Three Big Storylines:
- New and shiny DPs are starting to be rolled out across MLS. Steven Gerrard is playing for the Galaxy and played well in his MLS debut. The Galaxy are mired in the midst of friendlies being a participant in the International Champions Cup (ICC) with games against Club America and Barcelona recently, but return to MLS play away at Houston on Saturday (6:00 PM, MLS Live). Andrea Pirlo had his welcome to MLS press event (it was definitely an event, not a conference) this week and might join Frank Lampard in making his MLS debut against Orlando on Sunday.
- Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City will be the Friday night MLS feature of the week. With an 11 pm eastern time kickoff, expect to see the national soccer media complaining about kickoff times again. Sporting KC have 15 points from their last six played and are quite possibly the hottest team in MLS while RSL will be hoping the late kickoff has their home crowd excited as they need the three points. RSL is six points below the red line in the western conference and they are in danger of losing hope to salvage the season in the ultra competitive west.
- With the MLS All Star Game on the horizon next week, this might be the last chance for players to make an impression. It is probably too late to make the gameday roster, but the full All Star game roster (the one that qualifies a player for a bonus) has not been filled out. Players like Ethan Finlay who leads MLS with 11 assists but did not get named to the All Star game could really benefit from the roster bonus that comes with being one of the players named to fill out the roster. Finlay is making $142,500 guaranteed compensation this year according to the MLS Players Union.
From a Sounders Point of View:
There are nine games on the MLS calendar this weekend and none we are looking at involve interconference matchups. So we have no Eastern Conference team to cheer for in the faint hope that they might scratch out a single point against their western opposition. Well there is one interconference game, and that is the most important game of the weekend. The Seattle Sounders are in Montreal to take on the Impact.
Outside of three points for the home team, Sounders fans will be looking for the Philadelphia Union to take points off DC United for long range Supporters' Shield implications. The Portland Timbers are in Frisco to take on FC Dallas. Dallas leads the ultra tight Western Conference standings with 35 points from 21 played while Portland are sixth in the conference with 32 points from 21 played. A draw would be great, in fact draws across the Western Conference are fine at this point. All draws but the Friday game, Sporting KC have 33 points but have games in hand with only 18 played so go RSL.
National TV Listings:
Real Salt Lake v Sporting Kansas City
Friday, 8:00 PM
Streaming: Univision Deportes
*SAP Button will have English commentary
New York City FC v Orlando City SC
Sunday, 11:30 AM
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
DC United v Philadelphia Union
Sunday, 2:00 PM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Week 21 Gamethread. Watch with us.