Matchday 34: What to know, how to watch on MLS Season Pass


It's here: The homestretch, do-or-die, winning time – whatever you want to call it, we're at the part of the season where desperation sets in and teams aren't giving an inch. Matchday 33 saw six clubs come from behind to earn draws or wins as the fight for playoff berths, seeding and even next year's roster spots intensifies. Expect more drama in Matchday 34.

Western Conference: Still an incredible logjam from second place all the way to 13th. Every spot within that range on the table is separated by two points or less.

Eastern Conference: Still two distinct races: Six teams are fighting for spots two through four in the table (and, subsequently, home-field advantage in Round One); seven teams are fighting for two Wild Card spots.

Seattle Sounders FC are the lone team on a bye.

When pulling up MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, here's how to navigate the options:

  • 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.
The Big Three

D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls

Why did a matchup between two teams in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference make "The Big Three?"

  1. "Atlantic Cup" is one of the oldest and most storied rivalries in MLS.
  2. D.C. United have been desperately clinging onto the East's ninth-and-final Wild Card spot the last few matchdays, while five teams below them throw everything at the wall to take their place – giving D.C.'s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs quest a very fun "last stand" energy.
  3. The Red Bulls are one of the teams chasing them. They may be trailing the pack, but if Troy Lesesne's side can earn a road W, they'd only be two points back of the Black-and-Red with a game in hand.
  4. Bonus: The Red Bulls are defending an MLS-record 13-year playoff streak.

Philadelphia Union vs. LAFC

Three words: MLS Cup rematch. There's a reason this match was featured in our "10 Must-Watch Games" article at the start of the year.

The 2022 MLS Cup final was arguably the most entertaining game in MLS history, and both squads entered 2023 with much of their core intact (particularly Philadelphia), setting the stage for back-to-back deep playoff runs and even a potential championship rematch.

It hasn't all gone perfectly for either side in 2023, but both remain in the top four of their respective conference tables – though each is in danger of falling out of that position before year's end, adding even more stakes to the matchup.

Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF

Yes, Tata Martino said Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba are sitting this one out due to injuries that appear to be relatively minor but still require rest.

But Inter Miami are one of the most exciting teams in the league even down a star or two, with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Facundo Farías, Benjamin Cremaschi, Robert Taylor and Leonardo Campana all capable of producing spectacular highlights. Case in point: Farías, Cremaschi and Taylor all earned AT&T 5G Goal of the Matchday nominations for their Matchday 33 golazos.

Miami still have everything to play for, juggling an intense push to climb above the playoff line (now just five points below with two games in hand) with Wednesday's US Open Cup Final vs. Houston Dynamo FC also on the horizon.

Orlando, meanwhile, just clinched their playoff berth and are honing in on the Eastern Conference's second seed, which would guarantee home-field advantage through at least two rounds.

Quick Passes

New York City FC vs. Toronto FC

There's life in the Bronx yet. Is there also a Talles Magno redemption arc setting up after the young Brazilian star scored for the first time since April on Wednesday? It certainly wouldn't hurt NYCFC if so. The Cityzens are only two points below the playoff line.

Atlanta United vs. CF Montréal

Atlanta's newest DP, Saba Lobzhanidze, is really steezy, and his 3g/2a in five matches (only two starts) since joining the club shows there's an efficient substance to his style too.

Atlanta have a chance to continue their charge towards the East's top four, while Montréal can further cement their eighth-place Wild Card position.

FC Cincinnati vs. Charlotte FC

Can somebody, anybody help Charlotte stop tying games? Nine draws in their last 11 have kept the club excruciatingly close to but consistently under the playoff line.

Chicago Fire FC vs. New England Revolution

Both teams are heading into the match in a bad way – Chicago as losers of five of six, and New England, fresh off a coaching change, yielding Colorado one of only four wins on the season. There's probably more to lose than there is to gain in terms of momentum in this one, but sometimes fear is more galvanizing than hope.

Minnesota United FC. vs St. Louis CITY SC

St. Louis CITY are just a few wins from clinching the Western Conference's No. 1 seed, and possibly breaking LAFC's inaugural-season points record (57). Minnesota United FC are in danger of letting a playoff spot officially slip through their fingers – even in the midst of a breakout season from Bongokuhle Hlongwane.

FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew

The Crew may have clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday, but Dallas secured the more important midweek win thanks to a Jesús Ferreira brace. Ferreira is still hanging around the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi race, and Dallas now sit above the playoff line.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo FC

Houston are rocking the longest unbeaten streak in the league at the moment, but still only have two wins on the road. Three points away against a desperate SKC side would do a lot to cement the Dynamo's playoff-threat bonafines, especially since Ben Olsen will field a rotated lineup ahead of Wednesday's US Open Cup Final.

Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Whoops. Both teams stumbled on Wednesday to fall closer to the West's playoff line. Though to be fair to Vancouver, RSL's form has been more of a continuous slide, which is far more worrisome.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Nashville SC

Nashville were in danger of falling out of the realm of Eastern Conference elites after their post-Leagues Cup hangover. A 3-0 beatdown of SKC on the road showed they still belong.

Whether the Earthquakes can hold onto a playoff spot in the Western Conference is a more open-ended question. The vibe's a little off in San Jose.

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids

New-coach bounce, thy name is Miles Joseph. The Timbers were languishing in the Western Conference basement when Joseph took over in late August. They're 4W-1L-1D since then and have climbed above the playoff line.

Austin FC vs. LA Galaxy

The Galaxy just won't go away. Wednesday's three-goal, second-half comeback to steal all three points against another Western Conference bubble team (Minnesota United) has kept hope alive in Carson. All six of the Gs' remaining games are against teams in the West, and five are against teams barely above them in the playoff hunt (including Saturday's), which means, somewhat shockingly, LA still more or less control their own destiny.