The MLS schedule was lightened when the Sounders FC and LA Galaxy were both afforded off weekends to accommodate their CONCACAF Champions League schedules, leaving just seven matches on the slate for the weekend.
Real Salt Lake @ Colorado Rapids; Saturday, 4:30pm PT, NBC Sports
Saturday will feature a rematch of the Rocky Mountain Cup in a nationally televised match on NBC Sports as the Colorado Rapids host Real Salt Lake in the second meeting between the two teams in the 2013 season. Alvaro Saborio scored an 80th minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw in their first meeting of the year on March 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium and now they square off again at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Saborio missed the last match with knee swelling and Salt Lake was able to rise up for a 2-1 win over the Sounders FC in his absence. Salt Lake is fourth in the West at 2-2-1 while Colorado is looking for their first win of the season at 0-3-2.
New York Red Bulls @ Chicago Fire; Sunday, 2:00pm PT, ESPN2
A 1-2-2 Red Bulls side heads to Toyota Park to face the 0-3-1 Fire, but these two teams are itching for some wins and it’s only a matter of time before they start coming. Thierry Henry came off the bench and scored a tremendous goal against the Union for New York’s first win. And while Henry and Fabian Espindola were both limited in training this week, it was Chicago who was left wondering about their offense leading in to Sunday’s match on ESPN2. With just one goal through their first four games, the retooled Fire are still looking to find their chemistry.
DC United @ Sporting Kansas City; Friday, 5:30pm PT
Speaking of teams struggling to score, DC United had just two goals through their first four matches and will now head to Kansas City without Nick DeLeon and Dwayne De Rosario because of injuries. Kansas City, meanwhile, is still finding their scoring legs in newly acquired forward Claudio Bieler. While Kei Kamara is out on loan to Norwich City in England and Teal Bunbury remains on the disabled list, the Argentine striker has three goals in five matches while midfielder Graham Zusi has two goals and two assists. Defensively, KC is riding a 339-minute shutout streak.
FC Dallas @ Toronto FC; Saturday, 1:00pm pT
FC Dallas has been one of the surprises in MLS through the first month at 4-1-0 and are riding a three-game winning streak that includes home wins over perennial playoff teams Real Salt Lake and the Houston Dynamo. Schellas Hyndman is getting scoring from all over the field with seven different players registering goals already for Dallas. On the other side of the ball, Toronto FC is 1-2-1 after a comeback draw against the LA Galaxy last week at BMO Field. Robert Earnshaw’s four goals rank second in MLS, but only one other player – Homegrown player Jonathan Osorio – has scored for Toronto.
Philadelphia Union @ Columbus Crew; Saturday, 2:00pm pT
Columbus is playing just their second home match of the season and will host an up-and-down Union team that looked great in victories over the Rapids and Revolution, but struggled in losses to Kansas City and New York. They will be bolstered by the addition of Jose Kleberson, a two-time World Cup veteran for Brazil who joined Philadelphia this week and could be in the lineup against Columbus.
Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers; Saturday, 7:30pm PT, ROOT Sports
Two of the top five scoring teams in MLS for 2013 go head-to-head at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday, though the Dynamo will be doing so without top forward Will Bruin, who will be out with a hamstring strain. With the many attacking options at the fingertips of Dominic Kinnear and a suspect Timbers defense that has allowed more goals than all but the Chicago Fire, it still stands to be a big scoring night for Houston. In Portland, they are still looking for their first win of the season, but have been knocking on the door with three comeback draws through their first four matches.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes; Saturday, 7:30pm PT
In a battle of two teams with high expectations who sit in the middle of the Western Conference standings, the Whitecaps will look to end their two-game losing streak against the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Chris Wondolowski has been the only consistent source for offense for San Jose as they await the recoveries of Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon and Mike Fucito. Lenhart is back in training with the Earthquakes and could make his season debut on Saturday.