MLS Week 2 Preview: Texas Derby, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

If Sunday was a bit overwhelming for Major League Soccer’s fans, the league has mercifully spread out this weekend’s games across three separate days. All 20 teams are in action again in week two, with the Texas Derby between Houston and Dallas arguably being the most intriguing match of the bunch.

Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire, Friday at 7 on Unimas and Fubo

The Lions left it late on opening day, needing two goals in stoppage time to rescue a draw. Quietly, they’ll be hoping for an easier go of it against Chicago on Friday night. They will be without Darwin Ceren after his red card. The Fire gave up four goals in their opener; they’ll have their hands full with Cyle Larin up top for Orlando.

New England Revolution vs. DC United, Saturday at 3 p.m.

New England is still working out the kinks of life after Jermaine Jones, as evidenced by their last-second draw in Houston, during which they gave up three goals. DC, meanwhile, looks even rougher so far in 2016. Both teams are looking to get their feet under them this weekend.

Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders, Saturday at 4 p.m.

In Seattle and Real Salt Lake, we have teams coming off a loss and a draw that felt like a loss, respectively.  RSL suffered a late collapse in Orlando, while Seattle could not break through against Kansas City. It’s a chance for both to get their first points of the season. RSL’s Demar Phillips and Seattle’s Oneill Fisher, who started in week one, each picked up red cards and will be suspended for this match.

Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls, Saturday at 4 p.m.

After a win at cross-country rivals Vancouver, the Impact will open their home schedule at Olympic Stadium. Didier Drogba will skip the turf surface and play for the first time this season next week against Dallas. That’s a break for the Red Bulls, who couldn’t seem to find one last week against Toronto. Their performance was better than the 2-0 scoreline suggested.

Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy, Saturday at 7 p.m.

Colorado and LA continued their 2015 trends on opening day: the Rapids lost while not scoring, while the Galaxy won a blowout victory. LA had to rely on an unexpected hero in the form of Mike Magee to wake them out of their first half doldrums; it will be interesting to see if Magee ends up on the bench again in Colorado.

Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Between the two of them, Federico Higuain’s bicycle kick provided the only bright spot for Columbus and Philly on Sunday. Saturday night, the Crew will be at home, and facing a Union side that will now be without Maurice Edu for quite some time. Crew SC should be expecting a win.

Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

The first Texas derby of the year takes place on Saturday night in Houston. The Dynamo have a sour taste left in their mouths by the late equalizer conceded Sunday against New England. Dallas picked up where they left off with a win at home against Philly. Fabian Castillo may be available for Dallas after being stretchered off last weekend. Houston has not beaten Dallas, in any competition, since 2012.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Last August, Kansas City and Vancouver played one of the best games of the MLS season at Sporting Park. Both were near the top of the West at the time, though the fall would not be easy for either. SKC enters Saturday’s match on the back of a road win, while the Whitecaps will try to bounce back from a home loss.

New York City FC vs. Toronto FC, Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2

Having beaten the Red Bulls, Toronto is looking to start their season with a New York double. NYCFC, too, is looking for a second-straight win. Where Toronto grabbed three points on the backs of their defense in week one, City scored four goals en route to victory in Chicago. Something has to give on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers, Sunday at 7 p.m. on FS1

Long time rivals San Jose and Portland meet in Sunday’s primetime matchup. Both managed narrow victories in week one. If last year is any suggestion, this could be the sort of matchup that determines who gets into the final few places of the Western Conference playoffs.


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