Voices: Andrew Wiebe

One MLS nerd's reason to watch every Week 10 game | Andrew Wiebe

Efrain Alvarez celebrates - LA Galaxy - September 2, 2020

I’m calling this the MLS Neutral Nerd’s Guide to the weekend. I am neutral, despite your frequent accusations and protestations to the contrary. Let’s also also be honest in saying we’re all nerds.

The concept is simple: With four games in the books there are now 8 games left this weekend and you most likely won’t have the bandwidth or screens to watch them all. I’m here to give you a reason to watch every single game that has nothing to do with your rooting interests, the standings or raw star power. Could be a player, could be a tactical wrinkle, could be something dumb, could be whatever I want.

Enjoy the games, folks.

D.C. United vs. New York City FC

Sunday @ 7:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada (Local TV)

Hey, Ronny Deila, why not rotate a little bit? Anton Tinnerholm has to be a little rundown, right? Give the right back the weekend off. Homegrown Joe Scally is ready. He’s champing at the bit. Go ahead … start him. Let us see the young man a little bit before he moves to Borussia Monchengladbach.

New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union

Sunday @ 7:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada (Local TV)

How do the Red Bulls respond to the most recent breaking news in MLS? That’d be the dismissal of head coach Chris Armas. This is head of sport Kevin Thelwell’s first big stamp on the project. So now what? We don’t even know who the interim coach is going to be yet. Are we going to see the coaching change bump from the Red Bulls or is this a prime opportunity for the Union to prove they’re now a cut above? 

Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution

Sunday @ 7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada (Local TV)

Henry Kessler, next great SuperDraft center back? It’s pretty nerdy to watch a game for a defender, but that’s what this is all about. Between Kessler and Mauricio Pineda on the other side, there are two potential US men's national team prospects to scout in this one.

Columbus Crew SC vs. FC Cincinnati

Sunday @ 7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada (Local TV)

Jurgen Locadia vs. the Crew backline. We’re going on almost 500 minutes without a goal for Locadia and 400 for FC Cincinnati. That may not change this weekend. Columbus have the most points (20) and fewest goals allowed (2) in the league through nine games. But I’m still excited about Locadia, who missed a couple big chances against Chicago midweek. Jaap Stam likes what he sees from his team organizationally, but the next step is to, you know, score a goal or two. Locadia is being paid to do it, and he’s gonna have to deliver if he wants to stay in MLS long-term.

Minnesota United FC vs. Real Salt Lake

Sunday @ 8:00 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada (Local TV)

Let the Bebelo Reynoso show begin. The Argentine midfielder was the missing piece, chased for the better part of a year by the Loons front office, and now it’s finally real. I honestly didn’t believe it until I saw Reynoso in that No. 10 Minnesota United jersey actually kicking a ball. But it’s real, alright, and now it’s time to see what the former Boca man can do with a more dedicated attacking role than he was given in Buenos Aires. Even better for the neutrals, this one figures to be hectic and intense. Minnesota have lost three straight and Real Salt Lake are in the middle of serious off-field upheaval that’s brought the squad together in a big way. 

Inter Miami CF vs. Nashville SC

Sunday @ 8:00 pm ET | FS1, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada

I’m going to go out on a very sturdy limb and say this game is going to be about chance creation (or lack thereof). Neither team has been particularly adept in that department, and while that might seem like a reason NOT to watch, I’m going the other direction. Clean slate, baby. Show your class, Rodolfo Pizarro. You’re a DP, too, Hany Mukhtar! Every game is a chance to prove the current narrative is wrong.

Oh, and we may get a Blaise Matuidi sighting.

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers

Sunday @ 10:00 pm ET | TSN3, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ (Local TV

First-choice lineups from Brian Schmetzer and Giovanni Savarese. Look at the XIs from Wednesday night. Both managers were saving something for the weekend, and rightfully so. The MLS is Back Timbers haven’t been the Return to Play Timbers. Meanwhile, the Sounders are, in my view, the most on-form team in the Western Conference, including a 3-0 rivalry win against Portland less than two weeks ago. The ingredients are right for a Cascadia classic. Just make sure you have a second screen ready to go because…

LA Galaxy vs. LAFC

Sunday @ 10:30 pm ET | UniMás, TUDN, TSN2; MLS LIVE on ESPN+​ (Local TV

Gimme more Efra Alvarez and Julian Araujo. Gotta love a Homegrown right flank with sauce and a little bite. I know I’m a #PlayYourKids disciple, but we need more of this – a pair of teenage academy prospects with youth international chops and full international futures starting and playing well for a “big” club – for MLS to become the league we all hope it can be. Stick with them, Guillermo. Plus, Araujo told us on Extratime that he has a strong dislike for LAFC. Perfect setup for El Trafico.