17 July 2014 22:30
Columbus Crew have the ideal opportunity to end a miserable run of form when they host rock-bottom Montreal Impact on Sunday.
Gregg Berhalter’s side, who triumphed in their opening three fixtures, have won just one of their last 16 league matches to prompt an alarming slide down the Eastern Conference table.
But it is the Impact who sit bottom of the standings, with just three wins from 17 games leaving the Canadian outfit nine points adrift of a top-five spot that would secure a place in the Final Series.
Columbus’ next two games are on the road, at New England Revolution and Chicago Fire, so they will want to make the most of home comforts while they can.
New England are another side in woeful form, having lost their last five on the bounce, including a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Los Angeles Galaxy last time out.
Remarkably, though, they remain in fifth and can consolidate that position with a win over Western Conference side Dallas, who have taken eight points from the last 12 on offer.
Eastern table-toppers Sporting Kansas City entertain the Galaxy with an eye on extending their five-match unbeaten streak, while Real Salt Lake can close the gap on runaway Western leaders Seattle Sounders, who have a friendly with Tottenham on Saturday, when they host Vancouver Whitecaps.
Portland Timbers, winless in four, kick off the weekend’s schedule with a home match against Colorado Rapids, while New York Red Bulls will look to bounce back from their defeat to Philadelphia Union when they tackle San Jose Earthquakes.
The Union, who triumphed 3-1 over the Red Bulls in midweek, head to Chicago to take on the Fire, and Toronto also hit the road to face a Houston Dynamo side out to snap a seven-game run without a win.
Finally, in-form Chivas USA can make it five victories on the bounce in their meeting with high-flying DC United.