6 Major League Soccer Matches to Watch This Weekend

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6 Major League Soccer Matches to Watch This Weekend

MLS
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While the English Premier League's 2013-2014 season kicks off this weekend on their new home of NBC and NBCSN, Major League Soccer is in full-swing and both conference standings are very tight. Because of that, there are many matches to watch closely this weekend. There will be many good games to watch this weekend, but let's look at five MLS matches to watch this weekend.

Even though EPL action will be dominating NBC's soccer coverage this weekend, one MLS match will be shown on NBCSN. Even though other matches are not on national television, their results will greatly impact the playoff race. In addition to playoff implications, there are some story lines to follow.

With Clint Dempsey making his MLS return last week, there is a good possibility he could make his first Seattle Sounder start. Moreover, bitter rivals New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union battle on national television, which is always fun to watch.

In between 24 goals scored last weekend in MLS play, there were many brilliant and thrilling moments. Look for that to continue in this weekend's MLS matches.

With a majority of teams still in playoff contention, players will be inspired to play their best. Likewise, with the pressure on many teams to produce, some matches could get chippy.

After a full day of EPL matches on Saturday and Sunday, these five games are worth your time. These aren't the only ones that could have goals, drama, and many thrilling moments.

So sit back and relax and read through which five MLS matches deserve your undivided attention this weekend. If matches happen to coincide with each other, don't you worry. MLS Live has been a life saver for me and can be for you too.

Phil Naegely is a writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook, follow on Twitter @PnaegelyRS, and on Google.

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6. Montreal Impact-D.C. United

DC United
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

While D.C. United sits in the Eastern Conference cellar and Montreal Impact sit in fourth place, I picked this game for two main reasons. After being in first for some time, Montreal has slipped to fourth place. I can't really put my finger on why they have, but depending on this result, they could have even more issues.

Secondly, United has played some decent soccer in the last few games. Yes, they sit in last, but they have been putting out a younger roster that shows promise for the future. However, they have found some good results recently at times.

In addition, former Impact defender Dennis Iapichino was signed by DC earlier this week, and is available to face his former squad.

Impact can continue their recent disappointing play points wise, or can keep themselves in the playoff picture with a quality result.

This game kicks off Saturday, August 17 at 7 p.m. EST.

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5. Portland Timbers-FC Dallas

FC Dallas
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

This Western Conference match-up comes on the heels of FC Dallas' thrilling 3-3 tie against Los Angeles Galaxy while Portland Timbers is coming off a bye week. Additionally, Portland will be look for their first win in August. Rookie head coach Caleb Porter has silenced many doubters this season who said he couldn't succeed in MLS. For those who don't remember, Porter left University of Akron to take the Timbers' head coaching gig.

Currently, Portland sits in fourth with Dallas in seventh. As previously mentioned though, the standings are tight and Dallas only trails Portland by two points.

It will take a tremendous effort by Dallas to find their first win in ten games. They've settled for some quality ties, but they could really use three points this weekend. After last week's 3-3 tie fueled by set pieces, Dallas will need a repeat performance offensively in order to earn three points.

One advantage Portland has though is fully rested legs. After playing two games on August 3 and August 7, Portland will have about a week and half of rest before this match. At this point in the season, rested legs and stamina are keys to who comes out on top.

Game time is set for Saturday, August 17 at 11:00 p.m. EST.

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4. Chicago Fire-New England Revolution

Mike Magee
Dennis Wierzbicki - USA Today Sports

This match is a big “six point” match. The Chicago Fire and New England Revolution are both on the outside looking in and are separated by one point. Last week Magee-less Chicago won, while New England fell apart against Sporting Kansas City.

Since Magee's arrival, Chicago has slowly but surely been climbing up the standings, and that could continue this weekend with or without Magee. Chicago needs to be ready for New England.

New England recently acquired USMNT player Charlie Davies on loan, and this acquisition couldn’t come at a better time. Chicago's defense has improved since Bakary Soumare's arrival, but Davies could break them.

This is a match with big playoff implications. Winner moves closer to securing a spot with the loser remaining on the outside looking in.

Kickoff is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EST.

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3. Los Angeles Galaxy-Real Salt Lake

Los Angeles Galaxy
Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports

All bets are off on what Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan will do. Last week, he and his hat-trick dazzled in front of a national audience on ESPN. This week's million-dollar question is on whether the Galaxy's defense shows up this week.

Last week, they allowed FC Dallas to succeed on set pieces, and will be punished if they allow Real Salt Lake the same opportunity. RSL leads the Western Conference with 41 points and has scored a league-high 39 goals this season. Clearly, Los Angeles's defense needs to bring their “A” game and hopefully picked it up in practice after Donovan called them out last Sunday on national television.

Donovan is a great player, but he can't be the only one playing well for Los Angeles this weekend. Past Galaxy-RSL games have been filled with goals, drama, and more. This match seems to have a similar outcome.

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2. Seattle Sounders-Houston Dynamo

Clint Dempsey
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

#DempseyWatch blew up twitter as soccer fans were trying to figure out where USMNT star Clint Dempsey was and why he was on the West Coast. Well you should already know this, but he signed a four-year DP contract with the Seattle Sounders with a $9 million transfer. He made his MLS re-debut last week, and could make his first Sounders start this season.

With the Houston Dynamo's early season success this season and partly because Dempsey is coming to town, Dynamo officials have announced the game is already sold out. It should be an electric atmosphere to boo and cheer his arrival in Houston.

Seattle is looking to continue their rise towards the Supporters Shield and the top of the league, but will need three points for that. They have a very good chance of doing so. However after playing for the USMNT in Bosnia on Wednesday, Eddie Johnson will most likely not play Saturday. On the flip side, Houston is fifth in the east and could use a good home result.

Between Dempsey, a sell-out, and two quality teams, this game will be one you do not want to miss. First Kick is scheduled for Saturday, August 17 at 9:00 p.m. EST.

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1. New York Red Bulls-Philadelphia Union

Jack McInerney
Eric Hartline-USA Today Sports

Another game you should watch this weekend is the only MLS match on national television this week. Well that's in the United States anyway. Bitter rivals New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union will be featured on NBCSN after a full day of EPL action.

After a tactically plan-less Red Bulls squad lost against Columbus, they look to respond with both Theirry Henry and Tim Cahill back in the lineup. Henry is dealing with a lingering achilles injury, and Cahill tore his PCL. At this moment, it looks like Cahill could be subbed on, with Henry getting the start, but don't hold your breathe on my predictions.

On the flip side, Philadelphia is coming off an emphatic 2-0 thrilling victory with Connor Casey scoring both goals. Left back Ray Gaddis missed last week's match due to injury, and Fabinho performed well in his absence.

With players like Henry, Cahill, Jack McInerney and Casey on the field, both defenses will be tested. In addition, this game has goal thriller written all over this.

At the same time, this is a rivalry match and once that whistle blows to start the game, there are now friends on that field. Only two teams looking to solidify their spot in the standings and moving up to first place. Currently, New York sits one point behind first place Sporting Kansas City, while the Union are one behind New York and two behind Kansas City.

Depending on the result of this game and Kansas City's game against San Jose, there is a good chance New York or Philadelphia could be atop the Eastern Conference.

Get ready for a thrilling, chippy match between two of the biggest sports rivals. This rivalry match takes place on NBCSN Saturday, August 17th at 8:00 p.m EST.

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