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The Pitch: MLS Rivalry Week Presented by Continental Tire Continues

May 15, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

MLS Rivalry Week presented by Continental Tire continues this week with another slate of marquee rivalry matchups across the country. Midweek action sees the Lionel Messi-led Inter Miami CF travel to Orlando City SC looking to claim two wins over their in-state rivals for the first time since 2020. Rivalry Week will conclude this weekend with three intense battles, kicking off with New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC vs. CF Montréal at 7:30 p.m. ET followed by the Colorado Rapids taking on Real Salt Lake at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Inter Miami CF made a statement in their 5-0 win over in-state rival Orlando City SC earlier this season, and the club will look to do the same as they travel to Orlando's INTER&Co Stadium on Wednesday with the hopes of extending their five-game winning streak.

This match will be seasoned in South American flair on both sides. The dynamic duo of Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez continues to find the back of the net for Miami, with Suárez tied atop the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi standings with 11 goals in his first MLS season. Recently acquired Paraguayan midfielder Matías Rojas' blistering start to his MLS career, scoring three goals in three games, and Argentinian-American Benjamin Cremaschi's return to Miami's midfield have been instrumental to the club's current unbeaten run.

Orlando, though, have never lost to Miami at home and the pressure will be on the club's contingent of South Americans to keep that run alive. Colombian forward Luis Muriel got off the mark last time out with two goals against the Philadelphia Union and Nico Lodeiro recorded a hat trick of assists as he set up each of Orlando's three goals last weekend. Among the club's domestic talent, U.S. Olympic hopeful Duncan McGuire leads Orlando with five goals on the season with sights set on adding more against the stars of Miami as he looks to outshine Messi.

Game Info: Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

The stars of tomorrow will collide in the 2024 edition of the Hudson River Derby, which features the two youngest rosters in MLS in New York City FC (23.4 years old) and the New York Red Bulls (24 years old)

New York City's roster has blended international youth signings in Argentinian duo Julián Fernández (20) and Agustín Ojeda (19) with international caliber Homegrown players in U.S. Men's National Team midfielder James Sands (23) and Jamaica defender Tayvon Gray (21). Both Ojeda and Fernández have grown into prominent roles, contributing three goals and two assists in the last five games, while No. 6 overall selection of the MLS SuperDraft 2024 presented by adidas Malachi Jones (20) introduced himself up front with his first goal for the club on Matchday 13.

For the Red Bulls, midfielder Daniel Edelman (21) and defender John Tolkin (21) have earned international recognition for their success in MLS with call-ups for the United States Men's Olympic roster team. Frankie Amaya (23), a former No. 1 overall draft pick, has played over 1,900 minutes in each of his previous two seasons and continues to be a driving force in midfield. Swedish U-23 defender Noah Eile (21) was an offseason signing who has already earned a starting role, adding a top defensive prospect to one of the top defenses in MLS.

As both sides gear up for the 10th season of this rivalry matchup, the stars of tomorrow will be in the thick of the action as they battle for bragging rights in New York.

Game Info: Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

The first Canadian Classique of the MLS season between Toronto FC and CF Montréal features two rosters with contrasting ethos, as Toronto come into this game with players in their prime leading their charge to start the 2024 season while Montréal continues to impress under first-year MLS head coach Laurent Courtois with a core of young players.

Courtois, the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Year, stepped into his role at Montréal after two years with Columbus Crew 2, where he won the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup in 2022 and leading his squad to another Cup appearance in 2023. With his experience developing young talent, Courtois is leading the helm of the fourth-youngest roster in the league, which has consistently featured players under the age of 23 across the starting lineup. Through 11 games played, Montréal tied for second across the league in goal scorers under the age of 23 with five, with Jules-Anthony Vilsaint leading the way with two goals.

Toronto are in fourth-place in the Eastern Conference standings early into the 2024 season, with the formidable Italian duo of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi leading the charge. They have produced a combined five goals and four assists through 12 games played. No. 1 overall MLS SuperDraft 2024 presented by adidas Tyrese Spicer, who has broken into Toronto's first team with a run of strong performances in his rookie season, will look to continue making an impact in his Canadian Classique debut.

Will the first Canadian Classique of 2024 be decided by Herdman's contingent of seasoned star power in Toronto, or can Courtois coach a statement rivalry victory out of a youthful Montréal team looking to shake up the Eastern Conference standings?

Game Info: Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

Earlier this season, the Colorado Rapids claimed a Rocky Mountain Cup victory over regional rival Real Salt Lake, which was the club's first win at America First Field since 2020. Now, RSL will look to avenge the early-season loss with star forward Cristian 'Chicho' Arango tied for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi race with 11 goals so far this season.

First-year Rapids head coach and former U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Chris Armas has pieced together a top-tier, American-made midfield in Colorado. The offseason acquisition of USMNT midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is proving fruitful with two goals and five assists in his last six games. Armas has also brought the best out of two Rapids Academy products in U.S. Olympic hopeful Cole Bassett (four goals, one assist) and 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI midfielder Oliver Larraz, with both starting all 12 of the Rapids' games so far this season.

Over the mountains, though, is a Western Conference-leading RSL side led by top international and domestic talent in attack. While Arango has earned headlines for his goal-scoring exploits, 21-year-old Colombian compatriot Andrés Gómez has come into his own in his second MLS season with four goals and four assists through 12 games. Diego Luna, another U.S. Olympic hopeful in this rivalry matchup, has also continued to add to his game in his sophomore MLS season, contributing a goal and five assists in under 700 minutes of action.

Game Info: Saturday, May 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

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Major League Soccer Stories from May 15, 2024

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