The New York Red Bulls could find themselves fighting to remain in the top five of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference standings this time next week depending on all that goes down this weekend. They must put what was an ugly performance at home against Sporting KC on Wednesday night far out of their memories and fast, because dropping points on the road against a very "meh" New England Revolution side on Saturday night just should not happen. Even if New York pick up what pessimistic (and perhaps realistic) RBNY supporters would call an unexpected win, they'll still need some help from other teams if they are going to catch Chicago Fire and Kansas City in the table.
2012 NY Red Bulls scoreboard watching for September 22
Montreal Impact vs. Sporting KC: A mismatch on paper, but don't be fooled by the fact that the best team in the MLS East is taking on a side that wouldn't qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today. Montreal have won ten league matches at home in 2012, and they also defeated Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park earlier this season. An Impact win here coupled with New York beating New England could help erase what happened at Red Bull Arena this past Wednesday.
Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers: A stoppage time goal denied Portland a win in San Jose earlier in the week, and the Timbers haven't been easy to beat as of late minus a surprisingly poor performance at Colorado last month. While RSL are one of the best home teams in the league this season, they've also routinely been an inconsistent side that has failed to impress against lesser opponents. A Salt Lake win would put them level on points with New York unless the Red Bulls earn a positive result in New England, so RBNY supporters should hope that the "good Timbers" show up at RSL.
Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew: A "pick your poison" game for New York fans. Chicago are a point ahead of New York, while Columbus trail the Red Bulls in the standings by four points. Columbus were the hottest team in all of MLS just a few weeks ago, and Chicago have quietly become true contenders to win the conference. One would do well to avoid looking too far ahead, and a Chicago victory does New York no good at this stage of the campaign. I'd be fine with anything other than a Fire victory.
LA Galaxy vs. Toronto FC: The defending league champs have been on fire, and I don't expect them to be stopped at home this weekend. There's really no nice way to describe TFC at the start of the fall season. They're just terrible. Keep your expectations low here, New York fans.
Seattle Sounders at San Jose Earthquakes: This is an interesting contest for New York. San Jose remain atop the overall league standings and on 57 points, while Seattle, currently on 48 points, have been an extremely solid side since the beginning of August. RBNY fans may be ready to close the door on any and all Supporters' Shield hopes, but the math says there's still a chance. For that reason, I'll be hoping for anything other than a SJ victory.
2012 NY Red Bulls scoreboard watching for September 23
Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo: Philly let the Red Bulls down on Thursday, and New York fans will again need to count on the Union to produce a positive result. Houston could be level on points with New York come Monday morning depending on what occurs in league contests over the next two days. So what if Union are near the bottom of the overall league standings. They could pull off the upset. OK, maybe not.
DC United vs. Chivas USA: DC, outside of the top five of the conference at the beginning of the week, could leapfrog New York in the league table in the next 48 hours. Chivas may be in last place in the MLS West, but there is at least a little reason for hope. They've played better on the road than when at home in 2012. Take what you can get here, New York fans.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids: Colorado's playoff hopes are nearly in the ground, and Vancouver, technically a playoff team if the season ended as of the typing of this sentence, are twelve points behind New York in the table. I honestly can't pretend that I care about this game right now.