MLS Week 10 Preview: Kinnear returns to Houston, Hudson River Derby, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU OF SOCCER

By Ryan Brister

Major League Soccer gets off to an early start in week 10, with the season’s first Tuesday game. All 20 teams are in action for the first time in more than a month, and four teams play twice. The week culminates with the long-awaited Hudson River Derby between the Red Bulls and NYCFC.

Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

Dominic Kinnear returns to Houston for the first time as an opposing manager tonight. He spent nine years in charge of the Dynamo before returning to San Jose after last season. The Earthquakes and Dynamo have the same number of points so far this year, though San Jose has played one fewer game.

Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

The last time RSL played LA, it wasn’t pretty. The Galaxy romped, 5-0, on their way to winning MLS Cup. This is RSL’s first chance at revenge since the playoff embarrassment. As things currently stand, both hold middling places in a tightly-packed Western Conference.

Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution, Friday at 8 p.m. on Unimas

Orlando City has yet to win an MLS game in the Citrus Bowl, despite the massive crowds. They’ll have to go through the hottest team in the league if they want to change that on Friday night. Making matters worse, the Lions learned this week that they’ll be without Kevin Molino, who was injured in last week’s friendly. Don’t expect the Revs to have much sympathy or mercy.

Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Friday at 10 p.m. on Unimas

San Jose plays their third road game in eight days up in the altitude of Colorado. Neither the Quakes nor the Rapids made the playoffs last year, and if they hope to do so in 2015, games like this are important to win. Right now, just a single point separates them in the Western Conference standings.

Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake, Saturday at 3 p.m.

The offensively-challenged Fire host Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Chicago has scored just six goals through nine games this year, a rate that is going to have to improve if they want to make the playoffs. RSL has had problems of their own finding the net. If not for an own goal in their last game against San Jose, RSL would be in a 406-minute drought. So expect excitement!

Montreal Impact vs. Portland Timbers, Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Montreal Impact return to MLS play for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday. They have a lot of catching up to do, having played five games fewer than most teams. Their opponents at Saputo Stadium will be the Portland Timbers, who so far this season have been rather underwhelming.

DC United vs. Sporting Kansas City, Saturday at 7 p.m.

DC United is off to their best start in franchise history, and their performances have only gotten better in recent weeks. On Saturday, they take on Sporting KC at RFK Stadium. SKC is coming off a win against the Fire, but they’ll have to be better to get three points from the nation’s capital.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Union are having some difficulties. Earning only six points from 10 games is not good. So it’s probably not good news for their sake that their next game is on the road against a team with the most points in MLS. The Whitecaps are a different beast at home, where they’ve scored eight goals, than on the road, where they’ve scored just three.

Columbus Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Presumably, Columbus would have watched the Sounders’ game on Sunday with a bit of trepidation. Seattle looked very impressive against NYCFC, and they stay out east to face the Crew. Obafemi Martins leads MLS with six goals so far this year, and Clint Dempsey is tied for second with five. The Crew will have to be at their best to keep them contained.

FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

FC Dallas have an early season spot atop the Western Conference. The LA Galaxy are presumably one of the teams they’ll have to fend off to keep that spot. That’s a recipe for a fun game in Frisco on Saturday night. The Galaxy, who also play earlier in the week, might still be without MVP Robbie Keane, whose nagging thigh injury doesn’t want to go away.

Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo, Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2

TFC finally return to an expanded BMO Field on Sunday against the Dynamo. The stadium now holds 30,000 people, and Toronto is expecting a sell out for the home opener. The Reds have won two in a row, while Houston is recovering from a disastrous Texas Derby.

New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC, Sunday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

The first-ever Hudson River Derby takes place at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night. Much will be made (and has already been made) about what this game means/doesn’t mean off the field. On the field, it’s a simpler matter: both teams are looking for a win, but for different reasons. The Red Bulls suffered their first defeat Saturday in New England, while NYCFC is winless in their last seven. The home team will enter as favorites.