Matchday

Matchday 17: What to know, how to watch on MLS Season Pass

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Do you hear that? It's the sound of 13 free, yes free, MLS games rolling our way for Matchday 17. This Saturday only, every league match will be free to watch on MLS Season Pass.

With only nine points separating second place from 11th in the Eastern Conference, and eight points separating first from ninth in the West, midseason playoff positioning is very much up for grabs as the dog days of summer approach. Teams who can muster up positive results during these congested parts of the season often find themselves in favorable positions when the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs roll around.

LAFC – playing in Leg 2 of the Concacaf Champions League Final (!!) on Sunday – will not have a league match this weekend. LA Galaxy and Atlanta United are on byes as well.

Most of you know the drill by now (and for this Saturday, you can ignore bullet point No. 2). But in case you don't:

  • Apple TV - Free = games are free to watch; you only need 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 every match's key moments.
  • MLS Countdown is your lead-in, and MLS Wrap-Up comes at night's end.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution

NYCFC's season hit a new low on Wednesday with their second straight 3-1 home loss, bringing their record to 0W-5L-1D in their last in six matches. The injury to center back Thiago Martins (still likely out for Saturday) may have been the straw that broke the camel's back for the 14th-place team in the Eastern Conference.

A New England team that's slowly getting healthier (Gustavo Bou made the bench for Matchday 16) and coming off a galvanizing road draw in Atlanta will look to take advantage.

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers

Consider it a belated Rivalry Week after-party: Round 2 of this Cascadia Cup derby headlines Matchday 17, at least in terms of emotional stakes. When the two clubs faced off in April, a Dairon Asprilla bicycle kick fueled a 4-1 Timbers comeback victory that jumpstarted a positive run of form for Gio Savarese's side.

The Timbers, winless in three, could use that type of jolt again, while Sounders' coach Brian Schmetzer would really like to stop losing to the Timbers.

FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire FC

FC Cincinnati are on a historic run, earning the most points in league history (excluding the shootout era) through the first 15 matches of a season.

Even nicking a point off Cincy at TQL Stadium would be a good result for Chicago, who are nearly midway through a brutal portion of their schedule that features six road trips in seven matches.

Columbus Crew vs. Charlotte FC

Matchday 16 featured a little bit of everything for the Crew – two soft goals conceded and three impressive goals scored. If they can get the balance of risk vs. reward right against Charlotte – who'll be without key attackers Enzo Copetti and Kamil Józwiak – then a rebound back to the top five of the Eastern Conference is within reach.

Inter Miami CF vs. D.C. United

Inter Miami will have interim head coach Javier Morales on the sidelines for the first time after parting ways with manager Phil Neville and assistant Jason Kreis Thursday evening. In the midst of a four-game skid, the last-place Herons need to turn things around ASAP. Their first test of the post-Neville era comes at home against a D.C. side that's also struggling of late: a 2-1 loss at Toronto FC in Matchday 15 and a blown two-goal lead in a 2-2 Matchday 16 draw against visiting CF Montréal.

New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City SC

RBNY are starting to score just enough – and I mean just enough – to capitalize on having one of the best goals-allowed rates in the league (second overall per match). They've only needed to score four in their last five matches to earn a 3W-1L-1D record over that stretch.

Orlando, currently in the No. 9 spot in the middle of a logjammed Eastern Conference, will look to pick up their fourth away win of the season to spark an ascent up the table.

Philadelphia Union vs. CF Montréal

One of the healthiest teams in MLS, the Union look officially recovered from any schedule congestion-related swoon from their Concacaf Champions League venture and are now rolling (6W-0L-1D in their last seven matches).

Don't sleep on Montréal though. Hernan Losada's side have proved a tough out since mid-April, going 5W-2L-1D in their last eight. Despite not having a single player with more than three goals on the year, the Quebecois side keep finding ways to scrape points together.

Austin FC vs. Real Salt Lake

Sebastián Driussi made his long-awaited return on Wednesday and immediately helped Austin earn a 2-1 win with a goal off the bench. The Verde & Black have been flirting with good form over the last four matches (3W-1L-0D), and a home matchup against a struggling RSL offers a perfect opportunity to confirm the recent turnaround.

FC Dallas vs. Nashville SC

FC Dallas probably need more goals from players outside of Jesús Ferreira if they want to be a serious threat in the Western Conference. They've only scored a middling six times in the last five matches, and Ferreira has four of them.

Nashville SC have had their own star-player-needs-more-help problems over the last few years with Hany Mukhtar. But lately, the likes of Fafà Picault, Jacob Shaffelburg and Teal Bunbury have been stepping up. And lo and behold, the Coyotes are second in the Supporters' Shield race, riding a 5W-0L-2D undefeated streak.

Minnesota United FC vs. Toronto FC

The good news for Toronto FC? Lorenzo Insigne is healthy and Federico Bernardeschi made a quick return to the starting lineup after sitting out a match due to a "coach's decision" in Matchday 15. The bad news? The Reds haven't scored in the last four league matches that both Italian stars started.

Speaking of the return of star players, could Emanuel Reynoso make his long-awaited return to the matchday squad for Minnesota?

St. Louis CITY SC vs. Houston Dynamo FC

A 6-2 Matchday 16 beatdown against the Whitecaps at BC Place did little to dissuade the notion that Houston have been something of a trainwreck away from home this season (they're now 0W-5L-2D away from Shell Energy Stadium). Now a long trip to St. Louis' daunting CITYPARK awaits. Even without João Klauss and Rasmus Alm, CITY SC look to be a tough test for the up-and-down Dynamo.

Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose gutted out their first away win of the season in Matchday 16 with a gritty 1-0 result over the Western Conference-leading Sounders. Now they need to pass another age-old test for any team with lofty goals: take advantage of a truly down-and-out side – in this case, the Colorado Rapids.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City

The Whitecaps are starting to turn expected goals (where they rank third in the league per game) into real goals, dropping six on Houston midweek and now going six matches without being shut out. A resurgent Sporting Kansas City have also found the net with ease of late, scoring 12 in their last six.

A barn-burner could be in the making at BC Place.