After Rivalry Week's Wednesday action featured only one derby match (a 0-0 draw between Philadelphia and D.C. United), Matchday 14 rachets the intensity back up with nine battles for regional supremacy.
Headlining the rivalry clashes are 2023's first Hell is Real derby between FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew, a Texas Derby showdown between FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo FC and an inaugural Midwestern clash between expansion side St. Louis CITY SC and their storied neighbors to the West, Sporting Kansas City.
NYCFC are the lone team on a bye.
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.
Charlotte FC vs. Nashville SC
Don't look now, but this Southern showdown features two of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference. After an up-and-down start to the season, Nashville are now undefeated in five (3W-0L-2D), while Charlotte have won four of their last five. Can the Crown slow down Hany Mukhtar at home to keep the good times rolling?
FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew
Hell is Real. Or so says the interstate billboard between Cincinnati and Columbus that gives this derby its name. On the field, FCC are in heaven as the league's current Supporters' Shield leaders. The Crew will need to solve their rival's stout home defense (three goals allowed in seven matches) if they hope to spoil the party.
D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy
D.C. United have ground their way to two straight draws against tough Eastern Conference opponents (Nashville SC and the Philadelphia Union) to keep themselves above the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line, but they'll be looking for the full three points at home against a rudderless LA Galaxy. LA, in turn, will hope that rotating their squad in Wednesday's demoralizing 2-0 loss to the Crew was worth it.
Inter Miami CF vs. Orlando City SC
2023's first Florida derby features two Jekyll and Hyde teams. The difference between them is Inter Miami (11th in the Eastern Conference) tend to win or lose in long streaks, whereas Orlando City (10th in the Eastern Conference) got their perfect .500 record (4W-4L-4D) from oscillating between good and bad performances nearly every week. What happens when an intermittently unstoppable force meets a sometimes immovable object?
New York Red Bulls vs. CF Montréal
Are the New York Red Bulls starting to piece a coherent offense together under new head coach Troy Lesense? A 0-0 road draw against Toronto FC felt inconclusive. Montréal are coming off a confusing result of their own, following up four straight wins with a 3-0 road loss to FC Cincinnati. Both teams will feel all three points are for the taking in a "prove it"-type match.
Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
The Philadelphia Union seem to have weathered their (possibly) Concacaf Champions League-induced swoon and are now undefeated in five. They've also tested out some new formations over the last week they'll hope can unlock the New England Revolution, who've shown cracks of late under the stress of multiple injuries to key players (Gustavo Bou and Dylan Borrero, among others).
Austin FC vs. Toronto FC
Austin FC won their first match in over two months with Wednesday's road upset over the Sounders. Arguably more encouraging for the Verde & Black, though, is the consistent production they're now getting from Designated Player Emiliano Rigoni (three goal contributions in his last four matches). A home match against a brutally-injured Toronto FC side gives ATX a major chance to gain momentum.
Chicago Fire FC vs. Atlanta United
A massive 4-0 get-right win for Atlanta United on Wednesday has been quickly overshadowed by the news of Luiz Araújo's transfer to Brazilian powerhouse Flamengo. The winger will remain with the club until June 24, but it's unclear how much he'll feature in the interim. Chicago Fire FC, meanwhile, just want to fix their blown-lead problem, having once again dropped points late in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Charlotte.
FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo FC
Jesús Ferreira has been a man on a mission as of late for FC Dallas, bagging three goals in his last two matches while continuing to stake a claim in the US men’s national team's striker conversation. He already knocked off Austin FC in one Texas rivalry match last Saturday and he’ll look to do the same to a Dynamo side that hasn't scored in three matches.
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Saturday, 9:30 pm ET
Both the Rapids and RSL enter the Rocky Mountain Cup in need of points, with Colorado having lost two straight (most recently enduring a 4-0 drubbing in Atlanta) and Salt Lake going winless and (goalless) in four. Morale-wise, the high-altitude derby presents a double-edged sword.
St. Louis CITY SC vs. Sporting Kansas City
- WATCH: Apple TV - Free, FS1 | Saturday, 9:30 pm ET
St. Louis CITY and Sporting KC have yet to play, but the animosity between the two Heartland clubs has been building for a while now. CITY SC upped the ante recently with a series of billboards reminding their soccer-proud neighbors of the Lou's own rich footy history. A resurgent SKC, who've indulged in some pre-game banter of their own, will have plenty of motivation to try and put the new kids on the block in their place.
LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose dealt LAFC their first loss of the season only two weeks ago but immediately followed that up with a road loss to the Black & Gold's down-and-out SoCal neighbors, LA Galaxy. Quakes coach Luchi González will hope a second trip to Los Angeles goes better, while the Black & Gold may still have one eye on upcoming schedule congestion and a looming CCL final.
Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United FC
Minnesota got back on track with a 1-0 win on Wednesday after failing to earn a W in their previous six. But with recently-reinstated star Emanuel Reynoso still not traveling with team, they'll have to dig deep to slow down the surging Timbers (and a red-hot Evander) on the road.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC
With excellent underlying numbers, the Whitecaps seemed to have been on the verge of a signature win all season that just... hasn't happened. A Cascadia Cup victory over Western Conference-leading Seattle, who've been inconsistent as of late, might do the trick.