Kick Off: USMNT visits France | Big Eastern bouts top weekend MLS card

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

Hurting champs pull into Philly

Michael Bradley and Greg Vanney will be looking to get the defending champs back on track. | USA Today Images

Injury-hit Toronto FC will try to snap a six-game league winless road slide when they battle Philadelphia under Friday night lights (8 pm ET | TSN1/3/4/5 in Canada, full TV & streaming info). The Reds are 2-0-1 in their last three at Talen Energy Stadium, and unbeaten in the last nine overall meetings between these sides. PREVIEW

Young USMNT faces France test

In addition Saturday's MLS slate, we will also be treated to an intriguing international friendly when a green US national team group lines up against World Cup-bound power France in Lyon (3 pm ET | ESPN, UniMás, UDN). And now that we've digested the news of Earnie Stewart's move to take the USMNT general manager post, Andrew Wiebe attempts to lay out the work ahead for him in helping the team rebuild for the future. READ MORE | PREVIEW

East showdowns in NYC, Columbus

The weekend's headline match-up will take place when Supporters' Shield front-runners Atlanta visit New York City FC to lead off the Saturday card (12:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). As rumors swirl in France claiming that this will be Patrick Vieira's last game in charge of the NYCFC ahead of a Nice switch, he says his priority at the moment is wresting the Eastern penthouse away from the Five Stripes. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Another big Eastern tilt will go down in Columbus when Bradley Wright Phillips, Kaku and the New York Red Bulls try to halt an eight-game Crew SC unbeaten run (5 pm ET | ESPN, TSN4, full TV & streaming info). Home sides have dominated this series in recent years, going 7-0-1. PREVIEW

Western showdown in KC

Portland will risk their 6-0-1 run in Saturday's key duel against visitors Sporting KC (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The West leaders have fared well at Providence Park over the years, compiling a 4-2-1 record there. PREVIEW

Elsewhere, FC Dallas will wager both a three-game win streak and a 14-game unbeaten run at home in Saturday's game against Montreal (8 pm ET | TVAS in Canada, full TV & streaming info). The Impact have never so much as scored a goal in Big D, losing all three of their previous visits by a combined 7-0 count. PREVIEW

Streaking RSL visit the Galaxy

The LA Galaxy will face a tough Saturday assignment when Real Salt Lake come to the StubHub Center (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Royals, who have won three in a row, logged a blowout win and a draw in this away fixture last season. PREVIEW

Meanwhile, LAFC will venture north on Saturday to tackle San Jose (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). It will be the first ever meeting between two sides, both currently mired in a four-game win drought. PREVIEW

DCU, OCSC make Cascadia trips

The ailing Seattle Sounders will hope to find a tonic when D.C. United visit on Saturday night (10 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Sounders enter the game coming off of three consecutive losses, but have topped the capital crew four straight times. What's more, there could be help on the way to Emerald City: after Monarcas Morelia's president claimed Wednesday that prolific Peruvian goalscorer Raul Ruidiaz was likely on his way to MLS, Sounder at Heart reports that it's Seattle who are set to land the forward's services. READ MORE | PREVIEW

A pair of teams heading in opposite directions will clash at BC Place when strugglers Orlando City visit improving Vancouver (7 pm ET | TSN1/4 in Canada, full TV & streaming info). Though the Lions are winless in three tries vs. the 'Caps, they did post a draw the only other time they rolled into Vancity. PREVIEW

Intra-conference duels in Chicago, Houston

The Chicago Fire will aim to continue their climb in the East in Saturday's home tilt against New England (8:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Revs, who've allowed 12 goals in their last four away games across all competition, have dropped four in a row at Toyota Park. PREVIEW

Houston will try to put a two-game road swoon in the rear-view mirror when Colorado comes to town for Saturday's match (9 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Rapids come in burdened by seven straight losses, but they've emerged victorious from their last two trips to BBVA Compass Stadium. PREVIEW

USOC sweet 16 drawn

The US Open Cup round-of-16 match-ups were drawn on Thursday. The last two champions will square off when FC Dallas visit Sporting KC, while forthcoming MLS franchise Nashville will hit the road to tackle USL rivals Louisville. READ MORE | WARSHAW: FIVE KIDS WHO SHINED IN USOC

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