Best of the Rest: Top 5 Matches Left on MLS Schedule
But not so fast. There are still three weeks of regular season games remaining and there are certainly some mouthwatering matchups among them. With that in mind, FanHouse presents The Best of the Rest: the five most intriguing games remaining on the regular season schedule.
1) Real Salt Lake at New York Red Bulls -- Saturday, Oct. 9th
This Saturday will see the clubs with the league's second- and third-best records square off in a match that could have huge implications in the chase for the Supporters' Shield. New York currently sits atop the Eastern Conference at 14-8-5 and will look to stay one step ahead of the Columbus Crew with a win this weekend. Salt Lake, meanwhile, is 14-4-9 and five points behind Los Angeles in the West, with a game-in-hand. With the firepower that both these teams have, it's well within the realm of possibility that this game could be a preview of November's MLS Cup Final.
2) New England Revolution at Houston Dynamo -- Sunday, Oct. 10th
This isn't one of the more well-publicized rivalries in MLS, but it's there. And it's real. Remember the 2006 and 2007 seasons? You may recall that Houston and New England faced off in the MLS Cup Final at the end of both those years, with the Dynamo taking home both titles. Needless to say, there will always be extra motivation for the boys in blue to avenge past disappointment at the hands of Dominic Kinnear and Co. The fact that both sides have been eliminated from the postseason only adds delight to this game -- neither side has anything to lose. Let the battle begin.
3) Chivas USA at Seattle Sounders -- Friday, Oct. 15th
Chivas USA was eliminated from playoff contention with a 2-1 loss in last Sunday's SuperClasico match against the Galaxy, but they remain an interesting foe for Seattle in that they are the only MLS club that has never lost to the Sounders in regular season play. The Goats are 2-0-2 against Sigi Schmid's boys since Seattle joined the league last year, and the Red-and-White will look to retain that unbeaten streak. This game is also one of four left for breakout American striker Justin Braun (nine goals) to convince Bob Bradley to give him a call-up for the U.S. national team's match against South Africa in November.
4) San Jose Earthquakes at Kansas City Wizards -- Saturday, Oct. 23rd
San Jose currently occupies the eighth and final playoff spot. Kansas City sits in ninth, so this match could very well decide who goes to the postseason and who goes home. The two sides are very evenly matched, with San Jose boasting a 3-1-2 record in its past six games, while the Wizards are an almost identical 3-2-1. K.C. has some ground to make up over the next couple of weeks, but if they can get within striking distance of the Earthquakes in the league table, this will be the most hotly-contested match in all of October.
5) FC Dallas at Los Angeles Galaxy -- Sunday, Oct. 24th
FC Dallas hasn't lost a match since May 29th. That was four-and-a-half months ago. The last team to hand them a defeat? Los Angeles. The two sides will meet again on the final day of the regular season in a game that could have big implications for playoff seeding and the Supporters Shield. Dallas has been on fire all summer, with MVP candidate David Ferreira leading the charge. But if there's anybody left on The Hoops' schedule that could spoil their unbeaten run, it's L.A.. This match will be each side's last tune-up before the playoffs begin.