This Week in MLS: Six Rivalries in Four Days and TFC Host a Double
The momentum keeps rolling this week, as Major League Soccer’s 25th season kicks back into high gear with six heated rivalry matchups and the season’s first two-game series between Canadian clubs on home soil. It all begins Tuesday night, when Toronto FC and young breakout star Ayo Akinola host Vancouver Whitecaps FC and young goalkeeper Thomas Hasal, to set the stage for MLS clubs getting their first taste of competition since the MLS is Back Tournament.
Facing off against familiar foes, the rivalry matchups begin with the New York Derby on Thursday and the Texas Derby on Friday as a prelude to the Toronto vs. Vancouver rematch that leads into an action-packed weekend. Saturday’s schedule will feature the always electric El Trafico on FOX, the Rocky Mountain Cup, and the battle over Florida favorites – all to set the table for a marquee Cascadia matchup on Sunday between the MLS is Back Tournament champion Portland Timbers and the reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC.
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Key Matchups To Watch This Week
Tuesday, Aug. 18
- Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+ / TSN): A pair of breakout young stars from the MLS is Back Tournament will meet head-to-head when Toronto FC’s Ayo Akinola – who scored a hat trick en route to five tournament goals – faces Whitecaps FC homegrown goalkeeper Thomas Hasal – who maintained two consecutive regulation-time clean sheets in Orlando. Both players were named finalists for at two tournament awards, including the Best XI.
Thursday, Aug. 20
- New York Derby – New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+): NYCFC squeaked into the MLS is Back Tournament round-of-16 as the final third-place team. They advanced into the quarterfinals with Jesús Medina picking up three goals in five games before falling to the eventual tournament champion Portland Timbers. The Red Bulls have seemingly always had NYCFC’s number, and after scoring only one goal and suffering two straight losses during tournament play, will be looking to regain the form of their two-game unbeaten streak that started this season.
Friday, Aug. 21
- Texas Derby – Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+): Both clubs are in need of a win, with Houston looking for their first of the 2020 season and Dallas hoping for their first since opening weekend. This marks Houston’s second home match and Dallas’ first away match this year.
- Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+ / TSN): Game 2 of 2 in this series this week.
Saturday, Aug. 22
- El Trafico – Los Angeles Football Club vs. LA Galaxy (6 p.m. ET, FOX): El Trafico returns to southern California, with the re-emergence of LAFC’s 22-year-old Diego Rossi, who as the current MLS Golden Boot leader, led all players in the tournament with a combined 10 goals and assists. LAFC claimed a decisive 6-2 victory in their first meeting this year during the MLS is Back Tournament. However, the LA Galaxy are notorious for keeping things interesting.
- Inter Miami CF vs. Orlando City SC (8 p.m. ET): Inter Miami’s inaugural home opener is a perfect opportunity to avenge their 2-1 loss to instate rivals Orlando City in the first-ever meeting during the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament. Orlando’s play led them to the tournament final with boosted confidence under the new leadership of Oscar Pareja.
- Rocky Mountain Cup – Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+): Real Salt Lake have had the upper hand in the Rocky Mountain Cup, undefeated in the rivalry since 2018 – a streak that continued in the MLS is Back Tournament when RSL took a 2-0 victory when the teams met in group play.
Sunday, Aug. 23
- Cascadia Cup – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC (10 p.m. ET, FS1): Two champions will duel it out in the Northwest, with the Timbers riding high off a tournament championship thanks to heroics of Sebastian Blanco, Jeremy Ebobisse, and Diego Valeri. Seattle’s tournament journey ended in round-of-16, but they’ve only picked up one loss in the five games that count towards the regular season.
MLS Media Availability and Press Conference Calendar
Clubs across MLS continue to offer enhanced media access to players and coaches via video press conferences. Throughout the season, clubs will host match preview press conferences two days before their respective matches. Each club will also be hosting postgame press conferences immediately following their matches virtually live from the stadium.
A full schedule of media availabilities and press conferences can be found on the MLS Media Resources site by clicking HERE.
MLS Regular Season: Week 6 Game Notes
Tuesday, August 18
Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8 p.m. (TSN)
- Toronto FC reached the round-of-16 in the MLS is Back Tournament, falling to New York City 3-1 to end their participation. TFC went undefeated in group play, with a win and two draws, including a 4-3 victory against the Montréal Impact.
- Whitecaps FC reached the Knockout Stage of the MLS is Back Tournament in dramatic fashion, before going down in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw with Sporting Kansas City in the round-of-16. Whitecaps FC secured their place in the final 16 with a dramatic 2-0 win against Chicago Fire FC on the final day of group play.
- The teams met once a season ago, reaching a 1-1 draw at BC Place. The result ended a four-game stretch in the league series where the visiting team had won, dating back to 2015. Whitecaps FC won the last meeting at BMO Field by a 2-1 scoreline, Oct. 6, 2018.
- The teams also met in the final of the Canadian Championship in 2018, with TFC winning the title 7-4 on aggregate, including a 5-2 win in the second leg at BMO Field. It was the second consecutive year the clubs met for the Canadian domestic title, the fourth time overall, and TFC have won all four. On three occasions (2011, 2012, 2018), the teams played to a first-leg draw in Vancouver; then, Toronto won the second leg at home.
Thursday, August 20
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC, 7 p.m.
- The Red Bulls did not advance out of the group stage in the MLS is Back Tournament, ending the event with a 2-0 loss to FC Cincinnati on July 22.
- NYCFC sweated out qualification to the Knockout Stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, before falling the quarterfinals to eventual champion Portland Timbers 3-1 on Aug. 1. NYCFC won one game in group play, defeating Inter Miami CF, then defeated Toronto FC 3-1 in the round-of-16.
- The teams met twice a season ago, each claiming a 2-1 win on their home ground. Daniel Royer scored goals on either side of halftime as the Red Bulls won July 14 at Red Bull Arena; on Aug. 24 at Yankee Stadium, Héber and Maximiliano Moralez scored on either side of halftime to lead NYCFC to the win.
- The Red Bulls have won seven of the 14 meetings all-time in league play, with a 29-16 goal differential. Included in that was a 7-0 Red Bulls win on May 21, 2016, at Yankee Stadium, the victory matching the largest margin of victory in MLS history (and the seven goals by the Red Bulls their club record). In all competitions, the Red Bulls have won nine of 16 matches, with two draws, with a 33-16 goal differential. NYCFC have won four of the last eight league meetings, with one draw, over the last three years.
Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire FC, 7:30 p.m.
- Columbus Crew SC had their MLS is Back Tournament put to end following a loss in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United FC in the round-of-16. Crew SC were the only team to post three wins in three matches in the group phase.
- Chicago Fire FC had their MLS is Back Tournament participation come to an end on the final day of group play, following a 2-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
- The teams met twice a season ago, reaching a pair of draws, a 2-2 result on July 17 at SeatGeek Stadium, and a 1-1 deadlock Aug. 31 at Mapfre Stadium.
- Crew SC have a nine-game home undefeated streak alive in the all-time series. The Fire last won in Columbus on June 22, 2013. The Fire are undefeated in their last six home meetings with Crew SC, with two wins and four draws, Crew SC’s last win in Bridgeview, Ill., coming in 2015.
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
- The teams met in the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage, the Union claiming a 1-0 win in the round-of-16 match July 25. Sergio Santos scored the game’s lone goal; Andre Blake recorded five saves for the shutout.
- The Revolution reached the Knockout Stage with a win and two draws, conceding just one goal in the three group games.
- The Union reached the semifinals of the event, before losing 2-1 to the eventual champion Portland Timbers. The Union won four out of six matches in the competition.
- The teams met twice a season ago. All three Union substitutes scored – just the second time in MLS history that occurred – as they equaled their club record in a 6-1 win on May 4 at Talen Energy Stadium. They then reached a 1-1 draw June 26 at Gillette Stadium.
- The Union have won seven of the past nine league meetings between the clubs, outscoring New England 22-3 in those victories. The only Revolution win in the series since 2015 came on July 29, 2017, at Gillette Stadium, a 3-0 victory, before the draw in the last meeting.
Friday, August 21
FC Cincinnati vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
- FC Cincinnati reached the round-of-16 in the MLS is Back Tournament, falling in a penalty shootout to eventual champion Portland Timbers following a 1-1 draw. FCC booked their place in the Knockout Stage with wins in their final two group games, defeating Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls.
- D.C. United had their participation in the MLS is Back Tournament come to an end following a 1-0 loss to the Montréal Impact in the final game in group play, after draws in their opening two matches.
- The teams met twice in FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season. Lucas Rodríguez scored a pair of goals and added an assist, as D.C. United rolled to a 4-1 win July 18 at Audi Field; the teams played to a goalless draw on Decision Day (Oct. 6) at Nippert Stadium.
Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m.
- The teams met in group play during the MLS is Back Tournament. Kevin Molino scored the game-winner seven minutes deep into second-half stoppage time as Minnesota United FC claimed the 2-1 win on July 12.
- Minnesota United FC reached the semifinals of the MLS is Back Tournament, where they fell 3-1 to Orlando City SC. They knocked off Columbus Crew SC (on penalties) in the round-of-16, then the San Jose Earthquakes 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
- Sporting got to the quarterfinal stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, where they suffered a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union. They defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC on penalty kicks in the round-of-16 after a scoreless draw.
- The teams met twice a season ago, each winning on its home ground. Sporting claimed a 1-0 win on a goal from Erik Hurtado two minutes from time on Aug. 22 at Children’s Mercy Park, then Minnesota United FC took a 2-1 win Sept. 25 at Allianz Field. The MNUFC win snapped a six-game Sporting undefeated streak in the league series, all in Kansas City; SKC has won all five matchups at home over all competitions.
- The teams have also met twice in three years in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with Minnesota United taking a 4-1 win on June 12, 2019 at Allianz Field. Sporting won by a 4-0 decision in a fourth-round match in 2017.
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, 8 p.m.
- The Dynamo completed group play in the MLS is Back Tournament with a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy, their second draw in three matches in the event.
- FC Dallas reached a goalless draw with Nashville SC in a rain-delayed match Sunday evening at Toyota Stadium. They kicked off continuation of the 2020 MLS season four days earlier with a 1-0 loss to Nashville in Frisco.
- The teams met twice a season ago, each winning on their home ground. Mauro Manotas netted both Dynamo goals as they took a 2-1 win on May 4 at BBVA Stadium; FC Dallas took a 5-1 win on Aug. 25 at Toyota Stadium, their heaviest victory in the history of the series.
- The win in the opening match last year was just the second for the Dynamo in the series over the last seven seasons. Since the start of 2013, FC Dallas are 8-2-6 in league play against Houston, and have won the three meetings between the teams in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
- The Dynamo haven’t won in Frisco since 2011, FCD winning the last two there. Dallas has won five of the 11 matches (with three draws) between the teams over all competitions at BBVA Stadium.
- The clubs play for “El Capitán,” the 19th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon to be awarded to the winner of the season series by supporters’ groups for both clubs.
Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8 p.m. (TSN)
- The teams are meeting for the second time in four days at BMO Field to kick off the continuation of the MLS season.
Saturday, August 22
Los Angeles Football Club vs. LA Galaxy, 6 p.m. (FOX)
- LAFC went undefeated through five matches in the MLS is Back Tournament, but fell on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals following a 1-1 draw with Orlando City SC. LAFC is undefeated in seven matches vs. MLS competition this season.
- The Galaxy concluded their MLS is Back Tournament participation in the group stage, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo in their final match.
- The teams met in group play in the MLS is Back Tournament – and it was another historic meeting. Diego Rossi scored four goals – the 13th player in league history to net that many in a game – and combined for five goals and assists, as LAFC won 6-2 on July 18. It was the eighth time in MLS history a player had five goals plus assists in a game, Rossi the first player to do it twice. The win marked the first time in league play LAFC defeated the Galaxy.
- The teams met twice during the regular season last year. Zlatan Ibrahimović scored a hat trick, overcoming a pair of goals from Carlos Vela, as the Galaxy claimed a 3-2 win July 19 at Dignity Health Sports Park. Then on Aug. 25 at Banc of California Stadium, Ibrahimović scored two more goals and Cristian Pavón had a goal and an assist – all within the opening 16 minutes – but Latif Blessing netted a brace before the halftime break and Vela scored the leveler early in the second half, leaving the teams in a 3-3 draw.
- The teams then met in the Western Conference Semifinals – and LAFC came away victors, claiming a wild 5-3 victory at Banc of California Stadium on Oct. 24, as Vela scored two goals and added an assist.
- There have been 40 goals scored in the seven meetings in all competitions between the clubs.
Atlanta United vs. Nashville SC, 7 p.m.
- Atlanta United concluded their participation in the MLS is Back Tournament with a 1-0 loss to Columbus Crew SC on July 21; all three defeats in the competition came by the game’s lone goal.
- Nashville SC completed their two-game series with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium with a goalless draw on Sunday evening; four days earlier, the club won the first match of its MLS history, a 1-0 triumph behind a late goal from David Accam.
- The teams met in the season opener for both clubs this season, the first match in Nashville SC’s history. Ezequiel Barco and Emerson Hyndman scored first-half goals as Atlanta United claimed a 2-1 win Feb. 29 at Nissan Stadium.
Inter Miami CF vs. Orlando City SC, 8 p.m.
- The teams have faced once all-time, kicking off the MLS is Back Tournament against each other at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Chris Mueller canceled out a Juan Agudelo goal, then Nani netted the game-winner well into stoppage time to give OCSC the 2-1 win on July 8.
- Inter Miami completed their participation in the MLS is Back Tournament with a 1-0 loss to New York City FC on July 20.
- Orlando City SC reached the final of the MLS is Back Tournament, where they fell 2-1 to the Portland Timbers. OCSC was undefeated in the six matches leading to the championship game, winning four.
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m.
- The teams met in group play at the MLS is Back Tournament, Albert Rusnák and Damir Kreilach netting goals as RSL claimed a 2-0 win on July 12.
- The Rapids concluded their participation in the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-2 draw with Minnesota United FC.
- Real Salt Lake ended their play in MLS is Back Tournament following a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in the round-of-16.
- The teams met twice a season ago, and Real Salt Lake won both – a 3-2 win May 11 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and a 2-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium on Aug. 24. Real have not lost in the last six meetings vs. the Rapids, winning five, over the last three seasons.
- Real have a 17-game home undefeated streak alive vs. Colorado. Since the Rapids’ last win in Utah, a 2-0 victory on April 30, 2007, at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Real have won 13 games with four draws. Colorado has never won at Rio Tinto Stadium (0-11-4 all-time in league play). RSL has won the last two meetings in Commerce City; they have come away with points on seven of their past 10 trips there (five wins, two draws, dating back to 2013).
- The rivals play for the Rocky Mountain Cup, a trophy awarded by the supporters’ groups of both teams.
Sunday, August 23
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. (FS1)
- The Timbers won the first-ever MLS is Back Tournament, claiming the title with a 2-1 win against Orlando City SC in the final. The Timbers’ goals came from their central defense pairing – Larrys Mabiala scored before halftime, then Dario Zuparic hit for the eventual match-winner.
- Sounders FC saw their MLS is Back Tournament end following a 4-1 loss to Los Angeles Football Club in the round-of-16.
- The teams met twice a season ago – and the away team again won both. Brian Fernandez scored goals on either side of halftime, leading the Timbers to a dramatic 2-1 win on July 21 at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan and Raúl Ruidíaz then scored on each side of the interval to lead Sounders FC to a 2-1 win Aug. 23 at Providence Park.
- Sounders FC have won the last two regular-season matchups at Providence Park, the win in 2018 their first win in Portland since 2014. When the Timbers took a 4-1 win on June 28, 2015, the three-goal victory equaled Portland’s largest margin of victory against the Sounders since 1977.
- The Timbers have won the last two meetings at CenturyLink Field – their only wins ever in Seattle in MLS regular season games (Sounders FC were 7-0-3 leading up to that match), though the Timbers won at home in the MLS Cup Playoffs meeting between the clubs.
- The Timbers also won a fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match between the clubs last season, a 2-1 win on June 12 at CenturyLink Field, as Fernandez netted both Portland goals.
- The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers have met 107 times in all competitions, the most between two U.S.-based clubs, the second-most in U.S./Canadian soccer history. Since their first meeting in 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, Seattle has won 53 times and Portland has won 40, with 14 draws. In MLS league play, Sounders FC have won 11 matches, the Timbers have won eight, and six have been draws.