What you need to know


A full midweek slate for you tonight. Check out 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.

Your midweek storylines

We’ve been gifted a full midweek slate before we hit an international break. Enjoy it while you can. Here’s what you need to keep an eye on tonight.

Cincy are streaking

We expect so much of FC Cincinnati these days. That’s probably why we haven’t even really blinked over the last seven matchdays. The Garys have come out with a win in all of them. It’s impressive, but it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal. Of course they’ve won seven in a row. This is just what they do.*

(Hello to time travelers from 2021 who are incredibly confused by that statement.)*

Folks, what if I told you FC Cincinnati are on the verge of the second-longest winning streak in MLS history? They technically already have it. They’re tied with 2022 LAFC and Sporting KC, who each had their own seven-game streak. With a win tonight over Nashville, they’ll officially be in control of second place and just one win behind 2018 Seattle for the longest streak in league history.

Nashville, of course, aren’t the kind of team you just come in and run over. Even when they’re down (bad), they’re still physical and refuse to make things easy on opponents. A streak-breaking draw is on the table here.

But these are the kinds of games Cincy are so good at fighting through. You might have seen by now that they’re 23-4 in one-goal games since the start of 2023. They’re always solid defensively, Lucho Acosta is always around to save the day and, now, they’re getting genuine contributions in attack from the folks they brought in to replace the folks who provided genuine contributions in attack last season. Wingback Luca Orellano and striker Kevin Kelsy both look like the real deal and each found the net in Cincy’s win over Toronto over the weekend.

Coming into the season, we wrote that the Garys’ goal for the year seemed to be maintaining the status quo as best they could while going through some serious roster turnover. But what if they’re actually even better?

A poorly timed Atlanta reunion

Atlanta have been in a tailspin for a couple of months. They’re entering tonight on a nine-game winless streak annnddddd they have to take a trip to Miami where a healthy and rested Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Sergio Busquets should be waiting for them. It’s not exactly a “get-right” game, is it?

Even worse, Atlanta fans will have to look at the other bench and see Tata Martino guiding the way for a team that also features Julian Gressel. For a fanbase that hasn’t been truly happy since Martino and Gressel were around in 2018, it’s going to bring up some bad feelings that they don’t really need right now. It’s like handing your already depressed friend a copy of “Bridge To Terabithia.”

Anyway, this could be a particular low point for the Five Stripes tonight. If this miserable stretch has been building towards a beatdown in Miami similar to what we saw in Leagues Cup last year, then it might push Atlanta one step closer to a conclusion that already feels close. The feeling that changes could be coming to this team and staff is real in Atlanta right now.

But there’s a lot to consider here. Few teams, if any, have been as consistently injured or missing key players as Atlanta United. Few teams have been as unlucky relative to their underlying numbers. There’s still reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. With a relatively healthy lineup tonight, maybe they can dig deep and find a moment that finally, mercifully turns things around. Trust me, they’re due.

Then again, Inter Miami aren’t exactly a team that want to let you down gently.

Charlotte keep sleeping on the couch

That’s a clean-sheet joke. Just a little one. I hope your day is slightly worse after reading it.

Because that’s the spirit of Charlotte FC soccer right now. They’re rapidly trending toward overtaking Nashville’s status as the league’s stingiest team. It seems like Charlotte manager Dean Smith has absorbed former Nashville manager Gary Smith’s powers and taken over as the league’s preeminent purveyor of Smith Soccer.

It’s led to five straight clean sheets, the fourth-longest streak in MLS history. They’re two away from tying the all-time mark. It’s not exhilarating stuff, but it is effective. The Crown have raised their floor considerably, the same way Nashville made a living the last few years.

They have a tough challenge tonight dealing with a Red Bulls side that’s among the best in the East, but it’s not like New York are hellbent on turning each game into a track meet. Another clean sheet almost feels inevitable. Again, not exciting. But that’s another point. If Charlotte can keep piling those up until they add two more attacking DPs into the fold, they should be set to earn a playoff spot.

Seattle are on the verge of turning this around don’t look at me like that I’m serious this is when it’s going to start to happen this is not a bit

It could happen! Yeah, they’ve got to handle a red-hot Real Salt Lake side, but I refuse to give up on this side. Pedro de la Vega could be available for minutes again tonight, they’re at home and they’ve earned seven points from their last four games with their only loss coming to… well, RSL, but still. Just keep an eye on it, ok?

Minnesota are built to win on the road (but maybe not against LAFC)

Just a gentle reminder that Minnesota and LAFC are set to give us the best game of the night. If you want a playoff-level intensity to your matches mixed with a little MLS After Dark chaotic energy, then you’ve got it right here.

These are two of the best teams in the league and both are more than happy to play against the ball and wait for their opportunity to capitalize on transition moments. They have the talent to do it. You should be well aware of Denis Bouanga by now, but young LAFC winger Cristian Olivera is starting to find his footing and Minnesota have rising stars leading their front line in Tani Oluwaseyi and Sang Bin Jeong.

Tonight won’t really affect either team’s standing as one of the best teams in the league, but it should be worth your full attention.

And Other Things

St. Louis CITY sign midfielder Teuchert: St. Louis CITY SC have signed midfielder Cedric Teuchert. He is under contract through June 2026 with an option for the remainder of that season. Teuchert, 27, recently played for Hannover 96 in Germany's second division. He's scored 48 goals and assisted 21 times in 194 professional matches, with additional stops at Union Berlin, Schalke 04 and 1. FC Nürnberg in his native Germany. Teuchert won't be eligible to debut until the Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 18.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. Be well prepared for big days.