Six months after facing off in a feisty, high-profile playoff series, the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls meet again — but with a bit less star power.
Saturday's clash is the only match this season between the big-market clubs, both of which have experienced some early bumps in the road this year. Although the Galaxy should be at full strength after resting a slew of regulars for a midweek loss at Seattle, the Red Bulls will be without the pricey services of the injured Thierry Henry and suspended Rafa Marquez.
Elsewhere this weekend, two of this season's most pleasant surprises will collide when the Vancouver Whitecaps host the San Jose Earthquakes, and FC Dallas will welcome the Colorado Rapids in a rematch of the 2010 MLS Cup.
Here is a rundown of the full Week 9 slate:
CHIVAS USA vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Friday, 11 p.m., ESPN Deportes)
For Chivas, the questions arise once again: Can Robin Fraser's club actually get a result at home? Or even a goal? It has been four games, four 1-0 losses for Chivas at the Home Depot Center this year.
In a stroke of luck for the home side, Chicago will be playing without suspended defender Jalil Anibaba, an absence compounded by the long-term knee injury that has also sidelined centerback Cory Gibbs.
TORONTO FC vs. D.C. UNITED (Saturday, 4 p.m., Direct Kick)
There's a good chance there will goals Saturday — and lots of them. Winless Toronto has allowed a league-leading 16, while United conceded five Wednesday against San Jose while playing without injured centerbacks Emiliano Dudar, Dejan Jakovic and Ethan White.
This match will mark the return of United playmaker Dwayne De Rosario to his hometown of Toronto, where he played from 2009 to 2011 before his famously bitter departure from the organization.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., NBC Sports)
In a rematch of the first league match in Union history, the Sounders will welcome Philadelphia to CenturyLink Field, where the home side is 4-1-0 thus far in 2012.
The odds seem to be titled in Seattle's favor, as the Sounders will finally have Alvaro Fernandez, Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson on the field together, while Philadelphia will be without the suspended Gabriel Farfan.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (Saturday, 7 p.m., Direct Kick)
San Jose's league-best offense, led by the Chris Wondolowski-Steven Lenhart forward combination and the dynamic play of wingers Marvin Chavez and Simon Dawkins, will meet Joe Cannon, Jay DeMerit and Vancouver's stingy defense.
One under-the-radar player to keep an eye on: San Jose's Steven Beitashour, who is third in the league with five assists despite being deployed as a right back by coach Frank Yallop.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN, TSN2)
After resting David Beckham, Robbie Keane and others for Wednesday's 2-0 loss at Seattle, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena can be counted on to deploy a full-strength squad against the Red Bulls.
Though Jan Gunnar Solli is poised to come back from injury for New York, and Juan Agudelo and Roy Miller are nearing returns as well, the Red Bulls will still be without Wilman Conde, Stephen Keel, Teemu Tainio, Rafa Marquez and, of course, Thierry Henry.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
After having two weeks to think about its first loss of the season, Kansas City will return to action with a match at Livestrong Sporting Park against the expansion Impact, who have pieced together a nice 2-1-1 stretch.
For Kansas City centerbacks Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin, the focus surely will be on Montreal forward Bernardo Corradi, who has scored in three consecutive league matches.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 9 p.m., Direct Kick)
After cutting it close at home against lowly Toronto last weekend, waiting until second-half stoppage time to find the winner, Salt Lake will look to deliver a more convincing performance against the Revolution, who snapped a three-game losing streak with a win Wednesday over Colorado.
For New England, the result could hinge on the increased involvement of crafty midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who Wednesday delivered his first 90-minute performance since the season's opening day.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. COLUMBUS CREW (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick)
These struggling clubs could both use the full three points in this one, with Columbus entering the match 0-3-1 in its past four matches and Portland a loser of five of its past six.
After partnering Emilio Renteria and Justin Meram for an exhibition against Ohio State on Tuesday, Crew coach Robert Warzycha might be tempted to give the pairing a run this weekend in an attempt to jump-start his team's attack.
FC DALLAS vs. COLORADO RAPIDS (Sunday, 7 p.m., Galavision)
After emphatically ending a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over Chivas last weekend, the Rapids resumed their struggles Wednesday with a 2-1 loss at New England. Dallas, meanwhile, enters the match 0-1-2 in its past three with just two goals scored — both of which were penalty kicks.
The Rapids are poised to get a defensive boost in this one, as centerback Marvell Wynne is set to return from a hamstring injury. Newly signed midfielder Harrison Henao also will be available for selection for Colorado.