El Trafico and Cascadia Cup rivalries highlight MLS weekend schedule

A pair of Western Conference rivalry games highlight the MLS schedule for the fourth match week of the 2021 season.

Both El Trafico and the Cascadia Cup will be played on Sunday and have an impact on the top of the Western Conference table.

El Trafico has been must-watch TV since the moment LAFC joined the league. With superstars on both sides of the Los Angeles rivalry and big names on the coaching ranks, the rivalry has yet to disappoint.

Even if former MVP Carlos Vela's isn't fully fit and available this weekend, LAFC has star power. The 2020 Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi is back and hoping to dust off the boots from a shaky return.

The Black and Gold have one win and two draws in three games this season. Corey Baird has two of their four goals on the season, while Eduard Atuesta and Jose Cifuentes have also scored.

The Galaxy so far in 2021 has been all about Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. The Mexican superstar has scored five of the team's six goals, with USMNT forward Sacha Kljestan scoring the other. The Galaxy won their first two games by the same scoreline, 3-2, before losing 3-0 at Seattle last weekend.

Between Jonathan do Santos, Samuel Grandsir, or Victor Vazquez, someone needs to step up and help Chicharito. English goalkeeper Jonathan Bond has started all three games allowing seven goals with 17 saves.

The El Trafico rivalry has been all about the stars. Zlatan, Vela, Rossi, Sebastian Lletget, and Cristian Pavon are the leading scorers. Will this be Chicharito's time to shine after being shut out by LAFC last year?

According to Paddy Power, LAFC are even-money odds, and the Galaxy are 11/5. A draw is 27/10 for Sunday night's big showdown on FOX.

Pacific Northwest Showdown

Dating back to 1975, the Seattle Sounders/Portland Timbers rivalry is one of the longest and most intense in the United States. The teams have battled through multiple leagues, both indoor and outdoor, in more than 40 years of competition.

When they meet Sunday in Portland, the Timbers will be looking to keep the Sounders from first place. Last year the Timbers won two of the three match-ups, and they are 5-3 against the Sounders over the last three seasons.

Seattle has scored eight goals in three games with a pair of home clean sheets. The only time they allowed a goal was in a 1-1 draw at LAFC.

Nicolas Lodeiro returned for 25 minutes against the LA Galaxy last weekend. Raul Ruidiaz has scored four goals so far this season, and Brad Smith had a brace against the Galaxy. Alex Roldan and Cristian Roldan both have assists.

Portland has scored three goals in three games and were stunned 4-1 by FC Dallas last weekend. Their only win this season came at home with a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo.

Diego Valeri has one assist in three games, but both he and Diego Chara have been shut out so far this season in MLS games. The Timbers have started three different goalkeepers in that time, with Hunter Sulte allowing four goals last weekend.

Paddy Power has the Timbers at 17/10 with the Sounders at 11/8 and a draw for the Cascadia Cup opener at 5/2.

(All odds correct at time of publication, subject to change).

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