As the matchdays move into double figures, teams are looking to cement their play-off positions early while others are trying not to get left at the foot of the conferences. But, at the top of the list is the Hudson River Derby between New York Red Bulls and New York City FC. Check out all the fixtures below.
Friday 4th May
Toronto FC vs Philadelphia Union
Toronto’s MLS season so far has taken a massive nosedive with the task of the Champions League alongside. However, now their Champions League campaign is over, they can fully focus on climbing up the Eastern Conference.
At the moment, Toronto sit rock bottom on just four points, but tonight’s game could be the perfect chance for Greg Vanney’s side to kickstart their season.
They welcome a Philadelphia side to BMO Field who scored half their season goals last week with a 3-2 win over D.C. United.
Like Toronto, Philly haven’t been too impressive this year. And with Toronto putting out a promising performance last week, only being denied a win by a disallowed goal, I expect the reigning Champions to come out on top.
Saturday 5th May
Montreal Impact vs New England Revolution
Moving onto Saturday and we’re still in Canada as Remi Garde’s Montreal host Brad Friedel’s New England.
However, unlike the first game of the week, I don’t see the Canadian side coming out on top in this one.
Montreal are currently on a four-game losing streak which has seen them concede three or more goals in their last four games. With such a leaky defence, I don’t think that’ll be something that comes to a halting stop this week.
Especially looking at the prospect of playing the Revolution. Freidel’s side sit fourth having managed to shut out the impressive Sporting KC and Columbus Crew in the past couple of weeks.
Along with keeping a clean sheet against such an attacking side like Sporting KC, they’ve also already thrashed Montreal this season with a 4-0 victory last month. Something that could happen again.
New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC
Possibly the biggest game of the weekend is the Hudson River Derby which will be hosted by the Red Bulls.
The home side haven’t had the best MLS campaign so far as like Toronto, they were also focused on the Champions League. However, they’ve still managed to show why they’re such a respected side.
Whether that’s with the performances of new arrivals like Florian Valot or constants like Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Although the latter showed he can create as well as score last week with two assists, the Red Bulls will be hoping BWP will be on target. Especially when you take into account he has bagged ten goals in nine games in the derby over the years. Also, because in the six games he’s scored against NYCFC, Red Bulls have won five and drawn once.
As for NYCFC they have a gunman of their own in the ranks in David Villa. Just one goal behind BWP this season, the Spaniard will be going into this game confidently having reached 400 career goals last week.
However, Villa hasn’t been as productive in the derby as BWP, scoring four goals. But with the backing of the best team in the East, this should make for a great match.
Minnesota United vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Next up is a game that I wouldn’t be shocked to see an upset occur.
In the second MLS season, even though Minnesota sit seventh in the West, they’ve showed encouraging signs at home and have shown great improvements recently.
This is in some part due to their new Designated Player, Darwin Quintero who has two goals and an assist in his first three games. If They’re going to be successful, he’ll play a big part.
On the other hand, Vancouver have an identical record going into this game with three losses and a win in their last game. However, discipline has seemed to fail them recently and away from home, that could come back to bite them.
So even though they have a better squad, including the special Alphonso Davies, this could be a tight encounter.
LAFC vs FC Dallas
Laurent Ciman christened LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium in the best way possible with a second screaming free-kick in as many games. Can he make it three out of three this weekend?
Well never say never, but the onus could possibly be placed on some new faces this week.
Matchday ten welcomes Adama Diomande (scored 25 in 26 under Bob Bradley for Stabæk in Norway) and Lee Nguyen who has had a friendly relationship with stats during his time with New England Revolution:
82 – Since the start of 2014, Lee Nguyen has tallied 82 goals+assists in #MLS play, fifth most in the league. He is one of three players with 40+ goals and 40+ assists in that time. Westward. pic.twitter.com/fT5i0AnzqS
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) May 2, 2018
Whether both signings will appear this weekend is yet to be known but Diomande could get some minutes as Marco Urena is out due to facial surgery.
This could also give the MLS newcomers a great chance to become the Best of the West, even if it’s for a couple hours.
But they’ll be met by a determined FC Dallas whose unbeaten record was ended in New York last week.
Along with the motivation of returning to winning ways, three points will take FC Dallas above LAFC, so this game is a massive opportunity for them. One player that could help in that quest is Reggie Cannon:
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) April 29, 2018
Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew
Staying in the West, 2018 MLS strugglers Seattle Sounders host a Columbus Crew side who have impressed so far this year.
However, Seattle are in a great need to move up the table and regain their form of last year. With their first win of the season coming at home they’ll be hoping for a repeat this weekend.
They will be met by a Columbus side who have come through a tough four game winless streak with a win last week.
Coming up against a side who’ve been as poor as Seattle have been, the Crew could look to build some momentum and keep their position in the play-off places.
Chicago Fire vs Atlanta United
This season, when you think of Atlanta, all you think about is goals. Whether they’re from Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron or two Kevin Kratz free kicks.
You’d probably expect the same this weekend with Tata Martino’s side scoring three or more goals in four games this season.
However, of late Chicago have proved they have what it takes to rally with the best teams in the league. Something they proved by coming away with four points against the Red Bulls and Toronto.
Knowing this along with the Fire winning 2-0 in the sides’ last meeting, they shouldn’t be scared going into this game. Especially with the season, veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger is having.
Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy
The next match of the weekend is an exciting prospect as both teams look to restore their good form following losses last week.
Houston fell to Minnesota but with Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas amongst the goals this season (four apiece) don’t be shocked to see them effecting the game.
As for the Galaxy, despite netting four times last week they lost 3-2 to the Red Bulls. Feeling somewhat aggrieved they should go into this game looking to make no doubt that the three points will be coming back to the West Coast.
With both teams looking to attack this should lead to a very expansive, entertaining match.
Sporting Kansas City vs Colorado Rapids
The current ‘Best of the West’ Sporting KC had a scare last week away in New England, but a return home should do them the world of good.
This season, Peter Vermes’ side have been on a different level to other sides and should really being getting back on track against the Western Conference’s 9th placed team.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Portland Timbers
Next are the two teams below the Rapids as the Earthquakes host the best MLS team of last year’s regular season.
Portland have begun to rekindle their form of last year with two wins in as many games so if they turn up confident with Sebastian Blanco in good form they might be too much to stop.
Of course, though, the Timbers’ start to this season can’t be forgotten and San Jose should keep that fresh in the memory.
Despite Portland manging to shut up shop recently, they’ve been shown their weaknesses week after week. But we’ll have to wait and see if those weaknesses are still apparent which will make this a great game to watch from a tactical viewpoint.
Sunday 6th May
Orlando City vs Real Salt Lake
To close the weekend, I see a home win as Orlando City seem to have boarded a steam train lately.
Coinciding with Dom Dwyer’s return weeks ago, Orlando have gone on to win their last five games. A run that has taken them up to third in the Eastern Conference.
However, four of those wins have been by a one goal margin and with Johnathan Spector a doubt, RSL could take advantage.
With the visitors’ form reading WLWLWL they’ll be hoping that rings true again this weekend.