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MLS Preview: New York derby takes centre stage

The Empire State Building will turn blue or red as New York City prepare to host arch-rivals New York Red Bulls on Sunday.

Microsoft Windows will light up the iconic Manhattan landmark with the colour of the MLS club that receives the most votes online, as both teams bid to earn bragging rights in New York.

City welcome the Red Bulls to Yankee Stadium in the second instalment of the New York derby – the latter won 2-1 in May – on the back of three consecutive victories, following wins over Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union.

Former Spain international David Villa has been key to City’s winning streak, scoring three goals in as many matches, including a brace in Toronto last time out.

City are ninth in the 10-team Eastern Conference, but only three points behind the sixth-placed Red Bulls, who returned to form at the right time midweek.

The Red Bulls snapped a five-match winless run in MLS via Mike Grella’s fourth-minute winner against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

“At the end of the day, three points are so huge,” captain Dax McCarty said.

“When you lose four games in a row, you start to question yourself; you start to question your ability as a team.

“I think we never lost too much confidence, but obviously doubt starts to creep in and you never want to doubt yourself; you never want to doubt your team.”

There are three other derbies over the weekend, with FC Dallas entertaining fellow Texans Houston Dynamo on Friday, while San Jose Earthquakes tackle reigning champions Los Angeles Galaxy in the California Clasico on Saturday.

On Sunday, Portland Timbers host Western Conference leaders and Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders at Providence Park.

The Sounders head to Portland following back-to-back defeats as the Seattle club failed to move clear of Vancouver Whitecaps, who are level on 29 points leading into Saturday’s trip to New England Revolution.

New England – one win in nine matches – fell 10 points behind Eastern Conference pacesetters DC United after surrendering a lead in their 2-1 loss at Columbus Crew.

Elsewhere on Saturday, DC travel to Toronto, the Union go head-to-head with the Impact, Sporting Kansas City are at home to Colorado Rapids, while Real Salt Lake face Columbus Crew.

Thu 25 Jun, 2015
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