Major League Soccer opens up Week 12 with a battle of East versus West, starting in Philadelphia and ending in San Jose.
Four of the five clashes on Wednesday night feature teams from the East squaring off against Western foes with one key Western Conference matchup mixed into the bunch as well.
All of the teams playing on Wednesday night will play again on Saturday, so starting the week off with positive results against difficult opposition will be on the minds of all 10 teams.
Here’s a look at the five games taking place on Wednesday night:
Houston Dynamo at Philadelphia Union (7:30 p.m., MLS Live)
After playing seven of their first 10 games at home, the Houston Dynamo hit the road for a two-game swing starting at Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday night. The Dynamo sport a 0-3-0 road mark, but the good news for the Cubo Torres-led attack is they are bringing the heat with them, as game time temperatures are supposed to be in the 90s.
The Union are flying high with two wins in a row and a 273-minute shutout streak in hand. The Union aren’t close to being in the mix for the postseason just yet, but a pair of wins over Western Conference foes, starting Wednesday night against the Dynamo, would go a long way in putting the Union back to where they want to be.
Colorado Rapids at Chicago Fire (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
The Rapids finally have a positive to work off this week after a 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. However, winning on the road at Toyota Park will be a tough task, especially if the central midfielders get overrun by Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty and company.
Speaking of the Fire, they tore apart the Sounders on Saturday and are looking to use that momentum to snag their fifth home victory of 2017. Veljko Paunovic’s team sits fifth in the Eastern Conference on 15 points, with 13 of them coming at home. There’s a good chance three more will be added to that tally given the way the Rapids have performed on their travels.
Seattle Sounders at Sporting Kansas City (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
The Sounders will try to recover from the rough loss at the hands of the Fire at Children’s Mercy Park, a place that ended the Sigi Schmid era a year ago. The memories of the 3-0 trouncing at the hands of Sporting Kansas City should still be fresh in the minds of the Seattle players, and it may help them pick up a result to end a disappointing trip so far.
After starting the year unbeaten in six matches, Sporting Kansas City have lost two of the last five and haven’t won since May 3, when Sporting KC started their last two-game stretch with a victory over the New York Red Bulls. A win on Wednesday night could potentially move Sporting into first in the Western Conference.
New York City FC at Real Salt Lake (9 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
New York City FC has a golden opportunity to become the second team in MLS with three road wins, going up against a Real Salt Lake side ravaged by injuries and international duty. With a three-game unbeaten run and a draw on the road at FC Dallas in hand, NYCFC should head into Rio Tinto Stadium with a decent amount of confidence.
Real Salt Lake stumbles into Wednesday with four consecutive losses and no end in sight to the misery with a few key players out of the lineup. The first half against the Revolution on Saturday was awful and Mike Petke has to find a way to get his team to respond. If not, it’ll only get worse ahead of a trip to Seattle this weekend.
Orlando City at San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
Orlando City has earned high marks for its home record, but it also has an away win in the bank in the first two months of the season. A chance to improve further, and catch up with Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference standings, presents itself on Wednesday night at Avaya Stadium. Jason Kreis may rest some players with a home game against New York City FC ahead on Sunday.
The Quakes are one of four teams in the Western Conference with an unblemished home record. The Quakes have strung together a 3-0-2 home mark and it’s likely they can down the Lions on a short week after a cross-country trip. A win at home would also be welcome for Dominic Kinnear’s men after losing to the last-place Rapids on Saturday.