MLS Weekend Preview: Prairie dog plague hits Rapids game

AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File
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Well, this is not where we believed we’d begin the Major League Soccer weekend preview, but such is life after the All-Star Game, we guess.

The Colorado Rapids had to cancel a fireworks display and restrict stadium parking for Saturday’s match against Montreal due to, wait for it, the plague.

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Prairie dog colonies in the area are dealing with plague-infested fleas, and authorities think it’s wise to keep the tailgating on asphalt lots.

As for the fireworks, fleas love fireworks. Kidding, of course. Our best wishes to the people of Colorado for safety and health.

Atlanta United v. LA Galaxy – 5 p.m. ET Saturday

Already across the country, the Galaxy won’t have Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the fold due to yellow card accumulation against a Five Stripes team which hasn’t lost at home since April.

Atlanta is three points off the top of the East and is a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinalist. It also has the Campeones Cup against Club America later this month.

“We want to improve and want to be on top of every game and at the end also on top of the league, especially in our conference at the end of the season,” de Boer said, via AJC.com. “It’s our goal. It’s looking right. We are a team, and we want to be a top team. That means we want to play our best every week.  That’s how top teams work.”

New York Red Bulls v. Toronto FC – 6 p.m. ET Saturday

Both TFC and RBNY are in the thick of the race for the top spot in the East despite lengthy dry spells during this campaign.

Saturday’s match at Red Bull Arena will have the big names to provide fireworks (and probably no prairie dogs): Alejandro Pozuelo, Jozy Altidore, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Kaku… it should be a beauty.

Toronto is seven points out of first and two back of the Red Bulls heading into Saturday’s match.

The rest

New England v. LAFC – 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Orlando v. FC Dallas – 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday
FC Cincinnati v. Vancouver Whitecaps – 8 p.m. ET Saturday
Colorado v. Montreal – 9 p.m. ET Saturday
Houston v. Chicago – 9 p.m. ET Saturday
Real Salt Lake v. NYCFC – 10 p.m. ET Saturday
San Jose v. Columbus – 10 p.m. ET Saturday
Minnesota United v. Portland – 4 p.m. ET Sunday
DC United v. Philadelphia – 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday
Seattle v. Sporting KC – 10 p.m. ET Sunday