The Week 10 Major League Soccer slate has a bit of everything to interest fans.
The weekend begins Friday night with the start of a new era for the Colorado Rapids, and escalates Saturday with a high-profile clash between teams in major markets.
The 10-game Saturday slate carries some intriguing matchups at night, including the reunion between Osvaldo Alonso and the Seattle Sounders at Minnesota United’s new stadium, Allianz Field.
After that, there’s a Sunday-night showdown between Sporting Kansas City and Atlanta United at Children’s Mercy Park.
Here’s a quick look at some of the major storylines to follow throughout your weekend MLS viewing experience. Topics are listed in chronological order to help you keep track of what to watch over the course of three days.
1. First look at Colorado without Hudson
The Colorado Rapids became the first team to fire its coach this season by letting go of Anthony Hudson earlier in the week.
The Rapids are the worst team in MLS right now and are the only side in the league without a win. It gets even worse when you look at the club’s -12 goal differential through nine games. The second-worst goal differential is New England’s -9.
Former MLS forward Conor Casey, who was the 2010 MLS Cup Most Valuable Player for the Rapids before rejoining the club as an assistant coach, is in charge for now as interim coach.
The Rapids have some decent parts on their roster with MLS experience, but they haven’t been able to put together a cohesive stretch on the field yet.
Colorado could either experience a surge under the direction of Casey, or continue on its struggling path. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the team responds to Hudson’s firing at home on Friday.
2. Zlatan takes New York
The latest nationally-televised showcase for Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.
The new-and-improved Galaxy take on the New York Red Bulls in a clash of two of the most well-known clubs in the league, but right now, the Galaxy have everything going right.
The road team has won two straight games in the Red Bulls-Galaxy series and there is a good chance the Galaxy walk away with three points against Chris Armas’ side, who is looking to put together a string of consistent results.
3. Texas Derby
FC Dallas takes a lengthy unbeaten run in the Texas Derby into Saturday’s clash with the Houston Dynamo.
The first Texas Derby of 2019 at BBVA Compass Stadium features some of the most exciting attackers in the league on the Houston roster and a collection of young stars on the FC Dallas squad list.
Alberth Elis is one of the most menacing wingers in the league, and he has been gearing up for Honduras’ Concacaf Gold Cup campaign by lighting up opposing defenses.
The attacking combination of Elis, Mauro Manotas and Tomas Martinez could pack enough firepower to force the FC Dallas back line into a few mistakes.
Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez’s defense, which is headlined by Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler, hasn’t given up more than two goals in a single game this season.
Something might have to give, whether it be a dip in Houston’s attacking form or more goals conceded by FC Dallas, in order for one of the sides to win the first rivalry match of 2019.
4. Ohio teams look to break out of scoring slump
FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew are a combined 0-8 with one goal in their last eight MLS games. The Crew have been outscored 7-1 during their four-game losing streak, while expansion side FCC has been outscored 8-0, including a 2-0 loss Wednesday to Philadelphia.
Neither team faces an easy task Saturday as they attempt to start May on the right foot.
Columbus has to visit a D.C. United team that shut it out April 24, while FC Cincinnati faces the unenviable weekend trip to San Jose after playing two straight road games on the East coast.
While FC Cincinnati was projected to struggle during its first season, Columbus was not expected to face this much of a lull in Caleb Porter’s first term.
If one of the two breaks out of their scoring slump, our odds are on the Crew because of Cincinnati’s tough travel, but anything can happen in MLS.
5. Sporting KC Looks for 1st win in over a month
In a way, Sporting Kansas City’s 4-4 draw with New England felt like a victory because Peter Vermes’ side came back from a 3-1 deficit to earn a point at home.
Although it was two points lost at home, last week’s performance should have given the club an emotional boost after dealing with the fallout from its Concacaf Champions League exit.
Knocking off an Atlanta United side that is finally starting to round into form won’t be an easy task for Sporting KC, but they are undefeated in league play at Children’s Mercy Park.
If Krisztian Nemeth, Johnny Russell and Co. continue to create chances in the final third, Sporting KC should be able to get back on track against the Five Stripes and earn their first victory since March 30.
MLS Week 10 Schedule
Friday, May 3
Vancouver Whitecaps at Colorado Rapids (9 p.m. ET, TSN 1/3)
Saturday, May 4
LA Galaxy at New York Red Bulls (2 p.m. ET, ESPN)
FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo (4 p.m. ET, Univision)
Toronto FC at Orlando City (4 p.m. ET, TSN4, ESPN+)
New York City FC at Montreal Impact (5 p.m. ET, TVA Sport, ESPN+)
New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Columbus Crew at D.C. United (8 p.m. ET, TSN2, ESPN+)
Seattle Sounders at Minnesota United (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
FC Cincinnati at San Jose Earthquakes (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Chicago Fire at Los Angeles FC (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Sunday, May 5
Atlanta United at Sporting Kansas City (9 p.m. ET, FS1)
Player to Watch
Reto Ziegler, D, FC Dallas
We touched on the FC Dallas defense a bit above, and are intrigued by how the club’s experienced centerback duo deals with Houston’s dynamic (pun not intended) attack.
Reto Ziegler has provided a steady hand next to Matt Hedges and together they have limited opponents to nine goals.
Containing a Houston attack that has produced 15 goals in seven games won’t be easy, but Ziegler and Hedges are more than capable of squeezing the Dynamo attack out of the middle of the penalty area.
Matchup to Watch
Osvaldo Alonso, M, Minnesota United vs. Nicolas Lodeiro, M, Seattle Sounders
Former teammates Nicolas Lodeiro and Osvaldo Alonso will go head-to-head in an intriguing matchup that could go a long way in determining the final result at Allianz Field.
Alonso knows the tendencies of the Sounders’ top playmaker and the same can be said about the Uruguayan being aware of Alonso’s defensive technique.
The adjustments made to each other’s skill set will be interesting to watch in the clash of top six teams in the Western Conference.
Fantasy Player to Watch
Cristian Espinoza, M, San Jose Earthquakes
A victory is being served on a silver platter to the San Jose Earthquakes in Week 10.
San Jose faces an FC Cincinnati side that played Saturday and Wednesday on the East coast before traveling to Northern California for a Saturday night game.
Cristian Espinoza is one of the many San Jose attackers who should have their way in the final third against a tired and out-of-form FC Cincinnati back line.