Five things to look out for in MLS this weekend

Jozy Altidore (left): Scored twice against Orlando last weekend

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

Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC: Who can stay tighter defensively?

Toronto's seven-game road trip continues to Philadelphia as they look to build on their huge 2-0 win against Orlando last weekend.

Two goals from Jozy Altidore put a halt to TFC's four-game losing streak. It was the first time the three designated players of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley looked to really click.

The Canadian side's away run will continue until BMO Field - their stadium - has been successfully renovated. They hope to play their first home game of the season on May 10th.

It could perhaps explain why Toronto currently sits seventh in the MLS Eastern Conference standings. The team in 9th - Philadelphia - are looking to make great strides themselves.

The Union lost for a second consecutive match and had their current winless streak extended to three games following a 4-1 defeat at Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, yet they have won their last three meetings against Toronto.

Both teams are prone to defensive lapses. Philadelphia has conceded the most goals in MLS this season while Toronto ranks joint third. It could be an open, high scoring affair.

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Sporting Kansas City v Chicago Fire: Can the Fire keep up their hot streak against Sporting KC back at home?

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - APRIL 04: David Accam #11 of the Chicago Fire moves around Warren Creavalle #3 of Toronto FC during an MLS match at Toyota Park on April 4
Image: David Accam: Has scored one goal in two starts for Chicago

Sporting KC played their part in perhaps the most exciting MLS game of the season so far.

A 4-4 draw away to Owen Coyle’s Houston Dynamo, thanks to a late last-minute goal from Benny Feilhaber, will act as a slight recovery from the 2-1 loss to LA Galaxy the weekend before when a Omar Gonzalez stoppage time winner proved the difference.

Chicago looks to have an exciting player in Ghanaian international David Accam.

The designated player scored his first goal in just his second start in MLS against New York City last weekend as he put in a man of the match performance playing from the wing.

The Fire has now won their last three matches whilst Sporting Kansas City has not won in their last three.

This is Sporting KC’s first home game since their last win - against Philadelphia on April 6. Maybe the crowd can help lift their spirits in this Midwestern clash.

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Portland Timbers v Vancouver Whitecaps: Could Portland catch up in the Cascadia Cup race?

Take a look at some the best goals from round eight in the MLS.

Portland has already faced Pacific Northwest rivals Vancouver and Seattle this season but has been unable to get a result against either.

A Clint Dempsey goal proved the difference between the two last weekend to make it four wins in a row for Seattle while Portland’s visit to BC place on March 28th saw them fall 2-1 to the Whitecaps.

This time Portland will be at home and face league leaders Vancouver just over a month since they last met. Robert Earnshaw scored the winner last time for the Whitecaps but neither side are in the best of form entering the fierce contest.

Portland lost their last game whilst Vancouver saw their undefeated run at home come to an end against DC United on Saturday night.

Although seven places separate the two, history in these ties cannot be forgotten as Vancouver have only won twice in 12 all-time MLS meetings, with both coming in the last four contests.

It is a battle of the club top scorers as Fanendo Adi comes up against Octavio Rivero. Portland will need to win this if they wish to stay in the race for best team in the Pacific Northwest.

D.C. United v Columbus Crew: Are Columbus genuine MLS Cup contenders?

Jairo Arrieta #19 of D.C. United celebrates with teammates after scoring a second half goal against the Montreal Impact during
Image: DC United: Unbeaten in their last five matches

Nobody would have believed before the season began that Columbus Crew would be in the debate for potential MLS Cup contenders in 2015.

With a partnership of Federico Higuaín - brother of Gonzalo - and former Norwich striker Kei Kamara who leads the league in goals with 5, Columbus have quietly moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

They have won their last two and are undefeated in their last four. They most recently thrashed Philadelphia Union 4-1 at home but now face DC United who can boast an undefeated record of five matches.

DC United beat Vancouver last weekend and has not lost at home this season. It is likely to be a tight game between two of the league’s most in-form clubs. 

New York City FC v Seattle Sounders: Can NYCFC stop the formidable Clint Dempsey?

Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders dribbles against the New England Revolution
Image: Clint Dempsey: Has a goal and/or assist in five games played this season

New York City FC are winless in their last six matches and now faces Seattle Sounders, who have won three of their last four games.

Clint Dempsey can be thanked for his contribution.

The USA international has scored a goal or assist in every game he has played in this season (5). He scored against Portland last weekend, making him the second highest top scorer in the league.

Containing him will be a priority as NYCFC will also be hoping David Villa can finally feature after sitting out the last two matches with a hamstring injury.

New York City has not scored in four games of their eight played this season.

Jason Kreis may look to adjust how his side lines up tactically in order to get goals out of Slovakian striker Adam Nemec and Patrick Mullins.

New York City have the most possession out of any team in the league, creating and converting chances must now be their priority.

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