Ahead of this weekend's Heineken Rivalry Week fixtures, we tapped into the players' creative sides to develop a series of match posters that speak to each rivalry. A.J. DeLaGarza and Mauro Diaz highlighted the Texas Derby, Sacha Kljestan and RJ Allen spoke on the New York Derby, and Diego Chara and Cristian Roldan offered up thoughts about Portland-Seattle. From there, we brought their ideas to life with the help of artists Noah MacMillan and Matt Shipley. The final result? Two very different ways of looking at each rivalry, courtesy of the players who'll be taking the field this weekend.
The stars (read: titles) are everything. Defender A.J. DeLaGarza made that clear on Twitter shortly after joining the Dynamo in 2017, and he reiterated the discrepancy in MLS championships when asked about the Texas Derby. Until Dallas get a pair of their own spurs, Houston will always have some rivalry ammo at hand.
Known as the "Magical Unicorn" for his ability to conjure up impossibly beautiful plays, Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz wanted his nickname to play a part in the club's match poster. A unicorn piercing an orange while running amid a stampede of Dallas Burn-era horses? It's a beautiful sight to those wearing red.
New York Red Bulls
Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan only had one thing on his mind when asked about the New York Derby: The fans. They're the ones who enjoy the victories the most, he said. With six wins out of seven for the red side of the rivalry, Kljestan and company have given supporters plenty to cheer about.
New York City FC
"It's a game that should never be missed.” That's how NYCFC defender RJ Allen summed up the New York Derby, a ticket that's becoming increasingly popular for soccer fans across the city. Allen, a local product who's been with City since the beginning, can certainly testify to the buzz from Broadway to the Bronx.
Timbers midfielder Diego Chara offered up a perfect metaphor for the Portland-Seattle rivalry: "An arm wrestle that never ends." As someone who featured in the first-ever MLS meeting between the sides, the Colombian is no stranger to battling Seattle in central midfield (or scoring the rare, incredible goal).
When asked about Portland-Seattle, Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan tossed out words like "fiery" and "unforgiving." There was plenty of fire in his stand-off with Portland's Sebastian Blanco during their first meeting of 2017, a memorable image that sums up Roldan's feisty brand of play.