Just because there isn’t a high-profile Major League Soccer derby occurring in Week 6 doesn’t mean the matches won’t be great.
A week after El Trafico and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s debut captured our imaginations, both LA teams are back in the spotlight.
Unlike last week, there is a smaller schedule in Week 6 due to Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls’ presence in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Here is a look at the week’s games in MLS.
Game of the Week
LAFC at Atlanta United (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN)
LAFC wasn’t handed any favors by the schedule makers, as it has to go to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Week 6 to face the high-flying Atlanta United attack.
Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi enter Saturday with three goals each for the expansion side, while Josef Martinez is once again thriving up top for the Five Stripes, with four goals.
The key for both teams lies in the middle of the park, as Atlanta’s Julian Gressel and Jeff Larentowicz look to limit chances from LAFC’s speedy attackers, while Benny Feilhaber could be key beneath LAFC’s playmakers.
The X-factor for LAFC to come out with a road result is Marco Urena, whose two assists in three games don’t reflect the impact he has had on Bob Bradley’s side.
Other Games to Watch
Sporting Kansas City at LA Galaxy (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET, FS1)
It’s going to be hard for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to top his MLS debut, but we all know he is going to try and one-up himself in the LA Galaxy’s home clash with Sporting Kansas City.
After giving up three goals to LAFC, the Galaxy’s defense is going to face another stiff challenge, as Felipe Gutierrez, Johnny Russell and Khiry Shelton look to continue their chemistry up top for Peter Vermes’ side.
Sporting KC comes into the contest unbeaten in six games against the Galaxy and in first place in the Western Conference.
Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
It may not be the flashiest of games, but Saturday’s East clash between the Crew and Fire carries plenty of importance.
The resurgence of Gyasi Zardes has been one of the best stories of the early MLS season, as he has four goals in five games.
The Fire are languishing in last place of the East entering Week 6, and they are in need of a result to end their struggles.
Look for Bastian Schweinsteiger, who thrived in a more defensive role against Portland in Week 5, and Nemanja Nikolic to once again lead the Fire in an attempt to overcome all of their early faults.
Montreal Impact at New England Revolution (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, MLS Live)
Lee Nguyen is still not in the matchday 18 for the New England Revolution, but that hasn’t stopped Brad Friedel’s team yet. The Revs host a Montreal Impact side with two wins and two losses in the Remi Garde era.
San Jose Earthquakes at Philadelphia Union (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
Both the Union and Quakes are coming off rough losses, with the Union facing the rougher defeat at the hands of the Rapids.
The matchup to watch in this game features the Quakes’ interchanging front four against the Union’s young back line.
Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
Just two years ago, the Rapids and FC Dallas were fighting for first place in the West.
Now, the two teams are looking to get back to the top of the standings after slow starts. The Rapids and FC Dallas have two wins in six games between them, but they remain right around the red line.
Vancouver Whitecaps at Real Salt Lake (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
The Whitecaps earned a key road result in Week 5 against the Crew to remain tied with Sporting KC at the top of the West.
However, the home team has won each of the last five contests between the Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake.
The Claret and Cobalt are still looking to figure things out at 1-2-1.
Portland Timbers at Orlando City (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Timbers enters its final game of a five-game road swing before Providence Park re-opens next week.
The Timbers played well a week ago to earn a draw in Chicago, but now they face an Orlando City side coming off the high of a 4-3 win over the New York Red Bulls.