23MLS_TheDailyKickoff-16x9 (1)
What you need to know

Soccer Saturday

Rivalry games, get right games and generally great game galore today. Check the full schedule here.

Sign up for The Daily Kickoff in your inbox! The Daily Kickoff is more than an article – it can be delivered to your email account as well.

RIVALRY WEEK WATCHGRIDOMETER

This is… probably the best Matchday of the year? Just some excellent games. So good, in fact, there are some extremely high scores that aren’t in Tier Three because other excellent games are going on at the same time. It’s a big game on your TV, slightly smaller game on your laptop kind of night.

Anyway, you know the drill at this point. We’re here to make your viewing decisions easier. This is service journalism. You’re welcome.

*The Plusometer is a scientific way to quantify the potential watchability of any given game on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, but can and will also be used for all other channels. Using the elements of "Potential for very good/entertainingly bad soccer," "Chances created," "Narrative," "Aesthetics" and "Totally subjective bonus points," I assign each element a score out of 10 and each game a score out of 50. Twenty-five is average potential. Fifty is greatest game of all-time potential. Yes, I do actually calculate each game. No, I don't know why. Respect for the form, maybe?

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.

D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy - Sat., 7:30 pm ET
WATCH ON: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 25/50

D.C. are playing just fine right now, but LA are down bad in a remarkable way. On another timeline not far from ours this is Tier Two. 

New York Red Bulls vs. CF Montréal - Sat., 7:30 pm ET
WATCH ON
: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 27/50

This is a revenge game for Red Bulls. They rolled up to Montréal a few weeks ago and it didn’t exactly go well. They lost 2-0 and kickstarted CFM’s recently ended four-game winning streak. A new coach (and maybe some players returning from injury?) could make a big difference at home.

Austin FC vs. Toronto FC  - Sat., 8:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 19/50

Your Daily Kickoff rubbernecking game of the week right here. Toronto enter this one last in the East. Austin aren’t last in the West but it kind of feels like it? Both teams are on a point per game. 

Chicago Fire FC vs. Atlanta United - Sat., 8:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 25/50

These two met a few weeks ago and Atlanta found a 99th minute winner. That was exciting. The rest of the game… woof. The best part was Ezra Hendrickson’s “egg or potato” quote afterward. We’ll see if this one opens up a bit more with Chicago at home and under new management. 

Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake - Sat., 9:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - Free
Plusometer Score: 28/50

The Rapids barely got off the plane at Atlanta midweek and RSL haven’t exactly been bringing their normal intensity level. Maybe a rivalry game kickstarts both sides. 

Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United - Sat., 10:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 20/50

Ahhhh yeah, this is definitely a soccer game. Neither of these teams really want the ball or to do anything all that exciting. They’re somehow sixth and seventh in the West. I dunno, maybe Evander will do something cool?

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.

Charlotte FC vs. Nashville SC - Sat., 7:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 37/50

Not sure we can call this one a rivalry but it does involve two teams that are relatively close to each other geographically. And it should be a well-played game. Charlotte are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and have won four of their last five. Nashville are also one of the hottest teams in the league right now and are unbeaten in their last five. Add in 30,000 fans and this should be one of the best of a very good day.

Inter Miami vs. Orlando City - Sat., 7:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 30/50

Florida folks fighting. Seems like a lucrative YouTube channel idea and a decent setup for a soccer game. It may not be the prettiest game from two teams that don’t really play pretty soccer. But the intensity should be there.

Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution  - Sat., 7:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 47/50

Just the highest possible rating for a game that’s not Tier III. I’m not sure this has ever happened before. You’ll see whose fault that is in a second, but this is one you should absolutely have on a smaller screen if you can. You have two surefire Audi MLS Cup Playoff teams here, one of which would be actively in the Supporters’ Shield race if it weren’t for them making the CCL semifinal. Philly could insert themselves into that conversation with a win here though.

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo FC - Sat., 8:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 32/50

We don’t talk about it enough but these two teams play for a “trophy” that’s actually just a big cannon named “El Capitán.” This is amazing. And for that this game is Tier II. But it probably would have been Tier II on its own merits considering Dallas are one of the most consistent teams in the league and Houston have been better than expected so far this season. 

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders - Sat., 10:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 38/50

You know how we feel about the ‘Caps around here. Good team, good roster, not quite the best results. It’s unclear exactly what’s up with that, but maybe a rivalry game can bring out some of the focus and intensity that’s been missing over the full 90 at times. If that happens, this could easily turn into one of the best games of the weekend.

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

FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew - Sat., 7:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 48/50

Hell is realer than it’s ever been this week. This is by far the best version of this game we’ve ever seen. Both teams are excellent and the crowd at TQL Stadium is going to be madhouse with their undefeated home record on the line against their biggest rival. On top of that, you have two contrasting styles that should make for an open-ended, talent-filled game between two of the league’s best clubs.

St. Louis CITY SC vs. Sporting KC - Sat., 9:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - Free, FS1
Plusometer Score: 40/50

We love a rivalry game around here. Especially if it involves two cities with pre-existing animosity. These two don’t like each other. And even if the players haven’t gotten acquainted yet, the fans will let them know quickly that this means a little more. 

It’s also a pretty good game. SKC are finally getting their stuff together and St. Louis are stumbling but still decent. It will be fascinating to see how some added energy manifests on both sides of Cease and Desist.

LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Sat., 10:30 pm ET
WATCH ON:
Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Plusometer Score: 42/50

Yet another huge in-state game for the Quakes. They got the better of LAFC a couple of weeks ago and the league’s (continent’s?) best team will be looking for revenge. That won’t come easy against a very good Quakes team. Although, that being said, it kind of feels like San Jose are an entirely different team on the road right now. Hopefully this snaps them out of that trend and we we get a good one to close the weekend. My gut says we will.

Other Things

Minnesota’s Lod suffers meniscus tear: Robin Lod is out for an extended period with a meniscus tear in his right knee.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. Judgment is coming and that right soon.