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Five things to look out for in MLS this weekend

Lloyd Sam's late goal rescued a point for New York Red Bulls.
Image: Lloyd Sam: In fine form for New York Red Bulls

Ahead of another intriguing weekend of football Stateside, here are five things to look out for in the MLS...

New York Red Bulls v San Jose Earthquakes:  Is Journeyman Lloyd Sam set for a career-defining season? 

New York Red Bulls sit second in the Eastern Conference as only one of two sides to not be beaten in MLS so far this season, the other being Real Salt Lake.  

Their determination not to lose was shown by Red Bulls’ resilience to come from 2-0 down to finish 2-2 away against the team above them – fierce rivals DC United.  

The last minute equaliser came from Lloyd Sam who scored his third goal in four games. The 30-year-old is only one away from equaling his goal tally from last season. He will be looking to keep up the same kind of production levels throughout the year. 

San Jose are the opponents on Friday night and have yet to be involved in a goalless draw all season, which perhaps reflects their patchy form of three wins and three losses. 

Although they sit third in the West, they are on more points than the Red Bulls and are coming off a shock win against early leaders Vancouver Whitecaps.   

However, San Jose has not won at Red Bull Arena since 2005. The game should be a very tight encounter. 

Philadelphia Union v New England Revolution: Will third choice Philadelphia goalkeeper John McCarthy cement a starting spot? 

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Take a statistical look at the how round five of the MLS season played out.

Philadelphia had been on a dire run of form entering last weekend’s MLS action, yet they were able to win 2-1 against New York City FC at home. The win lifted them off the bottom to eighth in the Eastern Conference. 

Union goalkeeper John McCarthy was credited with the victory as he took the place of Algerian international and first choice goalkeeper Rais M’bohli to help Philadelphia get their first win of the year.  

It was only a year ago that McCarthy was nominated USL PRO - the third tier of US Soccer - Goalkeeper of the Year with the Rochester Rhinos. 

With Rais M’Bohli told to take a break from the team and second choice option Andre Blake injured, it leaves the door open for McCarthy to get some unexpected minutes. 

New England meanwhile will want their MVP last season Lee Nguyen to pick up his form, having only created 2 chances in five matches. Scoring goals is also proving more troublesome for one of the most free-flowing, attacking sides in the league last season. 

Colorado v Seattle Sounders: Are Colorado now going to climb up the table? 

Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders hugs Obafemi Martins after scoring against the New England Revolution
Image: Clint Dempsey: Set to return for Seattle

Colorado was the most out of form team in the league before last weekend when they produced the most surprising result of the season so far in MLS.  

A 4-0 dismantling of FC Dallas away was an incredible achievement considering Colorado had not scored a goal this season beforehand - it was Colorado’s first since October. 

Such a win could be a huge confidence boost entering this weekend against Seattle Sounders who lost their second game of the season to LA Galaxy. Seattle has a far greater head-to-head record though, winning the last four meetings.  

Clint Dempsey is also expected to return to the starting line-up after missing the last game due to US National Team training.  

When he combines with Martins, goals tend to arrive. Colorado will have to play as good a game as they did at Dallas if they wish to get back-to-back wins for the first time since June 2014. 

Real Salt Lake v Vancouver Whitecaps: Can an undefeated RSL beat the table toppers? 

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Javier Morales #11 and Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrate their first half goal against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto
Image: Real Salt Lake celebrate their first half goal against the Philadelphia Union

Real Salt Lake are undefeated this season and will be looking to pounce on a Vancouver side who may still be hurting after their defeat to San Jose, putting a stop to their five game undefeated streak. 

Vancouver has never won at Real Salt Lake in their four-year history in MLS. They’ll also be looking to create more shots on target after failing to put a shot on target against San Jose Earthquakes.  

It could also be argued that Vancouver have been way too reliant on new star striker Octavio Rivero this season. He has five goals this season with no other player scoring more than one. More goals from other players may be what is required should Vancouver want to keep top spot.  

FC Dallas v Toronto FC: Can Toronto finally start living up to the hype? 

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Take a look at some the best goals from week five in the MLS.

FC Dallas lost their second game in a row to Colorado whilst Toronto has lost their last three. Toronto has had two bye-weeks already this season and is now in need of getting into a rhythm.  

Toronto are second bottom in the Eastern Conference, a position not many would have predicted when looking at the strength of their line-up on paper. 

But if Toronto really want to gain momentum then the time could be now as they play FC Dallas who may be feeling fragile after a 4-0 hammering to the side that were bottom of the league standings only a few days ago. 

Both teams look to force the issue and with a lot of pace and trickery on show, it should make for an exciting match. 

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