New York City FC (10-14-7, 37 points, East #8) continues its late-season bid for a playoff berth when it visits D.C. United (13-12-6, 45 points, East #4) at RFK Stadium for the first time ever on Viernes de Futbol (7 p.m. ET, UniMás). On the heels of Saturday’s stunning win in Vancouver—which featured a 95th minute game-winning goal from David Villa—NYCFC remains alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race but needs either Montreal or Toronto to fall short down the stretch. All the expansion club can do in the meantime is continue its winning ways and with Frank Lampard finally settling in with two goals and one assist in NYCFC’s last three games (including this one on Saturday), an undefeated run to close the season doesn’t look so farfetched. D.C. United sits seven points above the red line on the Eastern Conference table despite its current six-game winless streak. The reigning Eastern Conference regular season champs were a model of consistency throughout this season and the veteran-laden roster figures to right the ship sooner rather than later. United can clinch a playoff spot with a win or a tie and a Montreal Impact win versus Orlando City SC.
The San Jose Earthquakes (12-12-7, 43 points, West #7) play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC (15-12-3, 48 points, West #2) at Avaya Stadium Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. ET (TSN). San Jose find themselves just below the red line and one point behind the Portland Timbers (12-10-8, 44 points, West #6) for a coveted playoff spot. Goalkeeper David Bingham posted his 11th shutout of the season in the 1-0 win last week over RSL, tied for second in MLS behind Portland Timbers keeper Adam Kwarasey (12). Vancouver’s Pedro Morales will be happy to face off against San Jose, having scored three career goals against them – his most against any MLS club. With two points behind Western Conference leading LA Galaxy and a game in hand, Vancouver will be primed to stop a two-match losing streak and book a ticket to the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win on Saturday, while San Jose will look to keep up the pressure on the Timbers and jump over the red line.
Houston Dynamo veterans keep club’s playoff hopes intact ahead of final Texas Derby
This week’s MLS Soccer Sunday tripleheader opens with the season’s third and final edition of the Texas Derby between FC Dallas (14-10-5, 47 points, West #3) and the Houston Dynamo (11-12-8, 41 points, West #8) at 5:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes). While FC Dallas remains a favorite to win its first ever Supporters’ Shield, Houston is batting to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff hunt. The Dynamo secured a consecutive win for the second time this season on with a 3-2 result versus the Colorado Rapids on Friday night. In their last two games alone, Will Bruin, Brad Davis, and Giles Barnes have combined for three goals and four assists. The Dynamo will lean on that trio along with DaMarcus Beasley and Oscar Garcia to anchor a playoff push. Netting three points in Dallas versus Fabian Castillo & Co. could be Houston’s biggest win of the season, and its roster certainly has the collective big-game experience to do so. FC Dallas, however, can punch its ticket to the playoffs with a win, a San Jose Earthquakes loss, and a Real Salt Lake loss or draw. With so much on the line, this derby has the makings of a classic.
Rocky Mountain Cup on the line when Rapids host RSL
The Colorado Rapids (8-12-10, 34 points, West #10) and Real Salt Lake (10-12-8, 38 points, West #9) battle for the Rocky Mountain Cup in the last regular season matchup between the two clubs on MLS Soccer Sunday at 7 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes, FOX Sports GO). RSL’s young forward Devon Sandoval has taken on an increased role with the club, starting a career high 15 matches this season and scoring three goals in his past three matches. But Colorado is poised to take home the hardware on Sunday, just needing a draw at home after tying RSL 0-0 on June 7 and defeating the Claret-and-Cobalt 3-1 on July 11. The winner of the Rocky Mountain Cup is awarded to the club with the most points during their head-to-head matchups during the MLS season. RSL has won the trophy seven times, with their most recent Rocky Mountain Cup coming last season, while Colorado has won it three times, with their most recent victory coming in 2013.
LA Galaxy travel to Seattle with huge implications on Western Conference, Supporters’ Shield race
Last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders FC (14-13-4, 46 points, West #4) host this season’s Supporters’ Shield leading LA Galaxy (14-9-8, 50 points, West #1) at CenturyLink Field in the final match of a triple header on MLS Soccer Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN2). After notching a goal and assist in last week’s 3-2 win over FC Dallas, reigning MVP Robbie Keane now has eight goals and two assists in his past seven matches against Western Conference opponents. Since the return of Obafemi Martins on August 16, Sounders FC is back in the thick of the Supporters’ Shield race. Seattle are 4-1-2 since their star striker’s return, with Martins bagging seven goals and an assist in the past seven matches. With a win on Sunday, the Galaxy would clinch a spot in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs and with only four points separating the two clubs, this match will have huge implications on who finishes atop the league come Oct. 25.
Week 31 National Television Schedule
Friday, October 2
D.C. United vs. New York City FC, 7:00 p.m. ET (UniMás)
Saturday, October 3
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. ET (TSN, RDS2)
Sunday, October 4
FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo, 5:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:00 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes)
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN2)