Three big rivalry matches highlight the week in MLS, as Cascadia, Atlantic Cup, and Los Angeles city rivals square off.
|Friday, August 29
|8:00||Sporting Kansas City||-||Houston Dynamo||NBCSN
|Saturday, August 30
|4:00||Seattle Sounders||-||Colorado Rapids
||-||New England Revolution||MLS Live
||-||Columbus Crew||MLS Live
|10:30||Vancouver Whitecaps||-||Portland Timbers||MLS Live/TSN2
||San Jose Earthquakes||-||Real Salt Lake
|Sunday, August 31
||-||New York Red Bulls
All times p.m. ET
Sporting Kansas City - Houston Dynamo
Sporting Kansas City looks to bounce back from last week’s humbling 3-0 home loss to D.C. United when it hosts the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park. Peter Vermes’ men fell out of first place in the Eastern Conference with the loss, but can regain top spot with a win on Friday night, after DCU’s loss at the Galaxy on Wednesday.
Houston is in dire need of points after last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Columbus left the Dynamo six points out of the East’s final playoff spot. The visitors will hope to have DaMarcus Beasley back in the lineup, as the U.S. national team left back missed the Columbus match with a hamstring strain. He is listed as questionable for the SKC match.
Seattle Sounders - Colorado Rapids
Can Seattle (17-7-3, 45 pts) keep it up? Despite what Sigi Schmid would have you believe, the Sounders did suffer a dip in form when they won one of five league games after the World Cup. The win against Portland was impressive, but with LA just a point behind and peaking, Seattle needs a win over Colorado (8-11-6, 30 pts) to show they're still the team to beat in MLS.
The Rapids meanwhile, are seventh in the West, three points behind Vancouver in the last playoff spot, and the Whitecaps have a game in hand. But with Vancouver having to play sixth-place Portland, there's huge incentive for Pablo Mastroeni's players to get a positive result.
Toronto FC - New England Revolution
Jermaine Jones is set to make his Revs debut as his new side travels north of the border to take on the Reds on Saturday afternoon. The U.S. national team midfielder was added after a blind draw with Chicago this weekend, and will help bolster his new team’s central midfield.
New England enters the weekend one point behind the New York Red Bulls for the fifth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, and three points behind TFC. The Reds will have to do without the injured defensive duo of Steven Caldwell and Justin Morrow.
Montreal Impact - Columbus Crew
Columbus (8-8-9, 33 pts) can force a little breathing room over the Eastern Conference playoff chasers if it manages to beat last-place Montreal (4-5-15, 17 pts). The Crew have won two in a row by wide margins, beating LA 41 and Houston 3-0, a trend that could be set to continue against the league's most generous defense (45 goals allowed, tied with Houston).
The Crew could be without a few important players, including Bernardo Anor (L hamstring strain), Josh Williams (L groin strain), and Agustin Viana (R calf strain). Adrian Lopez (knee) is the only absentee for Montreal.
Chicago Fire - FC Dallas
FC Dallas (12-7-6, 42 pts) is a steamroller right now. The Hoops are on a four-game winning streak and are 7-0-3 in their last 10 games. Chicago (4-6-14, 26 pts) has had a more artistic season, spending most of the year drawing.
If FCD is to claim three points and bolster its credentials as a contender for both the Supporters' Shield and the top, it will have to do so without midfielder Michel, suspended for yellow-card accumulation, and forward Blas Perez, who was given a red card in last week's win over RSL.
Vancouver Whitecaps - Portland Timbers
Vancouver (7-5-12, 33 pts) can kill two birds with one stone if it overcomes Cascadia rival Portland (7-8-10, 31 pts). The two are battling it out for the last Western Conference playoff spot - the Whitecaps are two spots ahead and have a game in hand - and Vancouver could still win the Cascadia Cup.
Each side will be missing a defender for the encounter due to susension. Jonny Leveron is out on a red card, while Norberto Paparatto is out thanks to a Disciplinary Committee decision.
San Jose Earthquakes - Real Salt Lake
The chances for San Jose (6-10-7, 25 pts) to get back into the playoff race are rapidly dwindling. The Earthquakes have a game in hand on Vancouver, but are eight points behind and winless in their last four. Having to play Shield contender Real Salt Lake (11-5-9, 42 points) won't make their attempts to end that streak any easier.
This is the second meeting between the two sides this season. Victor Bernardez scored twice and picked up an assist as the 'Quakes came back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 on March 15.
D.C. United - New York Red Bulls
The rivalry known as the Atlantic Cup is the grandaddy of MLS enmity. The current Supporters' Shield holders, the New York Red Bulls (7-7-10, 31 pts) are fighting for a playoff spot and unlikely to repeat, but they certainly won't want to see the trophy in the hands of D.C. United (13-8-4).
Much has been made of the Red Bulls' high-octane attack, with Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips and league assist leader Thierry Henry in near-perfect sync, but D.C. actually has the best offense in the Eastern Conference (tied with Philadelphia on 40 goals). Despite a lofty place at the top of the East, D.C. has lost three of its last five, and was thoroughly beaten by LA in midweek.
Chivas USA - LA Galaxy
In the battle for Los Angeles, there's really only one outcome people expect. The Galaxy (12-5-7, 43 pts) are chasing the Supporters' Shield and have won their last three matches. Chivas USA (6-12-6, 24 points) has the worst record in the Western Conference and haven't won in their last six games.
Erick Torres may have his Mexico call-up, but the 21-year-old has fallen out of form. In his last five games, "Cubo" has failed to register a single goal or assist. On the opposing side, Robbie Keane has three goals and five assists in his last five appearances.