By TRAVIS CLARK
The All-Star break is approaching, and the schedule is piling up fast with a number of summer friendlies.
Portsmouth visit RFK Stadium to face D.C. United, while Manchester United's next stop is in Kansas City where they'll take on the Wizards, and the Red Bulls are tied up with the New York Challenge. CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers also loom for Los Angeles, Seattle and Toronto. As a result, it's another light weekend of MLS action.
Perhaps the most important action will take place this weekend at Qwest Field, as the Sounders look to build on a road win against D.C. United when they play host to the Colorado Rapids on Sunday.
Here's a close look at this weekend's action:
FC DALLAS (6-2-7) vs. TORONTO FC (6-5-4) Saturday, 4:00 PM MLS Direct Kick
Can Dallas snap Toronto's home-winning streak? It's been a solid half for Dallas, and with a game in hand on Real Salt Lake are just five points behind. Contribution from Brek Shea and David Ferreira have offset Jeff Cunningham's struggles.
It won't be easy to leave BMO Field with three points in hand, and Toronto will be able to call on Mista to help turnaround offensive woes. TFC haven't lost yet at home this season, and are preparing to take on Motagua in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League qualifier on Tuesday.
Dallas has been able to grind out a few results on the road, and could snatch something here at the end. FC Dallas 1, Toronto 1.
HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-7-4) vs. COLUMBUS CREW (9-3-4) Saturday, 7:30 PM MLS Direct Kick
It certainly hasn't been Houston's season this year. Injuries have hampered the Dynamo, and as of now remain outside of the playoff picture.
Columbus has yet another game at Crew stadium — a third in a row — and look to make it a second win in a row. The usual suspects have been at it again, with Guillermo Barros Schelotto once again leading the attack. Back on July 10 the two sides battled to a 0-0 stalemate, but a familiar setting should favor the Crew. Columbus 2, Houston 1.
CHIVAS USA (4-9-2) vs. REAL SALT LAKE (9-3-4) Saturday, 10:00 PM MLS Direct Kick
Only D.C. United keeps Chivas USA from the worst record in MLS, and trip to Rio Tinto isn't going to make things any better for the Rojiblancos. New signings have come in, including Sal Zizzo, Giancarlo Maldonado and Pablo Nagamura, but it won't be enough to match the firepower of Real Salt Lake.
Last week, RSL dropped a result on the road against Dallas, but with a formidable 6-2-0 record at home, look for them to bounce back with ease. Real Salt Lake 3, Chivas USA 0.
COLORADO RAPIDS (6-4-5) vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (5-8-4) Sunday, 10:30 PM FSC/FSE
This is a big one for Seattle. Their fading playoff hopes got a shot in the arm from last week's win against D.C. And while it's too early to write off their sophomore year, improving on a 3-2-4 mark at home must be taken care off. The Freddie Ljungberg saga looks to be nearing an end, and this weekend could be a chance for Blaise Nkufo to assert himself in league play.
A solid and steady Colorado comes to town hoping to spoil Seattle in front of another large home crowd. The Rapids are certainly capable, but really need Conor Casey and Omar Cummings to start clicking. Former KC Wizard Claudio Lopez has seen his minutes grow off the bench and might make the starting lineup. He can be the creative difference for Colorado, but look for Nkufo to lead Sounders to a win. Seattle 2, Colorado 0.