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Previews and predictions for Wednesday's mid-week matches

Previewing the first batch of MLS mid-week games

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids

Sporting KC have won both games away from home this season en route to a place at the top of the Supporters' Shield standings despite a rash of injuries, and have played like the best team in MLS. They have a home game on Wednesday against the Rapids, a chance for them to extend their lead at the top to four points. It will be a tougher test than most expect, as Colorado have played stout defense and could be above the red line if not for a few goalkeeping errors.

The Rapids' attack is subpar, though, especially since Kevin Doyle tore apart his knee (literally) on international duty with Ireland. Shkelzen Gashi is still finding his footing in MLS, while winger Marco Pappa has been the only source of chance creation. However, they still have managed to grind out some points and will look to sit back and earn a hard-fought draw in Kansas City.

SKC's versatile attack—centered around Benny Feilhaber in midfield and Dom Dwyer's hold-up play at striker—will do the job and give the hosts a victory. Prediction: Sporting, 3-0

San Jose Earthquakes vs. New York Red Bulls

San Jose picked up a good point on the road against FC Dallas on Saturday, and even though they didn't have to face Mauro Diaz, it was a solid result for this Quakes team. They have gone through some defensive difficulties without Clarence Goodson and Anibal Godoy in the lineup recently, but the forward pairing of Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa has impressed. Those two score goals, something their opponents on Wednesday, the Red Bulls, have struggled to do this season.

Bradley Wright-Phillips is currently experiencing a major slump in front of the goal, bringing up the debate over whether Anatole Abang should take his place. Wright-Phillips isn't the only one to struggle with scoring, as RBNY have scored just one goal this season outside of their 4-3 win over Houston three weeks ago in what turned out to be an anomaly. They'll struggle to break down a packed-in, physical San Jose defense, especially on the road.

Either Wondo or Amarikwa (or both) will pick up a goal or two and the Earthquakes move into a tie for second in the Western Conference. Prediction: San Jose, 2-1

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers

Both of these teams earned a point last weekend, but in very different circumstances. As mentioned before, Dallas managed a 2-2 home draw with the Earthquakes, while Portland limped to a 1-1 tie on the road in LA. The Timbers were the ones who got the good result, but they came away with an injury that could significantly impact the first portion of their season.

Darlington Nagbe could be out for a while after Nigel de Jong murdered his ankle in the 72nd-minute (earning just a yellow card, which is an absolute travesty). Nagbe is a key cog in the Timbers' midfield, and they will struggle to replace his box-to-box playing style and chance-creating ability. They face their first test since the injury just days after it against FCD, who have already lost their top midfielder—Diaz—for a couple weeks, and have struggled without him.

It evens out. But home-field advantage goes to Portland, and that's often the deal-breaker. Prediction: Portland, 1-0