Kickoff - 8.11.23
What you need to know

Leagues Cup continues

The quarterfinals (all of them!) are tonight. Philadelphia host Querétaro, Inter Miami welcome Charlotte, Nashville take on Minnesota United and LAFC face Monterrey at the Rose Bowl. See the full schedule here.

D.C. United, Fountas mutually terminate contract

D.C. United and forward Taxi Fountas have mutually agreed to terminate his contract, effective immediately. Fountas was placed on administrative leave by MLS on July 21 following what the league determined were credible allegations that he used prohibited and discriminatory language against another player.

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So, About Tonight

Four (!) quarterfinal games tonight. Let’s talk it out with help from our World Famous watchability rating meter, The Plusometer ©.*

(*higher number = more potential entertainment)

Philadelphia Union vs. Querétaro FC | 8 pm ET

WATCH ON: **Apple TV - MLS Season Pass**
Plusometer score: 33/50

Now, you may think you know who the favorites are on this side of the bracket. You might be completely correct in that, on paper, Querétaro and Charlotte seem outmatched. You might believe there are significant talent advantages for both Philadelphia and Inter Miami. You could say Philadelphia have too much experience, quality and physicality for Querétaro to handle while Inter Miami simply have too much Messi. There may be a world where neither of these games feel particularly close. There is a timeline where you tell yourself “Dang, I could have spent time working on getting my CDL license, deleting Facebook, hitting the gym and turning my life around instead of watching these not-close soccer games.” You could say that the odds of Querétaro and Charlotte advancing tonight are slim. 

BUT…but…ummm. Honestly, I forgot where I was going with this.

Inter Miami CF vs. Charlotte FC | 8:30 pm ET

WATCH ON: **Apple TV - MLS Season Pass**
Plusometer score: 40/50

OH! I remember. Look, Querétaro and Charlotte have made it this far, right? What’s one more surprise outcome? Sure, they aren’t favored and sure they don’t match up well and sure they seem to be thriving on statistical anomalies and…uh…ok, wait hold on I forgot where I was going again…

Ok, look, anything can happen in MLS. We’ve all been around long enough to know nobody is ever safe on any given day. Throw in Querétaro’s Cinderella run vibes and Charlotte’s “Lol we tricked the other team into kicking the ball into their own net last game” deal and there’s no reason to truly count either of them out. Besides…well…y’all probably get the point by now, right?

Nashville SC vs. Minnesota United FC | 8:30 pm ET

WATCH ON: **Apple TV - MLS Season Pass**
Plusometer score: 38/50

The Loons have yet to play a boring game in this tournament. Nashville just survived one of the strangest games in Concacaf history (and that’s saying something). I’m honestly not sure either of these teams have any weird left in them at this point. If I might be so bold to say it, there’s a chance we get a totally normal and well-played soccer game tonight. I know that’s a horrifying thought, but I want to prepare you for the possibility.  

That wouldn’t be so bad though. And it’s not like a high-scoring, wild affair is out of the realm of possibility here. Minnesota have been outstanding in attack all tournament and less so defensively. Nashville may feel rejuvenated going forward by the presence of new DP forward Sam Surridge. This could be goalsy. Or, it could be a game where Nashville dare Minnesota to try and break down a low block and even Emanuel Reynoso struggles to do it until Hany Mukhtar scores on a well-timed counterattack.

LAFC vs. CF Monterrey | 10:30 pm ET

WATCH ON: **Apple TV - MLS Season Pass**
Plusometer score: 49.9/50

Out of principle, we don’t hand out 50s around here. That just gets games canceled. We know better now. The good news is I just learned how decimals work and I can comfortably give this one a 49.9 (repeating of course) out of 50. Whoever comes out of this one alive will be the favorite to win the entire competition. It’s entirely possible we’re talking about the two best teams on the continent when they’re playing at their best. And LAFC have been doing just that lately.

That being said, LAFC were not at their best the last time they ran into one of Liga MX’s elite. Club León were absolutely the better team over two legs of the CCL Final. Monterrey might pose even more of a challenge. LAFC are going to have be sharper and have a better game plan in mind to deal with a Rayados side that’s looked darn near invincible so far this tournament. Still, LAFC have the talent to make this a game. Plus, now that talent seems to have their legs underneath them again after some rest. It feels like LAFC have a chance to either win this on penalties or by a goal. Or…ya know…they get their doors blown off because Monterrey are an unstoppable juggernaut. Either outcome feels possible.

Anyway, what’s maybe most important here is a genius decided to put this thing in the Rose Bowl, the best sports setting in the country. Possibly the world. Maybe now that the Pac-12 is dead we can start doing the parade and bowl game treatment for MLS vs. Liga MX? I’m just asking questions.

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Good luck out there. Set some easily attainable goals.