By THOMAS FLOYD
While some rivalries are cultivated by geographic factors, others are grown out of head-to-head clashes when the games matter most. After facing each other in the past two MLS Cups, it’s safe to say no love has been lost between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.
To cap this weekend’s MLS schedule, the two sides Sunday night will face off in a rematch of those past two league title games. Leaving the comforts of BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo will travel once more to Home Depot Center, where the Galaxy in December were crowned as champions for the second straight fall.
Elsewhere around the league, the San Jose Earthquakes’ slow-starting attack will try to penetrate the Montreal Impact’s stingy back line; the Columbus Crew will host the New York Red Bulls in a key Eastern Conference clash; and Real Salt Lake will face the Vancouver Whitecaps in an influential contest in the West.
Here is a rundown of the Week 10 slate:
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (Saturday, 4 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)
A year after seemingly scoring at will, the Earthquakes are averaging less than a goal per game, and matters don’t get any easier against an Impact back line that has conceded just five goals this season.
To make matters worse, Chris Wondolowski will be without suspended partners in crime Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart, though Montreal missing Matteo Ferrari (calf) does help the Earthquakes.
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (Saturday, 4 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)
With that first win finally in the bank, the Sounders now make a trip to the East Coast to face poacher Jack McInerney, who already has notched six goals in this young season, and the Union.
The match also will mark Philadelphia centerback Jeff Parke’s first match against his old club following an offseason trade, as he’ll be tasked with trying to keep Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins in check.
COLUMBUS CREW vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (Saturday, 4 p.m., NBCSN)
The Red Bulls will look to make it three straight victories as they travel to Columbus and face a Crew squad that hasn’t beaten a team other than struggling D.C. United since a Week 1 triumph at Chivas USA.
A week after Danny O’Rourke and Tony Tchani got the job done in central midfield against United, they’ll try to control the game against the Red Bulls, who still are without Dax McCarty (quad).
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. TORONTO FC (Saturday, 9 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)
Toronto will look to rebound from the humiliation of a 6-0 midweek loss to Montreal in the Canadian Championship by going to Colorado and getting a result against the Rapids.
Colorado will be without versatile defender Marvell Wynne (quad), but the club could get rookie forward Deshorn Brown back in the fold as he returns from a thigh injury.
REAL SALT LAKE vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Saturday, 9 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick)
The Western Conference table remains muddled at this early stage of the season, with Salt Lake and Vancouver right in the middle of it as they try to break through.
Salt Lake will be without target forward Alvaro Saborio (quad), which puts even more of an emphasis on playmaker Javier Morales, who will be going up against Vancouver’s Nigel Reo-Coker in a good midfield battle.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. CHIVAS USA (Sunday, 5 p.m., UniMas)
After suffering a rare loss at Sporting Park last weekend when the Timbers came to town, Kansas City is hoping to get back to its customary winning ways against Chivas, who after a hot start are winless in three.
The match will present a unique clash of tactics, with Kansas City coach Peter Vermes’ high-pressure 4-3-3 going up against the fluid 3-5-2 of Chivas boss Jose Luis Sanchez Sola.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. HOUSTON DYNAMO (Sunday, 11 p.m., ESPN2)
While the Dynamo will be missing suspended winger Brad Davis for this MLS Cup rematch, the Galaxy will hope to have Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Todd Dunivant and Carlo Cudicini back in the lineup after injuries sidelined them last weekend.
For Los Angeles, Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas will have their hands full tracking Ricardo Clark, who has kept opposing teams’ hands full this season with his box-to-box play.