Union are expected to have veteran Jeff Parke (hamstring) back in central defense following a three-game absence. For Montreal, Alessandro Nesta (groin) could make his return from injury as well.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. TORONTO FC (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Fresh off a shocking 2-0 win at Houston last weekend, the Revolution return home for an enviable fixture against Toronto, which has lost four in a row and is winless in nine.
While TFC is on the verge of getting striker Danny Koevermans back on the field for the first time since he tore his ACL more than 10 months ago, the designated player is being held back this weekend because of New England’s artificial turf.
FC DALLAS vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live)
Coming off its first loss in more than two months, Dallas will need to remember what it’s like to respond to defeat when the club hosts Chris Wondolowski and that always-threatening San Jose attack.
While Dallas will have to make due without the suspended Blas Perez, coach Schellas Hyndman has plenty of attacking depth to call on in the striker’s absence.
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. CHIVAS USA (Saturday, 9 p.m., MLS Live)
After a surprisingly promising start, Chivas have come back down to earth, going 0-5-1 in their past six to retake their customary place at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
With centerback Shane O’Neill suspended, the Rapids seem poised to bring Brian Mullan back into the fold at right back while tucking Marvell Wynne inside next to familiar partner Drew Moor.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Saturday, 9 p.m., MLS Live)
Coping with a three-game losing streak, the Fire will be looking for a tough result at Real Salt Lake, who have won three of their past four games despite missing striker Alvaro Saborio (quad).
Bakary Soumare could step straight into the Chicago lineup at centerback, bumping Jalil Anibaba to right back in place of the suspended Wells Thompson.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. HOUSTON DYNAMO (Sunday, 3:30 p.m., NBCSN)
Kansas City will be hoping to make it two wins in a row against a Houston team that has eliminated it from the postseason each of the past two seasons. With Brad Davis manning the left flank for Houston and Graham Zusi on the right for Kansas City, the two playmakers will go head to head before reporting for U.S. national team duty.
The Dynamo will be without suspended centerback Bobby Boswell, who missed just one match last year and had played every minute this season prior to his red card last weekend.
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Sunday, 5 p.m., UniMas)
With a 5-0-1 record over their past six games, the Red Bulls will look to continue their scorching form against a Columbus squad that has feasted on struggling Chivas USA, D.C. United and Toronto FC but failed to defeat anyone else.
The Crew will be woefully short-handed in the back, with Glauber suspended and Chad Marshall and Agustin Viana sidelined by hamstring ailments. And to boot, the Crew also will be without suspended striker Jairo Arrieta.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (Sunday, 11 p.m., ESPN2)
With Los Angeles struggling for consistency and the Sounders surging, could Seattle grab a result at the same venue where a 3-0 playoff loss last fall doomed their MLS Cup aspirations?
If Landon Donovan remains on the left side for the Galaxy, keep an eye on his matchup with homegrown Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin, one of the few right backs in MLS boasting enough pace to keep up with Donovan.
June will be Portlerballs demise
Everything’s coming together for the Rapids. Memorial Day weekend at home in front of an overcapacity crowd, they’re gonna open the floodgates v. a demoralized Chivas. 4-0.
Rapids? Capacity crowd? When does this ever happen?
Metro! Mi buen amigo!
Here we go Timbers!