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Kick Off: Week 8 Preview | TFC host streaking Fire | Unbeatens scrap at FCD

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Friday: Fire blaze into Toronto

Toronto FC and Chicago will kick off a strong weekend slate under Friday night lights (7:30 pm ET | TSN4/5; MLS LIVE in US). The Fire have yet to lose with Bastian Schweinsteiger on the field, but now they must take their first road test with the German star in tow, heading to Toronto where they challenge the defending Eastern Conference kings. PREVIEW

One might expect the Reds to struggle with backline marshal Drew Moor on the shelf, but Nick Hagglund is drawing praise for the job done as his understudy in the middle of their three-man defensive line. READ MORE

Last two unbeatens clash in Dallas

Riding high from a huge shutout win at Portland, Sporting KC are set to invade FC Dallas turf for a Saturday night tussle (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE). Not only are the clubs the last unbeaten sides in MLS, they also boast the top two defenses in the league. PREVIEW

As always, Sporting will be counting on some big stops from netminder Tim Melia, who earned Save of the Week honors for his late stunner against Portland last week. READ MORE

East leaders Columbus visit RBNY

Having righted the ship with a home victory last week, the New York Red Bulls will be looking for more of the same when East pace-setters Columbus pull into town for a Saturday battle (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE). PREVIEW

The Red Bulls enter this match on full alert, as they know this is not the same Crew SC side that struggled through the 2016 season. READ MORE

Timbers aim to chop down Vancouver

Portland will be trying to recover from a dramatic home loss when they "welcome" Cascadia Cup holders Vancouver to Providence Park for a Saturday afternoon showdown (4 pm ET | CTV; MLS LIVE in US). The Whitecaps, on the other hand, should be flying high following a road victory against defending champs Seattle last week. PREVIEW

Vancouver's defense tightened up considerably in the big win at Seattle, in large part due to the growing leadership displayed by center back Kendall Waston. READ MORE

Lions roar into NYC

Suprise package Orlando City and New York City FC will reunite at Yankee Stadium for their second clash of the season on Sunday afternoon (1:30 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes; MLS LIVE in Canada). The Lions, who stand second in the East, kicked off the term with a 1-0 home win over the boys in blue last month. PREVIEW

NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira is being forced into a re-shuffle, with ace left back Ronald Matarrita being ruled out for at least a month with a high ankle sprain suffered in midweek training. READ MORE

The champs set to visit LA

MLS Cup holders Seattle have stumbled out of the gate this season, and they'll be hoping to get back on the winning track when they pay a Sunday visit to the LA Galaxy (4 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes; MLS LIVE in Canada). Both teams should be more motivated than usual, as they are each coming off an annoying Week 7 defeat: LA losing in stoppage time, and Seattle suffering a brace by former star Fredy Montero. PREVIEW

While the Sounders are confident that their current record dos not tell the story of their quality, they are fully aware that the same holds true of the Galaxy. READ MORE

Distant cousins Houston, San Jose meet up

It's been 11 years since the erstwhile San Jose Earthquakes packed up for Texas to become the Dynamo, but the rivalry between Houston and the V2.0 "Goonies" still exists. The forever-linked sides, each looking to snap win droughts, will lock horns for the 19th time Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium (3:55 pm ET | UniMás, facebook.com/unvisiondeportes; MLS LIVE in Canada). PREVIEW

Though he's running out of time to win this fitness race, Dynamo defender A.J. DeLaGarza is hoping he can recover from a calf injury soon enough to face the Quakes. READ MORE

Revs, D.C. renew their rivalry

New England will wager a seven-game home unbeaten run when rivals D.C. United pay a Saturday night call to Gillette (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE). This will be the teams' 57th league clash, with the capital crew holding a slim 23-22-11 edge. PREVIEW

Leading up to the Revs' second match of the week, the Boston Herald has shined a spotlight on winger Diego Fagundez, who has grown from a teen phenom into a team leader with the club. READ MORE

RSL set for Atlanta introduction

Mike Petke and Real Salt Lake will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday's first matchup with Atlanta United, hosting the expansion side at Rio Tinto (9:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE). PREVIEW

Brooks Lennon punctuated his early season form with a fine winner last week. Our Sam Stejskal writes that RSL will want to make a quick deal for the winger if they hope to turn his loan move from Liverpool into a permanent transfer. READ MORE

Loons get second shot at Colorado

Fresh off a thrilling rally draw at Houston, Minnesota United will welcome the Colorado Rapids to town for a Sunday evening tilt (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE). The teams battled to a 2-2 share last month in Colorado. PREVIEW

The Rapids will be out to the test against Minnesota's dangerous attack without their two two center backs. With Axel Sjoberg still injured and Jared Watts serving a ban, stand-ins Bobby Burling and Kortne Ford will be on the spot. READ MORE

Winless Union hosts Montreal

The Philadelphia Union will be aiming to halt a four-game losing slide when they host a Saturday encounter with Montreal (1 pm ET | TVAS; MLS LIVE in US). The Impact broke their duck last weekend, leaving their hosts as the league's last winless side. PREVIEW

The Union are desperately hoping to get well at home, with midfielder Alejandro Bedoya admitting that he's feeling the weight of the team's miserable start to the season. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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Montreal's Anthony Jackson-Hamel nets Goal of the Week


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