The international break is upon us, yet the MLS has 5 matches this weekend, 6 if you include Thursday’s NYCFC vs DC United game. As Dice pointed out on the podcast, the MLS is one of the only leagues to continue with their season during international breaks. Not quite fair to the teams who have international quality players, but at the same time, it keeps the league a bit more level. However you feel about it, there are some quality matchups this weekend and I’m about to dip a preview pretzel in your brain-fondue. Only doing two today, the other games are all going to be 2-2 draws, get over it.

New England vs Colorado – 7:30pm EST – Saturday September 9 – MLS Live

Here’s how this match is going to go: The Revs have some shots from Kei Kamara  Lee Nguyen. Tim Howard Zac McMath saves them. Gashi Hairston shoots a lot. Kevin Doyle scores. Easy as a sunday morning. If you haven’t noticed there’s quite a few players missing on international duty. Marco Pappa and Mekeil Williams are also gone as well as a few others. Maybe all these absences will shake it up enough for the Revs to get something going. They’ve been shut out in four consecutive matches and have’t won in 6. Seems like someone had a bad cup of chowda.

Score prediction: 2-1 New England. I have a sneaking suspicion that Lee Nguyen is going to be a bit miffed that he didn’t get picked to travel with the USMNT, and he’s going to do his best impression of an international midfielder. With Timmy Howard out of the lineup for Colorado, Zac McMath gets a chance to prove he’s still valuable, but I’d be shocked if we didn’t see some type of #TimmyJitter pop out of Zac during this one. 1 goal from Doyle, 1 from Nguyen, own goal from Zac? I don’t want it, but I have to call it.

FC Dallas vs Portland – 9pm EST – Saturday September 3 – MLS Live

So perhaps last week I underestimated the Timbers, and they rubbed a non-GMO wood log in my face scoring 4 in the first half against their bitter rivals. They desperately needed that as they cling to the bottom of playoff cut-off. FC Dallas on the other hand is still hanging on to the top of the standings, with a solid win against Houston last week. They are 5 points ahead of second place RSL/Colorado, though Colorado has two games in hand on them. Darlington Nagbe, one of Portland’s best offensive playmakers is out on international duty, as is a couple of their key defenders, so they’ll be playing light. BTW, how is Diego Valeri, the prolific playmaker in midfield not called up to his national squad? It’s because he’s Argentinian and they pick prolific playmakers out of the ocean like mackerel. Dallas is missing 5 players due to inter-duty, including two key defensive/midfield players in Kellyn Acosta and Aubrey David, so it’s going to be a bit rough for them. This will be a good test of the depth of Dallas.

Score prediction: Portland is on a bit of a high and Dallas is playing without some key pieces, so I think this is going to be closer than it ought to be. Maximiliano Urruti (best name in MLS) is in the lineup for Dallas and their offense is mostly untouched by interlull, so I think it’s going to be a fairly high scoring affair. 4-2 Dallas.