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