The first four listed below include teams battling the Sounders for playoff position. And that all paves the way to the highlight game: Columbus at Los Angles, complete with its Supporters Shield implications and possible return of David Beckham.
Here are short previews from the league:
Colorado Rapids at New York Red Bulls, 1 p.m. (TeleFutura)Conor Casey’s return to the lineup on Aug. 21 after missing three starts to injury brought with it a change to a twin-striker setup by Rapids coach Gary Smith. In the last two games, Casey and strike partner Omar Cummings have combined for five goals and played a part in all six of Colorado’s tallies in that time.The Rapids have won back-to-back games by a 3-0 scoreline for the first time since 2007, when they defeated New England and Los Angeles, Aug. 16-26.Again missing four players to international duty, the Red Bulls weren’t able this time to overcome their absences. They also were without the host of national teamers on Aug. 11, but still defeated Toronto FC 1-0. D.C. United at Toronto FC, 1 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)D.C. United can be eliminated from playoff contention this weekend if they lose at Toronto FC and by both Seattle (vs. Real Salt Lake) and San Jose (vs. FC Dallas) win.D.C. United have not scored a goal in 352 minutes, the second-longest drought in MLS this season. The Kansas City Wizards went 402 minutes without scoring, April 10-May 5.The teams are meeting for the first time this season, the next-to-last teams to open their season series. Real Salt Lake and Colorado will meet for the first time Sept. 25; like TFC and United, they will conclude their set in the final weekend of the season.After winning each of their first four home games of the season, Toronto FC have won just two of eight league games since. Chicago Fire at Philadelphia Union, 3 p.m. (FSC / FSE)Union conclude a two-game homestand with the game against Chicago having not won at PPL Park since July 17, a 2-1 win against Toronto. They’ve drawn four of the five games since.Sebastien Le Toux became the first player in MLS this season to reach 10 goals and 10 assists, recording his 10th marker of the year against Kansas City.The teams are meeting for the second time this season, the Fire having claimed a 2-1 win June 5 at Toyota Park behind goals from Baggio Husidic and Marco Pappa. FC Dallas at San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)FC Dallas extended their unbeaten streak to 13 games with the 1-0 win against Toronto FC despite missing five starters to injury and suspension.FC Dallas also extended their winning streak at Pizza Hut Park to six games, longest in MLS this season.Ruben Luna made his MLS debut, coming on in the 82nd minute, and nearly added his first professional goal to his big night, only to see it ruled out for offside.In his first start for the Earthquakes, Geovanni showed why the club made him its first Designated Player, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the 2-1 win at Houston. Columbus Crew at LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)David Beckham says he is targeting this week to be ready for his return to the Galaxy lineup. Watch his interview with FS West on LAGalaxy.com. Beckham has not played a minute after suffering an Achilles tendon injury last March while playing for AC Milan.Omar Gonzalez’s goal put an end to a 350-minute goalless drought for the Galaxy – the third-longest in MLS this season. Coincidentally, the Galaxy also have the second-longest shutout streak this season.The game at D.C. United started a string of five league games out of the next seven on the road for Columbus. During that stretch, which concludes Oct. 16 in Toronto, the Crew must also make a trip to Seattle for the U.S. Open Cup final (Oct. 5) and travel to Guatemala for a CONCACAF Champions League game against Municipal (Sept. 29).Peruvian forward Andrés Mendoza made his Columbus debut after a protracted signing effort, coming on late in the win against D.C. United.