MLS Midweek 17 preview: LA-Portland highlights Wednesday night

Image, MLSSoccer.com

MLS has its busiest week of the season as we near the halfway point. The league has scheduled seven games for Wednesday night, crowding the schedule of teams who played in the U.S. Open Cup last week and will play again next week. In all, 12 teams will play tonight and then again this weekend, stretching the depths of their squads.

Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders, Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Nine months ago, the Union hosted Seattle for the Open Cup final, and the Sounders prevailed over 120 minutes. Philly gets a shot at some semblance of revenge tonight when they host the Sounders. Now is a good time to play the Sounders, who are without both Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. In games without them this season, Seattle has struggled to score.

New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

An important stretch of the Red Bulls’ schedule continues tonight when they host RSL. The Red Bulls have lost their last four MLS matches, and have two derby matches in the next week. So they’ll be hoping to get a little bit of their form back against Salt Lake, who snapped a winless streak of their own with a late victory against SKC on Sunday.

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

When we last saw the Crew and Revolution play each other, New England was dishing out a playoff beatdown. They advanced 7-3 over two legs last November. The Crew are now tasked with showing that they can be more than the average side that sits in sixth place in the East. The Revs are in second, but this is more due to the weak conference than anything they’ve done lately.

Orlando City SC vs. Colorado Rapids, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

The Citrus Bowl hosts its first weeknight match; we’ll see if that affects their usual crowd of 30,000. Orlando will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss at Montreal on Saturday. Colorado makes the cross-country trip on an extra day’s rest; they drew Dallas on Friday.

Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact, Wednesday at 8 p.m.

MLS has billed this as rivalry week, and it starts in earnest with the 401 Derby between Toronto and Montreal. These sides have already met twice this year in the semifinals of the Canadian Championship. Each team won their home leg, and Montreal advanced on away goals. In a rarity for this rivalry, both teams seem to be on their way to strong seasons in MLS. They’ve played the fewest matches in the league, yet both sit in playoff spots at the moment.

Chicago Fire vs. DC United, Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. 

Only a few weeks have passed since DC came from behind to beat the Fire at RFK Stadium. Chicago will play the host tonight as they seek out some much-needed points against the team with the best record in MLS.

LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, Wednesday at 11 p.m. on ESPN2

Wednesday night concludes late on the East Coast with a nationally-televised game between LA and Portland. At Providence Park in March, both teams scored late in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Both teams have some momentum coming into this match; LA played their best game of the season in a 5-1 win over Philly, and the Timbers have won four MLS matches in a row.