6 Bold Predictions for MLS Weekend of October 10-12
Between increasingly difficult playoff races, and players away on international duty, Week 31 will produce plenty of hurdles for teams in Major League Soccer to get over.
Some of the teams affected by the circumstances will shake them off and win, but some will stumble due to the growing pressure.
With those two factors in mind, we decided to make some bold predictions about five big games this weekend. The other game involved features two teams few people want to watch right now.
Continue reading on for a look at our six bold predictions for the upcoming MLS weekend.
Vancouver Will Hoist the Cascadia Cup in Seattle
Not only is Vancouver fighting for the fifth playoff position in the Western Conference, it is still in the hunt to repeat as Cascadia Cup champion.
Despite losing their last two games against Portland, the Whitecaps still have a chance to bring the cup back to British Columbia with a win over the Sounders.
Carl Robinson's side are one point behind Seattle in the Cascadia Cup standings, and a win would clinch bragging rights for the sometimes forgotten member of the rivalry.
For the Whitecaps to win at CenturyLink Field, they will have to shred a brutal streak of road form, as they have lost three straight road games.
Friday would be the perfect time for the Whitecaps to wash away their dubious road record, which may be an afterthought if three points are earned against the first-place Sounders.
Montreal Will Relish the Role of Spoiler
The last time the New England Revolution played at Stade Saputo, they were shocked by the Impact.
The 2-0 victory on May 31 should stick in the back of the minds of the Impact players, as they look to claim one big victory before their season comes to an end in three weeks.
Since August 16, Montreal has been in respectable form with 11 points from nine matches, but one of the losses during that span was a defeat at Gillette Stadium to New England.
Montreal has also won three of its last four home games in league play, which is something that will give Frank Klopas' side a bit more confidence entering this match.
What we are getting at here is that the Impact have a slight chance to take a bite out of New England's form, but it will not be easy with the Revolution still alive in the race for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto Will Rebound at Red Bull Arena
Toronto FC did a magnificent job throwing away its playoff hopes Wednesday night in Houston, but since nothing is set in stone in the East, the Reds still have a fighting chance to finish in the top five.
A lot has to go right for the Reds this weekend, including a Columbus loss to Philadelphia, but they do control their own destiny Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
A win by Greg Vanney's side would unleash plenty more havoc on the race for the final two spots in the East, especially if Columbus falls at PPL Park.
Since we are all for said chaos in the final two weeks of the season, we are calling for Jermain Defoe to become a bloody big deal once again in attack for Toronto.
New York will be without some of its fiercer players in Roy Miller and Tim Cahill, and Bradley Wright-Phillips is not as sure of a lock in front of goal as some think.
With the perfect formula of a Defoe brace, shaky New York defending and a few missed chances from the Golden Boot leader, Toronto will prevail Saturday night.
Real Salt Lake Will Show off Its Depth with a Big Win
Real Salt Lake faces a tough task Saturday night, as it will host San Jose without four key players due to international duty.
The forward combination of Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio are off representing Ecuador and Costa Rica, while Nick Rimando and Luis Gil are playing for the United States.
The good news for RSL is that Kyle Beckerman and Nat Borchers will still occupy the middle of the pitch to provide stability to the side, but the questions lie at the forward position.
With Plata and Saborio out, the spotlight will shine on Robbie Findley, who should be given a chance to play the role of provider along with Sebastian Jaime.
Findley has had a brutal season, but he can wash that all away with his second goal of the season against the Earthquakes, who will be without Chris Wondolowski.
As for Rimando's replacement, Jeff Attinella should do just fine in goal for the Claret and Cobalt, who will get a chance to flex their terrific squad depth in front of the home crowd.
Chivas USA Will Continue Its Winning Ways
The days of Chivas USA may be numbered, but that doesn't mean the fighting spirit of the squad has departed the league yet.
Coming off a 1-0 win at home over Real Salt Lake, the Goats will host Colorado in a match featuring two sides that have combined for one win since August 3.
Colorado is playing some dreadful soccer at the moment, and it seems like nothing can fix the continuous streak of defensive mishaps the Rapids have committed.
Although Chivas USA will be without Erick Torres, they will have Felix Borja in the lineup, who is a player that has made an impact up front over the past few weeks.
Borja could easily run rampant against the makeshift Rapids back four at StubHub Center to hand the Goats their second winning streak of the season.
Landon Donovan Will Struggle Against FC Dallas
Believe it or not, Landon Donovan is allowed to play a bad game every once in a while. It doesn't happen often, but it will occur Sunday against FC Dallas.
Donovan will be less than 48 hours removed from his United States men's national team farewell when he plays for the Galaxy in a crucial Western Conference battle at Toyota Stadium.
Although some may argue against this, Donovan is the player who pulls the strings in the Galaxy attack.
With Donovan flying from Connecticut to Texas and playing two games in three days, he may face some difficulty finding his legs.
If FC Dallas can shut down Donovan for most of the first half, the Galaxy attack should be out of sorts enough for the hosts to capitalize on a counter or two.
It must be noted that this prediction is not a knock at Donovan's fitness, but a realization that he is human and will be going through a lot this weekend, which may affect his play come Sunday.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.