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MLS Weekend Preview: Hudson River Derby, Cali Clasico, and more

Major League Soccer regular season play continues this weekend with a pair of rivalry showdowns taking centerstage.

Sunday sees the first Hudson River Derby between the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC. Red Bull Arena will play host to this heated showdown which has both teams coming off tough matchups a week ago. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Maxi Moralez will lead their respective attacks while Kaku is suspended after being sent off in Atlanta.

Friday’s late showdown comes from California as the L.A. Galaxy takes on the San Jose Earthquakes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Danny Hoesen will lead the offensive lines at Dignity Health Sports Park as the teams meet for the final time this regular season.

Elsewhere, Atlanta United travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Sounders while Minnesota United hosts FC Dallas after advancing in the U.S. Open Cup. LAFC travels to Houston trying to rebound from being eliminated in cup play.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s top five matches:

New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC – Sunday, 6:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

The first Hudson River Derby this MLS season takes place on Sunday night with these two rivals separated by one point in the Eastern Conference.

NYCFC comes to Red Bulls Arena off the back of an exit in the U.S. Open Cup. Despite Maxi Moralez’s late heroics to tie the match up, Domenec Torrent’s team fell in a penalty shootout to Orlando City. Moralez will continue to carry the team’s playmaking ability in midfield, while Heber and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi are hurt. Valentin Castellanos will be guarded closely by Aaron Long and Tim Parker.

Chris Armas’ Red Bulls are 1-3-1 over their last five matches and will be excited to return home for this one. After a thrilling 3-3 draw in Atlanta, the team now can rely on Bradley Wright-Phillips in attack along with Brian White. Kaku will be unavailable due to suspension meaning Christian Casseres and Omir Fernandez are the likely options in his spot.

Seattle Sounders vs. Atlanta United – Sunday, 3:55 p.m. (ESPN)

Earlier on Sunday, the defending MLS Cup champs take a trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Atlanta United visits the Seattle Sounders looking for their third positive result in a week. After fighting back for a point against the Red Bulls and advancing into the U.S. Open Cup semifinals, Frank de Boer’s men will be seeking a first road win since June 18th. Josef Martinez is back with a bang (and three goals), while Emerson Hyndman has added a confident piece in midfield after an assist on Wednesday.

Brian Schmetzer will see several starters return this week from international duty including Raul Ruidiaz, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and Roman Torres. Through the start of the Gold Cup, the Sounders posed a 2-3-0 record in all competitions, recently defeating Columbus 2-1 away. Nicolas Lodeiro is coming off a brace at Mapfre Stadium and will definitely be happy to see plenty of attacking talent returning.

The past two meetings between these sides have ended in draws.

L.A. Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Friday, 11 p.m. (Univision)

The second California Clasico this season comes from Dignity Health Sports Park with the L.A. Galaxy looking to bounce back.

A 3-0 loss to the Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on June 29th saw Vako Qazaishvili steal the show with a goal and assist. The Georgian has four goals and two assists this season and will look to connect with the likes of Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski, and Magnus Eriksson in attack.

The L.A. Galaxy have alternated between wins and losses in their past five matches in all competitions, and will try to start a run of stability after a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to lead the offensive attack, while Efrain Alvarez has risen to the challenge after increased playing time. Alvarez connected with Ibrahimovic in the win over TFC and the pair will be eager to make it back-to-back league wins.

Houston Dynamo vs. LAFC – Friday, 9 p.m. (Univision)

The league-leading LAFC are also in action on Friday, traveling to the Houston Dynamo earlier on Friday night.

Bob Bradley’s side are 2-2-0 in their last four matches in all competitions, most recently being eliminated in the U.S. Open Cup at the hands of the Portland Timbers. In league play though, they have won back-to-back matches by a combined score of 11-2. Carlos Vela has three goals in that span, while other players like Adama Diomande and Diego Rossi have also contributed.

The Houston Dynamo are in seventh place in the West and will be hoping to avoid any blowout to their in-form opponents. Wilmer Cabrera’s bunch have lost five of their last six matches in all competitions, including a surprising road loss in Cincinnati last weekend. Defensive has been the issue of late and will need to be miles better to limit LAFC. Aljaz Struna and Adam Lundqvist are two who will lead by example on Friday.

Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas – Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)

One point separates these two Western Conference teams as the race in the West continues.

Minnesota United has won six-consecutive matches in all competitions, while also booking a spot in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. A 6-1 beatdown of New Mexico United saw Angelo Rodriguez net a hat trick and Darwin Quintero return with a brace. These two have 11 league goals between them and don’t forget about Mason Toye who has three goals in his last three appearances too.

FC Dallas are 2-2-1 in their last five in all comps and will look to match the Loons with a talented midfield and attack. Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania are two young rising stars in Luchi Gonzalez’s midfield, while Dominique Badji and Jesus Ferreira has three goals and two assists combined in their last four appearances. They will deal with a physical backline led by Ike Opara and Michael Boxall.

Here’s this weekend’s full MLS schedule:

D.C. United vs. New England Revolution – Friday, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Houston Dynamo – LAFC – Friday, 9 p.m. (Univision)
L.A. Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Friday, 11 p.m. (Univision)
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC – Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew – Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Chicago Fire vs. FC Cincinnati- Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas – Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
Real Salt Lake vs. Philadelphia Union- Saturday, 10 p.m. (ESPN+)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Sporting KC – Saturday, 10 p.m. (ESPN+)
Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – Saturday, 11 p.m. (ESPN+)
Seattle Sounders vs. Atlanta United – Sunday, 3:55 p.m. (ESPN)
New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC – Sunday, 6:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)


  1. Man, We are so lucky to have a great league like MLS, what a group of games.


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