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D.C. United fans’ guide & open thread for MLS Week 29: what to watch and who to root for

Everything you need to know for the action outside of RFK Stadium. It all kicks of Friday night at Yankee Stadium

MLS: Chicago Fire at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, my fellow D.C. United fans, you did it. Sure there’s some help from military appreciation day, the weather, a fun-to-watch team scrapping for a playoff spot and the long layoff between home games. But facts are facts, and the fact is that the lower bowl of RFK Stadium is going to be packed Saturday night to welcome Orlando City SC to town.

Woot. As fun as it’s going to be to be in that crowd, there will also be some other games happening, and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this here thread.

Things start with Friday night’s NYC-Chicago game, and we’ll reconvene Saturday for most of the rest of the weekend’s action, which includes a match-up between two Eastern Conference playoff teams when Toronto FC host the Philadelphia Union, a make-yourself-sick-not-rooting-against-the-Metros turn when the Montreal Impact visit the New York Red Bulls, and a chance for the Columbus Crew SC to climb out of the cellar on national television and do us all a solid by denying points to the New England Revolution. Plus, y’know, some other games, too.

Let’s get to it.

New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire, Friday 8pm

Where to watch: UniMas

Who to root for: Fiyurrrrr! Fiyurrrrr!

Why: United aren’t going to catch the Pigeons, but that doesn’t mean we can’t root for them to fade coming down the stretch, especially with one of United’s remaining home games coming against David Villa & Co. The Fire have been able to scores of late, too — as we D.C. fans are now keenly aware — so it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility that they grab a result in Yankee Stadium.

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday 5pm

Where to watch: MLS Live

Who to root for: Take your pick

Why: The Union are 7 points clear of United in the standings and are a near lock to make the playoffs, and are very likely to stay ahead of D.C. in the process. So your rooting interest will come down to whether you want to hold out hope for the Black-and-Red to catch Philly and whether you’d rather see someone besides TFC atop the East.

New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact, Saturday 7pm

Where to watch: MLS Live

Who to root for: It pains me to say this, but the Red Bulls

Why: It’s for the greater good, I promise. With the Impact four points ahead of United, a win for D.C. paired with an Impact loss would close that gap to one. Another loss for Montreal would also further their slow motion implosion, making it more likely that D.C. could make up whatever gap remains after this weekend. Luckily you’ll be at RFK Stadium and won’t have to suffer through not rooting against the team from Jersey in realtime.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, Saturday 7pm

Where to watch: MLS Live

Who to root for: Meh

Why: No bearing on United’s playoff hopes, no real intriguing storylines, one kind of bad team and one not super watchable team. Anyway, you’ll be at RFK Stadium.

Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers, Saturday 9pm

Where to watch: MLS Live

Who to root for: Reader’s choice

Why: There’s no effect on United’s playoff race, so you get to pick between orange and green. Houston are last in the West, while the Timbers are trying to hold onto their spot above the red line. But between getting home from D.C.-Orlando and the next game on this list, I don’t think many of you will be watching this.

Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, Saturday 9:30pm

Where to watch: MLS Live

Who to root for: Probably Dallas, but no judgment either way

Why: Two Western Conference playoff teams go at it in the mountains, where RSL has the most home wins in the league this year. Dallas, meanwhile is the best in the West at winning on the road. And they happen to be leading the Supporters’ Shield race. Along with Toronto, they’re the best bet to keep the Galaxy from claiming the Shield, which is why I lean toward the Hoops in this game.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City, Saturday 10:30pm

Where to watch: MLS Live

Who to root for: Sporks

Why: Chaos, plain and simple. SKC are just barely above the red line, which is weird to say when they lead the 7th-place Sounders by five points. But Seattle have two games in hand and are in good form. A KC win makes the three-way race between them, the Sounders and the Timbers a wild one, and who doesn’t want that?

LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders, Sunday 4pm

Where to watch: ESPN

Who to root for: Sinkhole. Barring that, Sounders

Why: A lot of people say meteor, but I prefer the more localized destruction of the sinkhole. It would spare the rest of Seattle (and the world) the blotting out of the sun that could come from a big meteor. I’m all about self-preservation, man. Anyway, if the Galaxy and Sounders aren’t swallowed by the earth, and if FC Dallas drop points on the Wasatch Range Saturday, LA could close the gap with the Shield leaders to just one point. Nobody wants that.

Columbus Crew SC vs. New England Revolution, Sunday 7pm

Where to watch: Fox Sports 1

Who to root for: The Crew

Why: New England are sitting just above the red line, two points ahead of United and Orlando, having played one more game. Assuming we don’t see a draw Saturday at RFK, this game will determine who enters the month of October with the inside track to the playoffs. United control their own destiny vis-a-vis the purple Lions, but the Revs losing in Ohio would certainly help matters.

Join us in the comments as we banter our way through the weekend.