Starting XI: Mercy for Eddie Johnson, USMNT snubs at it again and Trillium Cup gets physical

Welcome to Starting XI, our Friday rundown of what to watch for – and what we're watching.

Our recommended musical pairing this week, as per senior editor Nick Firchau, is Lynyrd Skynyrd's"Second Helping" – because 'Murica.

  • Click HERE for the Week 13 TV schedule
  • Click HERE for the current MLS standings

I. SECOND OPINION: The US national team’s first game of the World Cup send-off series was a sleeper, no doubt about that. Some of that was nerves, some was about the weather, and some was about Azerbaijan parking the bus. But don’t expect the same when the Americans take on a talented Turkish team on Sunday at RBA (2 pm ET; ESPN2). There’s less room for excuses from the US squad now – the lucky 23 have been in Jurgen Klinsmann’s incubator for more than a week – and anyone hopeful for the US side’s chances in Brazil should expect to see something more closely resembling soccer with just a two weeks left to go before wheels up. – NICK FIRCHAU


VIII. TWO DIMES FOR A QUARTER: Haha, OK smart guy, we got your joke. Mike Magee for Robbie Rogers was a terrible trade. How original you are, Mr. Comedian! And that’s your biggest story line for Sunday’s Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy showdown at Toyota Park (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Get over it, because one guy is hurt and the other guy has spent most of this season in USL PRO. How about the fact Landon Donovan is about to feast on another subpar defense and continue to send a message to Jurgen Klinsmann? Or how about that LA haven’t won a league game away from StubHub Center since last August? Get your narratives right, pal! – JONAH FREEDMAN


IX. MISSING MEN: No Michael Bradley for Toronto FC. No Federico Higuain for Columbus. In a lot of ways, Saturday's game between the two rivals (5 pm ET; MLS LIVE in the US, TSN in Canada) has lost a lot of its luster thanks to a World Cup call-up and suspension, respectively. Expect it to devolve into some ugliness through midfield – something that usually happens in this game. It's the league's most underrated rivalry, and there will be some hard, hard fouls. – MATT DOYLE


X. STAY ON TARGET: Well, well, well. Spanish outlets reported this week David Villa will join New York City FC for the next three seasons. But, if indeed that is confirmed, he might have to spend a few months on loan somewhere else or even play the 2014-15 season with Atlético if necessary, and won’t make the jump until mid next year. Should we get excited yet? Or maybe there's another big-name Euro we can focus on... – DIEGO PINZON


XI. PRODIGAL SON: Who wants to start placing their bets on what this means? I mean ... we're all thinking "first-ever NYCFC vs. RBNY bidding war," right? – MATT DOYLE

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