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MLS watchtower: Three games I’ve circled this weekend

Chicago Fire

The NBC crew already told you about tonight’s match from Seattle, a contest worth checking out. I’ll have the popcorn out for that one.

This is a tough spot for Philadelphia, and not just for all the potentially destructive debris floating around Eastern Pennsylvania. This is Chicago’s home opener, and that’s traditionally been get-it-done time for the Fire. The club is 8-3-3 all-time in home openers and 4-1-1 in openers at Toyota Park (pictured at right). The Fire looked OK in last week’s 1-1 draw at Montreal, negotiating a tough spot of their own to claim a point amid nearly 60,000 fans and an uncooperative artificial turf. By the way, this marks the first time former Fire teammates Frank Klopas and Peter Nowak oppose each other from the sidelines. (8:30 EDT Saturday from Toyota Park)

Rafa Marquez is back with the Red Bulls, done with the suspension that kept his finger prints off the club’s winless (0-2) start. Hans Backe’s team desperately needs this one. I mean, needs it like Willy needs Wonka. Like PB needs the J. Like everyone on Jersey Shore needs therapy. In fact, Snooki and the rest of the kookies aren’t the only Jersey-ites in for some expensive therapy if Backe’s side drops this one; that would be 0-3, and a 0-3 Red Bull Arena would not be a happy place. Colorado, a semi-surprising 2-0 under new manager Oscar Pareja, visits Harrison as a follow-up to last week’s win in Philadelphia. (4 p.m. EDT Sunday from Red Bull Arena)

Some teams get so narrow in their attack that crimping off the interior passing channels becomes the one and only defensive objective. Do that, and only through providence or defensive error will come a goal against. But Sporting Kansas City definitely is not “some team.” Peter Vermes’ side has four goals this year, all off service from the wings. That’s Dallas’ issue to deal with this weekend. While the FCD wide play is significantly muted due to Brek Shea’s Olympic qualifying mission, SKC’s ability to deploy that 4-3-3 and stretch teams across the field remains loaded (never mind Teal Bunbury’s absence for the under-23s.) Both teams are undefeated; Dallas has a win and a draw while SKC is perfect over its first two. (7 p.m. EDT Sunday from Livestrong Sporting Park)