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 By Arch Bell

Can Seattle keep its streak alive? We make our Rivalry Week predictions

Fredy Montero equalised for Vancouver in the second half after Nicolas Lodeiro netted an early penalty for the Sounders.

Predictions. They're something we like to do, especially when it comes to sports, and it's no different with soccer. When you nail a prediction, the instinct is to parade around like you caught a five-pound bass at your local fishing hole.

But when you miss badly on one, you want to crawl into a hole and hope everyone forgets about it. And for others, like 20th-century philosopher Clubber Lang, a prediction is merely a human condition.

Fortunately, the brazen MLS writers at ESPN FC are ready and willing to serve up their forecasts of several choice matches in this weekend's slot of games. Let's have a look.

L.A. Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes: The California Clasico is never a dull affair, and this season in particular has had its fireworks. After splitting the first two meetings in NorCal, both the Galaxy and Quakes enter Saturday's decider in Carson's StubHub Center weak and wounded. The Galaxy all but said goodbye to their playoff hopes with the 2-0 loss in Columbus in midweek, while San Jose was thrashed 4-0 by Real Salt Lake. New Galaxy boss Sigi Schmid is still searching for his first win, and the Dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan, have yet to start a match together. The Quakes are still in the mix for the playoffs, but their inconsistency doesn't breed confidence.

Arch Bell: Galaxy
Jeff Carlisle: Draw
Matt Pentz: Draw
Graham Parker: Draw

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: The last time these rivals met in June, it was a Cascadia classic, with Clint Dempsey rescuing a 2-2 draw for 10-man Seattle in the dying seconds in Portland. Both the Sounders and Timbers are playing very well at the moment and are at the top of the Western Conference. Seattle has a 10-match unbeaten streak, while Portland has won four of its past six and talisman Diego Valeri has scored in the Timbers' past five matches. Sunday's meeting has all the makings of a showdown.

Arch Bell: Draw
Jeff Carlisle: Seattle
Matt Pentz: Seattle
Graham Parker: Seattle

Clint Dempsey
The Seattle Sounders are unbeaten in eight. Can they continue the streak vs. Portland?

Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids: Real Salt Lake has lately shown an ability to pour in goals. This summer alone the Utah side has scored six in L.A. against the Galaxy, four in Portland and then four in midweek against San Jose. RSL still has some work to do to make the playoffs, but it will fancy its chances against Colorado. The Rapids are a mess right now. A once-strong defense is leaking goals, and the attack has little firepower. To boot, Colorado is 0-9-2 away from Commerce City this season. Not a good omen.

Arch Bell: Real Salt Lake
Jeff Carlisle: Real Salt Lake
Matt Pentz: Real Salt Lake
Graham Parker: Real Salt Lake

Columbus Crew SC vs. FC Dallas: What has happened to FC Dallas' defense? What was once an asset has become a liability. Walker Zimmerman is recovered from his injury, yet coach Oscar Pareja is not playing him. The Texans are winless in five and have allowed 12 goals in that span. Columbus continues to get the results it needs to remain in the playoff zone, with Ola Kamara scoring a quiet 13 goals. New arrival Pedro Santos' first assist in Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Galaxy is also a good sign, But with Dallas' attack reigniting midweek in the 3-3 draw against Houston, the Crew's vulnerable defense could be in for a long night.

Arch Bell: Dallas
Jeff Carlisle: Draw
Matt Pentz: Draw
Graham Parker: Columbus

Philadelphia Union vs. Atlanta United: These are two teams still in the hunt for a playoff berth, however Atlanta is in a much better situation, with just 23 games played as opposed to Philly's 26. Both teams suffered losses in midweek, the Union a more predictable 3-0 defeat in Toronto, while Atlanta's struggles against last-place D.C. United continue to confound after a 1-0 loss. Atlanta is an extremely streaky team, so the fact that Tata Martino's team is winless in its last three suggests another corner is going to be turned soon. After a late-spring/early-summer renaissance, the Union are reverting back to the ugly form they showed at the beginning of the season, when they went winless in their first eight. This could be just the match to kick on Atlanta's playoff push.

Arch Bell: Atlanta
Jeff Carlisle: Atlanta
Matt Pentz: Draw
Graham Parker: Draw

Arch Bell is based in Austin, Texas and covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .

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