As Week 19 in MLS heats up this weekend, a Cascadia clash will headline the action as the Portland Timbers host the Seattle Sounders.
Coming off of a 5-0 thrashing of FC Dallas on Wednesday night, the Sounders look to build on their momentum despite the suspension to attacker Clint Dempsey.
Elsewhere, key Eastern Conference bouts take place on Sunday night, as the Montreal Impact take on leaders New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union host the New York Red Bulls.
The Colorado Rapids will put their 13-match unbeaten streak to the test on Saturday night against Sporting KC, who is coming off of a disappointing defeat against the Chicago Fire midweek.
Here is a rundown of the full week 18 schedule:
LA GALAXY vs. HOUSTON DYNAMO (Friday, 11 p.m., UniMas)
The Galaxy appear to be back on course in the Western Conference after a brief hiccup. A four-game unbeaten run, including wins over the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders have Bruce Arena’s side sitting fourth in the West with several games in hand.
The Dynamo have looked a better side since Wade Barrett took over as head coach, however, the team has merely managed draws and has struggled to turn solid performances into three points.
While the Galaxy will be without defenders Robbie Rogers and Ashley Cole, the Dynamo will have to make do without veteran DaMarcus Beasley.
COLUMBUS CREW vs. D.C. UNITED (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., MLS Live)
As Ola Kamara continues his brilliance in MLS, the Crew are simply looking to validate his play with results. With eight goals in eight starts, the side’s defense will need to improve to end their six-match winless streak.
D.C. has had struggles of its own in 2016. Ben Olson’s side is coming off of a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union, but the team will be hoping the recent acquisition of Lloyd Sam can make a difference down the flank.
Both sides are currently nursing significant injuries, including Crew attacker Federico Higuain and D.C.’s Chris Rolfe.
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. SPORTING KC (Saturday, 9 p.m., MLS Live)
The Rapids haven’t just been hard to beat this season, but they’ve been even more of a challenge at home. Pablo Mastroeni’s side has gone 7-0-2 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and it’s up to Sporting KC to end that run.
SKC comes into the match disappointing by its poor result against the Fire midweek. Despite dominating the game’s chances, Sporting KC came away with a 1-0 defeat against one of the league’s bottom dwellers.
FC DALLAS vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Saturday, 9 p.m., MLS Live)
While the team consisting of mostly reserves, FC Dallas is still feeling the aftereffects of its 5-0 defeat against the Sounders. The leaders out West will look to regain its form against one of the league’s least consistent sides.
The Fire will look to build off of their 1-0 win against Sporting KC, while hoping Michael de Leeuw can produce up front. The Dutchman netted his first MLS goal in Wednesday’s win against SKC, but now the rest of the Fire attack must step up against one of league’s elite.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Saturday, 10 p.m., MLS Live)
Winless in its last four, RSL is still sitting third in the West, but Jeff Cassar and co. need to pick up the results to keep chase with FC Dallas and the Rapids. With several key players listed as questionable, including Joao Plata, RSL will need to fight off the injury bug to pick up a result at home.
The Revs have been one of the more inconsistent teams in MLS this season, but a recent win against the Crew provided the team with a boost, particularly from the team’s attack. Kei Kamara must consistently find the back of the net, having scored just three goals in his eight matches since joining the Revolution.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. ORLANDO CITY (Saturday, 10 p.m., MLS Live)
The Whitecaps currently hold the final playoff spot in the West, and will be looking to build off of recent results against the Rapids and RSL. Carl Robinson’s side will have to play without Kekuta Manneh, who remains sidelined with a right foot injury, but the team still boasts several capable options up front.
As Orlando City fights injuries and the exit of coach Adrian Heath, the Lions need to find some sort of spark. With just two wins in its last 14 matches, Orlando City will be looking for Kaka’s return to give them a lift as well as second-year striker Cyle Larin, who has notched eight goals and three assists in 2016.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. TORONTO FC (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., MLS Live)
The Earthquakes have taken a massive tumble in the West after the team’s hot start. The side has gone winless in their last seven matches, putting the Earthquakes six points out of the final playoff spot in the West.
TFC has been decimated by injuries, but Greg Vanney’s side is still firmly in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference. Jordan Hamilton has provided Sebastian Giovinco with another presence up front, but the team will surely be looking for its star Italian striker to find his stride again.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (Sunday, 3 p.m., FOX/Fox Soccer 2Go)
One of the best rivalries in MLS will take shape on Sunday as the two Cascadia teams meet at Providence Park.
Injuries haven’t hampered the Timbers in the results department as of late, going unbeaten in their last eight games, but the losses of Diego Valeri and Darren Mattocks will still be a cause for concern for the defending MLS champions.
The Sounders will be missing the suspended Clint Dempsey, but the perennial playoff side will have to make do without its biggest star. Jordan Morris, who has posted seven goals during his rookie campaign, will lead the charge in the attack.
MONTREAL IMPACT vs. NEW YORK CITY FC (Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPN/ESPN Deportes/Watch ESPN)
While the statuses of Didier Drogba and Laurent Ciman remain up in the air, the Impact will look to keep their six-game unbeaten run alive on Sunday afternoon. Positive results against the Galaxy, Sporting KC, RSL and the Timbers will give the Impact a lift heading into the matchup.
NYCFC has had a week to think about its disappointing effort at Sporting KC, but Patrick Vieira and co. will have to move past the result. David Villa’s newfound assistance up front from Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison has eased the Spaniard’s workload, but that must continue if NYCFC is to succeed this season.
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Sunday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go)
The Union are flying high after their impressive win against D.C. United last weekend, but Sunday’s test will prove to be much more challenging. The team’s backline has begun to concede more goals than during the early stages of the season, which is something Jim Curtin and co. must improve upon against the Red Bulls.
Jesse Marsch’s side comes into the match following a solid win over Orlando City, but the team’s attack is still looking to regain its form. Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips hasn’t scored in the Red Bulls’ previous three matches, and he will be key if the team is to come away with three points at Talen Energy Stadium.