Midweek mayhem: Plenty of MLS action on tap on "slowest day in sports"

Alvas Powell, Joao Moutinho battle for ball

It is known as the “slowest day in sports” — the day after baseball’s All-Star Game. And while it is true there are no games scheduled in MLB, NFL, NBA or NHL, there’s plenty of Major League Soccer teams in action tonight.

There’s one league tilt, pitting Minnesota United FC against the New England Revolution, four U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal matches, highlighted by the rematch of Sunday’s 0-0 draw between Western Conference powerhouses LAFC and the Portland Timbers, and the first leg of Canadian Championship semifinals, with the Ottawa Fury hosting Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact meeting Vancouver Whitecaps FC

That’s seven matches over the course of nearly six hours from coast to coast. There’s bound to be excitement, there’s bound to be drama.

And it certainly won’t be a slow day.

Here’s a glance at what’s on tap.

Minnesota United vs. New England Revolution

8 pm ET | Match Preview | TV & streaming info

The evening's sole league match takes place at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where Adrian Heath's inconsistent Minnesota United side aim to build a run of good form with a visit from the Revs. The Loons, who have won consecutive league matches just twice all year, beat Real Salt Lake3-2 at home over the weekend, but carry a bad taste in their mouths thanks to a late swoon that allowed RSL to turn a 3-0 stroll into a nail-biting finish.

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Meanwhile Brad Friedel's boys in blue have drifted down the table after their strong start to 2018, thanks in part to a ho-hum summer marked by five draws in their last eight games

Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC

U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

7 pm ET | Match Preview | Streamed live on USSoccer.com

Two Eastern Conference sides hungry for Open Cup inspiration face off in Chester, Pennsylvania, with a spot in the historic tournament's semifinals on the line. The Union have made the USOC a priority over the years, reaching — and hosting — the 2014 and 2015 finals only to lose both in agonizingly dramatic fashion.

For Orlando, it's the third match under new head coach James O'Connor, whose Lions finally broke a two-month league losing skid vs. Toronto FC on Saturday and are, in his words, "desperate" to make a deep Open Cup run. 

Ottawa Fury FC vs. Toronto FC

Canadian Championship Semifinal - First Leg

7:30 pm ET | Match Preview | Streamed live on CanadaSoccer.com, Yahoo Sports Canada

With every passing loss in league play, it's looking less and less likely that TFC will defend their MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield titles. They do retain a clean slate in the third leg of their 2017 treble, Canada's domestic cup competition, and it's more important to the Reds than merely retaining that piece of hardware.

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That's because a CanChamp triumph grants qualification to the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, that elusive prize that Toronto came within inches of claiming back in the spring. The road back to CCL starts with a trip to the nation's capital, where the USL's Fury will try to ambush the favorites just like they did a year ago

Montreal Impact vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Canadian Championship Semifinal - First Leg

7:30 pm ET | Match Preview | Streamed live on CanadaSoccer.com, Yahoo Sports Canada

The other side of the CanChamp bracket features cross-Canadian counterparts who are familiar foes in this tournament, having met five times in the past eight years. And both clubs could really use some success on this front, with Montreal still rebuilding their season after a woeful spring and Vancouver fading in league play amidst an indifferent 3-4-4 stretch since the start of May. 

The Impact are 2-9-0 in away games this year, which suggests that an emphatic first-leg victory at Stade Saputo will be needed to give them a chance in next week's second leg at BC Place. Plenty of fun attacking talent to watch in this matchup: Feast your eyes on Montreal's maestro Ignacio Piatti and 'Caps teenage terror Alphonso Davies in particular. 

Chicago Fire vs. Louisville City FC

U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

8:30 pm ET | Match Preview | Streamed live on USSoccer.com

Do you like Cinderellas? Well, there's just one left in the Open Cup, USL side Louisville City, and they're visiting the Fire, who once styled themselves the kings of this tournament, having won it four times. The defending USL league champs, Lou City knocked off New England in the Fourth Round of this year's edition and may fancy their prospects of another MLS upset given Chicago's three-game losing skid.

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One big problem: The boys in purple are playing without a permanent head coach, with Luke Spencer serving as player-coach in the aftermath of James O'Connor's recent departure for the Orlando City job.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City

U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

8:30 pm ET | Match Preview | Streamed live on USSoccer.com

These Western Conference adversaries were once constant opponents in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Lately they've gotten quite familiar in the Open Cup, as this is their fourth straight year to meet in USOC play, with Sporting KC winning two of the three previous occasions.

With four trophy hoists in their history, including last year's, Sporting are Open Cup aces but will be tested by the stifling summer conditions at BBVA Compass Stadium, where a heat index of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit is forecasted for this one. 

Los Angeles Football Club vs. Portland Timbers

U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

10:30 pm ET | Match Preview | Streamed live on USSoccer.com

West foes meet again for the second time in four days, with a cup clash presenting higher stakes (and probably more tired legs) than the 0-0 league draw Portland dug out at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.

LAFC boss Bob Bradley led Chicago to USOC glory in their 1998 expansion season, though there's also a whiff of destiny about the Timbers under first-year coach Giovanni Savarese, who has the RCTID crew playing a stingy, disciplined style of soccer that tends to work well in knockout situations. They've stuck around in SoCal since Sunday; will familiarity breed success?