2016 MLS Cup: Only 8 teams left as competition boils down to the quarters

Eight teams remain as the 2016 MLS season nears its conclusion. The best teams in the league will battle it out in home and away fixtures for their chance at the conference-finals and the 2016 MLS Cup Championship. This Sunday will be filled with first-leg quarterfinal matchups starting at 3:00 PM EST and ending after the FC Dallas vs. Seattle game at 9:30 PM EST. Fixtures and previews are listed below:

Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls @ 3:00 PM EST:

Montreal is coming off of a 4-2 win against DC United at RFK Stadium where they won without one of their leading goal-scorers Didier Drogba. They will play as underdogs against Eastern Conference Champions New York Red Bulls and will look to Ignacio Piatti to create chances off counter attacks. Drogba is still questionable for Sunday’s game, although playing without him didn’t seem to make that much of a difference in DC. The New York Red Bulls are heavy favorites in this fixture as they will lean on their star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips and play-maker Sacha Kljestan to lead them toward their first MLS Cup in club history.

LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids @ 5:00 PM EST:

LA Galaxy play host to the Rapids in the first leg of their quarterfinal matchup. They will continue to follow their experienced leaders Giovanni Dos Santos and Robbie Keane in hopes of bringing the championship back to L.A. Colorado comes off of a draw at home against Houston where they saw their Supporters Shield chances slip away. Jermaine Jones has promised to be a difference maker for the team and will be an important player to watch as well as Shkelzen Gashi up top and Tim Howard in goal.

Toronto FC vs. New York City FC @ 7:00 PM EST:

Toronto FC and New York City FC have met five times since May 18th and only twice has there been an outright winner (both times NYCFC). This matchup usually proves to be a high-scoring affair as it features two of the best attacks in the league. NYCFC will look toward David Villa and Frank Lampard to lead their team while Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco will continue to provide an important spark in the Toronto FC attack. Don’t be surprised if this matchup produces lots of goals.

Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas @ 9:30 PM EST:

The Seattle Sounders will try and take advantage of hosting the first leg of this two part series. The two teams met last year in the playoffs and Seattle was eliminated on penalty kicks. The Sounders will look toward obvious leaders like Jordan Morris and Brad Evans, but will also require big performances from players like Nicolas Lodeiro and Osvaldo Alonso, who have been a bit inconsistent. The Sounders will miss Clint Dempsey as he continues to sit out due to an irregular heartbeat. FC Dallas will look to start the journey toward their first ever MLS Cup and be the first team in history to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Supporters Shield, and MLS Cup all in one year. Although they will be without Mauro Diaz, Coach Oscar Pareja has focused on winning as a team throughout the year and they will look to Maximiliano Urruti and Michael Barrios to pick up the slack. Tesho Akindele will also end up playing a big role in the attack, while a solid back four including Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman will continue to provide a strong backbone defensively.

All games on Sunday are first-leg games and the away goals rule is in effect.

LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids can be found on ESPN, while all other games can be found on FS1.

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