MLS Week 22 Preview: LA Galaxy host the Red Bulls, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Major League Soccer keeps cooking over with a slab of nine games. It’s fair to say that the league saved the best for last with a Sunday night game between the Galaxy and Red Bulls. But there’s enough meat on the other match-ups to chew over until then.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. New York City FC, Friday at 11 p.m. on Unimas

NYCFC makes their first ever trip to San Jose for a Friday night match on Unimas. The Pigeons are coming off of their most impressive win yet, 5-1 over Colorado, and they boast the league’s best away record. Frank Lampard just won player of the month. That’s a lot of momentum for the Earthquakes to try to slow down.

DC United vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday at 7 p.m.

DC and Philadelphia play for the third time on Saturday night. It seems unlikely that either of Philly’s new signings will be integrated enough to make the starting lineup for this one. Even so, the Union can take confidence from a pair of victories over United earlier this season. DC can’t quite seem to get the wheels turning; they went winless in July.

Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Another Eastern Conference match follows that, with Toronto taking on New England. Toronto has sneaked into second place in the Eastern Conference after a couple big wins. There’s a seven-point gap between them and the Revolution entering this weekend, with New England just above the red playoff line. TFC and the Revs last met in April, with the final score a 1-1 draw.

Montreal Impact vs. Houston Dynamo, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Houston heads north to face Montreal on Saturday night.The Dynamo have managed just three points away from home this year. The Impact will be without Didier Drogba as he serves a suspension for his red card last week, but they should view this as three points regardless.

Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Saturday at 9 p.m.

After starting their week in Trinidad and Tobago, Vancouver will end it Colorado. The Rapids had their butts handed to them over the weekend, ending a long unbeaten streak. They will be without Michael Azira owing to his red card from that game against NYCFC. Previously, the Whitecaps and Rapids played a 2-2 draw.

Real Salt Lake vs. Chicago Fire, Saturday at 9 p.m.

Salt Lake hosts Chicago on Saturday night, and they should be happy to see the Fire. RSL has won just once in their last nine games, and lost Wednesday night in Toronto. They still hold a playoff position in the West, and a game against Chicago should be a chance to get their feet under them. The Fire are winless in their last 35 away games.

Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPN

No, that’s not deja vu you’re experiencing. Portland and Kansas City will kick off Soccer Sunday just like they did last week. This time around, the game will be in Portland in front of the Timbers Army. The Timbers did have a game in between, a win in the CONCACAF Champions League over CD Dragon. It marks the third straight Sunday game for SKC, and their fifth appearance on national television since the beginning of last month.

Orlando City SC vs. Seattle Sounders, Sunday at 7 p.m. on FS1

Two new coaches face off Sunday night. Jason Kreis’ Orlando side finally found a full three points last weekend against New England. Brian Schmetzer has more work to do to turn around Seattle. Nicolas Lodeiro showed promise in his first appearance with the Sounders, which is a rare bright spot.

LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls, Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on FS1

LA and New York meet in a cross-country clash to cap off the weekend. The Galaxy have been hot of late, slowed only by a draw last weekend in Seattle. If the Red Bulls are to get three points here, they will have to work against both their dismal away form and LA’s unbeaten home record. But Kemar Lawrence should be healthy for the visitors, who haven’t been able to keep their back line¬†sorted out this year.