MLS Week 28: What to Watch For

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MLS_logo.svgIt has already been a record-setting week in Major League Soccer. On Wednesday night, Atlanta dismantled New England, 7-0, scoreline, holding the nine-man Revolution without a single shot. Atlanta will try to pick up where its left off this weekend.

Can Atlanta Maintain Its Dominance?

In its first two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta (12-8-6, 42 points) has outscored its opponents, 10-0. Orlando (9-12-7, 34) will try to put up more of a challenge when it visits on Saturday. The Lions desperately need a win to maintain their hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time. The previous two meetings between the teams saw late goals from United in a win and a draw.

Salt Lake Tries to Make a Stand

With five games remaining, Salt Lake (10-14-5, 35) is two points out of a playoff spot. RSL hosts Portland (12-9-8, 44) this weekend in a big game in the Western Conference playoff race. Salt Lake’s three remaining home games are against three of the top teams in the West — Portland, Kansas City and Seattle

Desperate Time for Earthquakes 

San Jose (10-12-6, 36) hosts Houston as it struggles for a postseason berth. The Earthquakes have been on the wrong side of the line most of the year, but are close enough to shake things up in the West. San Jose’s spot near the middle of the standings comes despite having the second-worst goal differential in MLS, at minus-17. Houston will be looking to take advantage of one of the league’s leakiest defenses.

Can Dallas Turn it Around?

Slumping Dallas (9-8-10, 37) sits precariously above the red line as it hosts Seattle (11-7-10, 43) on Saturday. Where Dallas has gone winless in its last seven games, the Sounders are enjoying a streak of12 games without a loss. Dallas, the defending Supporters’ Shield winners, could find itself as low as eighth in the West if results go against it this weekend.

Manneh Returns to Vancouver … on the Bench

Vancouver (13-9-5, 44) moved to the top spot in the West in midweek with a win over Minnesota. No team has been able to hold that position for long of late; the Whitecaps will attempt to do so on Saturday against Columbus (13-12-4). This game would mark the return of Kekuta Manneh, but the winger has found it difficult to get much playing time in a Crew attack that has been bolstered by the arrival of Pedro Santos. The newcomer has two assists in his first four games in MLS.