Two of Major League Soccer’s biggest and oldest rivalries resume on Sunday as Rivalry Week comes to a conclusion.
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The New York Red Bulls are coming off of a thrilling (and probably disappointing) 1-1 draw to New York City FC on Wednesday night, but will have to remove thoughts of that game as D.C. United arrive at Red Bull Arena.
D.C. has emerged as a contender in the Eastern Conference playoff race since the arrival of Wayne Rooney, and Ben Olsen’s attack has quickly become one of the most deadly in MLS with Luciano Acosta, Yamil Asad and Rooney leading the way.
Rooney and Co. enter the weekend unbeaten in their last five matches, including four victories in that span, making the playoffs a much more realistic goal after the team’s early-season struggles.
For the Red Bulls, they enter the match unbeaten in their last four, however, Wednesday’s draw against NYCFC was a chance wasted by Chris Armas’ group after playing up a man (and eventually two men) against their bitter rivals.
Nonetheless, the Harrison side remains in solid standing in the Eastern Conference, just four points behind leaders Atlanta United and a game in hand over the first-place side.
Following the Atlantic Cup affair, a classic Cascadia battle resumes as the Portland Timbers host the Seattle Sounders, who have once again found a way to get hot at the right time.
The Sounders have been the best team in MLS since July 1, winning seven of their nine matches and going unbeaten during that span.
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Despite that fact, Seattle sits two points out of the West playoffs, but a victory Sunday night would propel the 2016 MLS Cup champions above the red line.
The Timbers, on the other hand, have cooled off significantly as of late with three consecutive losses. In that span, the club has scored just two goals, which falls well below the team’s production from earlier in the season.
Sunday MLS schedule
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United — 7 pm ET
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders — 9 pm ET