The United States celebrates Independence Day on Wednesday, and MLS takes part in the coast-to-coast party with a full slate of midweek action. Here's a quick rundown of who's playing this Fourth of July and what's at stake.
Minnesota United FC vs. Toronto FC
Two cold teams riding three-game winless skids clash in the Twin Cities for the evening’s MLS curtain-raiser. Both the Loons and Reds are in real danger of being left behind in the postseason hunt, and will see this match as a legitimate chance at three points. Minnesota have cheekily emphasized the fact that TFC, whose fans cherish the term “Kings of the North,” actually sit further south on the map than the Loons, and should view this is an inviting moment to ambush the reigning champs.
FC Dallas vs. Atlanta United
Michael Parkhurst and Maxi Urruti | USA Today Sports Images
Two talented sides face off in sultry North Texas in a tasty-looking affair with implications for the Supporters’ Shield race, with FCD just five points back of current league leaders Atlanta with two games in hand. Both these attacks like to get out on the run and hopefully will pop off before the postgame fireworks display. Dallas may have more to prove given that it’s their first match since the transfer of elusive playmaker Mauro Diaz to Dubai-based side Shabab Al-Ahli.
Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders
Rapids matches on the Fourth of July are a long tradition along the Front Range and the home team finally has a few reasons to smile as the luckless Sounders hit town. Colorado are on a 2-0-1 run since they finally banished that woeful eight-game losing streak, though they’ve done so with some pretty extreme bus-parking in tactical terms. Meanwhile Seattle’s hopes of a third straight MLS Cup trip are on life support and some positive results are needed immediately.
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi in MLS Cup 2013 | USA Today Sports Images
This was once one of the more hateful matchups in the league, as the two sides tangled in epic fashion in the 2013 MLS Cup and long viewed one another with legitimate spite. More recently, SKC knocked RSL out of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup with a 2-0 win at the RioT last month, so revenge may be on the minds of the hosts.
LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United
The league’s original flagships match wits at StubHub Center, a meeting of two founding clubs who have plenty of hardware in their trophy cases. D.C. are less than two weeks away from the long-awaited opening of their new home, Audi Field, and are in dire need of points if they’re to make a late run at the postseason – though it’s notable that they’re undefeated in California this season, having beaten San Jose and drawn with LAFC. Meanwhile the Galaxy are 3-1-2 in their last six, despite looking fairly flawed along the way.