Columnist: Jonathan Sigal

Matchday 12: What to know, how to watch on MLS Season Pass


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

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

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

Coming off a Matchday 11 bye and two straight defeats, Columbus face some pressure to steady the ship. But so do Orlando, who have seesawed between Ws and Ls for the last two months.

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

Job well done at GEODIS Park, Nashville. Now it's about keeping the good times rolling at D.C. United's home.

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

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

With Sebastián Driussi (groin) out injured, and considering the criticism Emiliano Rigoni has faced since his arrival last summer, this is an especially important development:

One note: This game technically doesn’t count in the Copa Tejas standings. The Texas rivalry/bragging rights between Austin and Dallas won't subside, though.

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

Sporting Kansas City, fresh off their first league win of the 2023 season, have their DPs producing again:

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

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

LAFC rested their first team midweek, trotting out an MLS NEXT Pro-heavy squad for US Open Cup play. That decision – amid fixture congestion, knowing the CCL final is less than three weeks away and coming off their first league loss of the year – paid off.

With a rested squad, can the Black & Gold respond at RSL this weekend? They'll be favored to.

Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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

The LA Galaxy are struggling big-time, with Chicharito sounding deflated in postgame press conferences. San Jose Earthquakes seem reborn behind Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidate Cristian Espinoza.

This California Clásico, in Sunday’s sole game, has the potential for fireworks.