Ranking this week’s MLS games from best to worst.
New York Red Bulls at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Houston at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m. Wednesday. Though New York hosts Houston on Wednesday, I think the game against Montreal is more important because of the stakes in the Eastern Conference. The Impact are struggling, just four points ahead of New England for the sixth and final playoff spot. Should Atlanta United lose on Sunday, the Red Bulls could leapfrog the Five Stripes with just one win from the two games. Even if Atlanta United wins, because Red Bulls play two games this week, if it gets six points it could finish the week with 58 points to Atlanta United’s 57.
Atlanta United at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Atlanta United has had no trouble with D.C. United this season, outscoring them 6-2 in two games this season. But, D.C. United seems a different team since it opened Audi Field, where it has won its last four games.
Sporting KC at Seattle, 4 p.m. Saturday. Like Lazarus, or the Transformers movie series, Seattle just won’t go away. It has won seven consecutive and is unbeaten in its past 10 to claw its way into the fifth and final playoff spot in the West. But here is Sporting KC, which has won four consecutive during which it hasn’t allowed a goal. Good stuff.
Toronto at Portland, 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and LAFC at Toronto, 8 p.m. Saturday. Speaking of things that won’t go away, Toronto isn’t out of the Eastern race. It trails Montreal by six points, but has two games in hand. However, Toronto’s schedule is very tough, starting with a reeling Timbers team that has fallen to seventh in the West because it has lost four consecutive games. It then must host a surging LAFC team that is long on offense and short on defense, especially with the departure of centerback Laurent Ciman.
Philadelphia at D.C. United, 8 p.m. Wednesday. The Union seem locked into one of the two final spots in the Eastern playoff chase by virtue of three consecutive wins. D.C. United is the chic pick to grab the final playoff spot. I’m not convinced. It can’t drop any more points if it hopes to move into the hunt for the playoffs.
NYCFC at Columbus, 8 p.m. Saturday. Two good teams that almost seem like after thoughts because they are playoff bound, and likely are already in their seeds as Nos. 3 and 4.
Portland at New England, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Revs haven’t won since June 30. Ugh. Yet, they trail the Impact by just four points and have played two fewer games. I don’t think they are going to make the playoffs, but they shouldn’t be counted out, either.
Philadelphia at Orlando, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Orlando isn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, but the calculator is being turned on. Its remaining schedule is brutal, so this may be one of its few remaining chances to salvage some pride.
L.A. Galaxy at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m. Saturday. I don’t think anyone on the Galaxy is capable of defending RSL’s Albert Rusnak.
Houston at Dallas, 8 p.m. Saturday and Dallas at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Dallas sits atop the West, but raise your hand if you think are a real threat to win the MLS Cup. San Jose and Houston … stink.
San Jose at Vancouver, 10 p.m. Saturday. Nothing to say.
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