Vancouver Whitecaps FC (14-10-3, 45 points, West #2) host an in-form Colorado Rapids (8-9-9, 33 points, West #9) for a meeting Wednesday night at BC Place at 10 p.m. ET (TSN1).The Rapids, coming off a bye week, enter the match on a season’s best three-match winning streak. With Rapids players Kevin Doyle (Ireland), Maynor Figueroa (Honduras) and Dillon Serna (U.S. U-23s) likely to miss the match due to international duty, one player to watch out for is Uruguayan native Vicente Sanchez. During the club’s unbeaten run, the veteran midfielder has a goal and two assists and is pushing the Rapids back into the playoff conversation. Whitecaps FC were also off last weekend and will try to keep putting the pressure on Western Conference leaders LA Galaxy. Vancouver is just one point behind the Galaxy with a game in hand. One of the most recent standouts for Vancouver has been Cristian Techera. After joining the club on a season long loan from Uruguayan side River Plate Montevideo, the pint-sized Uruguayan has settled in nicely, racking up three goals and an assist in his past four matches, including taking home the Week 25 AT&T Goal of the Week (watch here).
The Chicago Fire (7-14-6, 27 points, East #10) travel to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls (12-7-6,42 points, East #2) in this week’s edition of Viernes de Fútbol at 7 p.m. ET (UniMás). The Red Bulls are 6-1-1 in their last eight matches and have moved to within two points behind Eastern Conference leading D.C. United (44 points). One key contributor who has helped the Red Bulls’ impressive season thus far has been the arrival of New York native Mike Grella. After stints overseas in England and spending last season in the NASL, Grella has carved out an important role with the Red Bulls and has chipped in five goals and seven assists in his first full season in MLS. The Fire, on the other hand, find themselves only four points behind the Montreal Impact (31 points) for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and will be relying on Nigerian striker Kennedy Igboananike to make up the difference. The blazing quick Igboananike has spearheaded the Fire’s attack of late racking up five goals and two assists in their last five matches (1-2-2). With the Red Bulls only four points behind Supporters’ Shield leading LA Galaxy and three games in hand, they’ll be eager to defend their home from a motivated Chicago Fire club that they fell to in their last meeting.
New England Revolution shaping up for repeat of 2014 ahead of meeting with Toronto FC, Jozy Altidore
This season’s New England Revolution team is becoming eerily reminiscent of last year’s MLS Cup finalist. In the summer of 2014, the Revs hit an eight-game losing skid before going unbeaten in 10 of their final 11 regular season matches. Summer was again cruel to New England this season. The club struggled to a 2-7-4 record between May and July, but it’s now riding a six-game unbeaten run as the season enters the home stretch. With Lee Nguyen returning to 2014 form, Jermaine Jones back at full health, Diego Fagundez heating up, and Chris Tierney and Charlie Davies firing on all cylinders, the Revs (11-9-7, 40 points, East #4) pose a formidable matchup for a Toronto FC (11-11-4, 37 points, East #5) team vying for its first ever playoff berth (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes). On Friday, Jozy Altidore wore the captain’s armband and recorded a brace for the U.S. Men’s National Team. After struggling with injuries throughout the summer, Friday’s performance was another sign – to go along with three goals in his three matches with TFC – that Altidore is back in form. A poised Altidore gives Toronto another dimension alongside Sebastian Giovinco’s creativity and Michael Bradley’s motor. His confidence and health could be the key to Toronto’s MLS Cup aspirations.
As playoffs near, every game becomes must-win for Orlando City SC, Sporting Kansas City
Orlando City SC (7-13-8, 29 points, East #8) and Sporting Kansas City (11-7-7, 40 points, West #5) cap off MLS Soccer Sunday with a showdown at the Citrus Bowl at 7:00 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes) Time is running out on Orlando City SC to right the ship in its maiden MLS season. The expansion team has one win in its last 11 matches, but remains alive in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with six matches left on the docket. With its two most valuable weapons – Kaká (Brazil) and Cyle Larin (Canada) – back from international duty for Sunday’s match, pressure is mounting on the Lions to recapture mid-season form before it’s too late. Desperation makes Orlando a dangerous opponent, but Sporting Kansas City is also in a must-win situation as it looks to create some breathing room on the Western Conference table. Looking to snap a three-game losing streak, the club welcomes Matt Besler home from national team duty ahead of Wednesday’s match in Portland. Although a double-header will test Sporting KC’s fitness, positive results in both matches will put the club in strong position to secure a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season.