MLS Weekend Preview: 401 Derby and Petke’s reunion

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Major League Soccer has reached Week 3 of its 2018 season, though much of the focus has been on the CONCACAF Champions League.

That changes temporarily for Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls, the heroes of the tournament and two sides facing decent sub plots in league play at the weekend.

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For FC Dallas, who fell flat against a Tauro side which was rocked by Club America, and injury-ravaged Seattle, it’s a chance to meet each other on Sunday for commiserations and clattering tackles.

Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC — 3 p.m. ET Saturday

The 401 Derby has had plenty of “throw out the records” moments, including Montreal’s surprising win at BMO Field last September, and this could be another beauty given the dislike for each other and TFC’s midweek trip to Mexico.

Toronto has claimed five of nine matches, with the Impact winning three, and five of the last six between the rivals have seen four or more combined goals. Get your poutine ready.

Sporting KC vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday

The hosts are coming off a thrilling 4-3 win against Chicago, while San Jose played an enticing 3-2 encounter on Opening Day before finding a week off on the docket. That’s not to say we should expect fireworks, but coaches Mikael Stahre and Peter Vermes play forward-thinking and there’s reason to look forward to the later kickoff.

Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls — 9 p.m. ET Saturday

Influential Red Bulls coach Mike Petke was hired to take over RSL four days after the last time these two met and this match will be fun despite it not taking place in Harrison.

Petke led RBNY captain Luis Robles and company to the club’s first Supporters’ Shield, and it should be an interesting night for the few players who remain with the club from Petke’s tenure.

“As a player, he had a ferocity to him that fans loved,” Robles told MLSSoccer.com. “He had a competitiveness that was huge, but then he also brings it as a coach. I think that’s why we were successful in 2013, because the same type of competitive streak he had.”

While RBNY will be flying high from a convincing CONCACAF Champions League win, RSL has been anything but strong in an 0-1-1 start complete with a 5-1 home beatdown from expansion LAFC.

Elsewhere

DC United vs. Houston Dynamo — 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew — 2 p.m. ET Saturday
Minnesota United vs. Chicago Fire — 2 p.m. ET Saturday
NYCFC vs. Orlando City — 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Atlanta United vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday
FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders — 5 p.m. ET Sunday