It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means, for most but not all of us, that there’s an extra day of leisure.

As you make tough decisions about how to spend your free time, just remember that this is the last full weekend of MLS action for three weeks.

Yes, you’ll get Nations League, international matches and a random Sporting Kansas City vs. Austin FC game on June 12, but there’s nothing that can replicate a full league slate if MLS is your soccer entertainment of choice.

The nice thing is that nationally televised games are packaged in tidy four-hour blocks on Saturday and Sunday. That ought to make it easier to carve out time for the games while still making your friends and family feel loved and appreciated.

This is your Week 7 cheat sheet.

Heaven, hell and purgatory in MLS!

We’re not even a fourth of the way through the 2021 season and here I am playing MLS's version of Saint Peter at the Pearly gates. Please keep in mind that this is all in fun. No souls are being damned in this column, and the afterlives of all eight clubs under the national TV spotlight this weekend have yet to be decided.

Before I start pointing up, down and somewhere in between, I think-slash-hope we can all understand the concept here. Relative to expectations, where does each club find themselves after six weeks of action (plus, for some, Concacaf Champions League)? Is it heaven? Hell? Or stuck in purgatory for the time being?

Purgatory for LAFC | Heaven for NYCFC

LAFC vs. NYCFC – Sat., 5 pm ET
WATCH ON: Univision, TUDN, Twitter (English audio)

LAFC – It’s been a strange season in downtown Los Angeles.

Carlos Vela was back, then he wasn’t and now he is again. Eduard Atuesta was poised to be sold – had to be, really, given his contract status – then a new one-year extension delayed the inevitable by a window or two. LAFC were supposed to be among the league’s very best teams, though perhaps that was just a bad prediction on my part, and thus far they’re below the Audi MLS Cup Playoff line.

It gets even stranger, too! Their third Designated Player, Brian Rodriguez, is on loan in Spain. He seems uncertain about where he wants to continue his career – “I am not going to be in a place where I am not happy,” he reportedly said in an interview in the Uruguayan media, no telling if he was talking about Almeria, LAFC or just generally. But The Athletic has also reported the purchase option in his loan will be automatically triggered if the Spanish club gets promoted to La Liga.

There’s one matchday remaining in the Segunda. Almeria are in line for the promotion playoffs. I’m not saying John Thorrington and Bob Bradley are rooting for the Andalusian club … but I’m also not saying they’re not. If Almeria go up to La Liga, it’d simplify the decisions that need to be made this summer.

And those decisions revolve around one thing, given Atuesta’s contract status, Diego Rossi’s potential to be sold and Vela’s age, fitness issues of late and contract status: winning MLS Cup, LAFC’s version of heaven.

You can’t win MLS Cup in May, thus LAFC are stuck in purgatory. A win against NYCFC at home and a Vela goal or two would be a step in the right direction.

NYCFC – I’m letting the blue side of New York in for now, but the agreement is that they stay near the entrance/exit. They’ve got a pass, but barely and that can change.

The roster looked … incomplete during preseason. It’s looking more fleshed out now, even if the young wingers they signed from Brazil (both Talles Magno and Thiago Andrade await their debuts) appear to be projects with high upside. Sporting director David Lee says there could be another Young Money signing coming before the end of this window, and that’s to say nothing of the summer signing period and the eventual return of Heber.

Meanwhile, they’re sixth in the Eastern Conference, re-signed Valentin Castellanos amid reported interest from Brazilian giants Palmeiras and seem poised to return to the regular-season perch they’ve occupied since Patrick Vieira took charge, which is to say among the very best teams in MLS.

All things considered, life is pretty good, but that can change, especially in the playoffs should they make it there. So NYCFC better be on their best behavior…

Heaven for LA Galaxy | Hell for San Jose Earthquakes

LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Sat., 7 pm ET
WATCH ON: Univision, TUDN, Twitter (English audio)

LA – Chicharito is basically an MLS angel at this point, at the very least a prophet. He was forsaken. He was lost. His penance has been epic and inspirational. Come on in, Javier.

Greg Vanney has his congregation working together for something bigger. The Galaxy's academy is producing. They won El Trafico. The supporters are happy, and the team is near the top of the Western Conference table after a couple really down years.

And it’s a long rivalry weekend at home against a Quakes team coming off three straight losses? Heaven, indeed.

San Jose – Don’t take this the wrong way, Quakes faithful. You were in heaven, but then your team lost three straight at home.

Yo-yoing is the Matias Almeyda way. He’s got an express elevator between heaven and hell. Pack light for the trip down below because a Cali Clasico win would send you right back up to the good place.

Heaven for Philadelphia Union | Purgatory for Portland Timbers

Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers – Sun., 7 pm ET
WATCH ON: FS1, FOX Deportes

Philadelphia – Win the Supporters’ Shield, sell eight figures worth of players and reload the Ernst Tanner way: Reserves step up to become above-average starters, academy signings and relatively unknown transfers who turn out to be solid to very good. Oh, and make the CCL semifinals during your first dip into continental competition, get a new No. 10 (Daniel Gazdag) and hold your spot near the top of the conference – a relatively new thing for Philly!

The Sons of Ben are in heaven, no doubt about it, and I think it’s only going to get better in 2021, even if CCL goes the way it always goes for MLS clubs.

Even better for us neutrals, we get to watch the Union in a cross-conference matchup this weekend. There aren’t many of those this year, and very few with the quality we’ll see from both these squads. Speaking of…

Portland – The injuries. Oh, the injuries. I can’t pass judgment against Portland when they're so banged up.

I can, however, send all my well wishes to Portland midfielder Andy Polo in his recovery and remind anyone who needs to be reminded that bad tackles are not reasons to racially abuse anyone or send death threats. In fact, nothing is, which is the whole point! Thus, my best also goes to Galaxy defender Derrick Williams, who has been treated despicably by some in the aftermath of last weekend.

Purgatory isn’t so bad, after all. It’s mostly just waiting around in relative nothingness. In the Timbers’ case, they’re much more than nothing. Despite all the challenges – stars, starters and reserves out and CCL to complicate the schedule – they’re in the playoff field and close (I hope) to getting Sebastian Blanco back.

Tough test this weekend, however.

Heaven for Seattle Sounders | Purgatory for Austin FC

Seattle Sounders vs. Austin FC – Sun., 9:30 pm ET
WATCH ON: FS1, FOX Deportes

Seattle – No, Seattle supporters, you don’t need to hear me praise you any more than the collective MLS pundit class already has. Just come inside and try not to brag to everyone that you invented the place.

Austin – On one hand, recent results have been poor for Austin. On the other, six points from six road games as a pandemic expansion team is 100 percent acceptable, maybe even great.

Their most important player (Alex Ring) got a red card that cost them points and then was suspended. I want more from Cecilio Dominguez and Tomas Pochettino, but there’s plenty of time for both to settle and produce.

The real test for Austin will come at Q2 Stadium. If they win their home games, they’ll ride the escalator up a level. If they don’t, that Texas summer will feel really hot.

#PlayYourKids 22 under 22 Game of the Week

Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas – Sat., 9 pm ET

I am just going to list the 22u22 names. It’s easier that way.

For FC Dallas:

  • Tanner Tessman
  • Paxton Pomykal
  • Ricardo Pepi
  • Dante Sealy
  • Szabolcs Schon

For Colorado:

  • Cole Bassett
  • Sam Vines

Almost under 22…

For FC Dallas:

  • Freddy Vargas
  • Eddie Munjoma

For Colorado:

  • Auston Trusty
  • Jonathan Lewis

This is basically the #22U22 Bowl.

MLS LIVE on ESPN+ Game of the Weekend 

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo FC – Sat., 8:30 pm ET

Raise your hand if you thought the Dynamo would be fourth in the West right now? Put your hands down, liars. 

As a young MLS beat writer, I was raised on the SKC-Houston rivalry, so this is a bit of a nostalgia play as well as a modern clash of styles. Tab Ramos wants to press, a style Peter Vermes brought into the MLS mainstream at the beginning of the last decade. Vermes has a team that can possess and create chances with the best the league has to offer.

Who will prevail when Jersey boy meets Jersey boy? The answer to that question could mean a flip-flop near the top of the West.