If you’re to watch just three Major League Soccer game this weekend — who am I to tell you that you can only watch three? — allow me to suggest…
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FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City — Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, FS1
In the last five days, Sporting KC have won away to last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners, the New York Red Bulls, and lost at home to last year’s second-to-bottom Colorado Rapids. At which point, I simply throw my hands up in the air and remind myself that no one actually knows what’s going on in MLS. While FCD are a vastly superior side to either of the aforementioned, they’re also a dream matchup, stylistically, for Sporting. No type of team frustrates a Peter Vermes-coached side like those that sit deep defensively, defend in numbers and hit on the counter-attack — which is to say, the Rapids. The tempo will be at an all-time high in this one, and no matter who takes home the points, that’s a sign that we’re all winners for watching.
Prediction: FCD 0-1 Sporting KC
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, MLS Live
Joao Plata is your through-five-weeks-of-the-season MVP, and it’s really not close. Four goals and three assists make him the statistical leader, but it’s the team success — 11 points from five games, third in the Western Conference — which he’s spurred on that makes him the runaway leader halfway through April. When striker Yura Movsisyan returned to RSL this winter, the expectation was that he would assume the bulk of the goalscoring responsibility and get 15 or more goals this season. That’s always a dangerous ask for a new signing, whether they’ve been in the league — and had success — before or not. Plata’s early-season form has made Movsisyan’s re-acclamation to a much smoother process, and allowed him to do find his way out of the spotlight before stepping to the forefront by season’s end.
Prediction: RSL 2-1 Whitecaps
Columbus Crew SC vs. New York City FC — Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live
At some point, Crew SC have to snap out of their early-season funk and hang a touchdown and an extra point on some team of poor schmucks, right? 2016 (one goal through five games) has been significantly less kind to Kei Kamara than his 22-goal 2015 season was — so much so that he remains on strike from speaking to the media. At some point, Kamara’s going to break out of this slump and bag a 23-minute hat trick. Given the constant flux of midfield members and their collective alignment, there should be chances-a-plenty for Kamara in this one.
Prediction: Crew SC 3-1 NYCFC