Major League Soccer’s Week 4 preview: Crew, Sounders stare down tough slump stoppers

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
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Last week saw just a trio of MLS games due to the international break, but we get a full slate of games this weekend.

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That features two perceived powers, Columbus and Seattle, aching to end early season slumps despite very tricky inter-conference competition.

FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew — 9 p.m. ET Saturday

We live in a world where there is a very real possibility that the Eastern Conference champion Crew will be without a win after four matches.

That’s because Dallas has looked very good while Columbus has not only failed to cure its MLS Cup hangover, but also has Ethan Finlay, Tony Tchani and Wil Trapp returning from very busy international breaks.

This is MLS, of course, so it stands to reason that Columbus will pick up a huge win. We won’t pick that, though, because Fabian Castillo, Matt Hedges and stuff.

Prediction: Dallas 2-1.

Seattle Sounders vs. Montreal Impact — 10 p.m. ET Saturday

Montreal is flying halfway across a continent for this, which is good for struggling Seattle. Teams tend to find real trouble on these long trips, and Montreal won just one of its five Western roadies last season. Seattle went 5-0 when an Eastern Conference foe came calling in Washington.

So do you bet on form, which would have Montreal picking up three points? Or do you bet on a combination of geography and biology? We’ll meet this one halfway.

Prediction: 1-1

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Los Angeles Galaxy — 10 p.m. ET Saturday

Two teams many figured to be competing for the Supporters Shield tangle in British Columbia with the risk of sinking further off the pace.

The ‘Caps are 2-2 after four matches, while L.A. is 2-1. Vancouver will be without Masato Kudo, who was suspended for his game-winning penalty dive against Houston but has won two-straight, and swept its season series with the Galaxy last season.

Robbie Keane is out 4-6 weeks, and that could help the Canadian side. In fact, coupled with L.A.’s week off while the ‘Caps beat the Dynamo, we bet it’ll make the difference.

Prediction: ‘Caps 2-1.

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, left, and Vancouver Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston fight for a head ball in the second half of an MLS soccer game at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., Saturday, June 6, 2015. The Whitecaps won 1-0. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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Picking the rest
New England 1-0 New York Red Bulls — Friday
Chicago Fire 2-2 Philadelphia Union — Saturday
Colorado Rapids 1-2 Toronto FC — Saturday
Sporting KC 1-0 Real Salt Lake — Saturday
San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 DC United — Saturday
Orlando City 1-1 Portland Timbers — Sunday