Starting XI: 18 MLS clubs get one final dress rehearsal on Saturday as preseason comes to a close

Welcome to Starting XI, our Friday rundown of what to watch for this weekend in MLS and beyond. And don't forget to get your Spanish-language fix with FutbolMLS.com.

Our recommended listening for this weekend as per senior editor Matthew Doyle is the Nicolas Jaar remix of Florence and the Machine's "What Kind of Man." You need this jam in your life.


1. FINAL DAYS: We're staring at the last weekend of preseason, which means we at MLSsoccer.com are spending the next 48 hours huddled in front of our TVs and computers trying to figure out who's ready to break through and who's ready to break down. I've written a bunch about what I'll be looking for HERE, and you can find the preseason schedule HERE, including live streams.

In the meantime, I am Jack's eroding patience. – MATTHEW DOYLE


2. GET YOUR FANTASY TEAM READY!: You only have one more week to get your Fantasy team set up but don't panic -- we've got you covered. Be sure to check out these two great pieces this week from our resident number cruncher and our very own Fantasy Doctor is making house calls. – BEN BAER


3. GO INSIDE THE MIND OF A MANAGER: Oh, to be an MLS head coach with just one week left to apply finishing touches before the start of the season. We take you behind the scenes with three of the managers who have the most at stake in 2015 with in-depth features on each: Columbus Crew SC's Gregg Berhalter, Philadelphia Union's Jim Curtin, and Toronto FC's Greg Vanney. - BEN BAER


4. SILICON VALLEY JEWEL: Best soccer stadium in America? Before a single ball has been kicked in anger? Yes, that's what they're saying about Avaya Stadium, the new home of the San Jose Earthquakes, who welcome their California rivals the LA Galaxy (and their own season-ticket holders) for a "soft opening" friendly on Saturday. Take a look at our photo gallery, then add this newcomer to your "rookies to watch" list. – CHARLES BOEHM


5. VIEW TO THE FUTURE: We already saw the U-20s advance to the World Cup last month, now it's the U-17s turn. Led by former MLSer Richie Williams, the USA kicks off their run in Honduras on Friday against Cuba while Canada kick off their group stage match against Haiti on Saturday. Canada will rely on nine Toronto FC players, while FC Dallas man Alex Zendejas is expected to play a major role for the USA. – BEN BAER


6. JERSEY WEEK KICKS OFF ON SATURDAY: If you love soccer, then you definitely love soccer jerseys and the next week will be full of plenty of brand new ones for the 2015 season with every club unveiling an updated look ahead of the 2015 season. New York City FC (see them HERE), D.C. United (see it HERE), Vancouver Whitecaps (see it HERE) and Toronto FC (see it HERE) got a head start already. The Montreal Impact will be the first of the other 16 teams to roll out the new stuff. – SIMON BORG


7. SAY YES TO DISTRESS: February 26, 2015 will be remembered as the day that tore a nation apart. Once united over llamas, the country divided over the colors of one dress. The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes have weighed in on the debate, but I’m still dazed and confused. Which side are you on? – SARAH LERNER


8. MIXED MESSAGES: The reasonable assumption was that D.C. United would have the easier time of it than Montreal in the Scotiabank Champions League quarterfinals. But this is the Champions League, where logic gets turned on its head. Now it's Montreal who look to have the best chance of flying the flag for MLS in the later rounds, heading home with a 2-2 result from Mexico in their pockets, while D.C. must figure out how they can regroup after a rather regrettable 5-2 loss in Costa Rica. Despite their vastly differing circumstances, it will be interesting to see how they react and prepare for two tricky second legs at home. – NICHOLAS ROSANO


9. SNAPCHAT TAKEOVERS PART II: Many of my co-workers are too young to remember a time before MLS. I, on the other hand, am too old to figure out how to use Snapchat. This has been a tough month for me. But be sure to vote for the King of Snapchat in our poll HERE. – MATTHEW DOYLE


10. TWEET OF THE WEEK: Tuesday's excellent 2-2 draw for the Montreal Impact at Pachuca was not without a few moments of levity. Nicely done, Oli.


11. #TEAMLLAMA: For 30 minutes on Thursday afternoon, we – like everyone else – became fans of the fast-growing sport of Llama Wrangling. Obviously North American llama wrangling has a ways to go in order to catch up with the more sophisticated llama wrangling of South America, but you can't argue with the passion on display.

Also, here's a llama playing soccer. – MATTHEW DOYLE


MLS All-Stars vs. Real Madrid is August 2. Limited tickets left!

Time is running out for your chance to see European champions Real Madrid face the best of MLS. Get your tickets to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

More about All-Star  |  Event schedule