Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Colorado Rapids

BC Place will play host to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, as Vancouver will look to secure the final playoff berth with a win, and beat the Portland Timbers to it.

Vancouver is only one point ahead of the Timbers with one to play, so Vancouver’s fate is still in their own hands, and they kick-off just half an hour after Portland get underway in Dallas.

Colorado come into this game looking like a team that’s given up, as they haven’t registered a win in 13, whereas the Whitecaps haven’t conceded a goal since September.

Vancouver’s home form: Played 16 – Won 8 – Drawn 5 – Lost 3

However, in the previous meetings this season the Rapids have won both. Could the Rapids be going for a third straight win against the Whitecaps, and possibly end their playoff hopes?

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Vancouver has won their last three at home so the Rapids have it all to do, and all signs point towards a Whitecaps win as the Rapids have lost their last eight on the road.

Colorado’s away form: Played 16 – Won 2 – Drawn 3 – Lost 11

Colorado has nothing to play for but pride, and possibly the chance to deny Vancouver a playoff spot in what promises to be an entertaining finish to the regular season.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – Scoring ten goals and assisting nine this season has made Morales as hugely important figure in the Whitecaps team.

Key Stat: Colorado’s last away win was against Toronto FC – in April.

Vancouver’s last five: L/W/W/W/D

Colorado’s last five: L/D/L/L/L

Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – 0 Colorado Rapids – Vancouver to seal final playoff spot with victory.

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Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs New York Red Bulls

Sporting Kansas City welcome New York Red Bulls to Sporting Park for the final fixture in this year’s MLS regular season.

It’s a game that has implications for both Eastern Conference sides as they look to avoid the wildcard playoff fixture.

Victory for Kansas City guarantees them a third place finish meaning that they will definitely avoid the wildcard game – a draw could be enough for them but they would be relying on Columbus Crew failing to win in their game at home to Philadelphia Union.

New York Red Bulls have to win this game in order to stand any chance of finishing in the top three.

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[Dom Dwyer: Can Sporting’s top goalscorer inspire them to victory?]

Since an impressive run of form in the middle of the season that saw them go eight games without defeat, winning six and drawing two, Sporting Kansas City have hit the metaphorical wall.

After that purple patch, they’ve only managed three wins in 11 games and have suffered seven defeats in that time.

Fortunately for Kansas City, they had done enough beforehand to ensure that they’ve still secured a playoff position.

Sporting Kansas City’s home form: Played 16 – Won 6 – Drawn 6 – Lost 4

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[Thierry Henry: One of the main men for New York Red Bulls]

It has very much been a season of ups and downs for New York Red Bulls as they haven’t managed to string together a strong run of form at any stage.

Just as it looked like they were getting going, they would lose a game and it would disrupt the run they were on.

Their form away from home has certainly been an issue in this campaign with just two victories on the road from 16 attempts, so they will need to improve on that.

New York Red Bulls away form: Played 16 – Won 2 – Drawn 7 – Lost 7

Neither of these sides will be particularly high on confidence going in to it but they both know the importance of this fixture, so it should make for a good game.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – the Red Bulls forward is still desperately chasing the record as the top goalscorer in an MLS season although it’s going to take a minor miracle because he needs a hat-trick.

But with the bit between his teeth, he may put in that extra effort and it could inspire New York to victory.

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City haven’t beaten New York Red Bulls at home since October 2011, when they ran out 2-0 winners.

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: W/L/D/W/L

New York Red Bulls last five: W/L/W/W/L

Prediction: Sporting Kansas City 1 – 1 New York Red Bulls

Preview and Prediction: Chivas USA vs San Jose Earthquakes

Chivas USA take on San Jose Earthquakes as the two worst sides in the Western Conference clash this Sunday, to end what have been largely miserable seasons for both.

The sides lock horns level on points and both will want to get the win to avoid being at the foot of the table come the end of the final weekend.

The Earthquakes go into the game in good form, having taken four points from their last two, which is promising for them, considering they had failed to win in the previous 13 in all competitions.

Chivas had won two back-to-back for the first time since July, but did lose against Real Salt Lake on Thursday. Their form over the season simply hasn’t been good enough, but there is promise for them in the season finale as Erick Torres will want to add to his tally of 15 to end what has been a good season individually.

Both sides will be looking to end this season with something to take into next term and ensuring that they don not finishing bottom would be a step in the right direction.

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Chivas have won twice more this season than the Earthquakes so they will feel they’ll have the upper hand in the tie despite being bottom of the Western Conference going into it.

With both sides struggling to have found any real form all season a draw looks a likely possibility in what will be the final regular season game of the 2014 MLS season.

Key Player: Erick Torres – The most positive aspect of Chivas’ season, as he has scored 15 in 28.

Key Stat: Chivas have lost more games than any team in Major League Soccer with 19.

Chivas Last 5: L/L/W/W/L

SJ Earthquakes Last 5: L/L/L/W/D

Prediction: Chivas 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes

Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

The regular season comes to an end this weekend, and the game between FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers is one of very few in which both sides have something to play for.

Seattle’s huge game against LA on Saturday night is probably the biggest of the weekend, but Portland are battling for their playoff lives, and face a tough trip to a Dallas side looking to avoid playing in the Western Conference Knockout game.

Real Salt Lake’s victory against Chivas USA on Thursday night moved them into third place, and so Dallas will need to win in front of their own fans to ensure they finish third.

Dallas have won their last eight home games in Major League Soccer, so they will expect to take all three points once more.

FC Dallas’ home form: Played 16 – Won 12 – Drawn 1 – Lost 3

Portland currently sit one point behind the Vancouver Whitecaps in the race for the final playoff spot in the entire league, and must better the Canadian-based side’s result to earn a place in the post-season.

The Timbers have been the third-best side away from home this season, and come into the game in good form, having only lost one of their last eight MLS games.

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Portland Timbers’ away form: Played 16 – Won 6 – Drawn 4 – Lost 6

They lost 2-1 to Dallas back in March but their season depends on this game, and Portland have more to play for than the hosts.

It should be an entertaining game, with so much at stake, and with Vancouver kicking off half an hour later, Saturday night’s action promises to be thrilling.

Key Player: Diego Valeri – The Argentine has been Portland’s best player this season and they need him to produce more than ever in this one.

Key Stat: FC Dallas have won their last eight home games, scoring at least two in those victories.

Dallas’ last five: L/W/L/W/W

Portland’s last five: W/L/W/W/D

Prediction: FC Dallas 2-2 Portland Timbers – Portland to earn a point and face an anxious wait for Vancouver’s final score.

Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Houston Dynamo

Two side’s who will be disappointed not to be making plans for the playoffs meet on Friday night as the Chicago Fire welcome Houston Dynamo for both side’s final game of the 2014 MLS season.

Both clubs are already looking ahead to next year but Chicago will be keen to get their first win in six against the Dynamo when they meet at Toyota Park.

The Fire have not beaten their Eastern Conference rivals since the 2012 season, and will be looking to end the season on a high, after failing to win in their past eight MLS matches.

Houston won the reverse fixture 2-0 at the end of September, but come into the game in relatively poor form too, having lost three of their last four and they will hope to end Dominic Kinnear’s reign with one more celebration.

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Although it would appear to be a game with little to play for, several players will be hoping to impress so that they are not released in the post-season, and so it could be an open game.

Chicago Fire’s home form: Played 16 – Won 3 – Drawn 11 – Lost 2

The Fire have only lost twice at home this season, and are unbeaten in nine at Toyota Park Stadium, so they will look to make it ten as they close out the campaign.

They have drawn an astonishing 18 games this season, and that has ultimately cost them valuable points along the way as their football has not been as bad as their league position dictates.

They can’t finish higher or lower than ninth in the Eastern Conference, but will want to add another loss to Houston’s miserable away record.

Houston Dynamo’s away form: Played 16 – Won 3 – Drawn 2 – Lost 11

With neither side likely to take the game by the scruff of the neck, an entertaining draw could be played out to end disappointing campaign’s for two sides who will already have one eye on the start of the new season.

Key Player: Harry Shipp – The Chicago playmaker’s rookie season started so brightly, but his form dipped along with his team. He will want to end on a high as he looks ahead to next season.

Key Stat: All signs point to a draw: Chicago have not beaten Houston in five games, but have drawn their last three home games, as well as two of the last three between the sides.

Chicago’s last five: L/D/D/L/L

Houston’s last five: W/L/W/L/L

Prediction: Chicago Fire 1-1 Houston Dynamo

 

Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy will go head-to-head in arguably the most crucial game of the season at CenturyLink Field on Saturday as both teams fight to become the Supporters’ Shield winners.

Soccer games do not come bigger than this as these two Western Conference sides are the only teams that can now win the Supporters’ Shield title.

The formula is simple – LA Galaxy absolutely have to win the game in order to clinch it, whereas a draw would be enough for Seattle due to their superior ‘games won’ tally giving the Sounders the most slightest of advantages going in to it.

As it stands going in to the final game:

AS IT STANDS

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Seattle Sounders come in to this game on the back of an inconsistent run of form with just two wins from their last six games so they will need to try and give it one final push to ensure they don’t fall at the final hurdle.

They have failed to beat LA Galaxy in their last six regular season meetings, so they will be relieved that they aren’t the team that has to win this game – their last win against the Galaxy was a resounding 4-0 success back in August 2012.

Seattle Sounders home form: Played 16 – Won 11 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Before a narrow defeat to FC Dallas and a thrilling draw with Seattle, LA Galaxy have been almost unstoppable, winning eight of the previous ten games and they’ve lost just three in their last 25 matches – an impressive record.

They were on the verge of a priceless victory on Sunday night when they led Seattle 2-0, so they will be devastated that they threw the game away but they have it in them to recover quickly and go again.

Inconsistency away from home would be the only concern for LA as five of their six defeats this season have come in games away from the StubHub Center.

Having said that, they convincingly brushed Seattle aside the last time they visited CenturyLink field in July and ran out 3-0 winners, so they will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Should LA Galaxy be victorious, they will become the most successful side in the history of the Supporters’ Shield with five titles – they are currently tied with DC United on four.

LA Galaxy’s away form: Played 16 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5

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It’s the biggest game of the regular season, it promises to be exciting and it’s unlikely to disappoint.

We can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The Nigerian is in the running for the MVP award for his efforts this season and if he performs to the best of his ability, he could drag Seattle over the finish line.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have both the best attack (69 scored) and best defence in the league (35 conceded) so they will be hoping that counts for something come the end of the season. 

Seattle Sounders last five: L/W/W/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Prediction: Seattle Sounders 1 – 2 LA Galaxy

Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Toronto FC

Toronto’s disappointing season is over as far as playoff hopes go, but they travel to an in-form New England on Saturday night looking to end the campaign on a high.

The Revs come into the game off the back of a good away win against Houston Dynamo last Thursday, they wrapped up a second place finish in the Eastern Conference with that result.

More would have been expected at the start of the season from Toronto and they will be disappointed with their season, as they struggled to ever find a good run of form.

The Revs have only lost one in their last nine all competitions and have been reaping the rewards in terms of their position in the table.

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Lee Nguyen, a challenger for the MVP award, has been excellent and his confidence has been sky high. Without his astonishing 17 goals from midfield, New England would not be second in the table.

Toronto need to have a strong finish to the season and reassess for next term, but they will be without Jermain Defoe once again, a situation they may have to get used to as his future is very much up in the air.

Dominic Oduro’s two goals in 23 games is far from satisfactory for a player with the potential he has, while Gilberto will have expected to score more than seven in his first season in MLS.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – We’re running out of superlatives to describe the midfielder and he will be heavily involved in the game once again.

Key stat: Toronto have failed to keep a clean sheet in five, so we can expect goals.

New England Revolution Last 5: L/W/W/D/W

Toronto Last 5: W/L/L/L/D

Prediction: New England Revolution 2-1 Toronto

Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs DC United

Montreal Impact entertain DC United this weekend in the Canadian side’s final game of the season, though looking at the game in short, it would appear an open and shut case.

The Impact have struggled all season to find any form and with 18 losses to their 33 played its not surprising they’re at the foot of the Eastern Conference.

DC just keep on rolling through the games, three wins on the bounce and unbeaten in eight in all competitions, it is the form of a side worthy of silverware, and they will hope for MLS Cup glory at the end of the playoffs.

The strength and experience in the DC midfield has certainly helped to make them one of the most consistent sides across the entire league.

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And with Eddie Johnson now finding form, United could be a real threat in the post-season.

Montreal will take some expectation into the game, with a commendable record in previous ties against DC, avoiding defeat in three of the last six.

DC will finish the regular season at the top of the Eastern Conference regardless of the result in Montreal, but they will want to continue to showcase their winning mentality and nothing but a win will be seen as acceptable.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola –  Again, it has to be his goal output to comment on and he will surely fancy his chances of finding the net against one of the league’s weakest sides.

Key stat: Connect four? Montreal have drawn their last three games, and they’ll have to be alert to take anything from the game but without a loss in three, there is no reason they can’t send the home fans happy for the winter.

Montreal Impact Last 5: W/L/D/D/D

DC United Last 5: W/W/D/W/W

Prediction: Montreal Impact 1-3 DC United

Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Chivas USA

Real Salt Lake will play their last game of the regular season when they take on Chivas USA in a Western Conference clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium tonight.

Chivas will have one more game after this one when they host fellow strugglers San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

The home side will be keen to pick up all three points in their last outing in order to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top three and will therefore avoid the 4th vs. 5th playoff encounter.

They need to do their job here and hope that FC Dallas fail to win against Portland Timbers at the weekend as anything other than a victory means they will face either Vancouver Whitecaps or Portland Timbers in the wildcard game.

Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last nine home games, picking up seven wins and two draws, so recent history and standings would suggest they are heavy favourites to win this one.

Real Salt Lake’s home form: Played 16 – Won 10 – Drawn 5 – Lost 1

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[Key Player: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake]

Chivas USA have had yet another season to forget as they prop up the Western Conference table alongside San Jose Earthquakes.

From their 32 games played this season, they have managed just 28 goals and also shipped 59 at the other end giving them the worst attack and the worst defence in the league.

They have managed to win their last two games though, one of which was a 1-0 success over their opponents in this fixture on 5th October – they also beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on 29th June, so there is reason to be optimistic.

Before those last two victories, they had been on a 12-game winless streak which saw them pick up just one point in a goalless draw with Vancouver and slump to 11 defeats.

Chivas USA’s away form: Played 16 – Won 3 – Drawn 4 – Lost 9

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[Erick Torres has been the one bright spark for Chivas USA this season with 15 goals]

Key Player: Javier Morales – the Argentinian playmaker has had a good season for Real Salt Lake with 9 goals and 11 assists so we can expect him to be at the heart of things once again.

Key Stat: Chivas USA have only kept one clean sheet away from home this season, so you’d expect Real Salt Lake to grab at least one goal.

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Chivas USA’s last five: L/L/L/W/W

Prediction: Real Salt Lake 2 – 0 Chivas USA

Preview: LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders

All eyes will be on the StubHub center on Sunday night as LA Galaxy play host to their Western Conference rivals, Seattle Sounders, with both side’s fighting for the Supporters’ Shield in the final two games of the season.

Billed as the game of the season, this has the potential to thrill. When you throw names like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Robbie Keane and Obafemi Martins into the same game, you’re in for a treat.

Sadly for the Sounders, they have only won once against the Galaxy in their last seven. And the Galaxy have won their last six at home.

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All the stats point towards a shutout for L.A and a few goals too, as they have only conceded twelve at home, but football isn’t played on paper as we all know and this could go either way.

Seattle can clinch the Supporters’ Shield win a victory in LA, as they have won more games than the Galaxy, and whoever comes out on top over the next two games will earn the top seed in the Western Conference.

The Galaxy must ensure they don’t lose to keep their season on track, and a draw will set next week’s meeting in Seattle up to thrill even more, but this should be good!

Key Player: Landon Donovan – it may be the obvious choice but with ten goals and fourteen assists, LD is crucial to the Galaxy. Expect him to be the star in his final regular season game in LA.

Key Stat: Seattle hasn’t won on the road to LA since 2009. Time to end that streak, and clinch the Supporters’ Shield?

Prediction: L.A Galaxy 2 – 1 Seattle Sounders