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What you need to know

Concacaf Champions Cup final tomorrow

Columbus travel to face Pachuca for a Concacaf title and a place in the Club World Cup tomorrow. Kickoff is set for 9:15 pm ET on FS1 and TUDN.

Minnesota United transfer Reynoso to Club Tijuana

Minnesota United FC have transferred attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso to Liga MX’s Club Tijuana. The Argentine No. 10 had several prolonged, unexcused absences from Minnesota over the past two seasons. Reynoso played in just one match this year and, in 2023, didn’t make his season debut until June. The move opens a DP spot for Minnesota.

One match tonight

Some Friday night soccer for you. As a treat. New York City FC host San Jose at 7:30 pm on Apple TV.

Austin FC acquire Osman Bukari from Red Star Belgrade

Austin FC have acquired Ghana international winger Osman Bukari from Serbian SuperLiga side Red Star Belgrade. Bukari, 25, is under contract through the 2027 MLS season with an option for 2028. He occupies a Designated Player roster spot, arriving for reportedly around $7 million.

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A Watchgridometer fit for champions

All MLS games are worth watching. Some are worth watching more. And Concacaf Champions Cup finals featuring MLS sides are even more worth watching. The Watchgridometer is here to help you plan your matchday by giving each game a potential watchability score. A 50/50 game has “best game of all time” potential. Games are ranked in order compared to their time slot.

Tier Four: Literally the biggest game of the year
This is bigger than you and me.

Pachuca vs. Columbus Crew
WATCH: FS1, TUDN | Saturday, 9:15 pm ET
Watchability Score: ∞/50

Columbus, a team that nearly stopped existing a few years ago, is on the verge of a Concacaf Champions Cup title. If they win it, they’ll join the 2022 Seattle Sounders as the only MLS team to ever pull this off.

We’ve literally run out of nice things to say about hyper-detail-focused Wilfried Nancy and the excellent roster Tim Bezbatchenko has built, so we’ll just remind folks that Pachuca dump-trucked Philadelphia 6-0 in the Round of 16 then took down Club América in the semifinals. Don’t let their place in the Clausura fool you. They’re a menace. And they have home-field advantage. This is an uphill battle for Columbus. You’re just going to have to tune in to see how they find a way to overcome it.

They always overcome it. Right?

Tier Three: The satisfaction of expectations being met
Sometimes you want the best and you get it.

Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 9:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 40/50

RSL are sitting at the top of the West while Austin surprisingly aren’t too far behind. It’s a welcome return home for RSL though after pulling off a couple of comebacks on the road to earn late draws. They’d much rather just take care of business in this one, but Austin have a tendency to make life difficult for everyone… except, of course, Portland on Wednesday when the Timbers pulled off one of the more remarkable ambushes of the season in a 2-0 Austin loss.

This should be a fun one and should cause some movement in the Western Conference standings.

Tier Two: The joy of stumbling onto a match you previously weren't invested in but now are
Every now and then, you go into a game not asking for much and come away with more than you ever imagined.

New York City FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Friday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 31/50

A rare Friday game! Cherish it. It’s not often we get to go Friday to Sunday with MLS. And it’s actually a pretty fun one, too. The 'Quakes have plenty of attacking talent and a defense that’s technically the worst in MLS. New York City FC have started to figure things out in attack and are looking like a genuine challenger for a top spot in the East. This one has plenty of goals in it and two teams that we still need to figure out.

Inter Miami CF vs. St. Louis CITY SC
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 33/50

The Herons might be reeling a bit after getting waxed by Atlanta United on Wednesday. That being said, St. Louis haven’t quite shown the same intermittent flashes of potential Atlanta showed before the midweek slate. They’ve just kind of been… hanging out. Still, it will be interesting to see how Miami bounce back and maybe a game against Lionel Messi and company will compel St. Louis to start getting involved with this season.

D.C. United vs. Toronto FC
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 34/50

D.C. and I are fighting. They’re a classic great underlying numbers team that just doesn’t have enough juice and/or experience to manage the opportunities creating great chances over and over again should be giving them. I want more for them and I feel that I may have to turn my back on them entirely instead of excusing their behavior.

They’ll probably play well against a good Toronto side and then come up short. That just seems to be how this works right now. Should be a good watch though.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids
WATCH: Apple TV - Free; TSN, RDS | Saturday, 10:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 30/50

We’ve got a battle right in the heart of the Western Conference standings here between two teams that are tough to solve. Both sides feel like they should be getting better results one week then remind us the next why they’re not getting better results.

Plus, Rapids games are rapi… uh, quickly climbing the watchability rankings. They’ve given up three goals or more in four of their last five games. Unfortunately, the fifth game in that set was a 1-0 win against Vancouver. Maybe they can be a bit more interesting this time.

LAFC vs. FC Dallas
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 10:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 30/50

FC Dallas, San Jose and Portland seem like they’re destined to be in a battle royale for the crown of “Middling Western Conference team that feels like they should be better and then starts to look like they’re turning a corner and then doesn’t” of the Year. There’s a chance they give LAFC a game here and it makes us draw conclusions that will inevitably be proven wrong. Or an increasingly oppressive LAFC side is just going to roll.

Atlanta United vs. Charlotte FC
WATCH: Apple TV - Free; FOX, FOX Deportes | Sunday, 4:45 pm ET
Watchability Score: 32/50

Real or mirage? Atlanta pulled off one of the most impressive wins of the season on Wednesday when they ran a healthy Inter Miami side off the pitch. That broke a nine-game winless streak that came from primarily failing to find a way through against teams who are comfortable playing against the ball.

Well. Charlotte are here to immediately give the Five Stripes exactly the kind of game Inter Miami didn’t.

That being said, the dam burst for Charlotte on Wednesday. The Red Bulls eventually put three on The Crown after Charlotte kept opponents scoreless for roughly 520 consecutive minutes.

Tier One: The delightful hum of a soccer broadcast on television
Soccer is nice to have on. And sometimes you look up and see something fun.

Philadelphia Union vs. CF Montréal
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 28/50

The Union haven’t won a home game in five tries. It’s super weird and it makes me uncomfortable. Montréal got a nice win midweek against D.C. United. They could be the ones to make this interesting.

New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City SC
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 25/50

I think Orlando might be relatively fine in the end. The Red Bulls are genuinely good. I do not think this game will be enjoyable to watch.

Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 28/50

It’s the Nicest Rivalry In Sports, but it’s just really hard to be nice to Sporting KC right now. Time is running out for them to get it together. It feels like big changes could be on the way in the near future.

Chicago Fire FC vs. LA Galaxy
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 24/50

Did y’all see that goal Chicago gave up against Orlando? Please make sure your seatbelt is fastened and your tray is in an upright and locked position if you decide to seek it out.

Nashville SC vs. New England Revolution
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 20/50

Nashville pulled off an excellent win against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday. The vibes are at least improved with Rumba Munthali on the touchline. None of that makes a single-digit point total Revs side appointment TV.

Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo FC
WATCH: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass | Saturday, 10:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 27/50

I feel like I might regret not having this one higher. A late-night special with a Houston team that only scores bangers versus a Timbers team that only scores bangers? This either ends 0-0 and with no bangers or 3-3 with all of them. Turn it on after you watch the Champions Cup final, in my opinion.

And Other Things

Atlanta United's Lobjanidze named Player of the Matchday: Saba Lobjanidze's first career MLS brace guided Atlanta United to a much-needed 3-1 win at Inter Miami CF, earning him Player of the Matchday honors for Matchday 17.

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Good luck out there. Aim for the biggest prize.