Editors' Riffs: Top matches of the year

Here are the regular-season matches to circle on your MLS calendar, according to the editorial staff of MLSsoccer.com:

Jonah Freedman (Managing Editor): Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders, July 10

No offense to
the great rivalries MLS has built over its first 15 seasons. But we ain't seen
nothing yet. Maybe this Sunday afternoon will be sunny, maybe it won't be –
this is Portland, after all. But this is the day the Rose City gets its
close-up. Portlanders have been dying to show the country that they're Major
League and that they're some of the best supporters in the country.

What better
way than to do that than by coming out in full force for their first home date
with their biggest enemy – a rivalry that predates MLS and goes all the way
back to the NASL days some 35 years ago – on national television. I’d be
shocked if the passion on display at PGE Park, by both the home and away
supporters, didn’t trickle down to the players. This is what derbies are made
of.

Nick Firchau (Editor): Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, Oct. 14

Forget the soggy Pacific
Northwest, the SuperClásico or inching through I-95 traffic from New York to
D.C. I’ll take the Rocky Mountain air in the fall. That’s when the game of the
year takes place in the Denver ‘burbs: Colorado and Real Salt Lake on Friday
night, Oct. 14 (and it’s on ESPN2). There was no better rivalry in 2010, even
if few MLS fans outside Denver and Salt Lake City bothered to recognize the
Mountain Time Zone until the Rapids hoisted the MLS Cup in Toronto.

Both of these teams should still
be very much in the postseason picture as the season winds down, giving this
game potentially huge meaning in the stands and  - more importantly, quite
honestly – in the standings. The best rivalry in MLS adds another chapter.

Shawn Francis (MLS Insider): Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, June 29

Most of the chatter involving the Whitecaps’ rivals has been firmly focused on
their local adversaries Portland and Seattle. But if you talk to people on the
ground and in the front office in British Columbia it appears like the bigger
beef will be with Toronto. And guess what? The feeling is mutual in Toronto as
well.

Call it the Canadian Civil War if you want, but whatever you do, don’t call it
“just another game.” The ‘Caps may begin their MLS existence facing TFC at home,
but it’s the away leg that will have me riveted when Canada’s East Coast-West
Coast rift comes to Toronto. With BMO Field certain to be heaving with 20,000
faithful, vocal Reds fans who would love nothing more than to establish their
dominance north of the 49th Parallel in a match that will be must-see TV.

Simon Borg (Staff Writer): Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy, May 21

The revival of Chivas USA can gain momentum quickly if new manager Robin Fraser can claim the Galaxy's scalp in their first SuperClásico. Arguably the most star-studded Galaxy side in club history will not want to lose any lustre at the hands of their local rivals. In addition to Fraser and his assistant Greg Vanney, three of the Goats' forwards are former Galaxy players, with Alejandro Moreno getting his first crack at a SuperClásico and Tristan Bowen surely wanting to show Bruce Arena he made a mistake to trade him away. This could be a defining match, setting the course for each club's season.

Jason Saghini (The Producer): Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, Oct. 14

On Friday, Oct. 14
John Spencer will welcome his old boss to town when the Portland Timbers host the
Houston Dynamo, but that game will be overshadowed by the meeting of the last two MLS
Cup winners at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The reigning MLS Cup champions,
the Colorado Rapids, host their heated rivals Real Salt Lake, who could be the
Champions of CONCACAF at that point. The late-season meeting for these two
teams has provided its fair share of drama over the years and I’d expect no
less this time. Mark your calendars!

David Agrell (Editor): Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders, July 10

I'm a sucker for witnessing the birth of a new
era, so I couldn't be more jacked about Seattle's visit to Portland on
July 10. Both clubs' fans have already been at each other's throats plenty this
offseason, and I understand there'll be a good number of Sounders supporters in
Portland for the national TV event.

The history between the two clubs predates
the league, which means the atmosphere will be unlike anything we've seen
before in MLS. And though Seattle's fans have impressed by turning out in
droves to support their team, Portland's supporters bring an edgier, spicier flavor
to the table. As for the product on the field, Portland have stressed they
don't consider themselves an expansion team, but rather a promoted team. We'll
see, but John Spencer and Gavin Wilkinson have been around the domestic game
for years and are more than capable of surprising their Northwest neighbors.

Edgar Acero (FutbolMLS.com): NY Red Bulls vs. LA Galaxy, August 28

Aside from the
usual hype that surrounds a game between these two clubs, I’d like to see the
reaction of the New York fans when they see their all-time leading goalscorer, Juan
Pablo Angel, playing against them in an LA Galaxy jersey. I like the fact that
the game will take place at the end of August, a time when teams are just getting
ready to start that final push into the playoffs. We'll see if JPA will have enough goals to his name to make the Red Bulls regret having let him go by then.The debate will be: "Will he or won't he celebrate a goal?" I'm thinking not.


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