The Houston Dynamo (5-7-5) welcome the Chicago Fire (4-9-2) to BBVA Compass Stadium in the first game of this week’s Viernes de Futbol doubleheader at 9 p.m. ET (UDN). The Fire are coming off of a 1-0 loss against Eastern Conference leading D.C. United last week in which Designated Players Shaun Maloney (back) and David Accam (hamstring) missed the match due to injury. The Dynamo most recently fell to Texas rivals FC Dallas 2-0 and will be eager to welcome an Eastern Conference club as they’re unbeaten in five straight matches (3-0-2) this season against such teams. With both clubs looking to make up ground in their respective conferences, Friday night’s affair in Houston should bring the heat.
Supporters’ Shield-leading D.C. United (10-5-5) visit Seattle Sounders FC (9-7-2) at CenturyLink Field for the second leg of Viernes de Futbol at 11:00 p.m. ET (UniMás). Sounders FC has struggled to cope without its three Designated Players—Dempsey (suspension), Obafemi Martins (injury), Osvaldo Alonso (injury) — but their absences have paved way for Lamar Neagle and Cristian Roldan to rack up valuable minutes that could pay dividends down the road. Seattle has to lean on its role players again this week, and it’ll need a few unsung heroes to emerge in order to shake this losing skid. D.C. United rolls into town atop the Supporters’ Shield race with 35 points thanks to stifling defense and outstanding goalkeeping from Bill Hamid. United has ceded multiple goals only three times this season and Hamid is currently riding a 260-minute shutout streak. While the backline deserves copious credit for the club’s success, Chris Rolfe is sparking its attack with a career renaissance at age 32. The 10-year MLS veteran is on pace to shatter his previous career highs, having turned in six goals and three assists in 17 appearances this year.
Surging Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit Colorado Rapids on heels of dominant road stretch
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-6-2) visits the Colorado Rapids (2-6-9) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time this season at 9:00 p.m. ET on July 4 (TSN, RDS2, Altitude). Whitecaps FC continue to assert itself as a force to be reckoned with, especially on the road. Vancouver boasts the best road goal differential in MLS (+3) and snapped New England’s 17-game home unbeaten streak on Saturday. While Octavio Rivero and Pedro Morales remain in form, 20-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh and midfielder Cristian Techera—aptly nicknamed ‘The Bug’—have emerged to round out the club’s potent attack. Colorado will have its hands full come Saturday, particularly if rookie defender Axel Sjöberg remains sidelined. The 6’7” Swede has been a standout for the Rapids this season, but has missed the club’s last three games with a meniscus injury. Needing to rack up points, the Colorado Rapids will hope to set off some fireworks as its starts the second half of the season.
Red hot Timbers and Earthquakes duel in Cascadia
Fresh off of victories over their archrivals during MLS Heineken Rivalry Week, the Portland Timbers (8-6-4) welcome the San Jose Earthquakes (7-5-4) to Providence Park on MLS Soccer Sunday at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN2). With a 2-0 victory over defending Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders FC on June 20th and a 3-1 victory over the defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy last week, the Quakes head into the match against Portland riding a wave of confidence. Chris Wondolowski, the Bau Daigh Warrior (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), scored his ninth goal of the season in the California Clásico and is now second in the MLS Golden Boot rankings. Wondolowski’s Argentinian teammate Matias Perez Garcia looks to have found his groove as he racked up two more assists in the Clásico and now has a goal and three assists in his past two games. The Timbers improved to 5-1-0 in their last six games with a 4-1 dismantling over Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday. Darlington Nagbe had a man of the match performance, scoring his first goal of the season (watch HERE) with a rocket from outside the box and adding an assist with a barnstorming run from the halfway line to set up Fernando Adi’s goal (watch HERE). With three points on the line, don’t expect either in-form club to go down easy.