Even though the Chicago Fire will not be taking the field until Sunday when they host the Houston Dynamo, it does not mean there are no MLS matches worth watching on Saturday. Matter of fact, there are three big matches with playoff implications taking place. The MLS has been catching some flack for the new unbalanced schedule this year, but this final third of the schedule is giving us some very intriguing matches to watch each week.
All three matches can be found on MLS Live and can be watched on demand in case you're too busy grilling and drinking beer on Saturday.
Columbus was fortunate to get a win out of Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Crew were down to ten men and still managed to get out of PPL Park with three point. The Union out shot Columbus 20 to 10, but were only able to put 5 on target. Their lone goal came off a free kick that took a lucky deflection.
With this latest win by the Crew, Columbus and Montreal are tied on points in the standings. A win by either of these two teams would catapult them into a playoff spot. The Crew could potentially grab 4th place with a win while Montreal could take third as they would win a tie breaker with Houston. Either scenario would result with the Fire getting bumped down to 6th place. A draw, however, would keep these two teams exactly where they are - on the outside looking in.
While Columbus did have a mid-week game this week, Montreal has be awful on the road (2-10-1) and are tied for most goals conceded on the road with 26. It will interesting to see if this "improved" Montreal side can go on the road and take advantage of a Crew team on short rest.
I'm hoping for a draw here, but if Montreal won, it wouldn't be the end of the world. The Impact will only have 5 games left after Saturday. Only 2 of those final games are at home and one of those away games will be at Toyota Park. Montreal is hanging by the skin of their teeth.
This is a rematch from a couple of weeks ago. In the last meeting at BMO Field, Sporting netted a late goal for a 1-0. Recently, Toronto has had a pretty tight schedule with all of their Champions League matches. They were fortunate to pull out a draw in Houston last week, but I have a hard time seeing them have the same kind of fortune against Sporting. Any result other than a Sporting win here would be awesome, but improbable.
The grueling part of D.C.'s schedule comes to an end here. This match has draw written all over it. RSL have been a little flat lately and Rio Tinto is not so intimidating to opponents anymore. Since RSL's beat down at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes, the team has gone 2-3-1 and are currently riding a four game win less streak.
It will be interesting to see how D.C. approaches this match. Would they be okay with getting 6 points out of this 5 match stretch and play for the draw? Or is 6 points not good enough and they going to go after a struggling RSL team? I don't know and, as long as it ends in a loss for D.C., I don't care