What a start to the season that was last week. There were massive upsets as both MLS Cup finalists were beaten, exciting debuts for forwards across the league and more. Can we expect to see more of the same this week? Well check out this weekend’s juicy MLS fixtures below where we can expect some more fireworks:
Saturday 10th March
Columbus Crew vs Montreal Impact
After last week’s upset away at BMO Field against Toronto FC, Columbus Crew will be coming into this game with some confidence.
Showing that they’re able to play out from the back and succeed against the best team in the league should see them persist with that playing style this week.
Although one of the old guard impressed in Federico Higuian, so did their new arrival Gyasi Zardes as he finished calmly into the bottom corner less than a minute into the second half.
As for Montreal, Remi Garde will be hoping his side are more clinical than they were in last week’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps.
New England Revolution vs Colorado Rapids
Usually a return home from an opening day defeat would encourage a side to get back to winning ways but that might be a bit difficult for New England Revolution.
Along with their 2-0 loss against Philadelphia Union last week, their two first choice centre backs, Antonio Dalamea Milnar and Claude Dielna were sent off either side of half-time.
Opening their season in New England are Colorado Rapids who, like the home side, begin their season away from home with a new man in charge. For New England it was Brad Friedel and for the Rapids it’s Anthony Hudson who will look to reap the rewards of club management again after managing New Zealand for three years.
Hudson’s biggest challenge however, will be to help the Rapids climb from their 10th place Western Conference finish last season. Something they have a good chance of beginning at Gillette Stadium this weekend.
Real Salt Lake vs LAFC
As Real Salt Lake return to Rio Tinto Stadium, they will be looking to ensure there are no late mistakes like last weekend.
Despite leading for the majority of their game against FC Dallas, RSL allowed them back into the game as Marcelo Silva couldn’t sort his feet out before scoring a late own goal.
This weekend RSL will need to rid any errors from their game as LAFC will look to build on an impressive MLS debut.
In a week full of firsts, Bob Bradley’s side showed great discipline to keep Seattle Sounders out despite the hosts having much more of the ball.
The west coast side will hope to see more of this, this weekend:
Another first for #LAFC.
Diego Rossi is nominated for the @ATT Goal of the Week!
Get out the vote: https://t.co/66l6v01A0W pic.twitter.com/bUUEiKDweb
— LAFC (@LAFC) March 5, 2018
Houston Dynamo vs Vancouver Whitecaps
What a start to the season it was for both teams last weekend.
Houston hosted last season’s big hitters Atlanta United and despite all the odds stacked in Atlanta’s favour, Houston mauled them by scoring four unanswered goals in the first-half.
For Vancouver Whitecaps, their win wasn’t as impressive, but the emergence of new signing Kei Kamara and teenage prodigy Alphonso Davies was encouraging.
With both sides confident after their season openers, this looks to be one of the games of the round this weekend.
Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City
Like Colorado Rapids, this weekend also sees Chicago Fire begin their 2018 MLS quest.
With players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, who will be in his second year with Chicago, the side will be looking to at least replicate last year’s achievement of reaching the play-offs and maybe push even further to the MLS Cup.
The first obstacle standing in their way are a Sporting Kansas City side who also made the play-offs last year but didn’t make the best start to their 2018 campaign.
Last week saw SKC lose 2-0 at home to NYCFC and going on the road to Chicago this weekend doesn’t look encouraging for them.
In MLS, SKC have lost against Chicago Fire more than against any other team (on 18 occasions) but if they are to show any play-off form they need to pick up points quickly.
New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers
The third team to get their MLS season underway this weekend is New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls enter the regular season off the back of reaching the Eastern Conference semi-finals last year and will be hoping their current Champions League form will continue in MLS after they beat Club Tijiuana 2-0.
As for Portland Timbers, last season’s best Western Conference side fell short last week against LA Galaxy who finished rock bottom in said Conference.
With another road trip against a team in good form, Timbers may have to wait another week before their first victory of the year.
Orlando City vs Minnesota United
After last week’s displays, both sides will be coming into this weekend to make up for disappointing starts to the season.
Without Kaka in their side for the first-time last week, Orlando didn’t seem too potent going forward and had to wait until the dying moments of the game to score.
One thing the Florida side will be hoping to take into this game though is the form of Joe Bendik in goal who saved a penalty in the game.
Minnesota will be looking to repeat the accuracy in front of goal shown by Kevin Molino who bagged a late brace in the side’s 3-2 loss to San Jose Earthquakes.
Looking even further back to last year, Minnesota will hope this year’s trip to Orlando will be the same as their last:
t b t #ORLvMIN | #MNUFC pic.twitter.com/HRxPaOBz0e
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) March 8, 2018
Sunday 11th March
Atlanta United vs D.C. United
After last week’s thrashing courtesy of Houston, Atlanta will be looking to rediscover their form of last year as they return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
However, one thing that could stop them in their tracks for a second week running is a player that helped build their reputation last year.
Yamil Asad, who they had on loan last year, has moved to D.C. United for this season and has already shown the quality he has to display in MLS this year:
One player who could make the difference for Atlanta though is Miguel Almiron who, after missing a penalty last week, should be looking to get back on track as soon as possible.
NYCFC vs LA Galaxy
The final game of this weekend sees the first West Coast vs East Coast battle of the season at Yankee Stadium.
After such an encouraging season opener last week which saw NYCFC dispatch SKC 2-0 despite being without Jack Harrison and Andrea Pirlo, along with Maxime Chanot being sent off, Patrick Vieira’s side could go into Sunday’s game with some confidence.
Also, with new signing Jesus Medina scoring on his debut for the club last week there shouldn’t be many nerves in front of goal for their home opener in the Bronx.
Veteran, David Villa has also proved to be proficient against Galaxy as he’s scored against them more than against any other MLS team (three goals).
However, despite LA Galaxy’s poor 2017 season, they shouldn’t be underestimated this year.
After finishing bottom of the Western Conference in December, Galaxy entered 2018 with a bang as like Medina, Ola Kamara made an instant impact by scoring on his debut against Portland Timbers.
Unfortunately for Galaxy though, their other goalscorer from matchday one, Romain Alessandrini, who has been ruled out with a hamstring strain.
Either way, the attacking potential on both sides should leave spectators which a very well fought, free-flowing match to watch.