Three Big Storylines:
- Atlanta United are on game three of their six game homestand in their new home, Mercedes Benz Stadium. The first two matches saw them outscore their opponents a combined 10-0, including Wednesday’s 7-0 demolition of the New England Revolution who ended the game with 9 men. Both of those matches were in the traditional soccer configuration for M-B Stadium with only the lower bowl open seating about 43,000 fans. Today the entire stadium is open and they will break the all time MLS single game attendance record (standalone games only) which was 69,255 fans for the Galaxy’s franchise opener in the Rose Bowl versus the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. Atlanta is expecting in excess of 71,000 fans today when they take on Orlando City. Orlando’s 2-1 win at D.C. United last Saturday was their first win since June 30th. In fact Orlando earned 18 points in their first seven games played but have only managed 16 in the 21 games since that fast start. Should be a big day for Atlanta in front of that huge crowd.
- Coming into the weekend the top three spots in the Western Conference are all occupied by Cascadia; Vancouver Whitecaps 44 points from 27 games played, Portland Timbers (44/29) and Seattle Sounders (43/28). The Whitecaps have vaulted to first in the West on the strength of three wins in a row and 13 points from their last 5 played. All three teams play Saturday. The Whitecaps host the Columbus Crew looking to extend their lead (4 PM, MLS Live) while the Timbers are in Utah to take on Real Salt Lake (6:30 PM, MLS Live) and the Sounders are at FC Dallas (5 PM, MLS Live Free Match of the Week).
- The US Open Cup Final is Wednesday in Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City and will see host Sporting Kansas City (yes, they are hosting AGAIN) take on the New York Red Bulls. Both teams sport an identical 41 points from 27 played in MLS play this season. Red Bulls are hosting the Philadelphia Union Sunday morning on national TV (see below) while Sporting KC are in New England to take on a depleted Revolution team on Saturday before returning home with an extra day of rest fo the Open Cup Final. It will be interesting to see how much each team rotates their squad this weekend with an eye on Wednesday’s final (6 PM, ESPN2).
From a Sounders Point of View:
Normally this space has a soft spot for the Vancouver Whitecaps, but their little run of form to the top of the Western Conference table has eliminated those good feelings. Let’s hope that all the attention they have garnered this week about being underappreciated and overlooked in MLS has gone to their head and they lose at home to the Crew.
If the New England Revolution could bounce back from the humiliation that was their 7-0 drubbing at Atlanta on Wednesday and get even a point at home against Sporting KC, that would be great. Go Revs!
Toronto FC has already secured a playoff spot and is nine points up with six to play on New York City FC for the Supporters’ Shield. They might as well get another win and put a nail in the LA Galaxy’s playoff hopes on Saturday night (7:30 PM, MLS Live). Go Toronto.
Last but not least we are all Real Salt Lake fans tonight. Beat Portland.
National TV Listings:
Date/Time: Saturday, 1:00 PM
New York Red Bulls v Philadelphia Union
Date/Time: Sunday, 10:00 AM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Week 28 open gamethread. Watch with us.