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What you need to know

Houston Dynamo acquire Ponce in club-record deal

Houston Dynamo FC made a transfer-market splash on Monday, acquiring striker Ezequiel Ponce from Super League Greece side AEK Athens in a club-record deal. The 27-year-old Argentine occupies a Designated Player roster spot. He is under contract through June 2027 with an option to extend through the rest of 2027 and then 2028. Ponce will be eligible to debut for Houston once the MLS Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 18.

St. Louis CITY's Pompeu suffers long-term leg injury

St. Louis CITY SC midfielder Célio Pompeu will miss the remainder of the 2024 MLS season after undergoing successful surgery to repair an ankle dislocation and fibula fracture, the club announced Monday. The 24-year-old Brazilian faces at least a nine-month rehabilitation before returning to competition. Pompeu was enjoying a career year, tallying 3g/3a in 17 appearances before suffering a season-ending injury in Saturday's 2-0 loss at FC Dallas.

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A Tuesday Watchgridometer does not boast, it is not arrogant or rude

All MLS games are worth watching. Some are worth watching more. The Watchgridometer is here to help you plan your weekend 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.

By the way, every game tomorrow is free on Apple TV.

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

Inter Miami CF vs. Columbus Crew
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 43/50

The Herons are, of course, without Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. But that sure didn’t seem to matter all that much in Philadelphia on Saturday. Then again, things are going a lot differently in Columbus these days than in Philadelphia. That’s true even if Aidan Morris isn’t around anymore. This is an intriguing test for both teams and a game that could end up being key to playoff positioning by the time we reach the end of the season. Expect goals.

FC Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia Union
WATCH: Apple TV - Free, FS1, FOX Deportes | Wednesday, 7:45 pm ET
Watchability Score: 40/50

I’m sure Cincinnati would love to keep burying Philadelphia further down in the standings. But even with the Union’s numerous struggles, it’s tough to count them out of big games like this. At the very least, they might make Cincinnati’s life difficult. Although, Cincinnati’s life might already be pretty difficult at this point in the year. Matt Miazga is out with a potential long-term injury and Miles Robinson is gone for Copa América duty. How will Cincy hold up without their two best XI center backs? Does it even matter for this game now that the Union don’t have Julián Carranza?

LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 10:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 45/50

The best (potentially), least disturbed by injury and international break absences game of the midweek slate is in LA. This young New York City FC team is starting to face some genuine tests and this may be the toughest yet. There aren’t many things more difficult in MLS than going across the country and trying to beat a contender on short rest.

A win here for NYCFC solidifies them as the genuine product for me. A loss might be a hint at how far a talented but green group has to go to handle teams that have a little more experience, like Columbus and LA. Or it just might be a normal road loss. MLS is hard. Either way, fun game, lots of goals, MLS After Dark… things of that nature.

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.

Houston Dynamo FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 33/50

Seattle picked up a huge win against Minnesota United over the weekend. Houston earned a road point against Atlanta. Is that a sign both these teams are starting to get it together? Both of them are technically above the playoff line, but only barely. Starting a run and building off the momentum of last weekend would do either of them a world of good and put them right into the heart of the Western Conference standings.

Austin FC vs. LAFC
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 30/50

LAFC are in definite Tier Two territory as Denis Bouanga heats up and they start making a run at the Supporters’ Shield. Austin FC aren’t quite there, but there is something intriguing about watching them try to outrun their underlying numbers again. Even if lately, well, that hasn’t exactly been happening.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 10:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 33/50

The last time we saw this game, we saw maybe the most chaotic, uncut version of MLS After Dark this season. No one is coming here looking for a “good” game between either of these teams. Just give us something weird, please.

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.

CF Montréal vs. New York Red Bulls
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 27/50

Montréal have done enough to keep themselves floating around the playoff line this year. They have a chance to capitalize against a Red Bulls side missing key players - Emil Forsberg is questionable and Lewis Morgan is on international duty - and keep up with the rest of the folks chasing a play-in spot.

D.C. United vs Atlanta United
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 27/50

These two teams just make me sad and unsure of my belief in statistics. I’d rather not watch. But you should at least check in to see if Christian Benteke is terrorizing Atlanta’s back line again. He scored one of the easiest hat tricks of his career in their meeting earlier this year.

Charlotte FC vs. Orlando City SC
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 25/50

Full credit to Charlotte. They’re officially occupying the same space in my head as the best Nashville teams have. I think they’re going to win this game. I also think it will be totally boring other than a fun home crowd. Unless you’re just really invested in Orlando’s downfall or stingy defending, this one probably isn’t for you.

Toronto FC vs. Nashville SC
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 23/50

And then there’s actual Nashville, who still play defensively, just not as well as Charlotte. Put them against a Toronto side that’s starting to flail a little bit, and it’s going to be a tough sell for me. Although it is interesting to see how Toronto are going to handle some adversity here. The cracks in this team are finally starting to show.

Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 27/50

RSL are a great watch at all times, even if SKC are not. I would have Chicho Arango on my fantasy team this week if I were you.

FC Dallas vs. Minnesota United
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 26/50

Not even a new coach bounce is enough to make watching Dallas all that intriguing. But they are at least a little more interesting than normal. Plus we get to see if Minnesota have recovered from an uninspiring loss to Seattle over the weekend. It feels like they’re starting to lose ground on the rest of the pack at the top of the West.

St. Louis CITY SC vs. Colorado Rapids
WATCH: Apple TV - Free | Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET
Watchability Score: 25/50

St. Louis games are unfortunately starting to feel like the most “Yep, this is a soccer game” of just about any team. But the Rapids have a tendency to play high scoring games and watching them continue to try and figure it out in year one of a refresh is never boring.

And other things

FC Cincinnati's Kubo named Player of the Matchday: Yuya Kubo scored his first career MLS hat trick in FC Cincinnati's 4-2 comeback win at the San Jose Earthquakes, earning Player of the Matchday honors for Matchday 20. Entering as a second-half substitute with the Orange & Blue down 2-1 in the 64th minute, Kubo turned the game on its head by striking three times in a nine-minute-and-10-second span. His was the fastest hat trick in club history and the fourth-fastest in league history.

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Good luck out there. Spend big if you can.