Saturday 14th July
New York Red Bulls vs Sporting Kansas City
The MLS action this weekend begins in the East Coast with a momentous meeting between two top sides this season.
With almost identical records, the Red Bulls and SKC both sit 3rd in their respective conferences with SKC one point ahead on 33.
However, despite having more points, recently, this week’s Red Bull Arena visitors have been on a slump. Failing to win their last three matches (Two losses, one draw) has seen them fall from top spot in the west.
They were encouraging in their 2-2 draw against Toronto, however, and will hope that puts them in good stead for this weekend.
Similarly to SKC, the Red Bulls stalled last week as they lost the Hudson River Derby 1-0 against NYCFC.
However, very much on a roll before that with three straight wins, they’ll be confident of bouncing back this weekend.
New York City FC vs Columbus Crew
Staying in the east and 2nd placed NYCFC look to be building great momentum under Domenec Torrent as his side have won three of their last four games.
The most recent victory came in midweek, where a 3-0 win over Montreal saw them continue a season-long winning run at home. Something they’ll wish to continue this weekend.
This might be a big ask, however, as joining star man David Villa on the injury list is Jo Inge Berget who has looked encouraging under his new manager.
If NYCFC do lack that cutting edge up front then the Crew must be ready to take advantage.
They’ve seemed to be in limbo for a while now with their last six games reading DDLLWL and a win against a top team like NYCFC could motivate them to keep hold of their play-off spot.
That spot is in 4th place, however, if they have a similar result to last week (a 4-0 loss to LA Galaxy) they could slip into 5th.
Montreal Impact vs San Jose Earthquakes
Despite Montreal’s poor run of eight defeats in ten games in the spring, their resurgence has seen them climb up to 6th in the east.
Although they were on the end of a three-goal drilling at Yankee Stadium in midweek, they’ll be confident of getting another three points. Especially when looking at the opposition.
Don’t get me wrong, San Jose shouldn’t be underestimated as they have shown promise at times recently, however, without a win in just over two months they just seem to be on one of those runs.
If they have any chance of ending that run this weekend though, they’ll be looking toward Danny Hoesen who has done exceptionally well to reach double figures for goals this season.
New England Revolution vs LA Galaxy
Looking to leapfrog Columbus Crew into 4th are Brad Friedel’s Revs who are without a loss in almost two months.
Although most of their matches in this time have ended as draws, he’ll no doubt take confidence in that as his side comes up against a team who scored four last weekend.
Those four goals were against the Crew in fact so the Revs need to be wary of their opponents who have been boosted very much by the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 36-year-old has been on fire, scoring four in his last three games, however, that hasn’t been enough to push the Galaxy into the play-off positions.
Determined to do so, the Revs will do well to resist an LA Galaxy side who can move up to 6th in the west with a win.
FC Dallas vs Chicago Fire
Leading the west at the moment are FC Dallas who, after the high of beating Atlanta United, feel to RSL last week.
That 2-0 defeat now means a good result is essential this weekend to keep top spot as they are just a point clear.
After putting up good fights against Vancouver and Philly which despite scoring five goals saw them lose, Chicago will hope their efforts are rewarded this week.
With three in three, Nemanja Nikolic, seems to be back to his best and with loanee, Aleksandr Katai, continuing to impress they could rock the Dallas boat for a second week running.
Like the Galaxy, a win could potentially move them into play-off places.
D.C. United vs Vancouver Whitecaps
The game everyone has been waiting for is finally here. The introduction of Wayne Rooney in MLS.
D.C. United couldn’t have picked a more perfect day for Rooney’s debut as he will be one of the players to christen their new stadium, Audi Field.
Following a former Manchester United teammate, Ibrahimovic, to the MLS, Rooney will hope he can have a similar impact on his D.C. United debut.
If history repeats itself then D.C. United fans at Audi Field on Saturday may be able to count themselves lucky as Manchester United and England’s top goalscorer scored on his second Everton debut last August and a hat-trick on his Manchester United debut back in 2004.
Stuck at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, goals are very much needed in the U.S. capital and Wayne Rooney can certainly bring some.
Minnesota United vs Real Salt Lake
Like many MLS teams, Minnesota have been a bit hit or miss this season with six wins and 11 losses.
Possessing the great talent of Darwin Quintero you wouldn’t be surprised with them coming out on top or not in any match and that’s the same this weekend.
Despite losing three of their last four games, Minnesota the ability to pull something out the bag as they did against reigning MLS Cup champions, Toronto. But can show their inexperience at this level which may happen against 13 year MLS team RSL.
As well as being well seasoned at this level, RSL will be confident having won back to back games against two of the west’s top three teams, scoring six in the process.
Knowing they can go toe to toe with the best teams of this season, they should be confident heading to Minnesota in a game which could see them move closer to SKC in 3rd.
Orlando City vs Toronto FC
Two teams who have been largely disappointing this year finally meet in a game that needs a winner.
The hosts have lost their last nine games and after having eight hit past them in two games, they don’t look like offering anything to this game.
Toronto, on the other hand, have been looking for opportunities to find their usual form and this could be a great one.
After drawing 2-2 with SKC they should be confident in their ability and secure a win to take to Chicago next week.
Colorado Rapids vs Houston Dynamo
One team that has come out of their funk in sorts is Colorado who broke their eight-game losing streak a few weeks ago.
Since then, this has been their record: DWWLL. Considering the form they were in that isn’t so bad, however, you’d think they’d need a positive result to avoid another losing streak.
Thankfully they are at home, where three of their four wins have been played out but Houston could prove too much for them.
When the sides last met in June, this week’s visitors ran out 2-0 winners and since then have had encouraging displays against SKC, LAFC and Minnesota.
It’ll be a big challenge for Colorado but they may be able to come through it.
Atlanta United vs Seattle Sounders
Back on top in the east, Atlanta are looking for their first back to back win since the first week of May.
Since then they’ve alternated between wins, draws and losses but thanks to two second-half goals last week they find themselves three points clear at the top.
Josef Martinez is back firing and Miguel Almiron’s form has picked up again in recent weeks so they’ll believe that can dispatch Seattle.
With Seattle’s only win in five games coming against Colorado, that certainly looks likely.
LAFC vs Portland Timber
The final game of the weekend sees, Western Conference hopefuls host a Portland side who are still on the catch up.
For LAFC they’ve been blessed by the form of Adama Diomande whose bagged nine goals in six games for the west’s 2nd best side.
A recognised force to reckoned with, he may be joined by Carlos Vela following Mexico’s World Cup exit, something that should excite LAFC fans.
However, looking to sneak into 4th, Portland will also be very confident, especially as Samuel Armenteros has three goals in two games.
Whether he finds the net or not, Portland will go into this game looking to attack and with LAFC scoring at least twice in their last five games, goals are guaranteed.