Three Big Storylines:
- With eight MLS games being played on Wednesday and the Gold Cup knockout stages still involving a lot of MLS players, this weekend's games are going to be all about roster management. There will likely be multiple teams unable to field 18 players in their matchday roster.
- Friday night’s opening match of the weekend sees Atlanta United traveling to Orlando to play their closest geographical rival for the first time. Atlanta United has embraced the rivalry, even buying a billboard in Orlando to advertise their intentions. Besides the supporters and front office really trying to make this rivalry a big thing, this match is important for each team’s playoff aspirations. Atlanta currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with 30 points from 19 played while Orlando occupy the sixth and last playoff berth with 29 points for 20 played. The time off has seen Orlando get healthy. Cyle Larin is out having played for Canada last night in their Gold Cup loss to Jamaica but Kaka is not listed on the injury report and expected to start. This video oughta get you in the mood.
- Sunday sees two MLS games, the final match is the Seattle Sounders hosting the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 PM (this is not the gamethread you are looking for) but before that, FS1 opens Sunday’s game with the Portland Timbers traveling to Vancouver. After a hot start to the season, the Timbers are in a tailspin only earning three points from their last six played including an embarrassing 4-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday that saw the game finish with 10 v 9 men as Portland’s Fernando Adi and Victor Arboleda saw reds along with RSL’s Kyle Beckerman. Do yourself a favor and check the highlights here. All three Cascadia teams enter Sunday with 27 points occupying 4th, 5th and 6th in the Western Conference standings. Vancouver has played 18 matches, Portland 21 and Seattle 20.
From a Sounders Point of View:
A repeat of Portland’s capitulation from Wednesday up in Vancouver might be comical to watch, but a draw would probably be the best result.
The Houston Dynamo sit third in the West with 29 points from 20 played, but they are 0-7-3 (W-L-D) on the road. A loss at D.C. United on Saturday (4PM, MLS Live) to continue that away form could see the Sounders leapfrog them in the standings.
National TV Listings:
Date/Time: Friday, 4:00 PM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Date/Time: Saturday, 1:00 PM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Date/Time: Sunday, 3:30 PM
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Week 20 open gamethread. Watch with us.