Your Friday Kick Off

Red Bulls aim to stay atop Shield pack, weekend preview …

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Kick Off: Key games from coast to coast | Could Morris return for playoffs?

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Red Bulls aim to stay atop Shield pack


The weekend’s headline match-up goes down on Sunday, when the New York Red Bulls go for an Atlantic Cup sweep against fellow hard-chargers D.C. United on their second visit to Audi Field (1 pm ET | ESPN – full TV & streaming info). Charles Boehm tries to answer a complicated question that has been asked since Jesse Marsch left the Red Bulls fold: Is Chris Armas the coach to lead the Big Apple bunch to a long-awaited first MLS Cup crown? READ MORE | PREVIEW

Key tests for Canadian trio

The rampant Seattle Sounders will clinch their first Cascadia Cup since 2015 if they can run their record win streak to nine games at Vancouver on Saturday (10 pm ET | TSN2 in Canada – full TV & streaming info). With the last playoff spot in the West very much on the line, buzz out of Seattle suggests that we could see a surprise return from recovering forward Jordan Morris come playoff time. READ MORE | PREVIEW

It’s do-or-die time for MLS Cup holders Toronto FC, who will open the gate for a similarly desperate LA Galaxy outfit on Saturday (7:30 pm ET | TSN1/4 in Canada – full TV & streaming info). Though both are chasing playoff invites, each turns up on our list of the five biggest matches left in the season. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Montreal will be trying to keep hold of the last playoff spot in the East when they make a Saturday trip to tackle a streaking Philadelphia side (7:30 pm ET | TVAS in Canada – full TV & streaming info). The Union are on a 5-0-1 surge, but are winless in Montreal’s last five visits. PREVIEW

FCD, LAFC hope for home cookin’

FC Dallas will try to maintain their place in the Western Conference penthouse in Saturday’s key clash with visiting Columbus (8 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Texans have only lost one home game all year, but in recent years have had some troubles with Crew SC in Frisco. PREVIEW

Also Saturday, LAFC will try to make a move in the West against visiting New England (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Revs made a pick-up ahead of Friday’s roster freeze, signing 25-year-old attacker Guillermo Hauche. READ MORE | PREVIEW

ATL, SKC aim to avoid traps


Atlanta United can tentatively take hold of the Supporters’ Shield by taking all three points away from Saturday’s tilt at Colorado (3:30 pm ET | Univision, Twitter – full TV & streaming info). The Five Stripes, who hold the best road record in MLS, edged a 1-0 win in the only other meeting between these clubs thanks to a late strike from (who else?) Josef Martinez. PREVIEW

Out West, conference crown contenders Sporting KC must make the tricky trek to face San Jose on Saturday (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The visitors come in with five shutout victories in their last six games, but have only managed to win twice in 20 tries at San Jose. PREVIEW

Can RSL make it four in a row?

Real Salt Lake will be out for their fourth consecutive victory when Eastern playoff line chasers New England come to town on Saturday (9:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Royals have made a late addition to the defense by signing former QPR man Nedum Onuoha. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Meanwhile, Portland will be looking for some playoff race breathing room from Saturday’s visit to Houston (8:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). Though the Dynamo are in an 0-7-3 free fall, they’ve never lost at home to Portland. PREVIEW

Orlando to host 2019 All-Star Game

Orlando City learned some fantastic news ahead of Sunday’s visit to Chicago (5 pm ET | FS1, TSN2 – full TV & streaming info). On Thursday, their town was named as the 2019 host for the MLS All-Star Game. READ MORE | PREVIEW Must-Watch:


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