Marquee Matchups: Cut and Dry

Gaze upon the face of manliness. - USA TODAY Sports

This week's results don't look like they could bring about a lot of surprises.

Dallas takes a trip up north to face Montreal in a test of their character, but they won't be alone. A few tough matches are on the docket this week for several teams.

Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids // Saturday 3:00 p.m. CDT, Century Link Field, MLS Live

The Sounders will be thrilled that Osvaldo Alonso's red card that he picked up in the loss to San Jose has been rescinded. While his presence wasn't enough to earn a result against the Quakes, the Sounders are definitely better off with him on the field. In the meantime, everyone and their mother is injured for Seattle, a story the Rapids are all too familiar with.

The Sounders played a pretty "meh" game away at SJ, but returning home should provide a bit of a morale boost. That is, if the metal detecting squad allows fans into the match on time. After last the last debacle involving the metal detecting wands (earned the Sounders staff infinite ire), Seattle has decided to open more gates and hire more staff. All for the unpleasant task of treating fans like felons. According to reports from Seattle, the ownership isn't backing down on this despite the intense backlash. Guilty until proven innocent, right?

The Rapids are coming off an exhilarating comeback win against the Revolution, thanks to a rapid fire succession of goals that saw them pull off a nice victory for the home crowd. Lost amidst this wins' excitement is the fact that Clint Irwin isn't looking like the Iron Curtain that he did earlier in the season. The goal that Juan Toja scored against the Rapids was a neat bit of set piece taking, but it also required zero movement by the goalkeeper to happen. Irwin decided to play the bounce, and did not track the path of the ball at all while doing so, allowing a very soft goal. Irwin has been positionally poor for quite a few games now, and fans are beginning to worry.

Will he cost them points at Seattle, or will be manage to hold up and improve on his last outing?

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City // Saturday, 9:00 p.m. CDT, Rio Tinto Stadium, MLS Live

RSL are the best team in the league, and their rise to the top despite their roster problems is a testament to their strength. I could write a whole article as to the genius of their player scouting department and/or Kreis' tactical acumen and man-management skills. Peter Vermes is a good manager, but he's been blessed with plenty of talent and money backing him, while Kreis has had to make do with a bit less.

What's there to say about Salt Lake that we don't already know? They're not going to blow you away with individual skill (though that Javier Morales fellow is something else...), but their discipline on the ball, and the care they take with their possession makes them a great team to watch.

I'm waiting for Jason Kreis to unleash another voodoo stink-eye on someone. I sit here in breathless anticipation, hoping he and Peter Vermes get into a staring contest.

Sporting have been rather bleh overall, but they have been winning a bit more as of late. They're hard to make out. The Incredible Benny Feilhaber (Best Soccer Player Ever) has been a bust, and since losing Roger Espinoza that midfield just hasn't been the same.

RSL wins because their colors are better, their coach is cooler and their little fight song rocks.

Also because they're the better team.

Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers // Saturday, 6:30 p.m. CDT, PPL Park, MLS Live

This match shouldn't technically be that interesting. The Timbers are much better team than Philly, and by a large margin. But Portland is playing away, and while they recovered from their loss at Columbus with a win, they're not invulnerable to---

Who am I kidding? If the Timbers lose, I'll be shocked, and so will you. The Union are without Jack McInerney, the man who creates the most space and has scored the most goals. The Union are an improved side from last year, but their inconsistent form and the lack of their lead man up top will hurt them more than just a little bit.

That being said, I have a feeling about this one being closer than one might think (nevermind that my feelings are always wrong). Besides, it's at a perfect time to turn on and pay attention to. Dinner and a match? Sign me up.

Food For Thought:

  1. Pick this week's surprise result.
  2. Will you be focusing on the Gold Cup more, or on MLS?
  3. What are your realistic goals for Dallas this weekend?
  4. Have you played Football Manager at all, and are you good at it?
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