Weekend Primer: September 21
Last night, D.C. United went on the road and came away with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union. With the win, United jumped into four place in the Eastern Conference and pushed the Dynamo into fifth.
With only a month to go in the MLS regular season, every game carries additional importance as teams look to not only clinch playoff spots, but climb the standings and avoid the dredded 4v5 wild card match. Under the new playoff format, the No. 4 seed in each conference will host the No. 5 seed in a one-game playoff with the winner advancing to face the No. 1 seed in a home-and-home conference semifinal series.
Although the Dynamo catapulted to the top of the standings in July after winning five consecutive matches, August was far less kind, as the team went four consecutive matches without a win. Dominic Kinnear's squad has righted the ship, however, and pulled off a last-second win at home against Real Salt Lake on September 6 and followed that up with a hard-fought draw at Sporting Kansas City on September 14. They then followed that up with a 4-0 demotion of FAS in the CONCACAF Champions League.
This weekend, the Dynamo will head north to take on the Philadelphia Union, a team that has not won since July 29. Although Dynamo fans will be looking for the men in orange to take three points this weekend, they will also be keeping an eye on a few other key matches that will go a long way to determine which five Eastern Conference teams are playing into November. Those matches are:
Sporting KC at Montreal Impact | Saturday 12 noon CT
Sporting KC has an eight-point lead on Houston and is looking to make a run at the Supporters' Shield. Montreal is seven back of the Dynamo and has already played 30 games. A Montreal loss on Saturday could put them on the brink on elimination.
New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution | Saturday 6:30 p.m. CT
According to New England Revolution's Jeff Lemieux, the Revs have not lost to the Red Bulls at home in more than 10 years. New York is also playing without Thierry Henry, who was suspended following an incident in Wednesday's loss to Sporting KC. The Revs are eliminated from playoff contention but would love nothing more than to knock off their long-time rivals.
Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire | Saturday 7:30 p.m. CT
There might be no team hotter in MLS than the Chicago Fire and they just added a World Cup veteran in Guillermo Franco. The Crew have had a resurgance of late and sit only one point behind the Dynamo for the fifth spot in the East.
Chivas USA at D.C. United | Sunday 6 p.m. CT | Galavision
Many thought the season-ending injury to Dwayne De Rosario would mean the end for D.C. United, but they responded well, winning their last two matches against New England and Philadelphia. Chivas has an opportunity to play the spoiler on Sunday, but has not won a game since July 28.
Eastern Conference Standings
|1||Sporting Kansas City||54||29||16||7||6|
|3||New York Red Bulls||49||29||14||8||7|
|8||New England Revolution||28||29||7||15||7|