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The Path to the Playoffs: The Eastern Conference (Plus Dallas)

FC Dallas is the only Western Conference in action today. So who should you root for in these games with no direct bearing on the Timbers?

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Portland Timbers take on the Seattle Sounders tomorrow, five Eastern Conference teams and one lone Western Conference team square off today in a series of matches that have no direct impact on where the Timbers finish this season. Still, each game impacts the playoff race and the race for the Supporter's Shield in at least a minimal way.

So, who should Timbers fans be rooting for tonight?

New England Revolution at Montreal Impact

Saturday, 11:30 am, MLS Live

Root For: New England

Why? The Impact have fallen from their early season perch atop the standings, but with four games to go when most teams have two or three they could still make their way back to the top. Plus, their next game is a rarity at this point in the season: a cross conference match against the LA Galaxy. I would rather have them playing desperate when they take on LA on the west coast than riding moderately high after beating the 7th place team in the East.

Philadelphia Union at D.C. United

Saturday, 4:00 pm, MLS Live

Root For: Philadelphia

Why? This is a team that we actually want to gather some momentum. After taking on DC, the Union have a game against Montreal before finishing out the season against Sporting Kansas City. A real contender for the Supporter's Shield, SKC could use knocking down a peg or two as they look to take the East back from the New York Red Bulls and pass up the West in the process. I would add that we want low draft picks to stay in the East, but Chivas USA already traded away their first round pick to the Union for Gabriel Farfan.

Chicago Fire at FC Dallas

Saturday, 5:30 pm, MLS Live

Root For: Dallas

Why? Dallas have been so beaten down by this season, by life. Wouldn't it be great to see them get a win in their cute little "Brimstone Cup"? Also, wouldn't it be even better to see them go out and get a win next week against the Seattle Sounders? Yeah. That would be swell.

Disagree with the my picks? Let me know in the comments. Plus, if you are going to be watching any of these games, feel free to discuss them here.