One reason to watch every game in Week 14 of the 2020 MLS regular season | Andrew Wiebe

Be honest, you don’t want to read an introduction. You just want to know which games you should watch this weekend and why. 

I’ll attempt to sway you, convince you to give your precious time to 12 two-hour blocks of soccer. Some cases will be more convincing than others. Here we go.

D.C. United vs. New England

Sun., 9/27, 7 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Matt Turner. I saw the blowback coming when our Extratime USMNT starting XI dropped with the Revs’ man between the pipes. 

You should probably, you know, actually watch Turner, both an analytics darling and by-the-eye standout, before you start yelling incoherently about Zack Steffen et al. I’m not here to slag Steffen in any way – he’s in my personal US lineup and was the subject of praise from some guy named Pep Guardiola after a Carabao Cup start and win this week — but Turner is special, too, and still underappreciated nationally.

NY Red Bulls vs. Montreal

Sun., 9/27, 7 pm ET (TV & streaming)

I struggled with this one, so here are some real, live neutrals to make the case.

Those are good. Maybe I should let Twitter write this column for me. I already have, I guess!

Chicago vs. Atlanta

Sun., 9/27, 7:30 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Robert Beric and Alvaro Medran should have fought about penalty kick duties back in March. A little conflict and embarrassment last weekend turned into a 4-0 midweek run in the park, including goals for both aggrieved parties. 

Matt Doyle said on Monday’s Extratime, even before that beatdown of the Dynamo, that Raphael Wicky’s team was playing better than the results they had to show for it. Their offseason sure showed promise, but it seemed wholesale rebuilds were destined to fail in the year of COVID. Maybe it took nine months for Chicago to start to figure it out.

Also, maybe it was just one win against another team below the ever-so generous playoff line. It goes against all previous logic, but Atlanta United are a team that you ought to beat at home if want to make even a 10-team playoff field. Also, the Fire are a team Atlanta ought to beat if they want to make the playoffs. Play desperate, boys!

Philadelphia vs. Miami

Sun., 9/27, 7:30 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Look at this pass from Mark McKenzie to create a goal via Brenden Aaronson.

We know (almost) that Aaronson is gone at the end of the 2020 season. What about McKenzie? He’s become one of the league’s standout central defenders. Don’t believe me? Just watch him against Inter Miami.

Toronto vs. Columbus

Sun., 9/27, 7:30 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Two best teams in the Eastern Conference, very likely the entire league. In my book, at least. Darlington Nagbe’s return is a few weeks off, but Lucas Zelarayan is back and scoring goals. Toronto FC’s Alejandro Pozuelo is the definition of a must-watch player, and my current MVP favorite.

Predictions?

Minnesota vs. Real Salt Lake

Sun., 9/27, 8 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Are the Loons good? I honestly don’t know, and I promise I’m not trolling Adrian Heath. They’ve won just twice in their last 10 regular-season games. The results say they’re pretty average. 

I still maintain that missing Ike Opara (and, for the past four matches, Ozzie Alonso) dropped their level from “clear playoff team” to “sometimes playoff caliber, but often mediocre.” It’s the quality both bring individually, but more so it is the defensive security blanket they provide and structure and accountability they demand that gets the best from everyone else on the field.

So, which will it be, Minnesota? Are you good? Or are you something less than that? Honestly, same question for you, Real Salt Lake. This Loons team, one I’m saying hasn’t been anything special recently, beat you 4-0 three weeks ago. What are you gonna do about it?

FC Dallas vs. Orlando

Sun., 9/27, 8:30 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Chris Mueller and Daryl Dike came off the bench at Kansas City. Does that mean they’ll start, along with fellow substitute Mauricio Pereyra, in Dallas? I sure hope so! Gimme Nani, too, and this game is one to circle in red on your calendar. 

I went out on a limb, pressured by Extratime producer Anders Aarhus, and named Mueller a legit MVP contender this week. Make me look smart, Cash! 

Vancouver vs. Portland

Sun., 9/27 at 10 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Yimmi Chara. The brothers Chara waited many years to reunite in Portland, then Yimmi waited many weeks to finally score his first goal. Now, the younger brother can’t stop scoring — one in each of the Timbers’ last three matches — and everyone is all smiles. Watch to see if he can keep up the pace. 

Even if he can’t, the Timbers score AND give up goals at close to a league-best pace. Vancouver give up goals, as you’ll see shortly, at a near record pace. What I’m saying is that this game has goals in it, which is basically what creating neutral interest is all about.

LA Galaxy vs. Seattle

Sun., 9/27, 10:30 pm ET (TV & streaming)

Chicharito is back, and so is the pressure. Will all three Designated Players be in Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s starting XI? My guess is no. Short rest, recent injuries, weird season. 

  • Galaxy w/ Chicharito (1 goal): 0-4-2, 2 Goals Scored
  • Galaxy w/o Chicharito: 4-1-1, 13 Goals Scored

Maybe it’s not the worst thing if Ethan Zubak gets a start to rest the big guy’s legs? Maybe this team is just wildly inconsistent and Chicharito’s just been unlucky to be in the team on bad nights? Maybe they’re only good with Cristian Pavon and Sebastian Lletget are in God Mode? 

Every game is another chance to learn more. The Sounders are arguably the toughest test in the Western Conference. They’re worth watching no matter the opponent.

LAFC vs. San Jose

Sun., 9/27, 10:30 pm ET (TV & streaming)

The Quakes’ head coach and talisman just called the squad “mentally weak” publicly. LAFC just put five on the ‘Caps – four in the first 14 minutes! – and probably should have had more. This could get ugly. I’d say this chart just about sums it up for Matias Almeyda and his team.

Goals conceded per game average in a season, most all-time

Season Team GPG
2020* SJ 2.93
2001 TB 2.51
2020* VAN 2.31
2019 CIN 2.21
2018 ORL 2.18

Yeesh. Extratime legend David in Skokie sent this email in to put the goal avalanche the Quakes are buried under in context…

Any truth to the rumor that the Earthquakes are trying to break FC Cincinnati's record for goals allowed (75) from last year?  I appreciate their commitment to the cause.  They only need to average 3.8 goals against per game the rest of the way to break the mark. It's 2020 – anything's possible.

Be honest! You think it’s within the realm of possibility! Could LAFC keep San Jose on pace to set the most ignominious of league records? Lots of folks are betting on it.

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