Texas Derby

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MLS at midweek: Texas Derby among last games before Copa America break

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Six Major League Soccer matches dot the schedule on Wednesday and Thursday, as MLS gets its last kicks in before breaking for the Copa America Centenario.

[ COPA AMERICA: Top 25 players ]

Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Philadelphia vs. Columbus — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

The Union enter the match without their starting goalkeeper but with the top slot in the East. A Columbus win would boost the Crew back into the playoff picture, but Philly is 4W-2T in six matches at home while the visitors are winless away from Ohio.

DC United vs. Seattle — 8 p.m. ET Wednesday

The Sounders are tasked with picking up their first road win of the season off a cross-country flight. They are also seven points back of the final playoff spot, but face a struggling DC squad which has learned that life after Perry Kitchen is difficult.

Portland vs. San Jose — 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

This has to go in the win column for Portland, who needs it badly, as San Jose is missing Anibal Godoy, Chris Wondolowski, Simon Dawkins and Alberto Quintero due to Copa America duty. Portland won’t have Darlington Nagbe and Jermaine Taylor, but has better depth and home field.

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

New York City vs. Real Salt Lake — 7 p.m. ET Thursday

Two sides with just one win between them over their last seven combined matches meet at Yankee Stadium, a venue that hasn’t been kind to the hosts. In a league where all but two teams are above .500 at home, high-flying NYC is one sits with 1 win, 2 losses and 5 draws on the postcard pitch in the Bronx.

[ MORE: PST’s Copa America coverage ]

FC Dallas vs. Houston — 9 p.m. ET Thursday

Houston would love to make it two-straight Texas Derby wins after thumping Dallas 5-0 at home on March 12. To do that, the Dynamo will have to beat a Dallas side who is unbeaten in four.

L.A. Galaxy vs. Sporting KC — 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday

The hosts haven’t won in four, but get a baffling Sporting KC team which is missing Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Soni Mustivar. As we mentioned with Portland, this shouldn’t be anything but a win for the Galaxy.

Major League Soccer’s Week 2 preview: Playoff rematches, Texas Derby and more

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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On a scale of 1-10, the level of anticipation for Week 2 of MLS’ 2016 season is somewhere around 15.

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That’s because the Texas Derby and a massive traditional MLS rivalry join forces with an interesting slate of games that includes a rematch of a 4-4 thriller from last season to form a killer weekend.

After the league saw 36 goals in the 10 games of Week 1, what will Week 2 bring?

New England Revolution vs. DC United — 3 p.m. ET Saturday

A rematch of the first round of last year’s MLS Playoffs, these two sides have tangled just a few times in the history of the league. DC advanced to the semifinals last season, but this is a much different United side. Gone are mainstays Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen, and DC’s been knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League before falling 4-1 to the Galaxy in Week 1. New England played a thrilling 3-3 draw with Houston, but that sort of goal hemorrhaging isn’t typical of the Revs. How will it go in Foxboro?

Prediction: New England 2-0

Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas —  8:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Overcoming a rival can make a bad season good, but Houston’s trio of losses to FC Dallas in the Texas Derby made last season’s struggles downright awful. It started May 1 with a 4-1 shellacking in Houston, and switched venues for a 2-0 decision in Dallas before another 4-1 match in early October. Western Conference favorites

FC Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa (8) kicks the ball in front of Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark (13) during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Frisco, Texas, Friday, June 26, 2015. Dallas won 2-0. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Dallas beat Philadelphia 2-0 on Opening Week, but might not have superstar Fabian Castillo for Saturday night’s fracas in Frisco.

Will that be enough for Giles Barnes and Houston to score their first Texas Derby win since 2012?

Texas Derby last seven matches
Oct. 4, 2015 — FC Dallas 4-1
June 26, 2015 — FC Dallas 2-0
May 1, 2015 — FC Dallas 4-1
June 24, 2014 — FC Dallas 3-2
April 5, 2014 — FC Dallas 4-1
June 26, 2013 — FC Dallas 3-0
March 17, 2013 — FC Dallas 3-2

Prediction: FC Dallas 3-1

New York City FC vs. Toronto FC — 5 p.m. ET Sunday

I hinted at this earlier in the week, but these two sides staged an incredible 4-4 draw at Yankee Stadium last season. While David Villa scored two and Sebastian Giovinco notched a hat trick, the game saw its massive entertainment despite a distinct lack of Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

Now, of course, that means we could see a 0-0 bore draw.

Prediction: Toronto 2-1

Picking the rest
Orlando City 2-2 Chicago Fire
Real Salt Lake 0-2 Seattle Sounders
Montreal Impact 1-1 New York Red Bulls
Colorado Rapids 2-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
Columbus Crew 2-1 Philadelphia Union
Sporting KC 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
San Jose 0-0 Portland Timbers