Sports stats

 Major League Soccer

The Pitch: MLS Rivlary Week Presented by Continental Tire Is Here

May 7, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

Over the course of seven days, MLS Rivalry Week presented by Continental Tire will take center stage, showcasing many of the best rivalry matchups across the league on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app. The Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati kick things off this Saturday as the reigning MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield winners, respectively, go head-to-head in a battle of champions. On Sunday, the Portland Timbers look to assert their dominance over Seattle Sounders FC in the recent renditions of the Cascadia Cup as they strive to become the first of the two teams to claim a 15th regular-season victory over the other.

MLS Rivalry Week presented by Continental Tire will also feature matches between sides who introduced new club-record signings during the MLS Primary Transfer Window, as Liel Abada (Charlotte FC) faces off against both Hugo Cuypers (Chicago Fire FC) on May 15 and Gabriel Pec (LA Galaxy) on May 18, while Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids) goes toe-to-toe with Hernán López (San Jose Earthquakes). Petar Musa, who was FC Dallas' club-record signing this offseason, will lead the front line during the club's run of Copa Tejas matches against Austin FC on May 11 and Houston Dynamo FC on May 18.

Last season, Ohio became the state of champions as the Columbus Crew won their third MLS Cup title and FC Cincinnati lifted the first title of their MLS era, claiming the Supporters' Shield with the league's best record. This weekend, they will face off in the first Hell is Real Derby of 2024 to kick off MLS Rivalry Week presented by Continental Tire on Saturday.

The Crew mounted a come-from-behind victory in the Eastern Conference Final at TQL Stadium to clinch an MLS Cup berth in their last meeting, setting the stage for a fiery affair on Saturday at Field. Cincinnati has never won at the Crew's home stadium but with the memory of last year's loss will only be extra motivation for reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP Luciano Acosta as they look to grab the reigns from the Crew and reigning MLS Cup MVP Cucho Hernández.

This year's Hell is Real Derby will also be bolstered by the additions of U.S. Men's National Team defenders Miles Robinson and DeAndre Yedlin in their first season with Cincinnati, while U.S. Olympic hopefuls Aidan Morris and Patrick Schulte look to continue building their résumés to make the Olympic roster with a hallmark rivalry victory this weekend.

Game Info: Saturday, May 11 at 7:45 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV / FS1

The Portland Timbers host Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, with the Timbers riding the longest unbeaten stretch of this Cascadia Cup rivalry's MLS history at six games (4-0-2). Sunday's game presents the opportunity for the Timbers to be the first of these two sides to earn 15 regular season wins over the other.

Evander has been the star of the show for the Timbers in 2024 with four goals and four assists in seven appearances, and he's already demonstrated his ability to show up for this rivalry game having scored the game-tying goal when these sides last met in 2023. Long-time Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has also built a recent reputation of being a thorn in the Sounders' side, scoring in three of the last four meetings between these sides.

In Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer's words, though, the Sounders "need to get back to understanding that this is a rivalry," after enduring this recent winless drought against the Timbers. Raúl Ruidíaz has six goals through 11 games this season, and he's on the hunt for his 10th regular-season goal against the Timbers heading into this weekend.

Game Info: Sunday, May 12 at 4:45 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV / FOX

Vancouver Whitecaps FC set an MLS era attendance record of 32,465 while celebrating their 50th anniversary this past weekend.

San Francisco 49ers' Fred Warner gets the crowd pumped ahead of the San Jose Earthquakes' match against LAFC at Levi's Stadium (Photo Credit: Stan Szeto, USA Today / Imagn).

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler attends Inter Miami CF's match against the New York Red Bulls on Matchday 12.

Nashville SC and U.S. Men's National Team defender Walker Zimmerman leads the Nashville Predators' pregame catfish toss (Photo Credit: Steve Roberts, USA Today / Imagn).

It has been tough to come by in-state bragging rights for FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo FC since Austin FC's inaugural MLS season in 2021, as Los Verdes have won two of the last three Copa Tejas titles, and this year's race continues Saturday between Austin and Dallas.

Austin claimed two wins over their Texas rivals in April, with a goal after the 70th minute being the deciding factor in both of those matches. Leading that charge has been a resurgent Sebastián Driussi in midfield and an ironclad goalkeeper in Brad Stuver, who leads the league in saves with 58 through 11 games. Driussi was instrumental in Austin's win over Dallas last month with a critical assist.

Dallas will not be an easy team to get two wins over, though, especially with Petar Musa finding his feet in recent weeks, scoring two goals in his last three games. Having arrived as the club-record signing this past offseason, this weekend's rivalry matchup against Austin is an opportunity for the Croatian striker to make his mark in Texas. With the recent return of U.S. Men's National team forward Jesús Ferreira from injury, the stars may be aligning for Dallas to get their revenge.

Game Info: Saturday, May 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

The inherent rivalry between Chicago and St. Louis - two midwestern cities that sit just 300 miles apart - hits a boiling point in sports with heated head-to-head battles between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in MLB and the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues in the NHL. Now, the territorial bitterness is growing in MLS between St. Louis CITY SC and Chicago Fire FC.

It will be the first battle between these sides at CITYPARK, with the Fire winning last year's first-ever meeting between in Chicago. The Fire's homegrowns are aware of the bragging rights on the line in this game more than anyone, especially with U.S. Olympic eligibles Brian Gutiérrez and Chris Brady playing key roles for the team this season. Gutiérrez leads the Fire in goals with three, and Brady will need to be on his 'A' game in goal to shut down a potent St. Louis offense.

João Klauss and Celio Pompeu will not be easy to stop from scoring, though, as both have bagged three goals this season for St. Louis. Reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Roman Bürki has also continued to keep shots out of his net with four clean sheets, which have helped St. Louis win points early in the season. Now, it's time to show the fans in their city that they own this Chicago-St. Louis rivalry in MLS.

Game Info: Saturday, May 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...

Major League Soccer Stories from May 7, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central