The second edition of Heineken Rivalry Week has arrived. Be sure to check out these key match-ups between bitter foes, where pride and playoff places will be at stake, during the weekend of Aug. 26-28.
If you're new to these rivalries, or just need a refresher, here are some of the storylines to watch for as the week rolls on:
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids
Friday, Aug. 26, 8 pm ET — UniMás, MLS LIVE in Canada
Fresh off their takedown of league leaders FC Dallas on Saturday, Real Salt Lake take on their Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado, the No. 2 team in the league. RSL, one of four remaining teams who are unbeaten at home this season, put that string on the line against the team with the stingiest defense (league-low 20 goals allowed) in the league.
With each team having claimed a 1-0 win over the other earlier in the season, the fate of the Rocky Mountain Cup will be decided on Friday night. Can RSL mark an eighth straight year of regional supremacy, or will Colorado finally re-claim the trophy they dominated in the early days of the rivalry?
Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact
Saturday, Aug. 27, 7:30 pm ET — MLS LIVE, TSN1 in Canada
The 401 Derby takes place with both teams coming off midweek match-ups (Montreal vs. D.C. United, Toronto @ Orlando) and looking not just to get the better of each other, but improve their spot in the Eastern Conference standings as well. Red-hot Toronto are in a hot battle with the two New York clubs for the top spot in the East, while Montreal (shock 3-0 losers at home to last-place Chicago last Saturday) are just trying to solidify their hold on a playoff position.
Montreal fans will likely still be lording their 2015 playoff victory over their bitter rivals, but Toronto have been the dominant team this year after winning 2-0 in Montreal in April and eliminating the Impact from the Amway Canadian Championship.
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas
Saturday, Aug. 27, 9:00 pm ET — MLS LIVE
There's a full decade of Texas Derby to unpack, chock full of heated (it's Texas, right?) moments and exhilirating action. This year, the Dynamo have a second crack at El Capitan, though they'll be coming off a a midweek matchup with scorching-hot Seattle. Dallas enters 2-2-1 in its last five games, and after mustering a 5-0 loss and a 1-1 draw in the two previous derby matchups, will be looking to put a big cap on the season series comeback at BBVA Compass.
New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution
Sunday, Aug. 28, 2:30 pm ET — ESPN, MLS LIVE in Canada
These two teams have been going at it since the very beginning of MLS, but that doesn't matter as much as the present day, where the Red Bulls are trying to keep pace at the top of the East while the Revolution are just trying to claw their way into the playoff picture. Red Bulls are undefeated in eight straight, but have only three wins in that span, while New England have lost four straight and will be coming off a midweek, cross-country trip to San Jose.
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders
Sunday, Aug. 28, 5 pm ET — ESPN, MLS LIVE in Canada
That these arch enemies are scrapping tooth and nail for the last playoff spot in the rugged Western Conference only adds to the already high stakes whenever the two meet. They only faced each other this past Sunday, and in the week between the return engagement, the streaking Sounders visit Houston while the Timbers had the week off to lick their wounds and try to figure some stuff out. Desperate times in the Pacific Northwest.
Orlando City FC vs. New York City FC
Sunday, Aug. 28, 7 pm ET — FS1, MLS LIVE in Canada
They'll be forever linked because entered the league at the same time and faced one another in their inaugural game. Plus, there's the delicious tidbit that former NYCFC coach Jason Kreis is now bossing the bench for Orlando City. But as is always the case, it's the here and now that's most important. NYCFC are battling for first place in the East, while Orlando City are trying to win the final playoff spot in the conference.