MLS Weekend Preview

Jon Shard/LA Galaxy via AP

MLS Weekend Preview: LA clubs square off, Kljestan meets RBNY

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It’s almost as if a marketing company drew it up for Major League Soccer.

LA Galaxy vs. LAFC — 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

League legends LA Galaxy will tangle with fancy new boys LAFC in a match everyone hopes will become one of the best rivalries in the country.

And oh, by the way, one of the league’s best ever imports could debut in the form of new Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The subplots extend even beyond the hopeful rivalry and Zlatan. Consider:

— You have the Dos Santos brothers on the Galaxy staring down El Tri teammate Carlos Vela.

— Both teams have legendary American coaches in Bob Bradley (LAFC) and Sigi Schmid.

— LAFC hasn’t lost! Sure, it’s only two matches, but Bradley’s expansion club is thriving early.

Let’s go!

Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake — 8 p.m. ET Friday

The winless champs host a Mike Petke-led bench which hasn’t exactly found its footing despite its sleeper status before the season. Petke was once teammates with TFC boss Greg Vanney, and the two will match wits at a raucous BMO Field on a fitting match to start the weekend.

The Reds will also have to focus on the present despite the knowledge that Tuesday brings one of the biggest home matches in club history: the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Club America.

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls — 1 p.m. ET Saturday

Sacha Kljestan is acclimating just fine to life in Orlando, but the Red Bulls’ latest traded captain welcomes his former club to town with a point to prove (especially given New York’s continued success in weathering the trading of said captains Kljestan and Dax McCarty).

Columbus Crew vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 3 p.m. ET Saturday

We’re sure MLS didn’t play to have its four top matches kick off the weekend, but we’ll have our eyes peeled early Saturday. If it wasn’t such a hike for the ‘Caps, we might call this the game of the weekend. The two sides have played a combined eight matches with one loss this season, and neither is particularly open at the back. With Kendall Waston righteously dodging a suspension, it’s on Gyasi Zardes and Co. to find a way past the visitors.

Elsewhere

Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers — 6 p.m. ET Saturday
Minnesota United vs. Atlanta United — 8 p.m. ET Saturday
San Jose Earthquakes vs. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Saturday
Houston Dynamo vs. New England — 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Sporting KC vs. DC United — 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Colorado Rapids vs. Philadelphia Union — 9 p.m. ET Saturday
Seattle Sounders vs. Montreal Impact — 10 p.m. ET Saturday

MLS Weekend Preview: Friedel’s Revs get NYCFC test

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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It’s an international break, and Major League Soccer is only sorta observing it.

More than half of the league’s clubs will participate on Saturday match days, with several shorthanded by national team duty.

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Columbus won’t have Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp for a visit from DC United — who is missing Zoltan Steiber, Bruno Miranda, and Oniel Fisher — while the Red Bulls will be without Tyler Adams, Kemar Lawrence, and Michael Murillo for Minnesota United’s visit.

NYCFC won’t have Alexander Ring, Ronald Matarrita, and Rodney Wallace, Portland’s without David Guzman and Andy Polo, and Sporting KC loses Daniel Salloi.

The Whitecaps won’t have center back Kendall Waston, while opponents LA Galaxt are without Ola Kamara.

New England Revolution vs. New York City FC — 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Brad Friedel‘s New England revolution, purposely lower case, is making believers out of its players. It would take a giant step if it could slow the NYCFC juggernaut. The visitors have allowed just one goal in their 3-0 start.

As for the hosts, Friedel has made his mark in a way that mostly makes you wonder what in the world Jay Heaps was doing:.

(Bunbury) pointed to a fine system in the locker room, increased accountability, how Friedel posts the starting XI on game day, and occasional two-a-day training sessions, which never occurred in the forward’s four years under Heaps.

“I think it unifies the team,” Bunbury said. “The broad sense of professionalism, it’s about having respect for each other and making sure you are held accountable in every part of this club.”

Never occurred under Heaps? Woof.

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers — 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

FCD had an uninspiring ending to their CONCACAF Champions League dreams, but that’s little compared to the Timbers’ 0-2 start under Gio Savarese. A trip down South isn’t a surefire way to right the ship.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy — 10 p.m. ET Saturday

A long trip up North is only made worse by a laundry list of injuries for Sigi Schmid’s Galaxy. We’re only listing it amongst our Top Three because an LA win would be wildly impressive given the ‘Caps strong start.

Elsewhere

Columbus Crew vs. DC United — 6 p.m. ET Saturday
New York Red Bulls vs. Minnesota United — 7 p.m. ET Saturday
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC — 9 p.m. ET Saturday