After a two game slate midweek, MLS returns with a large seven game slate starting on Friday night and ending late Saturday evening. Luckily, most players have returned from international duty, although how ready they will be to play another 90 minutes is another question. As we look at today’s MLS Game Breakdown I will also be analyzing some injury concerns and look for potential breakout players. Also follow me on Twitter (@jwl_15) for injury and lineup updates throughout the day.

Friday & Saturday’s Contests

$2k Striker – $3 entry fee

$1.5K Equalizer – $27 entry fee

Chicago Fire @ New York Red Bulls
Game Analysis
The New York Red Bulls will look to move closer to taking over the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings against Chicago on Friday night. Neither team will be dealing with injuries, as Roy Miller, Chris Duvall, and Adailton are all still out with long term injuries. The Red Bulls should dominate this game at home, as Chicago are winless on the road this season. The big question is how will the Red Bulls begin to work Shaun Wright-Phillips and Gonzalo Veron into the lineup.
Line: New York Red Bulls (-1) O/U: 3 (o: -110, u: -110)

Players to Watch
* Kennedy Igboananike, Chicago Fire ($7,200)
* Gilberto, Chicago Fire ($6,900)
* Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls ($12,000)
* Gonzalo Veron, New York Red Bulls ($3,000)

Columbus Crew @ Philadelphia Union
Game Analysis
The Columbus Crew will also look to move to the top of the Eastern Conference standings as they travel to Philadelphia on Saturday. The Union find themselves right in the middle of the playoff race as they are three points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot. Unfortunately they will be missing both Maurice Edu and Cristian Maidana, but that didn’t seem to matter last week as Conor Casey came on as a late substitute to score two goals in their win over San Jose. The Crew suffered a horrible loss last weekend, but were without a majority of their key players. Kei Kamara has returned and will join the usual starters in attack as they try get back on the winning track.
Line: (Pick) O/U: 3 (o: Even, u: -120)

Players to Watch
* Kei Kamara, Columbus Crew ($11,300)
* Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew ($8,700)
* CJ Sapong, Philadelphia Union ($7,100)
* Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union ($6,100)

Real Salt Lake @ Houston Dynamo
Game Analysis
Real Salt Lake are basically eliminated from the playoff picture already and they will look to ruin Houston’s dreams of a late season run on Saturday. RSL have lost eight straight road games and will have to travel to Houston in hopes to end the streak. Defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Kofi Sarkodie are both questionable with injuries, but I would expect both to be available in what is possibly Houston’s most important game of the season. As for RSL, they will be missing both Luke Mulholland and Tony Beltran due to suspension. With RSL’s road record and two key players missing, I expect the Dynamo will be in “must win” mode.
Line: Houston Dynamo (-1) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -115, u: -105)

Players to Watch
* Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake ($6,800)
* Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake ($9,000)
* Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo ($8,100)
* Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo ($7,200)

New York City FC @ FC Dallas
Game Analysis
FC Dallas’s new youth movement has worked so far with wins in back to back games. They have been able to keep pace with Vancouver and LA at the top of the Western Conference and they even have two games in hand. Mauro Diaz and Dan Kennedy are both questionable to return to the starting lineup, and it will be interesting to see where they fit in given the recent success of the younger players. As for New York City FC, they are falling very fast and are only one point ahead of last place in the Eastern Conference. Clearly their big money signings just are not clicking together and defensively they are in shambles. I expect FC Dallas to dominate this game from start to finish, scoring multiple goals in the process.
Line: FC Dallas (-1) O/U: 3 (o: -115, u: -105)

Players to Watch
* David Villa, New York City FC ($13,200)
* Kwadwo Poku, New York City FC ($6.000)
* Michael Barrios, FC Dallas ($5,600)
* Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas ($9,800)

DC United @ Colorado Rapids
Game Analysis
DC United have lost three in a row as they are beginning to lose a grip on that top spot in the Eastern Conference. Luckily for them, they will be facing one of the worst teams in the league and their playmaker, Fabian Espindola, is likely to return from injury. As for Colorado, their only injury concern will be Luis Solignac who is still out with his long term hamstring injury. Bill Hamid is back in goal for DC United and that means the worst goal scoring team in the league will have an even harder time on Saturday. I expect DC United to win away from home as they try to hold off the surging New York Red Bulls.
Line: (Pick) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -115, u: -105)

Players to Watch
* Bill Hamid, DC United ($4,400)
* Alvaro Saborio, DC United ($7,900)
* Kevin Doyle, Colorado Rapids ($6,500)
* Gabriel Torres, Colorado Rapids ($5,200)

Seattle Sounders @ San Jose Earthquakes
Game Analysis
The Earthquakes suffered a terrible loss last weekend as their four game win streak came to an end against the Philadelphia Union. They were missing two of their key midfield pieces and will look to bounce back against Seattle on Saturday. Unfortunately for them both Jordan Stewart and Victor Bernardez are both in doubt, which would put in dent in their ability to stop Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. As for Seattle, they have climbed safely back into a playoff position and will look to win their third match in a row. The suspension of Osvaldo Alonso will be detrimental given his ability to break up play in the midfield, but Seattle will always have a chance to win with Martins and Dempsey on the field together.
Line: (Pick) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -105, u: -115)

Players to Watch
* Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders ($10,500)
* Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders ($10,300)
* Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes ($9,400)
* Quincy Amarikwa, San Jose Earthquakes ($7,300)

Montreal Impact @ LA Galaxy
Game Analysis
Didier Drogba and the Montreal Impact made a statement last weekend with a 4-3 win over Chicago that saw Drogba record a hat trick. With the attack of Drogba, Ignacio Piatti, Justin Mapp, and Dominic Oduro, they should be a threat in attack as we near the end of the season. The one thing they should worry about this week is the suspension of Laurent Ciman as they travel to LA to face the dangerous Galaxy attack. Robbie Keane, Giovanni Dos Santos, and others are clearly the most feared attack in MLS right now, as they should be. They will be facing a team that gave up three goals to the last place Chicago Fire last weekend and will be missing their top defender. I expect the Galaxy to impress once again as they look to take over the top spot in the Western Conference.
Line: LA Galaxy (-1) O/U: 3 (o: -130, u: +105)

Players to Watch
* Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact ($8,800)
* Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact ($8,700)
* Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy ($11,300)
* Giovanni Dos Santos, LA Galaxy ($9,600)