Tonight's a bit of an Upstairs-Downstairs night in Eastern Conference action, as we'll have lots of playoff-contending teams pitted against the league's also-rans. D.C. United don't kick off in Portland until 10:30 tonight, so get ready for it starting with the early games tonight, both of which have implications for the Black-and-Red's playoff hunt.
What Are You Drinking?: We're suckers for Tradition here at B&RU, but it's still morning as I write this, so I can't yet say what I'll be drinking. But it'll probably be gin or whiskey. Maybe I'll split the difference and go with Old Tom gin in a Martinez cocktail (just like a Manhattan, but with a sweeter, mellower type of gin instead of the whiskey) - I'll just need to come into some vermouth and cherries between now and tonight.
New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC - 7:00
The Metros are even on points with D.C. United and, just like the Black-and-Red, will be looking to draw level with the Chicago Fire after the Windy City side lost to first place Sporting Kansas City last night. The Jersey Boys shouldn't have too tough of a task, though, as they get bottom-dwelling Toronto at home. Then again, Thierry Henry & Co. have been flummoxed by seemingly easy asks at times this year, so we can hope for the upset. After all, for all the talent on the energy drink payroll, they still have Hans Backe making lineup decisions. Anything can happen.
Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union - 7:30
Remember that United currently have a magic number of 8. Any combination of points won by D.C. and points dropped by the Crew that adds up to 8 will secure our playoff berth. Which puts us in the position of rooting for the Zolos and that stupid Doop song for the second consecutive week. It worked last week as they beat Houston, so here's hoping they can get out of Ohio with at least a point from the slumping Crew.
Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution - 8:30
The Dynamo still have not lost in that jewel box of a stadium of theirs, and this week they draw the Revs down in Houston. New England did us a favor last week, scoring a goal at the death to hold the Metros to a draw, and we've got to root for them to do us another solid this week. That's a big ask, though. Even though Houston was thoroughly beaten in Philly last week, and the slump that has them mired has led to some talk of changing tactics in the land of Orange (sounds familiar), the Dynamo have to be favored in this one, especially with Lee Nguyen on the shelf for the year.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 9:00, NBC Sports Network
This will be one to watch, as Seattle tries to lift themselves out of a Wild Card place and Vancouver tries to hold off Dallas in the race for the final playoff spot in the West. You may as well catch the first half of this one before switching over to CSN for the United game at 10:30.
Now, the rest of these are at the same time as our game, so I fully expect you'll be over in the GameThread. Accordingly, I won't write much on them.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas - 10:30
The Quakes will want to match K.C.'s result and keep their lead in the Supporters' Shield race, while Brek Shea & Co. will be looking to keep the pressure on Vancouver for the last Western Conference playoff spot.
Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake - 10:30
Chivas USA is the only non-playoff team in tonight's all-West match-ups, but they've been stingy of late. It's a bit gauche to play for a draw at home, but RSL hasn't been their imperial selves from the last couple years, and they might struggle to break down the Goats' deep, deep, so so deep defending.
Consider this your place for pre-game, in-game and post-game commentary. (I've always wanted to say that.)