MLS Week 16 Preview: DC vs. New England highlights weekend action

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER
MLS Writer

After a wild week in the U.S. Open Cup, MLS gets back to the regular season tonight. Week 16 features all teams except two, and is highlighted by Sunday’s Eastern Conference clash.

Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas, Friday at 9 p.m. on Unimas

This is the third time Colorado has played Dallas this season, and for reasons I can’t explain, all three have been on Unimas. When they last met, the Rapids rescued a late point at home. Dallas heads to Colorado on a six-game winless streak in MLS play. Both teams racked up 4-1 wins against USL opposition on Tuesday.

Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday at 4 p.m.

Way back in March, the Earthquakes went north and defeated Seattle, 3-2, at CenturyLink Field. That was a long time ago, and the Sounders now hold the best record in the league, and (more surprisingly) the stingiest defense. In thirteen games since, Seattle has allowed just eight goals, only one of those at home.

New York Red Bulls vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Saturday at 7 p.m. 

Open Cup aside, the Red Bulls have been struggling of late. They have lost three-straight games in MLS, and have just one win in two months. This is the middle of a congested stretch for the team, and they could use some points even against a tough opponent. The Whitecaps have been alternating wins and losses of late, and if the pattern continues, they will leave New Jersey with a loss.

Toronto FC vs. New York City FC, Saturday at 7 p.m.

A lot of star power will be on the field in Toronto as TFC gets their first crack at MLS’s newest team. The Reds haven’t played in two weeks, while NYCFC went the distance on Wednesday night, so the hosts will have some extra rest. Toronto has played just 12 games, but they were building a good head of steam before the week off.

Montreal Impact vs. Orlando City SC, Saturday at 8 p.m.

Orlando visited Olympic Stadium on their first trip to Montreal; this time the Lions will play on the grass of Stade Saputo. That previous meeting ended in a 2-2 draw, with all the goals being scored in the opening half hour. Orlando is unbeaten in five, and might have Cyle Larin back off of scoring a couple goals for Canada. The Orlando team that played 120 minutes in Charleston on Wednesday was not a first-choice XI.

LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

When we last saw the Galaxy in MLS play, they were suffering their first home loss in more than a year. Their first chance at starting another unbeaten streak is on Saturday against Philadelphia. The Union will be without Sebastien Le Toux, who left Tuesday’s open cup match with an injury.

Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo, Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

When they played earlier this season in Houston, the Dynamo scored late to make an unfairly-lopsided 3-1 scoreline. But now the Timbers are playing their best soccer of the season, having won four matches in a row in all competitions. If Houston can win on the road, they will leapfrog Portland in the standings, climbing over the red playoff line in the process.

DC United vs. New England Revolution, Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference meet again at RFK Stadium on Sunday. DC rescued a draw against the nine-men Revs when they played in Foxboro in May. This is something of an attack-defense clash: New England’s 22 goals are the most in the East, while DC has allowed the fewest with 16.

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City, Saturday at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

Fox’s usual timeslot has will be shifted by three hours to accommodate the Women’s World Cup. For Real Salt Lake, it’s their third Sunday home game, an anomaly in Mormon Utah created by the new TV contract. Against Toronto, RSL was able to set an attendance record regardless. But their Sunday match against Colorado saw their smallest crowd of the season.

In early April, SKC hosted RSL in a scoreless draw. Fox will be hoping for something better from this one.