It's Week 25 of the 2014 MLS season and the playoffs are right around the corner. Teams are making their final pushes for those last playoff spots. Mathematically, no one is eliminated just yet. So some of the teams at the bottom of the table are trying to pull of the almost impossible and make the playoffs. While the teams at the top of the table are trying to cement themselves there with the rest of the elite. Every game is crucial for every team from here on out as we edge closer and closer to the end of the season. Let's take a look at those games being played this weekend.
Sporting KC are currently one point behind Eastern Conference leader's D.C. United (2nd - 25 games played - 42 points). Houston are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the East (9th - 24 games played - 25 points).
Sporting Kansas City are coming off of a shocking 3-0 defeat at home to DC. More recently, they haven't looked like the team we saw last year. Players like Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are just a little slower than usual. That might just be because of the World Cup. But, when two of your key players aren't producing, it's hard to win games. Houston are tied with Montreal for most goals against (45) in the league. DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido have helped. But, Houston needs a better center back pairing. I don't see Houston making the playoffs this year and I think SKC bounces back this week and returns to their normal selves.
Prediction: SKC wins 2-0.
Seattle are sitting at the top of West at the moment (1st - 24 games played - 45 points). Colorado are falling fast in the West (7th - 25 games played - 30 points).
Seattle have started to slow down after being way ahead of the rest of MLS a few weeks ago. Evidently Clint Dempsey is tired. Which is completely understandable considering he hasn't had a break in forever. After last season he joined Fulham for a short stint, returned to Seattle, then left for the World Cup, and returned to Seattle once more. I think I'd be tired too. So, this could be one of the weeks Dempsey is rested. It's a good week to do so as they play Colorado at home. With Obafemi Martins up front and Chad Barrett (yeah I know, one of the weirder stories this season) scoring goals, I think Seattle will be just fine against a very depleted Colorado defense without Deuce.
Prediction: Seattle wins 3-1.
Toronto are in 3rd in the East (3rd - 23 games played - 33 points). New England sit in 6th and just outside of a playoff spot (6th - 24 games played - 30 points).
Toronto have done decent without Jermain Defoe. In his most recent absence, TFC were 2-2-1. Although Defoe returned last week, it looks like he won't be in the lineup this week. Bummer. Could we see Jermaine Jones for the first time for New England? It's possible. If he's fit, there's no question he plays and starts. However, I have a feeling he either won't play much or won't play at all. Which isn't good for NE as they need every point they can get since they have one of the hardest schedule of games left to play. Key matchup in this one is Gilberto vs the NE center backs. With no Defoe, Anthony Soares and Jose Goncalves will focus their attention on a very hot Gilberto who has four goals in his last four games.
Prediction: New England steals this one 2-1.
Montreal is last in the East (10th - 24 games played - 17 points). Columbus is in 4th in the East (4th - 25 games played - 33 points).
This is a must win for Columbus. If they want to stay in the playoff spots, they have to beat teams like Montreal. Even if it's on the road, you have to at least get one point. Montreal only has one win in their last nine games. Those other eight games? All losses. They lead the league in losses. Yeah, they're bad you guys. Columbus has won their last two games, outscoring Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo by a total score of 7-1. That's pretty good. Now they have to cope with the sell of star defender Giancarlo Gonzalez. Could they be in for Kei Kamara who has parted ways with Middlesborough and is looking for a way back into MLS? Perfect fit. Hope it happens.
Prediction: Montreal 1, Columbus 1.
San Jose is slumping in the West (8th - 23 games played - 25 points). RSL are right behind FC Dallas in the West (4th - 25 games played - 42 points).
San Jose are all but out of the playoff race in the West. Injuries have plagued them this season. That, and well, just not playing that great. RSL is coming off a loss to FCD last week. Before that loss, they were unbeaten in six games and Joao Plata was on fire. Expect him to start scoring again with the return of Javier Morales from injury.
Prediction: RSL wins 2-0.
Vancouver holds the last playoff spot in the West (5th - 24 games played - 33 points). Portland are fighting for that last playoff spot (6th - 25 games played - 31 points).
The Cascadia Cup is always fun. It returns this weekend in a HUGE game. Vancouver is in 5th, Portland is in 6th. Whoever wins can really get a jump on the other in the race to secure that last playoff spot in the West. Vancouver traded for Mauro Rosales to add to their already fun offense. Portland is coming off a loss to rivals Seattle at home. They has to be really deflating. If they don't win this, I don't see Portland making the playoffs.
Prediction: Vancouver 2, Portland 2.
D.C. United vs New York Red Bulls
DC is at the top of the East (1st - 25 games played - 43 points). New York holds the last playoff spot (5th - 24 games played - 31 points).
Well, DC are a very confusing team. Beat Sporting Kansas City 3-0 on the road one week, lost to LA 4-1 this week. DC will be playing their second game this week. However, New York will be as well after playing in CONCACAF Champions League action earlier in the week. This one will be fun to watch. New York has the hardest schedule of games left. So they need every point they can get. They will be fighting every game for the full 90 minutes.
Prediction: DC 1, NY 1.
Chivas USA vs Los Angeles Galaxy
Chivas are at the bottom of the West (9th - 24 games played - 24 points). LA are climbing the table (2nd - 24 games played - 43 points).
Chivas USA have a few new guys that could make their debuts this weekend. LA have won their last three games, scoring ten goals. Yeah, they're really good when they want to be. Robbie Keane didn't play at midweek against DC, but could play against Chivas. If he does play, how can the defense stop LA? I don't see it. Chivas USA have too many problems. They can't defend and can't score at the moment. I can only see this going one way.
Prediction: LA wins 2-0.