MLS has begun at a rapid pace this season with some thrashing and end-to-end games all over the league and with some of the fixtures this weekend, that shouldn’t change one bit. Check out who is playing who this weekend here:
Saturday 17th March
D.C. United vs Houston Dynamo
After last year’s disappointing MLS campaign, D.C. United haven’t had the best start to the 2018 season with a draw and a loss in their first two games.
Coming up against a hungry Atlanta side it wasn’t going to be easy, but D.C. will hope that that their home opener goes a bit more smoothly.
One positive Ben Olsen’s side will be looking to take into the game is the form of Darren Mattocks and Yamil Asad who’ve both been on target so far this season.
Houston, however, will be in search for their week one form when they beat Atlanta United 4-0 and be more clinical than last week against Vancouver.
The away side will also take confidence in the fact that they put three goals past D.C. in their last meeting in September. So, with both sides looking to prove a point this could be a tasty opening to the weekend.
Minnesota United vs Chicago Fire
If last week is anything to go by then we could be in for another eye-catching, end-to-end game involving Chicago Fire.
In their season opener last week, Fire went blow for blow against Sporting Kansas City and despite cutting down a two-goal deficit to goal 3-2 ahead on 82 minutes, they still ended up losing 4-3.
In another away game this week, three goals should be able to get Chicago three points but whether they can replicate their second-half serge we’ll have to wait and see.
On the other hand, Minnesota will be hoping that last week’s hero Ethan Finley maintains his form as he scored twice to secure an away victory against Orlando City.
Saturday is also Minnesota’s home opener, so they’ll be out to impress at the National Sports Centre.
Unfortunately, someone who won’t returning home is Kevin Molino who has picked up an ACL injury which will keep him out for the season.
Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew
After a week off last week, Philadelphia Union will come into this one with some fresh legs, however, that may not be the best thing when coming up against this Columbus Crew side.
After convincingly beating Toronto FC on the opening day, the Crew backed that up with a late victory over Montreal last week.
Building momentum and confidence, Gyasi Zardes was on the scoresheet again taking his tally up to three for the season. Federico Higuian also scored an early penalty to take his scoring tally up to two and go into week three with great confidence.
Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC
As said above, Montreal were on the end of a 3-2 defeat to Columbus Crew last weekend but will hope to show similar resilience this weekend.
Impact came from two goals down to level the scores before Zardes dispatched an added time penalty to win the game.
As well as hitting the crossbar, Remi Garde would have felt his side were in for a chance of winning as two of Crew’s goals came from penalties.
However, making this fixture fully Canadian is Toronto FC, who didn’t play last weekend in MLS.
After their opening day disappointment, Greg Vanney’s side bounced back by securing a place in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals by beating Tigres UNAL on away goals.
Both talismen, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco managed to get on the scoresheet across the two legs, so the reigning MLS Cup champions will hope that can kick-off their goal scoring form for this year.
NYCFC vs Orlando City
Some things change but others pretty much always stay the same and David Villa proved that last week on his 100th MLS appearance as he scored in yet another home opener against LA Galaxy.
With both attacking outlets in Villa and Jesus Medina getting goals early in the season that should settle any early season nerves and possibly make them even stronger favourites for this match.
Orlando come into this one with a draw and a loss on their record which they’ll be looking to change tomorrow but coming up against last year’s second best Eastern team could mean more trouble for Jason Kreis’ side.
Atlanta United vs Vancouver Whitecaps
After last week, this game looks like it could be the game of the weekend.
In Atlanta’s 3-0 win over D.C. United last week the five stripes smashed their attendance record with 72,035 supporters present to see them return to winning ways.
Playing at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium again this weekend, Tata Martino will hope that a similar turnout will drive the players to a second successive win.
Something other than the fans that could help that is Miguel Almiron’s return to form, something I may have called last week, as he claimed a goal and an assist within a matter of minutes:
Three goals ✔
Three points ✔@ATLUTD put on a show for the 72,035 in attendance today! #ATLvDC pic.twitter.com/MAkCF9qQbR
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 11, 2018
As for Vancouver, there was great reason to celebrate last week as in striker, Kei Kamara’s 300th MLS game he bagged his 100th goal away at Houston Dynamo.
Even though it was a penalty, with 100 goals in the league Kamara is a definite threat for the Canadian side and as he showed in week one he’s still capable of great finishes from open play.
With him and Alphonso Davies in the side, this should be an exciting game where the sides hopefully go toe-for-toe with goals guaranteed.
Sporting Kansas City vs San Jose Earthquakes
After their opening day defeat to NYCFC, SKC bounced back in an erratic fashion to pick up their first win of the season last week against Chicago Fire.
After being 2-0 up at half-time they had to rely on two late goals from Jimmy Medranda and Felipe Gutierrez to secure a 4-3 win.
They’ll hope things go more comfortably this weekend but that may not be the case as they welcome San Jose Earthquakes.
With a week off, the Earthquakes have had a chance to keep their legs fresh for this week after an amazing performance in week one.
This was shown through striker, Danny Hoesen’s two goals which got him the MLS player of the week:
Congrats to the season's first @Alcatelmobile MLS Player of the Week, the @SJEarthquakes' Danny Hoesen! https://t.co/5fHcMJBfwJ https://t.co/4rBEcbdTJI
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 6, 2018
Real Salt Lake vs New York Red Bulls
If anything, this game looks like it’s going to be a landslide for New York Red Bulls.
After their 4-0 demolition of Portland last week which saw new faces in Ben Mines and Carlos Rivas score and their CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final win over Club Tijuana, confidence will be sky high going into this game.
Unfortunately for Real Salt Lake, they’re coming into this game of the back of receiving a thrashing instead of delivering one as they lost 5-1 to LAFC.
The game saw RSL take the lead through Joao Plata, however, after that point their defence pretty much collapsed and were no match for any attack made by the visitors as you can see in the similarity between Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi’s goals:
RT for @11carlosV
Like for Diego Rossi pic.twitter.com/vaR3IR8cmL
— LAFC (@LAFC) March 12, 2018
With that in mind its hard not to envisage in New York win here.
Sunday 18th March
FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders
Coming into this match both teams had rests last weekend, but after Seattle’s CONCACAF Champions League departure and season opening loss, they should be looking to make things right on Sunday.
After reaching the MLS Cup final last year, the Sounders just haven’t quite hit the type of form which saw them reach that stage.
Depsite winning their first leg against Guardalajara 1-0, on the road they lost 3-0 to further dampen their mood.
This could either be what they need to kickstart their MLS season or FC Dallas could use this to inspire themselves and go for all three points in their return to MLS.