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MLS Week 19: A Midweek Look Ahead

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

A busy Wednesday night around MLS sees six matches kick off Week 19.

Sporting Kansas City will be looking to continue its impressive recent form against the Chicago Fire, as Peter Vermes’ side attempts to extend its unbeaten streak to six matches.

The New York Red Bulls will try to regain their winning ways at home against Orlando City, a club that continues to re-establish its team following head coach Adrian Heath’s exit.

The Portland Timbers have had their share of struggles in 2016, however, the team’s recent seven-match unbeaten streak has them in the thick of things in the Western Conference. The Timbers will meet the Montreal Impact at Providence Park.

Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s action:

COLUMBUS CREW SC VS. TORONTO FC (7 p.m., MLS Live)

Now six points below the Eastern Conference playoffs line, the Columbus Crew need to begin to build results as the second half of the season heats up. Following a 3-1 road loss to the New England Revolution, the Crew will look to start their upswing at home.

TFC continues to battle through injuries, securing a 1-0 win against the Chicago Fire over the weekend. Despite the notable absences of players like Michael Bradley and Clint Irwin, the team has still been able to rely on Sebastian Giovinco’s eight goals and seven assists this season.

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. ORLANDO CITY (7:30 p.m., MLS Live)

The Red Bulls have hit a dry spell since returning from the international break last month, however, Jesse Marsch and co. have found success against Orlando City in the team’s brief spell in MLS. The defending Supporters’ Shield champions are 2-1-1 in their previous four meetings against the Lions, despite being outscored 10-8.

After the news this week of Gideon Baah’s leg injury, which will keep him out at least four months, the Red Bulls receive a boost in the back with Aurelien Collin and Chris Duvall returning from yellow card suspensions. Orlando hasn’t struggled to get results in 2016, but finding wins has been more challenging than the team would have liked. The team’s nine draws leads MLS, but the Lions currently sit just one point outside of the final spot in the East playoffs.

CHICAGO FIRE VS. SPORTING KC (8:30 p.m., MLS Live)

For all their struggles this season, the Fire have played well at home, which is a chance they’ll have afforded to them on Wednesday. The side has boasted a record of 3-2-3 at Toyota Park, giving Veljko Paunovic and co. a chance in front of their home crowd.

Sporting KC has been one of the hottest teams as of late, going unbeaten in their last five matches. A rejuvenated squad has certainly lifted Peter Vermes’ side, who can jump as high as third in the West with a win against the Fire.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS VS. FC DALLAS (10:30 p.m., MLS Live)

Clint Dempsey and the Sounders haven’t found the success they want this season, despite Jordan Morris’ strong rookie campaign.

Meanwhile, Dallas has arguably been the best team in the league through 18 weeks. The side’s deep attack, featuring Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz and Maxi Urruti, has consistently given opposing defenses fits.

PORTLAND TIMBERS VS. MONTREAL IMPACT (10:30 p.m., MLS Live)

The Timbers have hovered around .500 this season in the win-loss category, but Caleb Porter’s side needs to begin to find wins after tying four of their last seven games. Fanendo Adi and the attack have looked dangerous at times, and with the defense’s recent form the team can look to climb back into the playoff picture in the West.

With several games in hand in the East, the Impact are sitting pretty in third place. The team has been solid on the road this season, taking points in six out of their nine away fixtures. Even without Didier Drogba up front, the Impact boast a dangerous attack which can certainly test the Timbers defense.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS VS. REAL SALT LAKE (10:30 p.m., MLS Live)

Both teams come into their midweek clash off of draws and will be looking to get back to winning ways at BC Place.

Wednesday’s match holds significant weight for both sides, who each currently hold positions in the Western Conference playoffs. A win for the Whitecaps would give the team a lift in a competitive division, while RSL looks to keep pace with FC Dallas at the top.

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