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San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles FC Preview and Predictions

Los Angeles FC hopes their latest dominating victory will finally give them some elusive momentum Sunday as they host the struggling San Jose Earthquakes. LAFC (5-5-3, 18 points) enters off a commanding 6-0 victory at home Wednesday over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored two goals while Diego Rossi added one, his league-leading 11th goal of the season. Wright-Phillips was named MLS player of the week, the 12th time in his career he has earned the honor. Although the victory helped make up for a 3-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders last weekend, LAFC has shown wild inconsistency lately. Before losing to the Sounders, they defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2, but that came after 3-0 losses to Real Salt Lake (Sept. 9) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (Sept. 6). "We've just not been as sharp as we can be," LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. "We've had stretches in every game where we feel good, but there are moments where we have hurt ourselves. We just have to be more consistent and regain confidence and try to improve in all areas." As impressive as LAFC were on Wednesday, the Earthquakes (2-6-5, 11 points) were completely the opposite. San Jose fell 5-0 on the road against the Colorado Rapids, four days after they were crushed 6-1 by the Portland Timbers. Considering they had given up just one goal in the two previous games, this 11-1 collapse has the Earthquakes reeling. San Jose is in last place in the Western Conference and tied for the lowest point total in the league. And now the Quakes meet a team that dealt it a 5-1 defeat on Sept. 2 in L.A. "I think that we need to make sure that we do the little things, make sure we move off the ball, make sure we keep it, make sure we connect our passes, make sure we stretch the field, and also open spaces for your teammates," Earthquakes veteran forward Chris Wondolowski said. "I think right now we're being a little too in

Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC Preview and Predictions

A strange season is about to get stranger for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Following the MLS is Back Tournament, the Whitecaps played six consecutive games against Canadian rivals Montreal and Toronto, owing to travel restrictions and COVID-19 quarantine requirements. Sunday night, after road games at Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles FC, the Whitecaps (5-8-0, 15 points) will play host to the Portland Timbers (6-4-3, 21 points) on what will be their home field for the remainder of season -- Providence Park in Portland. "For myself personally, it's not a home game, and that's fine," Vancouver defender Jake Nerwinski said. "We're going to have to deal with that for the rest of the season, especially against Portland. They're not thinking of it as an away game so we're not going to think of it as a home game." Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos said the lack of fans in the stands should help level the playing field against the Timbers. "Without fans it's going to help us more than it's going to help Portland," Dos Santos said. "We know that energy, that atmosphere that fans bring at that field is one of the best in the MLS, for sure." The Whitecaps had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 6-0 loss at LAFC on Wednesday night in which they allowed four goals in the opening 14 minutes. The Timbers, meantime, defeated rival Seattle 1-0 to pull into a tie with the Sounders atop the Western Conference. Yimmi Chara scored for the third consecutive game for Portland and goalkeeper Steve Clark made six saves. That came after a 6-1 victory at San Jose. "I think we've been doing a good job the last couple of games," Timbers defender Jorge Villafana said. "Going into Vancouver, we need to keep doing the same. We need to be aware the whole 90 minutes, and plus." --Field Level Media


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Orlando City SC vs. FC Dallas Preview and Predictions

Orlando City SC, one of the surprise MLS teams of 2020, will look to continue a record unbeaten run Sunday when the Lions battle FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas. The Lions won at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday to extend their club-record streak to seven games without a loss. Coach Oscar Pareja takes his sizzling club into something of a homecoming, visiting the same FC Dallas club where he spent 18 years as a player, assistant and coach. He led Dallas for five seasons (2015-18) before spending a year at Tijuana in Liga MX and then signing with Orlando City last December. Pareja has transformed the Lions from a team who last year finished next to last in the East into a competitive outfit that reached the final of the MLS is Back Tournament. Orlando City (7-2-4, 25 points) is currently second in the Eastern Conference behind Columbus. Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel scored in the 2-1 win at Kansas City. Akindele, who was the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2014 after being drafted by FC Dallas, scored his second goal of the MLS regular season. Michel netted his fourth goal in Orlando City's past five matches "We're very proud of the three points, and the reason for the happiness is that we beat one of the best teams in the West," Pareja said. "We know how hard it is to come here and beat Kansas (City) and get points. The effort that we had in order to have that presence in these last games has been very consistent." Dallas (5-3-4, 19 points) had its three-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday when it fell at Atlanta United 1-0 on a penalty kick by Atlanta's Jeff Larentowicz in the 55th minute. That goal came after video review confirmed a handball inside the box by Dallas defender Matt Hedges. Dallas, currently fourth in the Western Conference, has been led by its defense, surrendering just 13 goals this season. "We've gotten some results recently, but we want to improve in perform

Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United FC Preview and Predictions

After a promising start to this season, the Minnesota United carries a three-match winless streak into Sunday's match with Real Salt Lake in Saint Paul. Minnesota (5-5-3, 18 points) has slipped from the top of the Western Conference standings all the way to seventh place. The Loons have scored just three goals over their last three matches. Their latest setback came in the form of a 2-1 loss at Columbus on Wednesday, when they could not overcome an early deficit against the Eastern Conference leaders. Columbus scored on a header from Lucas Zelarayan in the 31st minute and Pedro Santos added one in the 70th. Robin Lod pulled one back for Minnesota in the 88th minute and the Loons nearly stole a road point in stoppage time, but Jose Aja's goal was waved off when he was ruled offside in the waning seconds. Getting back home should offer a boost to Minnesota after three straight tough road matches. "Obviously, results change the way that you are mentally," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "And, at this moment in time, with the away games that we've had, it's been mentally tough for the guys. You know, if you're winning games, you don't feel as tired." The Loons are hoping to find the magic they enjoyed when RSL last visited Saint Paul less than a month ago. On Sept. 6, Minnesota dominated in a 4-0 rout. Salt Lake (4-4-5, 17 points) snapped a two-game losing streak of its own Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. It was RSL's second clean sheet in four matches. Albert Rusnak scored one goal off a penalty kick in the 65th minute and assisted on the other by feeding a cross to Damir Kreilach in the 72nd minute, which gave Salt Lake a much needed second-half boost. RSL moved back into the playoff position and trail Minnesota by a single point in the Western Conference standings. "The team played a well-rounded game, both offensively and defensively

Columbus Crew SC vs. Toronto FC Preview and Predictions

Despite being atop the Major League Soccer standings on the strength of a six-game unbeaten streak, Columbus Crew coach Caleb Porter said Sunday's matchup against Toronto FC will be a barometer of how good his team is. The Crew (9-1-3, 30 points) have four wins and a pair of ties in the past six games for a five-point lead over Toronto (7-2-4, 25 points), Orlando and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference. "We're definitely going to use this game as an opportunity to grow and measure ourselves a little bit," Porter said. "We need these games going into the playoffs. If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best and I would say Toronto is definitely, without question, one of the best teams in the league and that's why they've been the MLS Cup champions in three finals in the last four years. "In saying that, my group will definitely be up for it. We're not going to shy away from the game." Because of Canadian quarantine rules regarding out-of-country travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the match will be played at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn., where Toronto is based and designated as the home team. "It will feel familiar," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. "We've now trained on the field a number of times and been inside the stadium. Our locker room has been set up. Guys kind of feel at home. "It's a new stop on the tour, if you will. It will be a completely new stop for (the Crew)." Columbus has allowed just five goals this season and the offense has been led by midfielder Pedro Santos, who has three goals and four assists in the past five games. "It's a team that's shown to be one of the leaders this year," Vanney said, "especially in terms of goals against, but they're also very good at creating chances." --Field Level Media

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Atlanta United FC vs. Chicago Fire Preview and Predictions

Atlanta United FC captured a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Wednesday, the highlight of what undoubtedly has been the most turbulent season of the club's four-year history. On Sunday night, Atlanta (4-7-2, 14 points) will look to put the negativity in the past when they visit the equally struggling Chicago Fire. In Atlanta, coach Frank de Boer was dismissed following three straight losses at the MLS is Back Tournament in July. Prior to Wednesday, interim coach Stephen Glass had secured only one victory in the seven matches since taking over for de Boer. Those issues eventually led to a team meeting ahead early this week. The resulting victory Wednesday -- on Jeff Larentowicz's 55th-minute goal -- put Atlanta back narrowly above the playoff line, and in a better frame of mind, according to defender Brooks Lennon. "I think it had a major impact on the performance from the guys tonight," Lennon said of the meeting. "We had a heart-to-heart meeting with the entire group, we watched film and we just talked about what was going wrong in the season and the things that we thought were going well. I thought tonight it definitely translated to the guys' performance." Also on Wednesday, the Fire (3-7-3, 12 points) completed a 4-0 home win over the Houston Dynamo to halt their own five-game winless slide. The Fire actually hold a plus-one goal differential over their past seven matches, dating back to a 3-0 win over FC Cincinnati on Aug. 25. Spreading those goals around a bit more might help 12th-place Chicago make a late postseason push. "I mean I'd rather win four times 1-0, then one time 4-0," said Fabian Herbers, who scored Chicago's second goal. "But now, we've got to keep it going, the momentum was good, I think we showed what the team is capable of if we stay engaged, and stay positive, with good energy on the field and be better on both ends of the field." --Field Level Me

New England Revolution vs. D.C. United Preview and Predictions

The New England Revolution aim to ride the momentum of their strongest offensive showing of the season into their road match against D.C. United on Sunday night. The Revolution (4-3-6, 18 points) flipped the switch and secured their first home victory with a galvanizing 3-1 win over Montreal on Wednesday. Gustavo Bou joined Henry Kessler and Diego Fagundez in providing the offense against the Impact. "He's a goal scorer. He'll score goals," New England coach Bruce Arena said of the 30-year-old Bou, who is tied with Teal Bunbury for the team lead in goals (four). "The last couple of games I think he's backed off from a couple chances, so (Wednesday's) goal I think will give him a little confidence. And if he can be a little bit more aggressive, he should score goals." Bou liked what he saw from his team's ability to generate offensive opportunities vs. Montreal. "I think we created about five or six solid chances (Wednesday) and scored three, so as a forward and as an attacker I'm really happy with that, and I think this is really going to help us moving forward," Bou said through a translator. Bou and Bunbury each scored a goal in the first half of the Revolution's 2-1 road win over D.C. United on Aug. 25. Ola Kamara converted a penalty kick in that match vs. New England. Kamara shares the team lead in goals with two for D.C. United (2-6-5, 11 points), who saw their winless streak extend to four matches (0-2-2) with a 1-0 decision to expansion Nashville SC on Wednesday. "We were a bunch of frauds in the first half of that game and it was an unacceptable performance from us," D.C. United midfielder Russell Canouse said. "It was uninspiring. We looked like we were still on Sun Country Airlines or whatever we flew here this morning and it just wasn't cutting it." Federico Higuain, who joins defender Frederic Brillant and Kamara with two goals apiece, sc

Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls Preview and Predictions

The New York Red Bulls look to follow up their strongest offensive effort of the season when they host the Montreal Impact on Sunday night in Harrison, N.J. The Red Bulls (5-6-2, 17 points) erupted for a season-high goal total in Wednesday's 4-1 victory over Inter Miami CF. The flurry came after the club was shut out in three of its four previous games. "I think you could tell from the reactions of the goals, the guys were excited that we're now scoring goals again," New York forward Brian White said. "There's been a lot of pressure on us to score more goals and really finish games off. I think that kind of pressure kind of exploded a little bit. Hopefully, we can build off that and keep winning games." New York could be situated to build momentum based on its longtime home domination against Montreal. The Red Bulls are 9-1-0 on the home pitch against the Impact and have a 29-10 edge in goals scored. In addition, Montreal (5-7-1, 16 points) can't figure out how to stop opponents from scoring. The Impact have been outscored 10-3 during their current three-game losing streak. Montreal was badly outplayed Wednesday in a 3-1 loss against the New England Revolution. The Impact were outshot 20-7. "It looked like we were a bit tired physically and mentally," said Impact coach Thierry Henry, a former Red Bulls star from 2010-14. "Trying to play, and stay true to what you're trying to do. ... It is what it is, I hope it was a one-off in terms of what we're trying to do." Midfielder Romell Quioto leads Montreal with six goals, while forward Saphir Taider has four goals and six assists. Midfielder Daniel Royer, who scored against Miami, leads the Red Bulls with three goals. --Field Level Media

FC Cincinnati vs. New York City FC Preview and Predictions

Both FC Cincinnati and New York City FC will try to improve on their finishing when they meet on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena. There will be an added element of difficulty for NYCFC (5-6-2, 17 points), who will be without forward Heber for the remainder of the season as he suffered an ACL tear in a 1-0 loss against Toronto FC on Wednesday night. His 87th-minute exit, followed by Alejandro Pozuelo's game-winning penalty in the 90th minute, ruined what was shaping up as a promising evening for the first hour-plus for New York. "I think 70 minutes of this game was really, really good," said NYCFC manager Ronny Deila, who saw his club's six-match unbeaten run end. "Again, you have to kill teams off when you have those chances we have, and they don't have anything. So for me it's like, what I saw the first 70 minutes is something I can be really proud of. We were meeting one of the best teams and they were struggling with the intensity and how we played, how we moved the ball." NYCFC led Toronto 16-9 in shots -- 8-3 in shots on target -- in the hard-luck loss. And though the club loses Heber, his one goal in 2020 had fallen way short of his club-leading 15 in 2019. Midfielder Alex Ring leads the club with three goals. Cincinnati (3-6-4, 13 points) also slightly led the Philadelphia Union in shots and efforts on target in their latest match, a 0-0 home draw on Wednesday night. It was the second consecutive defensive shutout for manager Jaap Stam's side, which currently sits in 11th place and one point below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. To get above that line, Stam knows his team's offensive production will also have to improve. Cincinnati has scored only twice in its last four matches, with one goal each from Haris Medunjanin and Brandon Vazquez. "An important point, you can say," Stam said of the scoreless draw. "We would have loved to have three. I think we dese

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Los Angeles FC Preview and Predictions

Two Western Conference rivals going in opposite directions will meet when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Los Angeles FC on Wednesday. Vancouver and Los Angeles are even on points this season, with a tiebreaker putting the Whitecaps (5-7-0, 15 points) ahead in the standings. The Whitecaps also have the big edge in current form, riding a two-game win streak and a 3-1-0 record over their last four games. Their most recent victory saw Lucas Cavallini score in the 84th minute to clinch a 2-1 result over host Real Salt Lake last Saturday. Vancouver has scored 10 goals over its last four games, an offensive surge made all the more impressive considering it follows three straight shutout losses from August 18-25. "Only a group with a strong mentality can react like" Vancouver coach Marc Dos Santos said of his team's response to the goalless week. "At the end it's three wins out of four and we have to understand that what's coming next is still hard, it's still a challenge," he added. "We have to be strong and keep going." Los Angeles FC (4-5-3, 15 points) hope a similar turnaround is coming for what has become a very inconsistent attack. LAFC are 2-5-0 over their last seven games, with nine goals scored in the two victories and only one goal scored in the five defeats. "We do create opportunities but they're half-chances sometimes," midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye said after LAFC's last game, a 3-0 loss to the host Seattle Sounders on Friday. "And then when we do create real opportunities, we don't put them away, and that's the difference right now with teams we're playing." Perhaps unsurprisingly, Los Angeles FC's scoring slump has coincided with star midfielder Eduard Atuesta's recovery from a foot injury. After missing five games, Atuesta has appeared as a substitute in LAFC's last two games, including 45 minutes against Seattle. It isn't yet known if Atuesta will continue

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers Preview and Predictions

With fans in the stands, it's hard for visiting teams to earn points at Portland's Providence Park or Seattle's CenturyLink Field. Without fans, however, the longtime Cascadia Cup rivals have each defeated the other on the road since the resumption of the MLS regular season. The teams will meet again Wednesday night in Portland. The Western Conference-leading Sounders (6-2-3, 21 points) are 4-1-1 since returning home from the MLS is Back Tournament, outscoring opponents 19-6 in that span. They're coming off a 3-0 victory last Friday against visiting Los Angeles FC, as Nicolas Lodeiro scored on a pair of first-half penalty kicks and Raul Ruidiaz added a late goal. "We are not satisfied," Ruidiaz said after the victory. "We want to be able to repeat that (2019 MLS Cup championship) experience." In their first game after the MLS tourney in Florida, the Sounders won 3-0 at Portland on Aug. 23 as Ruidiaz scored twice. The Timbers (5-4-3, 18 points), who claimed the title at the MLS tourney, earned a measure of revenge with a 2-1 victory on Sept. 6 in Seattle as Felipe Mora netted the winner in the 83rd minute. Portland is coming off a 6-1 victory Saturday at San Jose, as Diego Valeri had two goals and an assist in the second game of a series. The Earthquakes and visiting Timbers played to a 1-1 draw last Wednesday. "It's been a tough week," Valeri said after the most recent match. "But gladly Gio (coach Giovanni Savarese) gave us a day off (Sunday) so we are going to rest well. ... We know that we have a game coming soon, but it's going to be very important for us mentally to be disconnected a little bit, to disconnect and get out some stress and prepare for the next game. We're obviously enjoying being with the family and being back in Portland and resting for the next game." --Field Level Media

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids Preview and Predictions

Struggling San Jose tries to end an eight-match winless streak when it play youthful Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on Wednesday. The Earthquakes (2-5-5, 11 points) have four losses and three ties since returning to play after the MLS Is Back Tournament near Orlando, Fla., in July and early August, in which they lost their final game of the tournament to Minnesota United FC. Not only are the Earthquakes losing, they're often getting blown out, including 5-1 and 7-1 defeats to Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders earlier this month. San Jose's most recent setback, 6-1 to Portland on Saturday, prompted a postgame mea culpa from Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "We apologize, I apologize for the way we performed today," he said. "This is not who we are. We know we can do better." While San Jose has lost its way, the Rapids (4-4-4, 16 points) have turned to their young players to win two of three. In the 2-0 win on Saturday that ended LAFC's six-game unbeaten run, Colorado had its youngest starting lineup of the season (24.9 average age). Cole Bassett, 19, scored the first goal from a set-up by 21-year-old defender Sam Vines, and Jonathan Lewis, 23, scored with an assist from Braian Galvan, 19. "We're all really hungry when we're on the field to try and get goals, assists and help the team win most importantly," Bassett said. "I think we bring that energy, and it shows on the field. I really think that we've developed this good youth connection. It shows in the locker room, we all have really good friendships, and then on the field it's coming into play so far." That type of chemistry is lacking for San Jose, which has the worst goal differential in MLS at minus-16 (17 goals scored, 33 allowed). "We have to check ourselves properly, correct things. And we have to stick together as one," Fiorane

Minnesota United FC vs. Columbus Crew SC Preview and Predictions

The Columbus Crew are 10 months from opening their new stadium. In the meantime, the best team in MLS continues to make Mapfre Stadium uncomfortable for opponents with Minnesota United (5-4-3, 18 points) the next to attempt to crack the impenetrable fortress on Wednesday. The Crew (8-1-3, 27 points) defeated Nashville SC 2-0 on Saturday to become the first team in league history to record shutout wins in their first five home matches of the season. The Crew have scored 10 goals in those games. "We are reenergizing the club," Crew coach Caleb Porter said. "We have a new stadium that's being built right now, and it'll be finished next summer. We want people to understand that we play attractive soccer and we win; we score goals and that we're fun to watch." His only regret is that only 1,500 fans are allowed inside because of COVID-19 restrictions. "Obviously, we're limited right now with how many we can have but we want everybody in this community to get really excited about our club, and they should be," he said. The Crew are looking to extend a 3-0-2 streak. Minnesota blew a two-goal lead in a 2-2 tie at Houston on Saturday. It was a point that the Loons -- 2-1-1 in the past four games -- will take. "(Especially) the way we've been playing on the road and with the injury situation we've had, and the amount of games we've had on the road," Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said. The Loons on Saturday signed former Crew striker Kei Kamara with forwards Luis Amarilla and Aaron Schoenfeld injured. However, midfielder Kevin Molino sustained a hamstring strain in the Houston match and is not expected to play. Also, midfielder Jan Gregus was red carded vs. the Dynamo and is suspended. For the Crew, midfielder Lucas Zelarayan was a second-half substitute on Saturday after missing three games with a knee injury. He assisted o

Philadelphia Union vs. FC Cincinnati Preview and Predictions

On a three-game winning streak, while setting themselves apart in recent days, the Philadelphia Union will take plenty of momentum into a road matchup Wednesday against FC Cincinnati. The Union will enter off a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Impact on Sunday when they took full advantage of a man advantage after 15 minutes. Kacper Przybylko scored two goals in the victory. FC Cincinnati will have a fair share of confidence as well, earning a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday that ended a six-match winless streak dating to the end of the MLS is Back Tournament. While FC Cincinnati (3-6-3, 12 points) has struggled to earn victories after the tournament near Orlando, the Union has turned into one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has gone 5-1-1 in the second stage of the MLS restart. Philadelphia's three-game winning streak includes victories over the Red Bulls, the New England Revolution and the Impact. The Union (7-2-3, 24 points) has lost only to the first-place Columbus Crew since Aug. 20. "We're doing a great job as a team, and you can see the chemistry, you can see unselfish situations," said Przybylko, the team leader in goals with seven. "We're trying to connect the ball to someone who is in a better position, and I'm just happy about that." While the Union has been on a roll, FC Cincinnati is 1-3-3 since MLS is Back, with all three of those ties by a 0-0 count. Haris Medunjanin scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute Saturday for the team's first away victory of the season. It was the latest game-winning goal in the club's young history. "On the game, I'm very happy with the team performance because we came out flying," Medunjanin said. "We had a plan today that we were going to press (New York) all game. We're not going to let them breathe. You know, let them get comfortable, and I think we showed that like t

Orlando City SC vs. Sporting Kansas City Preview and Predictions

Orlando City SC will aim to extend its unbeaten run in league play to a club-record seven matches on Wednesday when the Lions travel to Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City for a midweek clash against Sporting Kansas City. The Lions (6-2-4, 22 points) are tied for third place in the crowded Eastern Conference, five points behind Columbus Crew SC for the top spot, following a comfortable 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire at a soaked Exploria Stadium. Chris Mueller got the party started early for the hosts after just 11 minutes, and Nani doubled the lead on 24 minutes. Pedro Gallese saved a penalty in the first half and conceded one to Robert Beric to make the score 2-1 just three minutes after the break. Junior Urso and Benji Michel scored second-half goals. "I think it was a roller coaster of a game today with a rival that came here with initiatives and an idea of the game that was very clear," Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja said. "That just makes us enjoy our victory much more because we beat a great team today in Chicago. "We had courage all the time to overcome the difficult moments. As I said, that roller coaster at the end, we were consistent in trying to get up front and be aggressive and then we scored four goals, which is not easy in this league." Sporting Kansas City (6-4-2, 20 points) comes in looking to right the ship. They are winless in five of their past six matches. Despite the dip in form, Peter Vermes' side sits second in the Western Conference, just a point behind the Seattle Sounders. Last time out, SKC suffered a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas at Children's Mercy Park despite a second-half double from Johnny Russell, which brought the hosts back from a 2-0 deficit. Sporting's defense failed to hold, and Ryan Hollingshead netted the winner for Dallas four minutes from time. "I thought we were fine," Vermes said post-game. "At

Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire Preview and Predictions

Something figures to give Wednesday night when the Chicago Fire play host to the Houston Dynamo in a battle between two teams struggling to get a win. Chicago (2-7-3, 9 points) owns the worst record in MLS and has gone five games without a win, while Houston (3-3-6, 15 points) has not won in three straight matches. The Fire are coming off a 4-1 loss to Orlando City SC in a game where they had two goals called back after video review, as well as hitting the post twice. The game summed up the season so far for Chicago. "All these little things right now are not going our way," said Chicago coach Raphael Wicky. "Sometimes in life that happens. I don't know why -- I don't have the answer for that. I say the same as what I always do -- we have to keep working at it, but we have to become better in both ends otherwise we will talk all year about that, and at the end of the day it will be a fancy hand." Despite the recent woes, Houston finds itself still in the hunt for a playoff berth. The Dynamo are coming off a 2-2 draw in their last match with Minnesota. With 15 points, Houston sits just below a playoff spot in the Western Conference. In the draw with Minnesota, Houston rallied from two goals down, a positive result for Houston coach Tab Ramos. "I think it says a lot. It says a lot because I know that at the beginning of the year one of our bigger challenges was the way we put our heads down every time we gave up a goal, and it was the end of the world," said Ramos. "I don't think we are that team anymore. I think we just keep playing and that's what I told the team at halftime." --Field Level Media

FC Dallas vs. Atlanta United FC Preview and Predictions

Surging FC Dallas visits a reeling Atlanta United squad at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday night. Dallas (5-2-4, 19 points) enters the contest on a three-match winning streak, which includes a 3-2 victory at Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 19. Ryan Hollingshead's goal in the 86th minute proved to be the game-winner for Dallas, which also had Franco Jara notch two first-half goals. "We were hungry to get a third (win) in a row and gain momentum," Dallas manager Luchi Gonzalez said. "Our guys didn't give up, believed we could still push the game and exposed space behind for the game-winner. I'm proud of them but we have to re-patch the wounds, regenerate and be ready for another game. That's the type of schedule we have right now." Dallas is third in the Western Conference standings, two points behind the first-place Seattle Sounders. Bryan Acosta received a red card in the Kansas City contest and is suspended for the Atlanta match. Atlanta (3-7-2, 11 points) dropped its home contest to Inter Miami CF, 2-1, on Sept. 19. Jon Gallagher scored the lone goal for Atlanta in defeat. "The first issue is that we lost the first goal on the counter-attack," Atlanta interim manager Stephen Glass said. "That's something we specifically talked about the opportunity to tackle on their half to prevent the counter. That's something that should be prevented. We didn't get shots off in the second half." Atlanta is now winless in its last six contests and has just one win in its last 10 matches, dating back to July 11. Atlanta sits 12th in the Eastern Conference standings, one point out of 10th place and a spot in the playoffs. "Dallas is coming off of three wins," Glass said. "It's not easy in this league on any given day but this isn't a group of players that are going to roll over and accept that things aren't happening. There are fine margins to getting wins and hopefully that starts Wednesda

Toronto FC vs. New York City FC Preview and Predictions

Toronto FC is a top-four club in the Eastern Conference but would have felt better about its last match if it finished it off properly to get the three points. Coming off a disappointing draw against the 13th-place D.C. United, Toronto hopes to enjoy a better outcome Wednesday night when it visits surging New York City Football Club at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Toronto (6-2-4, 22 points) sits five points back of conference leader Columbus. Toronto is 4-2-1 in its past seven matches but settled for a 2-2 draw Saturday night after getting a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact 10 days earlier in its final game on Canadian soil. On Saturday, Toronto allowed the first goal five minutes into the match and held a 2-1 lead on goals by Alejandro Pozuelo and Ayo Akinola until allowing the equalizer in the 88th minute. "We were in position to win the game tonight, even though it was a tough one, and we just didn't close it out," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. "That's something that we've got to get better at as a team." It was the second time in three games that Toronto allowed the tying or winning goal in the final 15 minutes of a match. On Sept. 5, Toronto allowed the game-winner to Vancouver in the 76th minute. NYCFC (5-5-2, 17 points) sits in fifth and is 4-0-2 in its past six matches since a 1-0 loss to the Red Bulls on Aug. 20. NYCFC put together three straight wins Aug. 24-Sept. 2 but has settled for two 0-0 draws in its last three games. On Saturday vs. New England, NYCFC gave up 14 shots with seven on target. "All things considered, I think everyone stepped up and realized it was going to be a difficult game, it was going to be a game we were going to have fight for 90 minutes and earn everything we were going to walk away with," NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson said after making seven saves. The teams split the first meetings. Toronto got a 1-0 home

Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution Preview and Predictions

The New England Revolution are looking for a homefield breakthrough when they host the Montreal Impact on Wednesday. The Revs (3-3-6, 15 points) are 0-1-4 in home games this season. The winless streak continued with a 0-0 draw against New York City FC last Saturday that had the Revolution feeling "like we left points on the table," defender Henry Kessler said. "We feel at home we should be grabbing three points. ... It wasn't really a game where we see it as one point earned, but rather two points lost," Kessler said. New England is tied for third among all teams for both fewest goals allowed (11) and fewest goals scored (10). The Revolution are also tied with the Houston Dynamo with the most draws (six) of any team this season. Despite the even-steven nature of the Revs' season, New England is just a point behind Montreal (5-6-1, 16 points) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Impact are 0-2-0 in their last two games, including a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Sunday. Montreal's Romell Quioto scored five minutes into the game but then received a straight red card in the 15th minute for elbowing Union defender Mark McKenzie, opening the door for a Philadelphia rout. It was the third straight game that Montreal has been reduced to 10 men due to a red card, and the second consecutive game that the ejection came in the first half. Rudy Camacho's 37th-minute red card similarly hampered the Impact in a 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 16. "When you receive a red card so early, it makes the game very difficult," defender Jukka Raitala told the Montreal Gazette. "The way we received those red cards should not happen. ... It's unacceptable." Quioto is suspended for Wednesday's game. Camacho and Emanuel Maciel will be available against the Revolution after completing their own red card suspensions. The Revolution's Matt Polster is

Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact Preview and Predictions

Following a disheartening loss to a Canadian rival, the Montreal Impact look to bounce back with a "home" match in the United States. Hoping to get back on track, the Impact try to keep the visiting Philadelphia Union from recording a third straight win on Sunday night in Harrison, N.J. Since the MLS regular season resumed, Montreal (5-5-1, 16 points) has gone 3-0-3 while playing against Toronto FC and Vancouver in Canada, due to coronavirus travel restrictions between that country and the U.S. Because of said restrictions, the Impact and those other Canadian clubs will play at least one home game in the U.S. For Montreal, it comes at Red Bull Arena after falling 3-1 at Vancouver on Wednesday. Playing a man down from 37th minute on, the Impact managed only a Romell Quioto goal in the 70th and blew a chance for a spot in the Canadian Championship. "We lost three points that, in my opinion, we should never lose," Impact midfielder Samuel Piette said. "I think in this season, a lot of points that we lost, we gave them away. And, again (against Vancouver), I think that was the case." Montreal is 7-2-1 at home against Philadelphia (6-2-3, 21 points), but of course this match is not being played in Quebec. Instead, the Union are playing a little more than 100 miles from their home pitch and looking to continue a stretch that includes four wins in five matches. That included a 3-0 victory over New York at Red Bull Arena on Sept. 6 and a 2-1 triumph over New England last weekend on a second-half Anthony Fontana brace. "We just have to focus on us," Union forward Andrew Wooten said. "We want to win no matter where we play. ... Just believe in ourselves." Philadelphia's Kacper Przybylko has scored four of his five goals this season over his last five games. Meanwhile, Quioto has a goal in each of the last two contests. --Field Level Media

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