What you need to know

Inter Miami sign Facundo Farías from Colón

The Herons remain busy in the transfer market, announcing Saturday they’ve acquired  20-year-old Argentine attacking midfielder Facundo Farías from Colón as a U22 Initiative Signing. While at Colón, Farías recorded 16 goals and nine assists in 95 games across all competitions. 

Toronto FC sign South African forward Mailula

Toronto FC have acquired forward Cassius Mailula from South African top-flight side Mamelodi Sundowns FC. The 22-year-old South African international arrives as a U22 Initiative player, an MLS roster-building mechanism designed to help integrate rising youth talent from around the world. His contract runs through the 2026 season with an option for 2027.

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Your Leagues Cup Kickoff

A full Leagues Cup-sized slate of games tonight as the group stage begins to wrap up. Let’s talk it out with some help from our watchability measuring stick, The Plusometer ©.

What about tonight?

Cruz Azul vs. Atlanta United | 7 pm ET

WATCH ON: Apple TV - Free, Univision
Plusometer score: 31/50

Atlanta are in a weird place. The transfer window so far has been more focused on going back to go forward rather than just going forward. That’s taken an already pretty mid-level Tier II MLS team and made them look even less like the juggernaut Atlanta United fans are hoping the team will return to. Maybe tonight they’ll see new midfielder Tristan Muyumba and get a better sense of what the future might look like when the team can get out from under the salary cap boulder they trapped themselves under after some rough decisions. Right now though, kind of seems like this team is going to have their hands full with Cruz Azul. Then again, it sounds like Cruz Azul’s manager might be on the verge of losing his job if they don’t win. Both teams might be feeling a little bit of urgency tonight and not just because they need a win to advance to the knockout round.

Necaxa vs. Charlotte FC | 7:30 pm ET

WATCH ON: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer score: 23/50

Charlotte’s task is relatively simple here even if it’s easier said than done. All they have to do is not lose outright. A draw and a loss in the penalty shootout is fine and will be enough to get into the knockout round. If Necaxa’s 3-0 loss to FC Dallas is any indication, that should be manageable for The Crown.

Santos Laguna vs. Orlando City SC | 7:30 pm ET

WATCH ON: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer score: 36/50

The best game of the day is also by far the most complicated group scenario remaining. I even wrote it out yesterday and I’m looking at it, and my brain still hurts. A lot. Basically, if these two teams draw and Santos win the penalty shootout, the group is tied at three points a piece with a goal differential of zero. That means it would all come down to which two teams scored the most goals. You’ll have to do the majority of the math yourself on that, but just know it would all be a whole lot simpler if Orlando won or lost outright. In a relatively evenly matched game between two good teams, it’s all on the table.

Austin FC vs. FC Juárez | 8:30 pm ET

WATCH ON: Apple TV - Free
Plusometer score: 21/50

Ah yes, a fierce battle between two teams who lost in the group stage to the worst team in Liga MX last season. Admittedly, this isn’t a heavyweight fight.

It could still be really fun though! Austin need a win (either outright or in penalties) to advance. They should have the firepower to get past Juárez, but we said that about Mazatlán too.

Pumas UNAM vs. D.C. United | 9 pm ET

WATCH ON: Apple TV - Free, Univision
Plusometer score: 23/50

The Plusometer would be higher, but D.C. came out and looked shockingly comfortable in their opening game win over Montréal the other night. They should look really comfortable against Pumas, too. Not because Pumas lack quality, but because that win over Montréal already clinched D.C. a spot in the knockout round. They can totally mail this in.

Pumas, on the other hand, cannot. They need a win to advance. An outright win would knock D.C. back to second in the group though, so this one isn’t entirely meaningless for the Black-and-Red.

Other Things

DC United transfer Pálsson to Belgian club: D.C. United have transferred midfielder Victor Pálsson to Belgian top-flight side KAS Eupen. The Iceland international exits one year after signing with D.C., having tallied three assists in 28 matches. He was an early signing during the club's ongoing Wayne Rooney era, joining the project from German side FC Schalke 04 midway through 2022 as a Designated Player before later shifting off that roster status.

Andrés Perea loaned to NYCFC from Union: New York City FC have acquired midfielder Andrés Perea on loan from the Philadelphia Union through the end of the 2023 MLS season. In exchange for the 22-year-old, Philadelphia have received $300,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) for the 2024 season.

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Good luck out there. Don’t let a delay slow you down.