The MLS season returns after taking some extended time off for the All-Star break. Or MLS returns after subjecting into players to a meaningless competition for a few days in the middle of an already packed scheduled. Take your pick.
Week 19: Chest 7, Martin 7, AMT 6, Readers 6
Overall: Chest 90, AMT 81, Martin 76, Readers 73
Friday July 29, 7:30 PM: Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids, Fox Soccer
Martin: Phi. Chest: Phi. AMT: Phi.
Colorado are actually scoring more than a goal per game on the road, but they're allowing even more than that. The Union have been on a little bit of a tear and should be well-rested. I expect this will be Peter Nowak's "You should have hired me, Sunil" game. (AMT)
Saturday July 30, 10:30 PM: San Jose Earthquakes vs. DC United, CSN
Martin: Tie. Chest: DC. AMT: DC.
United are actually playing better than San Jose at the moment - one Steven McCarthy header notwithstanding. McDonald will know the Quakes' tendencies and our formation shift should help us deal with SanHo's deep-dropping forwards. I have a feeling Ethan White will carry a bit of a grudge and won't let Steven Lenhart have his way with him this time around. (Chest)
Martin: LA. Chest: LA. AMT: LA.
David Beckham will sit out this game due to being suspended for Take The All-Star Game Too Seriously. During his weekend off, Beckham will either attend the Chistening Of The Royal Rat at Buckingham Basement in London, or decide to train with AC Milan for no good reason. (Martin)
Saturday July 30, 8:30 PM: Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders
Martin: Sea. Chest: Tie. AMT: Sea.
The Dynamo have been an enigma this season. Capable of playing with the best one week and making the worst look good the next. My pick is made a little easier by the knowledge that the Sounders are the League's Hottest Team This Week and are allowing less than a goal per game on the road. Houston can score in bunches, but they've struggled against organized defenses; just look at last week. (AMT)
Saturday July 30, 8:30 PM: Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution
Martin: Tie. Chest: KC. AMT: KC.
The Sporks have spent so much time away from LIVESTRONG, that they might accidentally wind up at some minor league baseball field thinking its their stadium. Wait, they actually played on a minor league baseball field last year? That must have been awkward with a bunch of dudes on the soccer field trying to hit them with bats and spitting sunflower seeds at them. (Martin)
Saturday July 30, 9:00 PM: Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew
Martin: RSL. Chest: RSL. AMT: RSL.
Jason Kreis says Charlie Davies took a dive (which is true), but that Alvaro Saborio only embellished contact (which is false; it was an outright dive). I wonder how he'll feel when Eddie Gaven hits the deck every time someone slightly bumps into him. (Chest)
Saturday July 30, 11:00 PM: Portland Timbers vs. Toronto FC
Martin: Tie. Chest: Por. AMT: Por.
MLS's two most trade-happy teams will take the field. Will Aron Winter and John Spencer be focused on coaching, or will they spend the whole game trying to work out a trade on the sidelines? (Chest)
Sunday July 31, 7:00 PM: FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, Galavision
Martin: Dal. Chest: Tie. AMT: Dal.
This seals it. I didn't pick a single tie this week. Which is, like, really weird for me. As tempted as I am to pick a Hot Summer MLS Classic (0-0), I think Dallas will find a way to sneak one into the net at Pizza Hut Park. (AMT)