Top Stories

MLS Week 17: A Look Ahead


 Photo by


Already considered one of the best atmospheres in MLS, Jeld-Wen Field seems poised to reach a whole new level Sunday afternoon.

That's when the historic Pacific Northwest derby between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders comes to the Rose City for the first time in league history. Because the rivals played to a 1-1 draw in Seattle, all the bragging rights will be on the line when they face off Sunday.

That, however, is not the only must-see rivalry game of the weekend. Less than two weeks after swapping central midfielders in a blockbuster trade, Dwayne De Rosario and D.C. United will hop on the Amtrak up to Harrison, N.J., to take on Dax McCarty and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Here is a rundown of the full Week 17 slate:

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. CHIVAS USA (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Galavision)

Chivas had been one of the coldest teams in the league before notching a 2-0 win over San Jose on Wednesday. Kansas City also had a midweek fixture, coming from behind to pick up a 1-1 draw against Colorado.

With winger Ryan Smith on personal leave for the rest of the season and captain Davy Arnaud recovering from hernia surgery, Kansas City can only put the burden on reigning MLS Player of the Month Graham Zusi for so long. That means Teal Bunbury and Omar Bravo will need to start living up to expectations sooner rather than later.

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. D.C. UNITED (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Direct Kick)

All the scrutiny in this one will be focused on how United's Dwayne De Rosario and New York's Dax McCarty fare against each other in central midfield just 12 days after being traded for each other. In that department, De Rosario may have the advantage since McCarty's partner in the middle, Teemu Tainio, is suspended because of yellow card accumulation.

But United will be more focused on containing the always-lethal forward pairing of Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers. Of course, stopping wingers Dane Richards and Joel Lindpere, both of whom burned D.C. in New York's 4-0 win in April, will be another tall task.

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. TORONTO FC (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Direct Kick)

Toronto will be happy to get back on the field so quickly after its 5-0 loss to New York on Wednesday, and a win over an erratic Houston side would push Aron Winter's team ahead of the Dynamo in the Eastern Conference standings.

Houston will be without injured center back Jermaine Taylor, but having Bobby Boswell available as an alternative means there shouldn't be much of a drop-off for the Dynamo.

REAL SALT LAKE vs. FC DALLAS (Saturday, 9 p.m., Direct Kick)

This rematch of a 2010 Western Conference playoff showdown features a Dallas side that has adapted and thrived in the absence of playmaker David Ferreira going up against a Salt Lake team that is still struggling to fill the void left by its injured midfield maestro, Javier Morales.

MVP candidate Brek Shea is now Dallas' player to watch for a Salt Lake back line that will be without the suspended Nat Borchers. With Dallas carrying a three-game winning streak into the contest and Salt Lake unbeaten in five, something will have to give.

COLORADO RAPIDS vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Saturday, 9 p.m., Direct Kick)

With Colorado winless in four and Vancouver the loser of three straight, this contest marks a key opportunity for both sides to earn some points and move up the Western Conference table. For Colorado, that means trying to strengthen its place in the top half of the standings. For Vancouver, that means hoping to get out of the cellar and into the wild card race.

Vancouver will be bolstered by the acquisition of left back Jordan Harvey from Philadelphia, although how coach Tom Soehn will look to get him and Alain Rochat on the field at the same time remains a dilemma.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. CHICAGO FIRE (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., FSC)

The Fire has compiled perhaps the least impressive eight-game unbeaten streak in league history, going 1-0-7. Visiting the Home Depot Center again after drawing Chivas 1-1 last weekend, Chicago needs to start getting the full three points and stop settling for draws if it is going to make a move in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, Los Angeles is on an unbeaten run of its own, having gone 5-0-6 in its past 11 fixtures. But potentially missing starting center backs Omar Gonzalez (hip pointer) and A.J. DeLaGarza (head trauma) to injury is worrisome for the Galaxy.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Direct Kick)

Coming off a disappointing 2-0 loss at Chivas on Wednesday, San Jose will look to rebound by getting a result against a Philadelphia team that recorded a 1-0 win over the Earthquakes earlier in the season despite playing much of the match with 10 men.

For Philadelphia, finding a replacement for left back Jordan Harvey, who has started all but one game in the Union's brief history, will be key. When Harvey was suspended earlier in the season against Portland, rookie Gabriel Farfan filled in at the position.


Ever since Portland debuted at Jeld-Wen Field and MLS was introduced to Timber Joey and Co., fans around the league have had Seattle's first visit to Oregon this season circled on the calendar. As the hype continues to build, it's a match many believe will have the most intense atmosphere in MLS history.

On the field, Seattle would seem to have the clear advantage. The Sounders are 4-0-3 in their past seven, while Portland has slumped through an 0-5-1 stretch. But you can probably throw the standings out the window for this one.


  1. It’s a shame Morales and Ferreira are out…RSL/FCD would be MOTW if those 2 were in there…PDX/SEA is top billing but NY/DC and SJ/PHI will be great games as well…

  2. And which game out of the last six were did they suck? All but one was a loss by one goal. Disappointing that the Colorado and NY games could have been six points, but ended up being 1 point. Cant suck if we’ve beaten RSL, Philly, Crew, and FCD in the past.

  3. I’m not sure there is such thing as a neutral bar in Portland. Most brew-pubs and strip clubs per capita though…

  4. If you know anything about Portland women you would further qualify that statement by specifying that they’re looking for a hookup with Michelle Levesque. And the 10th is more suited for Paula Bunyan.

  5. Yes, DC are the underdogs, I just hope it is an entertaining game, no blow outs, and maybe Derosario will play with a chip on his shoulder. : ) That DC defense sure is leaky, though,

  6. So what bar will you be at Ives? btw anyone know of a good neutral, ie not a supporters bar to go to pre-game?

  7. After last weekend, the TIVO needed a rest.

    DC-NY, SLC-Dallas, and Seattle-Portland.


    9 out of every 10 girls in Portland will be looking for a Levesque hookup this weekend. The 10th is more suited for Timber Joey.

  8. Would love to see D.C. United avenge the 4 goals and loss at home last time NYRB came to town but really worried about all the fire power the Red Bulls have – and it’s all clicking at once.


Leave a Comment