Rivalry week continues this weekend with some of the marquee matchups in MLS, including the Hudson River Derby, Cali Clasico, the 401 Derby and the Seattle v. Portland edition of Cascadia Cup. We did have a Houston Dynamo v. Sporting KC matchup as well, but that game has been postponed to a later date due to Hurricane Harvey. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of entertaining soccer to watch this weekend, and it all begins tonight!
Best game of the weekend: Seattle Sounders FC v. Portland Timbers – Sunday, August 27, 9:30PM ET, Fox Sports 1
The Hudson River Derby may be the hot new rivalry in MLS, but Seattle v. Portland is still the biggest one out there. What makes it even better? When Seattle and Portland are the top two teams in the Western Conference. Seattle has been playing as good as any team in MLS as of late, and Portland has been able to overcome defensive woes to put them in second place just one point behind the Sounders. Portland is 1-1 against the Sounders in MLS play this year, having lost 1-0 at CenturyLink Field and drawing 2-2 at Providence Park. Both teams are coming off midweek games, but I don’t think either side will be too tired for this one. This is probably the biggest Cascadia Cup game in a long time, and the winner will be set up very well to earn a first round playoff bye. You won’t want to miss this one.
Worst game of the weekend: D.C. United v. New England Revolution – Saturday, August 26, 7:00PM ET, MLS Live
Okay, I’m not sure what is going on with D.C. United. Yeah, they’re on a two game winning streak, but somehow they’ve managed that without scoring a single goal. D.C. United have become the first team in MLS history to win two straight 1-0 games thanks to two own goals. I don’t know how much confidence D.C. fans should really have in their team after those performances. Yes, a win is a win, but D.C.’s offensive woes have continued and show no signs of getting better. New England lost to NYCFC last week on the road, which surprised exactly no one. They’ve still yet to show off their big summer signing Krisztian Nemeth, so he may get a few minutes in the second half in this one. Who will win this matchup between the two worst teams in the East? Well, New England has won exactly zero games on the road, so maybe D.C. will be able to extend their strange little win streak to three games.
Friday, August 25, 2017
New York Red Bulls v. New York City FC – 7:00PM ET, ESPN
This has turned into one of the most entertaining rivalries in all of MLS. It took NYCFC two seasons to finally get a win at Red Bull Arena, but they were able to pull it off in June with a 2-0 victory. RBNY hoped to get revenge earlier in August, but NYCFC were able to pull out a 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium in that one as well. The third edition of the rivalry this season is the biggest one yet. NYCFC is trying to secure a first round bye in the playoffs, while RBNY are working to jump the Crew to host a knockout round playoff game. Both teams could desperately use three points to help their case to the postseason, especially RBNY. The Red Bulls are very good at home this season at 8-2-2, but now that NYCFC have finally overcome their Red Bull Arena frustrations, this game could go either way.
Saturday, August 26
Philadelphia Union v. Atlanta United FC – 7:00PM ET, MLS Live
Poor Atlanta. They’re fighting for a playoff spot in the East, where they currently sit seventh, and they see D.C. on their schedule. Sure, it’s a road game, but it’s D.C. That’s an easy win, right? Wrong. Michael Parkhurst’s own goal could not have come at a worse time for ATLUTD. Somehow Atlanta is 0-3 against D.C. United this year, dropped points that will surely come back to haunt them in some way. Philadelphia lost on the road to Toronto FC in a 3-0 midweek matchup, pretty much what everyone expected. The Union have yet to play Atlanta United this season, but Philly is a much better team at home than they are on the road. Philly may not be playing for much, but they could sure throw a wrench into Atlanta’s postseason plans if they manage to take all three points at home.
Columbus Crew SC v. FC Dallas – 7:30PM ET, MLS Live
Both of these two teams got off to hot starts to begin the season, and both have fallen down the table as the season has progressed. Columbus has managed to steady the ship just a bit, going unbeaten in their last three games and taking seven of a possible nine points. FC Dallas on the other hand now sit just three points clear of the red line and haven’t won an MLS game in their last five matches, with their last win coming against Montreal on July 22. Things don’t look great for the men from Frisco this weekend, either. Columbus plays very well at MAPFRE, and Dallas has struggled on the road. Crew SC fans will be hoping for a bit more of a straightforward win than their Wednesday night clash with LA, which saw two missed penalties, a red card, a non-penalty become a penalty and a goal become a non-goal. Thanks, VAR. But, Ola Kamara and Justin Meram each found the net, and the Crew still look like a likely playoff team. This one should be a good game.
Orlando City SC v. Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 7:30PM ET, MLS Live
What the heck has happened to Orlando City? They drew in their game last weekend against Columbus Crew SC, but Orlando hasn’t won a game since June 30. They now sit eighth in the East at 31 points, and they’ve played at least one more game than the three teams directly in front of them. It doesn’t look good for the Lions (or Jason Kreis) this year. If OCSC misses the playoffs again, I don’t see a scenario where Jason Kreis returns for 2018. Vancouver, on the other hand, has a realistic hope at making the playoffs. They couldn’t defeat the Sounders at home, but they did earn a point and managed to stay ahead of San Jose, who was embarrassed by Real Salt Lake. If Vancouver can pull out a surprise victory at Orlando City Stadium, they’ll all but seal their trip to the playoffs.
P.S. Orlando fans, please stop doing terrible things that get you banned from opponents stadiums. K thanks.
Chicago Fire v. Minnesota United FC – 8:30PM, MLS Live
Talk about teams that have fallen off as of late. I’m not sure what has happened to Chicago, but they have only managed to win one of their last seven MLS matches. For a while they were keeping up with Toronto FC in points per game, but now they’ve fallen to third place in the East and are in danger of falling even further if they don’t turn things around. What better time to play Minnesota United at home? (Sorry Loons.) The Fire lost their first home game of the season at the hands of Toronto FC, but something tells me that won’t happen this week. Minnesota has yet to win a game on the road in their brief MLS existence, and as much as I’d like to see MNUFC shock the world and upset the Fire, I just don’t see it happening. The Loons thought they were going to steal a point last week in Seattle until a last minute penalty broke the hearts of Loons everywhere. Unfortunately, I think they may have to endure heartbreak for another week.
Real Salt Lake v. Colorado Rapids – 10:00PM ET, MLS Live
Where has this RSL team been all season? Suddenly Salt Lake looks like they would be a legitimate knockout round playoff team, especially if they could handle teams like they did San Jose during Wednesday’s 4-0 drubbing at Rio Tinto. Unfortunately, their early season form dug them into too deep of a hole. They aren’t technically eliminated, though, and a home game against Colorado is a good way to keep your playoff games alive. Colorado lost their midweek game at Portland 2-1, and of course we all know about their 1-0 loss to D.C. thanks to an own goal. Real Salt Lake won the first matchup between these two teams 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. I don’t see why this one will be any different.
Sunday, August 27
Montreal Impact v. Toronto FC – 4:30PM ET, ESPN
This game really doesn’t have much of an impact on Toronto FC this season other than bragging rights. They’ve all but locked up first in the East as well as the Supporters’ Shield. It does have quite the implications for Montreal, though. The Impact are currently just above the red line in sixth place in the East, and they’re locked in a battle with Atlanta United for that last playoff spot. Atlanta plays eight of their last ten games at home, which means that Montreal need to get every single point they can. Montreal plays well at home, but Toronto is one of the rare teams that actually is halfway decent on the road. Plus, Toronto is hands down the best team in MLS. This will be the third time this season these Canadian rivals have faced off (although the first two meetings were part of the Canadian Championship), with the first game ending in a draw and the second game going to Toronto 2-1. Montreal desperately need a result here. Even a single point could go a long way to keeping them in playoff contention.
LA Galaxy v. San Jose Earthquakes – 7:00PM ET, Fox Sports 1
The Cali Clasico is always an exciting game to watch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have quite the same luster this year as it has in years past. LA is having arguably their worst season in franchise history. San Jose is a struggling mid table team who just got embarrassed on the road by RSL. The Earthquakes playoff hopes are dwindling with every week that passes, and if they can’t beat the Galaxy in LA they can all but kiss the 2017 postseason goodbye. All that being said, this is still the Cali Clasico, and if the last game between these two rivals was any indication, you won’t want to miss it. San Jose was able to pull out a victory at the death in July. LA’s home form has been atrocious this year, so another Quakes win is certainly not out of the question.
Hot take of the week: Vancouver will beat Orlando City on the road, sealing Orlando City’s 2017 fate and likely marking the beginning of the end of the Jason Kreis era in Orlando.
GIF of the week: How to describe the Galaxy’s season in one GIF…