When Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto FC (11-12-4, 37 points, East #5) last visited New York City FC (7-14-7, 28 points, East #9) at Yankee Stadium, this happened. Giovinco recorded the second-fastest hat trick in MLS history (nine minutes), later adding an assist in arguably one of the greatest individual efforts the league has ever seen. However, even that wasn’t enough to secure the Reds a win versus New York City FC—something they’re yet to accomplish this season. When the sides meet at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN), TFC can add some much-needed cushion to its Eastern Conference playoff slot, but New York City FC enters the match with its backs against the wall. That kind of motivation should make NYCFC a dangerous opponent.
Sporting Kansas City (11-8-8, 41 points, West #5) play host to FC Dallas (14-8-5, 47 points, West #2) at Sporting Park in a Western Conference showdown in this week’s edition of Viernes de Fútbol at 7 p.m. ET (UniMas, UDN). Dallas enters the match on a timely three-match winning streak with midfielder and set-piece specialist Michel being introduced back to the starting lineup at just the right time. After not having played since July 11, Michel unleashed an olimpico (watch goal here) and an assist in FC Dallas’ 2-1 win over NYCFC last week. Midfielder Benny Feilhaber will be the man to watch for SKC as his assist last week brings his season total 14, tied with Philadelphia Union midfielder Cristian Maidana for the league lead.
Cascadia Cup on the line as Seattle, Vancouver battle for regional crown
The Cascadia Cup is up for grabs as Seattle Sounders FC (13-3-3, West #4) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (15-10-3, West #1) meet on Saturday night at BC Place (7 p.m. ET, TSN). With only one point separating the sides on the Cascadia Cup table, Saturday’s showdown amounts to a championship game. Vancouver is eyeing both the first three-peat in the Cascadia Cup’s 11-year history and a historic MLS campaign. Sitting in the Supporters’ Shield race pole position with Canadian Championship hardware already in stow, Whitecaps FC has a chance to bring home four trophies and make 2015 a year to remember. However, a healthy Sounders FC squad is returning to form after a forgettable summer. Now riding a three-game unbeaten streak thanks to a run of prolific performances from Obafemi Martins, Seattle is poised to bring the Cascadia Cup back to the Emerald City for the first time since 2011. Martins—a 2014 Volkswagen MVP runner-up—has five goals in five games since returning from a groin injury that kept him on the shelf for nearly two months. With Martins doing his thing, Clint Dempsey issued a clean bill of health, and summer signings Andreas Ivanschitz, Roman Torres, and Nelson Valdez settling in, the tide is turning for Sounders FC at the perfect time. Seattle can win Cascadia Cup with a win or draw, as goal differential is the tournament’s first tiebreaker.
The Portland Timbers (11-9-8, 41 points, West #6) welcome the New York Red Bulls (13-7-6, 45 points, East #1) to Providence Park to kick off MLS Soccer Sunday at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes). Portland will look to extend their nine-game unbeaten run (6-0-3) at home dating back to May 27 led by MLS shutout leader goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey (12) – eight of his shutouts have come at home. New York Red Bulls enter the match with seven wins in their last nine matches (7-1-1) dating back to July 11 with U.S. international Sacha Kljestan notching four goals and seven assists during the club’s impressive run of form during that span. With the Red Bulls just three points behind Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Supporters’ Shield race with two games in hand, they’ll be looking to make up as much ground as possible.
Union and Dynamo face off in must-win game to keep postseason hopes alive on MLS Soccer Sunday
The Houston Dynamo (9-11-8, 35 points, West #8) travel to PPL Park to take on the Philadelphia Union (8-15-6, 30 points, East #8) to cap off MLS Soccer Sunday at 7 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes). The Dynamo will hope that club captain Brad Davis’ streak of quality performances – two goals and two assists in four games – will translate into an important road win with only six regular season games left to play. The Union will be relying on club leading goal scorer C.J Sapong to keep the team in the playoff race. With his eighth goal of the season last week, Sapong is now one goal shy of his career high of nine which he notched in 2012 while with Sporting KC. His four assists on the year are also one shy of his career high of five recorded the year before.