MLS Week 24 Preview: Cascadia, Atlantic Cups, more

by RYAN BRISTER

There is a weightiness to most of the games this weekend. More than one match could be a preview of what is to come in November. In others, results this weekend could determine who is there and who is not. Amidst it all, there are a pair of classic rivalry matches on tap for Sunday.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo, Friday at 11 p.m. on Unimas

San Jose can climb into sixth place out West with a win over Houston on Friday night. The Earthquakes are just a point back of the final playoff spot as things stand. Anything less than three points would have to be seen as a disappointment given the way the Dynamo have performed on the road this season.

New York City FC vs. LA Galaxy, Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPN

LA makes their first trip to Yankee Stadium on Saturday for a high-profile match with NYCFC. The Pigeons are a much better team than the one that lost 5-1 last year in Carson. They lead the Eastern Conference but now face another big test from out West. The Galaxy are unbeaten in MLS dating back to mid-June.

Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC, Saturday at 7 p.m.

TFC is three points and two spots ahead of the Union as the week begins, thanks to a recent hot streak from Sebastian Giovinco. TFC’s playmaker has seven goals and four assists in his last five games, and the Reds are unbeaten in that stretch.

New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew SC, Saturday 7:30 p.m.

Are these teams watching their seasons slip away? New England and Columbus will both attempt to get a foothold on Saturday night. The Revs enter off a colossal loss against the Union, while Crew SC is seeking its first win since May. Both find themselves looking up at the red line in the East.

Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

These teams’ paths have crossed multiple times in the past couple years, between the Didier Drogba drama of last summer and the trade that sent Harry Shipp to Montreal this offseason. On the field, the Impact got the better of the Fire in April. Chicago has gone two years since their last away win; Montreal would be a particular surprising location for their next.

Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City SC, Saturday at 9 p.m.

Colorado hosts Orlando for the first time on Saturday night. Despite all of Orlando’s recent struggles, they find themselves level on points with DC for the final playoff spot. A draw, which has been their usual output this year, would be satisfactory for them in Colorado.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Saturday at 10 p.m.

SKC and the Whitecaps are on opposite sides of the playoff line; this may be a pivotal match in the Western Conference race. This is the third and final meeting of the season between these two sides: SKC won at home and drew away. Both of those were near the start of the season.

Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, Saturday at 10 p.m.

Two of the West’s top teams meet in Utah Saturday night. Salt Lake is unbeaten at home this season, but Dallas is carrying the league’s best record into this match. In June, Dallas took a 2-0 win over RSL.

DC United vs. New York Red Bulls, Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPN

It’s almost possible to overlook the Atlantic Cup among all the big games this weekend. One of the league’s longest-running rivalries will have center stage on Sunday afternoon. Both teams currently sit in playoff positions, but DC’s is much more precarious. The Red Bulls came out flat on their last trip to DC, and suffered a 2-0 loss as a result.

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers, Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 

Speaking of rivalries…Things are always exciting when Seattle and Portland get together. The stakes are heightened further this time by the fact that the Timbers are five points ahead of the Sounders and narrowly clinging to the last playoff spot in the West as the weekend begins. Even by the Cascadia Cup standards, this is a big one.


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