Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮 | OneFootball

Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮 | OneFootball

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Adam Booker·17 May 2024

Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

Article image:Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

After the first true midweek slate of MLS games came and went Wednesday evening, its time to turn our attention to this weekend as we have another full fixture list to sink our teeth into.

Fixture of the weekend

Article image:Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

Toronto FC vs CF Montréal

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It is a rivalry that is often overlooked by many in the Major League Soccer, but there are few fixtures in the league that come with as much blood and thunder as the Canadian Classique.

Toronto and Montréal have been meeting in competitive soccer since the early 1970s, though the two clubs as we know them today had not yet been formed. Nonetheless, the history runs very deep between the two Canadian giants.

Back to the present, the two clubs haven’t had similar fortunes in MLS play in the modern era, with Toronto experiencing one of the most dominant eras in league history between 2015-2018.

This weekend, however, Toronto will be severely outmanned after a brawl between them and NYCFC has left a handful of players and staff members suspended.

Montréal sit third from the bottom in the Eastern Conference but have shown signs of ability, most notably when they took a 2-0 lead over conference leaders Inter Miami last weekend before collapsing and suffering defeat.

The two sides are separated by seven points in the standings, but you just can’t ever count on the form to dictate the outcome of such a heated derby.

Three questions ahead of the weekend

Article image:Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

Who will stop the bleed, New England or Philadelphia?

It has been an opening few months to forget for both the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union, but with a matchup at Gillette Stadium this weekend, both sides have a chance to kickstart a turnaround.

The Union, who have consistently been MLS Cup contenders in the East in recent years, have lost four of their last five and haven’t picked up a victory since early April. Meanwhile, the Revolution are the cellar-dwellers in the conference, winning just twice in their opening 11 games.

Something will have to break eventually for one of the things, at least their fans will hope, and this weekend’s showdown in Foxborough could be the perfect chance.

Will the Timbers catch fire?

Like the two previously mentioned clubs, the Portland Timbers have just about hit rock-bottom this season. As of half-time of their Wednesday night clash with San Jose, the Cascadia club were 2-0 down and bottom of the Western Conference after an impressive transfer window in the winter.

But some fortunate refereeing decisions and an inspired second half saw Phil Neville’s side come roaring back for a 4-2 victory in front of a raucous Providence Park crowd.

Neville has repeatedly suggested that his team is packed full of talent, but has lacked effort and inspiration. A trip to Minnesota is one of the toughest fixtures in the Western Conference at the moment, but Neville and his men could be on the verge of another one of their, now annual winning runs after hitting rock-bottom.

Can Miami contain Benteke?

Inter Miami’s path to victory this season has been clear for everyone to see — outscore your opponents no matter what your defense is doing.

With a showdown against D.C. United and the red-hot Christian Benteke, Miami’s rear-guard may be facing their toughest test of the season so far. The Belgian is coming off a hat-trick against Atlanta United last week.

The Herons have repeatedly struggled to deal with high-powered attacks this season, but have survived thanks to sheer attacking quality from their superstars.

Player to watch

Article image:Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

Hernán López – San Jose Earthquakes

López has hit the ground running since joining the Quakes for a club-record fee just two weeks ago.

The former River Plate man has scored in two straight games for Luchi Gonzalez’s side, and was an erratic thorn in the side of the Portland Timbers Wednesday evening.

Almost overnight, López has seemingly turned the worst team in the Western Conference into candidates to make a push for the playoff spots in the coming weeks after victories against LAFC and Colorado in recent weeks.

MLS has become known for vibrant, entertaining number 10s strutting their stuff in a league heavily weighted towards attacking talent.

López may quickly join the Riqui Puig and Lucho Acosta’s of the world as a pure box office player.