Week 19 of the MLS season is nearly underway, but first there's plenty going on around the league as teams pencil in final preparations. Here's your chance to keep up to date with the latest news as it happens.
4:00 pm ET – Caleb Porter expects "spicy" NYCFC
When Columbus and NYCFC meet on Sunday, Crew head coach Caleb Porter expects a top game. He even called the meeting "spicy" during his preview press conference, especially as both teams deal with injuries and seek a bounce-back win.
"I think it's going to be a spicy game because I think they're a team that's good enough to be competing for things at the end," Porter said, "and I believe that we are as well once we get out of this rut."
3:11 pm ET – Mateo Bajamich arrives in Houston
Argentine attacker Mateo Bajamich has officially arrived in Houston, 12 days after he originally was transferred from Instituto. The 21-year-old scored 10 goals and tallied six assists in 28 matches with his previous club.
For more on Bajamich's potential impact, especially in the wake of Alberth Elis being transferred to Portuguese side Boavista FC, check out this story for insight from head coach Tab Ramos.
12:20 pm ET – Maxi Moralez to return for NYCFC
Speaking ahead of his team’s trip to face Columbus Crew SC on Sunday, New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila confirmed that DP midfielder Maxi Moralez will indeed return to action (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; on DAZN in Canada).
Deila was still sorting whether the Argentine would start or appear as a substitute, though he’s officially recovered from a knee injury that’s forced him to miss the club’s last seven games.
“He will have an impact in the game, and we just have to see how much it’s going to be,” Delia said. “Then of course we have to build him up and look at him in the game and see how he’s doing.”
Moralez, 33, accrued a combined 15 goals and 36 assists the last two seasons, but has been limited to eight games (six starts) in 2020. As the club chases a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, Delia stressed the importance of having their playmaker back.
“We hope we go into a playoff here and we need to have the team as ready as possible when we get into that,” Delia said. “Maxi’s a big part of our team, so we need to be careful. At the same time, we have to load him and play him so he gets into the right shape and also he can win games for us. So we will see tomorrow how much and how we attack it.”
11:53 am ET – Cory Burke could make Union return
During a pre-match press conference Saturday, Curtin confirmed that the Jamaican will be available for Monday’s game against the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; on DAZN in Canada). He was most recently on loan at Austrian side SKN St. Polten, then encountered a visa hurdle.
Further, center back Jakob Glesnes could be available for selection (concussion protocol) and defensive midfielder Jose Martinez faces a prolonged period out (quarantine) after representing Venezuela on international duty.
9:32 am ET – Crew trio still out
For Columbus to bust out of their four-game winless rut, they'll need to forge ahead without goalkeeper Eloy Room and midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan. Per the club's latest injury report, that highly-influential trio remains unavailable as head coach Caleb Porter selects his squad to face NYCFC on Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium.