MLS Week 8: What to Look For

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By RYAN BRISTER

searchWeek 8 in Major League Soccer has already kicked off. There was one midweek game, a scoreless draw at the sparsely attended match at Gillette Stadium between host New England and San Jose. Here’s a look ahead at some key storylines this weekend.

Kreis Back in the Bronx

Jason Kreis will coach at Yankee Stadium for the first time as a visitor. Kreis was fired after an unsuccessful inaugural season with New York City FC (3-2-1, 10 points). He brings with him an Orlando (4-1-0, 12) side that has been perfect at home — including a win over NYCFC on opening day — but is relatively untested outside of Florida. The Lions lost their only away game so far this season, against Columbus.

A Battle Near the Top of the West

Dallas (3-0-2, 11) and Kansas City (3-0-3, 12) are the only teams in MLS without a loss  this season, and they will play each other on Saturday night. Both teams have achieved their early-season success thanks to staunch defenses; between the two they have allowed only five goals in 11 games. Their game earlier this season was a scoreless draw, but expect Oscar Pareja‘s side to be a little more ambitious at home.

Los Angeles Hosts Seattle

ESPN has a 1 p.m. Pacific kickoff out west on Sunday between Los Angeles (2-4-0, 6) and Seattle (1-2-3, 6). What is normally a premier matchup in the Western Conference is this time an opportunity for both sides to shake off their early-season struggles. The Galaxy have traditionally been strong at home, but they have started the year with two losses in three game at StubHub Center.

Continuing Concern in Philadelphia

Jim Curtin has the support of his bosses in Philadelphia, but for how long? The Union (0-4-2, 2) are wrapping up a three-game home stretch this weekend, having lost the first two. They are the last remaining winless team in the league, and a home game against Montreal (1-2-3, 6) would seem to be a good opportunity to rectify that. The Impact have one win themselves, a hard-fought victory last week over Atlanta.

Another Test for Petke and RSL

It’s too early to make a judgment on Mike Petke‘s brief tenure in Salt Lake (2-3-2, 8), but his presence has seemed to have boosted the team’s performance. After being winless since last August, RSL has won two in a row under Petke, including an impressive win on the road in Colorado last week. He will try to keep up the momentum against Atlanta (2-2-2, 8) on Saturday. United received some good news in midweek with the reversal of Leandro González Pirez‘s suspension.