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MLS at Week 23: Sounders host Sporting KC in giant West clash

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MLS’ two expansion sides will be off this weekend, but that leaves a busy Saturday schedule of 10 matches left to be played.

The leaders in each conference will face tough tests against Western Conference opponents, while all teams in action are looking to pick up points as they chase down playoff spots ahead of October.

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Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — Saturday, 4 p.m. ET 

Name a team hotter than these two right now. It’s hard to do, right? The Sounders are beginning to look like the team that went out and crushed the second half of the 2016 season — which went on to win MLS Cup — and that’s a scary prospect for the rest of MLS. Meanwhile, it’s still early but Sporting KC isn’t skipping a beat after the Dom Dwyer trade. Peter Vermes’ group are unbeaten in their last nine MLS matches and moved into the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday with a penalty-kicks win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers — Saturday, 6 p.m. ET 

Greg Vanney’s side had a hiccup in early July against Dallas, but TFC remains the best team in MLS without question. The Canadian club is riding a five-match unbeaten streak at the moment, and last season’s MLS Cup runners’ up boast the best attacking duo in the league with Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore. The pair have netted a combined 20 goals thus far in 2017, while adding 10 assists. The Timbers boast an attack that deserves plenty of credit as well though, with the side currently tied for third in the league at 42 goals.

Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes — Saturday, 9 p.m. ET

Of all the MLS sides currently in playoff positions, the Dynamo and Earthquakes are among the worst when it comes to playing on the road. Luckily for the Dynamo, they won’t have to do so when they welcome the Earthquakes to BBVA Compass Stadium, where the club is unbeaten at 8-0-3 in 2017. With the West being so congested and the top seven teams separated by a mere six points, Saturday’s meeting is crucial for both clubs when looking at potential playoff position.

Below is the rest of this weekend’s schedule around MLS (all matches on Saturday).

D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake — 7 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire — 7:30 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids — 8 p.m. ET
New England Revolution vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 8 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact — 8 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC — 11 p.m. ET

Saturday MLS roundup: Goals galore in early matches; Sigi’s debut ends scoreless

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The theme of Saturday’s MLS action was goals… and lots of them.

[ MORE: Sporting KC starts post-Dwyer era with victory over Fire ]

Five teams posted three or more finishes on the evening, making for some very exciting and high-scoring affairs around the U.S.’ top division.

The New York Red Bulls, Vancouver Whitecaps and Minnesota United each posted 4-0 shutouts in their respective matches, while the Whitecaps managed to do so impressively on the road against FC Dallas.

Meanwhile, the Sigi Schmid-Era in LA got off to an uneventful start on Saturday night as his Galaxy settled for a 0-0 draw against the Seattle Sounders.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Sunday features one lone match on the docket as Eastern Conferences powers Toronto FC and New York City FC meet at BMO Field.

Here’s a full look back at the results from Saturday night’s MLS action.

Atlanta United 1-1 Orlando City
New England Revolution 3-0 Philadelphia Union
New York Red Bulls 4-0 Montreal Impact
FC Dallas 0-4 Vancouver Whitecaps
Houston Dynamo 2-2 Portland Timbers
Sporting KC 3-2 Chicago Fire
Minnesota United 4-0 D.C. United
Real Salt Lake 2-2 Columbus Crew
San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Colorado Rapids
LA Galaxy 0-0 Seattle Sounders

Toronto FC vs. New York City FC — Sunday, 2 p.m. ET

Dom Dwyer traded to Orlando City for hefty allocation money

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Dom Dwyer is heading back to Orlando City in exchange for money.

By MLS terms, it’s a lot of cash.

Sporting KC will receive a total of $1.6 million in allocation money for the USMNT striker, and Dwyer returns to a club which saw him score 15 goals in 13 loan appearances in 2013.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 

The England-born 26-year-old had those gaudy numbers when Orlando was still in then-USL PRO (now just USL).

Dwyer has 57 goals in 128 MLS appearances, including a career-high 22 in 2014. His departure from KC raises questions about their plans for to fill his shoes, and some are suggesting that Krisztian Nemeth could return to the club from Al-Gharafa.

And down in Orlando, could Dwyer’s arrival mean the sale of Canadian striker Cyle Larin? The prolific youngster ran afoul of the law earlier this season, and perhaps his departure will be hastened with most leagues in the world still preparing for their seasons.

Plus, the move now takes Dwyer away from the city of his wife’s place of employment. Sydney Leroux-Dwyer helps the attack at FC Kansas City, where she has three goals and an assist in 15 games this season.

Sporting KC, Minnesota United toss All Star barbs

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Sporting KC feels rightly aggrieved that the MLS All Star Game can lead to rosters based on popularity more than the season’s form.

Tim Melia has been simply fantastic for SKC, but won’t see time against Real Madrid thanks to Colorado Rapids backstop Tim Howard and Seattle Sounders mainstay Stefan Frei.

No one’s debating whether Howard and Frei are quality keepers, but Melia’s season has been pretty, pretty good.

[ MORE: MLS All Star Game roster ]

That said, expansion side Minnesota United pointed out that perhaps SKC should be pleased with having two representatives, Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi, on the roster.

And in the case of the latter…

U.S. Open Cup: Earthquakes host Sporting KC, Red Bulls to travel in semis

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We already know three of the four teams that will represent the field for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals, and now we know the scenarios of where the matches will be played.

[ MORE: Closer look at the CONCACAF Gold Cup standings ]

The San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting KC and New York Red Bulls all booked their places into the final four this week after advancing past the quarterfinals in their respective matches, while Miami FC and FC Cincinnati will battle it out at a later date after their fixture was postponed due to inclement weather.

Miami and Cincinnati represent Division II leagues NASL and USL, respectively.

The Earthquakes and Sporting KC will meet at Avaya Stadium on August 9, while the Red Bulls will travel to the winner of Miami FC vs. FC Cincy on the same day.

From there, Sporting KC drew the highest priority of hosting the final. Simply put, if Sporting KC wins its match against the Quakes, Peter Vermes’ side will go on to host the title match on September 20.

The Red Bulls drew the second-highest priority, while Miami FC/Cincy were picked third and the Earthquakes were last — meaning they would be on the road regardless of which club they draw in the final.