Hopefully you've got snacks, beverages and a comfortable couch at the ready, because Sunday is setting up as a soccer-viewing marathon.
Not one, not two, but three big, nationally-televised MLS matches are on the day's schedule. First, Portland host Seattle in the first Cascadia Cup clash of the year (4 pm ET | ESPN — Full TV & Streaming Info). Then Atlanta visit Orlando for a Southern-fried showdown (6 pm ET | FS1 - Full TV & streaming info). And the triple bill concludes with LAFC vs. New York City FC (8:30 pm ET | FS1 - Full TV & streaming info) at glittering Banc of California Stadium.
So which of the three is the biggest deal? We asked Senior Editors Ben Couch and Nick Rosano, Senior Writer Matt Doyle, New Media Editor Ben Baer and contributors Charlie Boehm, Sam Stejskal, Alicia Rodriguez and Bobby Warshaw to share their takes.
Which of Sunday's games are you most looking forward to and why?
COUCH: NYCFC got their world rocked by the New York Red Bulls last week, and if they've got any legit shot at the 2018 MLS Cup, they turn the beating around on the next opponent. But if LAFC put them on the mat for a second straight week, well, that would simultaneously further certify LAFC's expansion romp and bring up SO MANY QUESTIONS to ask in the Bronx. I'm ready for all the options.
BAER: We’ve seen bigger Portland-Seattle matches and we don’t know what to expect from LAFC-NYCFC, so Orlando-Atlanta is the easy answer here. Orlando are out to prove they belong in the discussion for MLS Cup, and Atlanta will want to bounce back from a rough Wednesday night loss and show that they should still be looked at as one of the top two or three teams in the league.
BOEHM: The Cascadian antagonism of Timbers-Sounders is a blast no matter the situation, but I'll take Orlando-Atlanta here. It's a budding Southern rivalry with real antipathy between the two fanbases, a clash of contrasts both on the field and off, and two teams who look like real contenders to make noise in the East. Also, their games last year were wild ones.
DOYLE: Orlando City vs. Atlanta, because I've been trolling both fanbases all week.
RODRIGUEZ: I'm going with LAFC-NYCFC, because I think this is a well-matched game between two teams that look like they could either win trophies, or lose 5-0. Plus, I think this could be the first game in a new L.A.-NYC rivalry, if it really takes off.
ROSANO: I'll bite on Portland-Seattle. It's the 100-game anniversary of perhaps the most historic rivalry in American soccer (so you know the Timbers Army will have some killer tifo), and the streaking Timbers will be looking to turn the screws on a travel-weary Sounders side that – barring Wednesday's shock win in Toronto – has been well below par to start 2018.
STEJSKAL: I'm going with Orlando-Atlanta. Orlando play the wildest matches in MLS, Atlanta are maybe my favorite team to watch in the entire league, there's legit dislike between the two fanbases and with the Lions on their six-game win streak, The Wall will be jumping. Add all that up, and you might have a match that rockets this rivalry to the next level. I'm in.
WARSHAW: I’ll take Orlando-Atlanta. It’s Orlando’s biggest (first real?) test. And I’m still curious to see what Tata does with his full contingent available.