Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake will meet Friday at CenturyLink with the top spot hanging in the balance.
But as you can see, there are four teams within three points of catching or passing the Sounders, and a dozen within nine points.
Here's the schedule for the rest of the weekend:
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SATURDAY, September 14Montreal Impact vs. Columbus Crew, 11 a.m. PT
· Marco Di Vaio scored a pair of goals – his league-leading fourth multiple-goal game – in Montréal’s 4-2 win at New England on Sunday. Di Vaio now leads the MLS Golden Boot race with 17 goals; he’s scored five goals in his last four games.· Patrice Bernier also scored a pair of goals, converting a pair of penalties, in the win vs. New England. All four of Bernier’s goals this season have come from the penalty spot; he is 10-for-10 in converting penalties in his two MLS seasons.
· Brian Bliss lost for the first time since taking over as interim head coach of the Crew in their 3-0 defeat at Sporting Kansas City on Friday. The Crew have been shut out in three of their last four matches.
· The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Matias Sánchez and Dominic Oduro scored first-half goals to lead the Crew to a 2-0 win June 15 at Crew Stadium; Montréal’s Marco Di Vaio and Dominic Oduro of Columbus traded goals four minutes apart as the teams reached a 1-1 draw on April 14 at Stade Saputo.
D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy, 1 p.m. (UniMas)
· D.C. United became the first team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention following their 1-0 loss at Chivas USA on Sunday, extending their winless streak to five games.
· United still have yet to win away from RFK Stadium, now 0-11-3 on their travels. Four teams have gone through an entire MLS season without a road victory, last Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2012. United still have games at New England, Toronto and Kansas City this season.
· The Galaxy saw their three-game winning streak come to an end in a 1-0 home loss to Colorado on Saturday evening, their second consecutive loss to the Rapids this season.
· The latest installment of the one of the most enduring rivalries in MLS history, the Galaxy have a eight-game unbeaten streak vs. United. Since a 4-1 D.C. win in 2008 at RFK Stadium, the Galaxy have won four times with four draws, including a 3-1 win in Carson last March 18 in the only meeting between the teams.
New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC, 4 p.m. (TSN2, RDS2)
· The Red Bulls won their second consecutive match and matched their season-high with four goals in a 4-1 win at the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon, as both Thierry Henry and Jonny Steele scored a goal and added an assist.
· The teams are playing for the third time this season. Tim Cahill scored a pair of goals – including the game-winner in the 89th minute – to give the Red Bulls a 2-1 victory April 27 at BMO Field; they played to a scoreless draw July 20 in Toronto.
· The Red Bulls have an nine-game undefeated streak alive (6-0-3) vs. Toronto FC, dating back to June 24, 2009, a 2-0 TFC win at BMO Field. The Red Bulls have won their last four home games vs. TFC, and have won all three meetings lifetime at Red Bull Arena (with a 10-1 goal differential).
Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo, 4:30 p.m.
· Union saw their winless streak extended to four matches and were shut out for a second consecutive game in a 1-0 loss at San Jose on Sunday evening. It’s the longest winless run of the season for Philadelphia.
· The Dynamo had their winless streak stretched to four games with their third loss in that time, a 4-1 defeat by the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo have conceded 12 goals in the four-game stretch.
· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ricardo Clark scored the game’s only goal in the 59th minute for a Dynamo victory July 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
· The Dynamo have never won at PPL Park, the teams reaching draws in their first two meetings in Chester before Union’s 3-1 win last Sept. 23.
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 5:30 p.m.
· Diego Fagundez scored for a third consecutive match in the Revolution’s 4-2 home loss to Montréal on Sunday. Fagundez also has a pair of assists in that time; he has 10 goals for the season. Kelyn Rowe scored his fourth goal over the last four matches in the loss to the Impact.
· The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and New England has won both. Jerry Bengtson scored the game’s only goal to give the Revolution a victory March 9 at Toyota Park, and Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe scored in a 2-0 Revs win August 17 in Foxborough.
· The win in the first meeting was New England’s first league win in Bridgeview since 2006, ending a nine-game winless run in league and cup play. The Revolution have won four of the last five matches between the clubs, after going more than five years without a league win vs. Chicago.
Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas, 6 p.m.
· Making his first start since Aug. 3, Edson Buddle scored for a third consecutive match in the Rapids’ 1-0 win at the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening. The Rapids have lost just once in their last 11 matches, dating back to June 29.
· Vicente Sánchez recorded his second assist in three games, making his fourth appearance since joining the Rapids.
· Fábian Castillo set up a pair of goals in FCD’s 3-1 win against Vancouver on Saturday evening in Frisco, and now has four assists in the last four matches. FC Dallas have two wins and a draw in their last three matches.
· Jair Benitez scored his first goal of the season and it was one of the goals of the season, a blast from just inside the halfway line that sailed over the head of Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted and under the crossbar.
· The teams are meeting for the third time this season. An 11th-minute goal from Jackson gave FC Dallas a 1-0 victory as the clubs met on the opening weekend of the season in Frisco. On June 1 in Commerce City, Colorado’s Atiba Harris and Blas Perez of FC Dallas each netted twice to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw.
Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
· Erick Torres scored his seventh goal in nine matches since joining Chivas USA, in their 1-0 win against D.C. United on Sunday evening at StubHub Center. Torres has scored the last five goals Chivas has scored, over the last four matches.
· Diego Valeri pulled into a tie for the MLS league lead with his 12th assist (with Philadelphia’s Sebastien Le Toux), and also scored his sixth goal of the season in the Timbers’ 4-0 home win vs. Toronto FC, snapping a two-game losing slide.
· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Rodney Wallace, Diego Valeri and Will Johnson all scored in a 3-0 Timbers victory, May 12 in Portland.
· Chivas has won four of the six meetings all-time in the league series, including all three meetings between the teams a season ago, including both matches at Jeld-Wen Field.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m.· The Earthquakes won for a sixth consecutive home game, defeating Philadelphia Union 1-0 on Sunday. It’s the club’s longest home winning streak since winning 12 in a row over the end of the 2001 season and the start of 2002.
· Whitecaps FC saw their winless streak extended to four games in a 3-1 loss at FC Dallas on Saturday, their third defeat in that run.
· The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Camilo Sanvezzo and Kenny Miller scored second-half goals to lead Whitecaps FC to a 2-0 win Aug. 10 at BC Place; San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski and Vancouver’s Corey Hertzog traded goals as the teams ended in a 1-1 draw April 6 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
· Whitecaps FC have not lost to the Earthquakes in Vancouver; the Quakes have not lost to Vancouver in their three home matches.
I'll be back with a roundup of the coming weekend's pairings.