MLS Midweek Preview: TFC hosts Red Bulls, Orlando City visits Timbers, and more

MLS Midweek Preview: TFC hosts Red Bulls, Orlando City visits Timbers, and more

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MLS Midweek Preview: TFC hosts Red Bulls, Orlando City visits Timbers, and more

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The busy Major League Soccer summer schedule continues with six matches taking place over Wednesday and Thursday.

A pair of Eastern Conference rivals will meet in Wednesday’s headliner at BMO Field looking to replicate strong weekend performances. Toronto FC is coming off a shutout win over rivals Montreal Impact last weekend, while Chris Armas’ Red Bulls defeated NYCFC in controversial fashion.

Elsewhere, Orlando City travels to Portland in Thursday’s late match while D.C. United faces FC Cincinnati earlier that night. Atlanta United will try to rebound at home against the Houston Dynamo.

Here’s a closer look at this week’s top three MLS matches:

Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls – Wednesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)

Five points separate these Eastern Conference rivals who will meet at BMO Field on Wednesday night.

Greg Vanney’s side saw the return of several players from international duty including U.S. Men’s National Team veterans Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. Altidore scored a magical free-kick while Alejandro Pozuelo continued his strong debut MLS season with his ninth league goal. That pair will be on display this week as TFC tries to snap a three-match losing streak to the Red Bulls.

Chris Armas’ side downed rivals NYCFC 2-1 in Harrison on Sunday with Daniel Royer scoring a brace. The Austrian has come up clutch for the Red Bulls when called upon. Royer has seven league goals this season while the return of Bradley Wright-Phillips will give Armas a veteran option up top.

The battle to watch will be between USMNT teammates Aaron Long and Jozy Altidore.

Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City – Thursday, 10 p.m. (ESPN)

Thursday’s late showdown comes from Providence Park as the Portland Timbers host Orlando City.

James O’Connor’s side are riding a three-match unbeaten streak in all competitions which has seen them take points from the Philadelphia Union and the Columbus Crew. Benji Michel played the hero on Saturday in a 1-0 win over the Crew, but Dom Dwyer will be suspended due to a red card. Chris Mueller, Michel, and Nani will be the projected starting trio in attack against a Timbers side who are tough at home.

Portland tied the Colorado Rapids 2-2 on Saturday which ended a three-match winning streak in all competitions. Diego Valeri continued a good run of form for the Timbers, but Julio Cascante will miss due to suspension after picking up a straight red in the draw. It will be interesting to see how Portland lines up in defense as Marco Farfan left Saturday’s draw with an injury as well.

Atlanta United vs. Houston Dynamo – Wednesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

The opening match on Wednesday will see the defending MLS Cup Champs welcome the Houston Dynamo to town.

Frank De Boer’s Five Stripes fell 2-1 in Seattle on Sunday and also lost defender Brek Shea for the rest of the season. Shea suffered a torn ACL in the opening minutes against the Sounders, which leaves the Five Stripes with a major hole at left back. George Bello and Mikey Ambrose remain out so Michael Parkhurst could start on the edge with Miles Robinson and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez getting the nods at center back. Luckily, Josef Martinez has continued to score in attack.

Wilmer Cabrera is definitely on the hot seat with how poorly the Dynamo have been playing. The team comes in with six losses out of their past seven matches in all competitions, which also saw them eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup. The starting attack of Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis will provide chances, but defensively they will be forced to bunker down at times to avoid any blowout in ATL.

Here this week’s full MLS schedule:

Atlanta United vs. Houston Dynamo – Wednesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
New England Revolution vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Wednesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – Wednesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls – Wednesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
FC Cincinnati vs. D.C. United – Thursday, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City – Thursday, 10 p.m. (ESPN+)

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