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Marquee Matchups: Vendetta

Houston looks to settle the score with Sporting, while Portland attempt to steamroll through poor D.C.

Scott Halleran

While the Toros attempt to get back on the saddle against San Jose, Houston will attempt to come back into their own as well.

D.C. United vs. Portland Timbers // Saturday, 6:00 p.m. CDT, RFK Stadium, MLS Live

DC wasn't exactly awful against Dallas, and they held Sporting to a draw just last week. Will Saturday be the day when DC finally break out of the awful slump? It looks pretty difficult, but the black and red faithful will have to hope that their team can finally get over the hump and pull out a home win. Those are in short supply for them lately, and it's not acceptable to keep dropping points at home, no matter who is visiting.

Ben Olsen is under enough pressure to cook an artificial diamond, and this win would be a massive boost to DC's morale. It might be too late for United to get into the playoffs, but their fans will definitely want to see some fight from their boys. I see DC winning this based purely on a gut feeling. DC simply can't keep losing. This isn't based on any kind of hard thinking. I just have a hard time seeing DC continuing this unreal losing streak.

As far as Portland are concerned, I think we would all be quite happy to see them drop points, but if we're honest with ourselves that doesn't look too likely. Darlington Nagbe's injury scare has come and gone, and he is currently practicing with the team. Whether or not their star will start the game is not yet known, but at the very least he isn't on the sidelines watching as everyone else trains.

Mr. Olsen? It would be real swell if your boys could do us a solid and take down Portland.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City // Sunday, 2:30 p.m. CDT, Sporting Park, NBC Sports

Just two weeks ago, the Houston Dynamo got quite offended over the way Sporting Kansas City celebrated their victory at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Houston players said it wasn't a "big deal", and then proceeded to act like the girl who wasn't invited to that one party Melissa was invited to. It's no big deal guys. Nobody wants that totes lame unbeaten streak anyway.

Houston have now lost two in a row, and visiting Sporting Park will make their slump-busting attempts just a bit more difficult than they would like. While SKC have stumbled a bit as well since the start of the season, few people will pick against them in their own barn against a team that is struggling like the Dynamo has. Sporting's last minute loss to Seattle has wounded their pride a bit, and the draw against DC wasn't impressive, but otherwise they remain a strong team.

With Houston chomping at the bit to take down Kansas City away, and Sporting wanting to get back to the winning ways they showed at Houston, this is a match that could see some fireworks. Whether through ugly and physical play, passion and competition, or something else entirely is yet to be seen.

I do expect a fair amount of shin kicking though.

LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders // Sunday, 10:00 p.m. CDT, Home Depot Center, ESPN2

This would normally be something of a massive clash, and I guess you can still call it that.

The match is a bit watered down by the Sounders only recently coming into form, and by the Galaxy's tepid start to their season. These teams have disappointed almost across the board, but with the Sounders actually looking like their old selves again, the Galaxy will need to play like the champions they are to have a chance in this game.

LA's on again, off again relationship with proper high quality form has resulted in the Galaxy unable to string together a series of convincing results. With captain Robbie Keane leaving to lead his Irishmen to the World Cup, the Galaxy will rely even more than usual on a mercurial Landon Donovan to provide the needed cut-and-thrust.

The Sounders are patting themselves on the back after taking down FC Dallas, and given their recent form we must begrudgingly accept that some of the self-congratulatory back-pats are warranted. They scored four goals without Mauro Rosales (albeit Dallas gave them a little help in that department...) and don't look like they will be slowing down anytime soon. That being said, the Galaxy's defense has been stingy as usual, with the excellent Omar Gonzalez leading the LA back four to a strong defensive record so far, standing at .91 GAA.

When the Sounders struggled the most is when their offense couldn't click. After facing a leaky and out-of-sync Dallas, will they be able to take down the established LA defense to pull out three points? I'm not so sure.