Week 12 in Major League Soccer is over and the competition is starting to get interesting. Teams that were appearing to distance themselves like Dallas and Toronto both had setbacks last week and competition is looking more even and competitive every week.
Teams to watch in week 13 include the Chicago Fire, who haven’t lost a game in May, Philadelphia, who have won four games straight and are unbeaten in six, and San Jose, who have held on to a point against Orlando and beaten Western powerhouse FC Dallas.
Week 13 features six regular season rivalry match-ups to look forward to. Also, one extra Canadian Championship rivalry match-up joins the mix as Vancouver plays host to Montreal on Tuesday.
Regular season clashes begin on Thursday as the Brimstone Cup will be on the line between Chicago and Dallas. FC Dallas is coming off of a tough weekend loss to San Jose that snapped their unbeaten record, but they will have to be at their best going into a week where they face two of their biggest rivals.
Rivalries continue on Friday as Toronto FC plays host to the Columbus Crew for the Trillium Cup. Both teams will be hoping to return to winning ways as Toronto drew with the Red Bulls in week 12 and Columbus lost 2-1 against New England. Toronto looks like they will have their way with Columbus, provided Columbus does not make some major improvements to their defensive organization during the week.
The fun really takes off on Saturday when Seattle plays host to Portland in the third game of the Cascadia Cup rivalry series. Both teams are currently struggling to find good form as they head into mid-season, so the winner of this match could pick up some much-needed positive momentum moving forward, not to mention bragging rights.
Next on Saturday, the Red Bulls play host to New England in a classic northeast rivalry game. Much like the Seattle-Portland game, both teams are in great need of a win and would provide their team a huge service by snatching three points.
The final game on Saturday is the California Clásico, featuring San Jose and LA Galaxy. San Jose comes off of a weekend where they ended FC Dallas’ unbeaten record and snagged three humongous points away from home. They will look to use that momentum to roll over their struggling California rivals, who have looked shaky this season even after winning at Minnesota last week.
The final rivalry of the week features FC Dallas and Houston in the Texas Derby on Sunday. The fight for El Capitan will prove to be much more close this season, as both teams sit tied on points in the second and third place in the West. Not only does this game provide huge bragging rights for the team that wins, it also could prove to be the head-to-head battle that lands one team above the other in the standings at the end of the season. FC Dallas will be coming out of a mid-week rivalry clash with Chicago, but the importance of the derby should trump the soreness and fatigue caused by traveling. In my opinion, if you cannot watch any other game, this is the game to watch this week (not just because I love FC Dallas, but because of the importance it has on the table), and you can catch it on FS1 at 8:00 PM EST.