The opening week of the 2020 MLS season gave us some surprising results, and Week Two should give us a better idea of which results were flukes, and which teams are as good as they showed in Week One.
The Colorado Rapids, Montreal Impact and Minnesota were among the surprise winners on opening weekend, and all three face daunting challenges this time around.
On the other side, New York City FC, the Portland Timbers and New England Revolution all stumbled out of the blocks, but must now rebound to avoid starting the season with consecutive losses.
The best matches of the week? New York City FC’s visit to Toronto FC will be one to watch, while the Columbus Crew’s trip to Seattle has the makings of a classic battle.
Here is a closer look at the Week 2 schedule:
New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
(Saturday, 1:30 p.m., ESPN+)
A clash of two teams that played well enough to win last week only to suffer defeats. Carles Gil remains sidelined for the Revs, but the combo of Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou should cause plenty of problems for a Fire defense that remains the weak link of Chicago’s revamped squad.
PREDICTION – REVOLUTION, 2-1
Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls
(Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN+)
The Red Bulls have a history of struggling in Utah, and RSL will offer up a much tougher challenge than FC Cincinnati did. The battle to watch will be in midfield, where RSL must contain Kaku and Florian Valot, while the Red Bulls defense tries to stifle an RSL attack that should be better than the one that struggled against Orlando City.
PREDICTION – 1-1 Draw
FC Dallas vs. Montreal Impact
(Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN+)
The Impact are unbeaten under Thierry Henry in all competitions, but will face their toughest test to date in a strong FC Dallas side that is even tougher at home. FC Dallas’ quality on the flanks will limit Montreal’s ability to generate chances, while Matt Hedges should do well in his match-up against former teammate Maxi Urruti.
PREDICTION – FC DALLAS, 2-1
D.C. United vs. Inter Miami
(Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Univision/TUDN)
After an impressive showing in its debut loss to Los Angeles FC, Inter Miami heads to Audi Field as a bit of a favorite against a D.C. United side still adapting to life after Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta (and life without Paul Arriola). Expect a defensive battle, but Rodolfo Pizarro introduces himself with a stellar performance.
PREDICTION – INTER MIAMI, 1-0
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC
(Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN+/YES Network)
The best match of the weekend is a rematch of the Eastern Conference playoff clash won by TFC on its way to the 2019 MLS Cup final. NYCFC will be without suspended defender Maxime Chanot, leaving Alex Callens and James Sands to try and contain Jozy Altidore, while Alejandro Pozuelo enjoys another good day against the team he terrorized in last year’s playoffs. How will NYCFC manage its lineup with CCL looming next week? The potential for some rested starters makes Ronny Deila’s side the underdogs in Toronto.
PREDICTION – TORONTO FC, 2-1
Atlanta United vs. FC Cincinnati
(Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN+)
Josef Martinez’s torn ACL has placed a dark cloud over things in Atlanta, but there is still too much talent on the Five Stripes roster to expect a big letdown against a weak Cincinnati side. Gonzalo Martinez should have his way with the Cincy defense, while Adam Jahn steps up to show Atlanta just might have a striker it can count on.
PREDICTION – ATLANTA UNITED, 3-0
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota United
(Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN+)
Can the Loons pull off a second-straight road win after last week’s impressive showing in Portland? The Earthquakes will look to build on their dramatic comeback draw against TFC, and Matias Almeyda has to know starting the season with two home games without a win would be rough for a team with playoff aspirations. If Cristian Espinoza can get the better of Chase Gasper in one of the marquee matchups, then San Jose can prevail.
PREDICTION – EARTHQUAKES 2-1
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo
(Saturday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN+)
The Dynamo showed some good things in last week’s draw with the LA Galaxy, but going on the road to face rival Sporting KC will be a different challenge. SKC matches up well with the Dynamo, and its midfield should win the battle for control, with Felipe Gutierrez stepping up and Alan Pulido finding the net once more.
PREDICTION – SPORTING KC, 2-0
Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City
(Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPN+)
The Rapids face an Orlando side that showed little in attack in its opening draw against Real Salt Lake, and isn’t likely to find many more chances in the altitude of Colorado. Oscar Pareja has improved the Lions defense, but the glaring need for more of a goal threat will continue to haunt Orlando City.
PREDICTION – RAPIDS, 1-0
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
(Saturday, 10 p.m., ESPN+)
Chicharito Hernandez’s home debut comes against a Whitecaps side that looked lost in its opener, and will struggle to contain the Galaxy’s array of weapons. Cristian Pavon will make things tough for Jake Nerwinski while Chicharito finds the net for the first of what the Galaxy will be hoping is 20+ goals this season.
PREDICTION – GALAXY, 3-1
Seattle Sounders vs. Columbus Crew
(Saturday, 10 p.m., ESPN+)
Another contender for Game of the Week, Columbus visits Seattle looking very much like a team poised for a turnaround season. The Sounders won last week, but once again looked like a team still shaking off an MLS Cup hangover. The absences of Nicolas Lodeiro and Gustav Svensson will make winning the midfield battle that much tougher for the Sounders, especially with Lucas Zelarayan being such a threat, but Joao Paulo and Jordan Morris make the difference to help the Sounders deliver a more complete performance than they did last week.
PREDICTION – SOUNDERS, 2-1
Portland Timbers vs. Nashville SC
(Sunday, 7 p.m., ESPN)
The Timbers should thank the MLS schedule-makers for delivering an opponent with a weak attack this soon after a terrible defensive performance. Nashville turned in an admirable debut in its loss to Atlanta, but going on the road for the first time will be too steep a challenge, especially against a Timbers side that will be eager to make up for last week’s stinker.
PREDICTION – TIMBERS, 3-1
Los Angeles FC vs. Philadelphia Union
(Sunday, 10:30 p.m., FS1)
How much will the looming Concacaf Champions League clash with Tigres factor into LAFC’s planning for this one? Could we see some key starters rested? There’s a good chance that happens, but LAFC will still have enough firepower to trouble a Union defense that showed some vulnerability in its loss to FC Dallas.
PREDICTION – LAFC, 2-0