MLS Week 30 Preview: Big Sunday Out West

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Just five weeks remain in the Major League Soccer regular season. While the question of who will make the playoffs has largely been answered, week 30 will help to decide where they end up. The week ends with a strong Western Conference tripleheader on national TV.

Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire, Wednesday at 8 p.m.

When Frank Klopas was fired by the Impact, his successor’s first game was at home against Chicago. After Frank Yallop’s firing, Brian Bliss’ first game in charge will be at Montreal. That most recent meeting was a 4-3 thriller, with Didier Drogba scoring a hat trick to rub the Fire’s noses in the fact that they failed to sign him.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City, Wednesday at 8:30

Houston has laid an egg in their last couple performances, and it’s hard to see them playing any sort of role in the playoff race. That’s good news for SKC, who is trying to stave off a skid like the one they had last year. Including the Open Cup, this is the fourth meeting of the year between Houston and Kansas City. They drew both regular season matches, but SKC won in the Open Cup.

New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City SC, Friday at 7 p.m. on Unimas

The Red Bulls are looking to avoid the usual slip that has accompanied MLS’ top spot this season. They will host an Orlando side that is desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The previous meeting, in Orlando, was filled with controversy. Cyle Larin was sent off and the Red Bulls hung on to win. It’s unclear if Kaka will be available for trip to New York, as he is battling an injury.

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, Saturday at 2 p.m.

Toronto doesn’t have to leave Canada until after the regular season is over. That’s good news for a team that is 8-4-1 at home this season. They’re looking to avenge an early-season loss in Chicago on Saturday. The Fire are already thinking about 2016.

Montreal Impact vs. DC United, Saturday at 5 p.m.

The last time DC was in Montreal, they won despite taking just a single shot. They have not won in five MLS games since. The Impact, meanwhile, are finding their groove with Didier Drogba and look like a very dangerous team of late. With their games in hand, Montreal could still end up with a very good seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

With the Open Cup final looming, Jim Curtin is expected to give his usual lineup a break on Saturday night in New England. The hosts, presumably, will not mind. The Revs can complete a season sweep of the Union with a win; they have won twice this season in Philadelphia.

Columbus Crew SC vs. Portland Timbers, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Here we have a story of contrasts. The Crew have scored a league-high 49 goals this year (and allowed the same number). The Timbers, meanwhile, have scored just 29, but their defense has been significantly stingier. Columbus has won five of their last seven, and probably expects to continue that trend on Saturday. Portland is winless in their last four.

Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

What can you possibly say about a match as significant as this one?

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. New York City FC, Saturday at 10 p.m.

NYCFC heads to Cascadia for the first time to take on the West-leading Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver was taken apart at home last week by Seattle, and will be expecting to bounce back with three points in order to keep up in the Supporters’ Shield race. Every game is a must-win these days for NYCFC, but they head west on the back of two wins in a row.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders, Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN

Soccer Sunday kicks off with a bang when SKC hosts Seattle. The two sides are separated by just a point in the standings, and right now would be slated to meet in Seattle in the playoffs. The Sounders have played two more games, so a result on Sunday has a bit more significance for them. SKC has to have one eye on next Wednesday’s Open Cup final.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, Sunday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

About a month ago, this game looked like it would be completely meaningless. But surges from both San Jose and Salt Lake have gotten them thinking about the playoffs again. A win from either side here could see them finish the week in the sixth and final playoff position out west, provided Portland fails to win in Columbus. In April, RSL won 1-0 in San Jose.

LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

Week 30 saves the best for last, with the Galaxy hosting FC Dallas on national TV. Both teams are coming off performances they’d rather forget; LA lost in Salt Lake, and Dallas lost in Kansas City. Still, they sit second and third in the Western Conference, meaning this game could be the difference between playing and avoiding the knockout round. Dallas and LA traded 2-1 wins in their previous meetings this season.

  • With regards to Kaka’s availability, the Orlando Sentinel reported a few days ago that he’ll be good to go.

  • slowleftarm

    I can’t wait to watch the nycfc game. I’m sure they’ll make the playoffs. We need more plastic teams in MLS, so I’m hopefull they’ll come through. With Etihad FTW!

    • slowleftarm

      Wow – how sad must this person’s life be? 2:54 am and you pose as someone else to post silly anti-MLS stuff on this site? This poor slob needs to look in the mirror and reassess his life.

  • William

    MLS complete drivel