Days like last Saturday (and yesterday) are why I write MLS rooting guides: Portland dropped two points at home against both Colorado and Orlando, but they actually gained a sliver of ground, because both Dallas and Houston lost. Hence, Portland is still within striking distance of leaping right into the edge of the playoff picture by the end of the weekend. Hooray for results completely outside of our control turning out favorably!
After some midweek MLS madness (thanks Atlanta and New England!), this weekend is gonna get weird: All 24 MLS teams are in action, there’s a couple spicy rivalry games thrown in, and there is no doubt going to be at least one dumb “That’s so MLS” result (looking at you Cincinnati and Chicago) before all is said and done.
And yes, we’re still gonna take a shot at getting emotionally invested in all of it. So take a deep breath and hope that the following is how the MLS matches shake out this weekend (all times PDT).
LA Galaxy v. LAFC (Friday, 7:00 p.m.)
El Trafico! These were consistently the most wildly entertaining games last season, and this latest edition does not look like it will disappoint. LAFC are still sterling in league play, and the Galaxy are slowly starting to slide back to the pack a bit, so the pick is for the new guys in LA.
Preferred result: A stupidly entertaining 4-3 LAFC win, where Vela and Zlatan trade hat tricks. After the game, Vela turns to Zlatan and smugly says, “Zlatan, welcome to Vela.” Zlatan does not understand the reference.
Columbus Crew SC v. Montreal Impact (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
Man, Caleb’s Crew in Columbus just can’t catch a break, can they? Nothing against Montreal, but Porter, the Crew, and that entire fanbase deserve a win, especially after the off-season they’ve had and how the last three months have been.
Preferred result: Maxi scores a screamer, but Columbus still pulls out a 2-1 win. Porter’s entire post-game presser is just one long sigh of relief.
Philadelphia Union v. Chicago Fire (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
No impact to the Timbers, but one of my candidates for the weirdest result of the weekend. The Union are maybe the best team in the East, and Chicago’s season is circling the drain. So, naturally, there’s a good chance the Fire are going to waltz into Chester and steal one.
Preferred result: Chicago wins 3-2 after Philadelphia was leading 2-0. As he scores the winning goal, Dax McCarty turns to Bastian Schweinsteiger, grins, and exclaims “The gang blows a 2-0 lead!” Schweinsteiger does not understand the reference.
Toronto FC v. Houston Dynamo (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
Houston is spiraling, y’all — and that is good news for Portland. They also have a horrendous record on the road, so here’s hoping that both trends continue in Canada.
Preferred result: Toronto wins 4-1, with a 3-0 lead at halftime. During halftime, Tommy McNamara turns to AJ DeLaGarza and says, “Dude. Maybe we shouldn’t have played our reserves at the game in Portland …” DeLaGarza sighs, still sad that McNamara cut his hair two years ago.
Sporting Kansas City v. FC Dallas (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.)
All of a sudden, the other team from Texas is spiraling too. Portland is neck and neck with SKC though, so this one is kind of tough. We have yet to play SKC, so I’m leaning that way just because we have two “six point games” ahead against them, and a reeling Dallas is ripe to be passed.
Preferred result: Sporting Kansas City wins 2-1. As the SKC supporters chant “I believe that we will win,” Graham Zusi wonders out loud, “Wasn’t this chant already old back in 2014?” Yes, Graham. Yes it was.
Colorado Rapids v. NYCFC (Saturday, 6:00 p.m.)
How weird was that game on Saturday? Why do things always get weird against Colorado?It’s getting exhausting. I’ll admit it: I’m rooting for NYCFC, not only for the substantive “East over West” reason, but also because I’m still a little salty.
Preferred result: NYCFC wins 3-1. Tommy Smith somehow heads the ball off of his foot and straight into his own goal for NYC’s third. Tim Howard stares daggers into him. “Dude. Again?”
Real Salt Lake v. Minnesota United (Saturday, 7:00 p.m.)
Another tough West v. West tossup. I thiiiink we should be rooting for the Loons, since we still have yet to play them in league play, and we want RSL to drop more home points. But also wouldn’t mind a draw here either.
Preferred result: Minnesota wins 1-0, after a tight game with many Rimando saves. Darwin Quintero scores the winner and then lets out an astoundingly accurate Loon call in celebration.
Vancouver Whitecaps v. San Jose Earthquakes (Saturday, 7:00 p.m.)
Man, that loss to SJ back in April is looking less bad by the week, huh? The Quakes managed to sweep the Cali Clasico and are suddenly now maybe a playoff team. Vancouver, on the other hand, is now last place in the West. I’m breaking one of my rules here, but I genuinely think Timbers fans should be rooting for a draw.
Preferred result: A dull and boring 0-0 draw. Chris Wondolowski has a carbon-copy chance of the iconic “Miss” from the 2014 World Cup, and once again he misses spectacularly. The Whitecaps fans gleefully scream “Belgium!!” in response. Wondo just stares into the ground and mutters, “Dempsey’s miss was worse …”
Atlanta United v. DC United (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)
Nagbe scored his first-ever goal for Atlanta on Wednesday, and it was the first goal he’s scored since he was in a Timbers uniform. That’s neither here nor there: I’m still rooting for DC to top Atlanta … because it’s Atlanta. Just thought I’d point it out because Nagbe goals are incredibly rare and should be celebrated — especially because you are unlikely to see another one anytime soon.
Preferred result: Wayne Rooney scores straight from a free kick, and DC wins 3-1. After scoring his free kick, Rooney runs around the field mimicking the sounds of a train whistle. The Atlanta fans do not understand the reference.
FC Cincinnati v. New England Revolution (Sunday, 3:00 p.m.)
My second candidate for what could be the weirdest result of the weekend. The Revs are rolling, and Cincinnati is still bottom of the league. But this is MLS, so form means nothing. This could just as easily end 2-2 as it could 3-0, and I have no clue which team could be on the positive end of either of those scorelines.
Preferred result: Cincinnati wins 3-2 off of a last gasp Adi goal (just like last week!). As Adi scores, Yoann Damet jumps and pumps his fist and yells at Bruce Arena, just like Porter did back in 2013. Arena, unfortunately, does understand the reference.
Orlando City SC v. New York Red Bulls (Sunday 4:30 p.m.)
No real impact to the Timbers, but after last night’s draw, I am maybe just a bit salty at Orlando and some of the tweets I saw from their fans. So I hope RBNY goes to Orlando and truly tames the lions.
Preferred result: A 3-0 New York win. Dom Dwyer somehow gets another red card. Will Johnson misses a penalty and then lets out a deep, guttural scream in frustration.
And that’s your definitive rooting guide for this crazy MLS weekend. Leave any thoughts, disagreements, or additional recommendations in the comments below!
Oh, and as a general reminder to all … Gut the Fish.