Rivalry Week begins in Matchday 12!
Check out Matt Doyle’s set-up column for an analytical/numbers-based framing. If vibes/form/narrative is more your cup of tea, this story is right up your alley.
As always, the below info is your quick-hit viewing guide:
- Apple TV - Free = games are free to watch; all you need is an Apple ID.
- Apple TV - MLS Season Pass = an MLS Season Pass subscription is required.
- Tune into the MLS 360 whip-around show for live look-ins and analysis of all the key moments from every match.
- MLS Countdown is your lead-in and MLS Wrap-Up comes at the end of the night.
Chicago Fire FC vs. St. Louis CITY SC
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Saturday, 1 pm ET
Chicago play their first league game (this year) under new head coach Frank Klopas, who’s replaced the outgoing Ezra Hendrickson for his third stint in charge of the club. There’s already some dividends, as Fire FC earned a new-coach-bump victory over St. Louis in midweek US Open Cup play before these Midwest clubs meet again four days later.
The story around St. Louis remains the same for the last 6-7 weeks: when they dominate the ball and have to break teams down, things get tricky. They’ve won just once (1W-3L-1D) since late March after their magical, record-breaking start as an expansion club. CITY SC will also remain without DP striker João Klauss (quad).
Atlanta United vs. Charlotte FC
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Atlanta United fans have grown uneasy with the club winning once in five games (1W-2L-2D), yet their hot start has kept them at fourth in the Eastern Conference. Among other topics, this stretch has revealed how dependent they are on special moments from attacking midfielder Thiago Almada (who’s cooled off some) and striker Giorgos Giakoumakis (who’s battled a hamstring injury).
For Charlotte, the biggest question is how they replace suspended striker Enzo Copetti (yellow card accumulation). The Argentine newcomer scored twice last weekend for his first MLS brace, acting as a focal point with fellow DP Karol Swiderski operating underneath him. Will head coach Christian Lattanzio keep the same structure or tinker with things?
Columbus Crew vs. Orlando City SC
Sum it all together and neither Eastern Conference club, admittedly, is in fantastic form. With stars like Cucho Hernández and Lucas Zelarayán on the Crew, then Facundo Torres and Martín Ojeda on the Lions, there’s the potential for something spectacular either way.
D.C. United vs. Nashville SC
For the casual and diehard alike, this one involves Hany Mukhtar (Nashville) vs. Christian Benteke (D.C.). Foes this weekend at Audi Field, might they be teammates later this summer when the MLS All-Stars take on Premier League powerhouse Arsenal at the same venue?
Inter Miami CF vs. New England Revolution
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Miami have responded from a six-game losing streak with two straight victories, powered by separate braces from strikers Leonardo Campana (2-1 win at Columbus) and Josef Martínez (2-1 win vs. Atlanta) on back-to-back weekends.
But here come the league-leading Revolution, who just keep finding ways to win even with only one DP (Carles Gil) consistently producing and U22 Initiative standout Dylan Borrero (ACL) out for the year. Pragmatism and buy-in could take New England far.
CF Montréal vs. Toronto FC
A lengthy injury last, just two wins thus far and comments like this from head coach/sporting director Bob Bradley:
Toronto are in danger of losing three of their last four league games, and doing so against their Canadian Classique rival would be an especially bitter pill to swallow. With five straight wins across all competitions, Montréal have to be considered the clear favorite Saturday at Stade Saputo – especially after a midweek Canadian Championship win over the Reds.
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
Two major storylines collide in the year’s first New York Derby:
- The last-place (15th in the East) Red Bulls mutually parted ways with head coach Gerhard Struber on Monday, and in the same stroke gave assistant Troy Lesense the reigns for the year. That’s already helped spark a win over D.C. United in US Open Cup play, amid some encouraging underlying numbers but mounting frustrations.
- NYCFC are a completely different team on the road, going 0W-4L-2D in league play away from either Citi Field or Yankee Stadium. What better chance for head coach Nick Cushing’s team to find solutions than against their arch-rival at Red Bull Arena?
Austin FC vs. FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC
Seattle are still first in the Western Conference, but I don’t think many Sounders fans would tell you that’s a comfortable spot right now. Between injuries and so-so form, the club’s slowed down after a rip-roaring start to 2023.
Houston, unbeaten at Shell Energy Stadium (4W-0L-1D) to start the Ben Olsen era, aren’t going to give anything away easy.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC
Neither side of “The Nicest Rivalry in Sports” is feeling overly upbeat right now – Minnesota are winless (0W-4L-1D) in their last five league games, while SKC are still last in the league.
But push come to shove, I think SKC have a slight advantage here with that potentially season-saving highlight from up above.
Colorado Rapids vs. Philadelphia Union
- WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 9:30 pm ET
The Rapids are unbeaten in nine games across all competitions (4W-0L-5D), proving damn hard to beat. Can that translate into their first league win of the year at Dick's Sporting Goods Park?
Philadelphia, meanwhile, are looking to make it three league wins in a row. Out of both the US Open Cup and Concacaf Champions League, there’s even more reason to go all-out in hopes of climbing the table.
Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Saturday, 9:30 pm ET
With a rested squad, can the Black & Gold respond at RSL this weekend? They'll be favored to.
Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Saturday, 10:30 pm ET
Vancouver, sometimes overlooked as the third spoke of the Cascadia Cup rivalry, are in strong form. They just booked their Canadian Championship semifinal spot midweek (as reigning champions) and are eight games unbeaten (3W-0L-5D) in the league.
For Portland, here’s a chance to show they’re more than an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs bubble team. They’re currently ninth in the West and, with injury troubles, could realistically hover around there all year.
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free, FS1 | Sunday, 9:30 pm ET
This California Clásico, in Sunday’s sole game, has the potential for fireworks.