A new star in Chicago, a new era for RSL: What's on tap for MLS Week 5

Bastian Schweinsteiger - thumbs up - airport

The international break is in the books and MLS is back in full swing, with plenty of intriguing storylines on tap for this weekend.

Here’s what you should keep your eye on this Saturday and Sunday:

New York City FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday, 2:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE

Both teams will be looking to bounce back after earning disappointing results their last time out. Despite dominating proceedings. NYCFC only managed a 1-1 home draw against Montreal in their last match, leaving them with a 1-1-1 record through their first three games. San Jose started the season with a pair of victories, but fell 2-1 to SKC a couple of weeks ago. That match no doubt left the Quakes feeling a bit sour, as the two goals they conceded – a Benny Feilhaber golazo and a David Bingham howler – were both a bit fluky.

Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact

Saturday, 3:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE in the US, CTV, TVA Sports, TSN5 in Canada

The big question at Toyota Park: Will new Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger make his MLS debut this weekend?

Chicago’s newest Designated Player arrived in Illinois on Tuesday and participated in his first training session with the club on Wednesday. He should be fit enough to hit the ground running on Saturday, and, with central midfielder Dax McCarty traveling back following the US’s match at Panama on Tuesday night, could conceivably be in line for major minutes. If he does play, it’ll be interesting to see where Schweinsteiger lines up. He’s been a deeper-lying midfielder for the past few years, but, with McCarty and Juninho in the fold, figures to play in more of an attacking role for Chicago.

While the Fire have a new face in the fold, Montreal will be traveling to Chicago at less than full strength. Star attacker Ignacio Piatti is out due to injury and defender Laurent Ciman and midfielder Patrice Bernier are both question marks for Saturday’s match.

Columbus Crew SC vs. Orlando City SC

Saturday, 4:00 pm ET | Facebook Live, UniMás in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada

Two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams in the early season standings will meet in Ohio on Saturday, as first-place Columbus Crew SC, winners of two in a row, will host 2-0-0 Orlando City SC at MAPFRE Stadium.

Saturday’s contest will be the first road match of the year for Orlando, who had their Week 2 match at New England postponed due to inclement weather. The Lions have held serve in both of their home matches, defeating New York City FC in the opener before downing the Philadelphia Union in Week 3.

Playing at Columbus, however, will be a stiffer test. After starting the year with a home draw and road loss, Crew SC have racked up two straight wins, shutting out D.C. 2-0 at RFK Stadium in Week 3 before taking down the talented Portland Timbers 3-2 at home last weekend. Federico Higuain, Justin Meram, Ola Kamara are playing with confidence and now have the talented Kekuta Manneh, acquired in a trade with Vancouver on Thursday, in town to help expose an Orlando backline that’s been solid – so far, at least – this season.

D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union

Saturday, 7:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE

Ben Olsen’s group has gotten their season off to a miserable start, posting a 0-2-1 record and failing to score a goal in their first three games. They’ll look to get back on track against a 0-1-2 Philadelphia team that, despite their record, has looked decent in their three matches this year. Talented Union winger Chris Pontius, who spent the first seven years of his career in D.C. before moving to Philadelphia ahead of the 2016 season, will be one to keep an eye on as he makes another return to RFK on Saturday.

Minnesota United FC vs. Real Salt Lake

Saturday, 8:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE

Both Minnesota and Real Salt Lake have endured turbulent starts to the 2017 season, and both will be looking to right the ship on Saturday.

Although Mike Petke will officially make his debut on April 8 against Vancouver, Real Salt Lake players will be out to impress their new head coach, who took over the reigns on Wednesday after the club dismissed former manager Jeff Cassar last week. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not there are any major lineup changes as RSL look to spark an attack that’s scored just one goal in four games.

Minnesota, meanwhile, will be looking to shore up a defense that’s been setting records for futility to start the season. The Loons have given up 18 goals in their first four MLS games, including six in their lone home match, a blowout loss to Atlanta back in Week 2. They made a move to strengthen the back on Friday, when they acquired former Colorado Rapids Sam Cronin and Marc Burch. Those two aren't likely to feature on Saturday, but Minnesota should get a boost from the return of Francisco Calvo, Kevin Molino, Rasmus Schuller and Johan Venegas from international duty and Justin Davis from suspension – we’ll see if they can lead the Loons to their first MLS win.  

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls

Saturday, 8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE

Houston had a rough international break, with forward Romell Quioto going down with an injury in Honduras’ loss against the US last Friday and Alberth Elis enduring a frustrating two matches for Los Catrachos. Still, the Dynamo have been one of the most exciting teams in the league this year, and they’re counterattacking style should play well against the Red Bulls’ high-pressing 4-2-2-2.

That formation has been a bit of a bugaboo for New York so far in 2017, with the Red Bulls not yet really firing despite their solid 2-1-1 record. They played Real Salt Lake to a disappointing scoreless draw at home last weekend, one week after falling 3-1 at Seattle. Houston is never an easy place to play, and, with the 2-1-0 Dynamo flying relatively high to start the season, New York will have their hands full on Saturday.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy

Saturday, 10:00 pm ET | TSN1 in Canada, MLS LIVE in the US

Vancouver and LA have both gotten the year off to tough starts, with the Whitecaps sitting at 0-2-1 and LA at 1-2-0 after beating Salt Lake in Week 3 following a pair of home losses to open the year. The Galaxy are dealing with several significant injuries, with Sebastian Lletget joining Robbie Rogers on the shelf this week and Giovani dos Santos, Gyasi Zardes and Ashley Cole all questionable for Saturday’s contest. Vancouver are healthier than LA, but head coach Carl Robinson will have to strongly consider some squad rotation as the ‘Caps prep for Leg 2 of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series against Mexican club Tigres next Wednesday.

Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution

Sunday, 9:00 pm ET | ESPN2 in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada

The final match of Week 5 should be a good one, as the Supporters’ Shield-leadingPortland Timbers host New England one week after the Revs downed Minnesota 5-2. The Revs have played tough at two of the tougher environments in the West so far this year, narrowly losing 1-0 at Colorado in Week 1 before dropping a 2-1 decision at Dallas in Week 3.

Portland, of course, is a different beast. The Timbers have outscored their opposition 9-3 in two home matches this year, and will be getting Darlington Nagbe and David Guzman back from international duty on Sunday. They’ll be a tough out on Sunday, and any sort of result would be a positive for New England.