Three Big Storylines
- Friday night MLS at 5PM - on national TV in Canada, and ESPN+ here in the USA - opens the weekend, as the surprisingly competent Philadelphia Union (10 points from their last 5 played) host what is still a struggling Toronto FC squad (4 points from their last 5). The Union will be without Designated Player Alejandro Bedoya and Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. Bedoya received a second yellow card for verbal dissent in an incident last week against Atlanta United for something he insists he did not say, while Stewart was just named the General Manager for the United States men’s national team. Toronto FC comes into the match somewhat dejected after they blew a 3-0 lead on the road at the Columbus Crew. Sebastian Giovinco looked to have sealed the three points for the Canadians when he put them up by three with a 57th minute goal, only for TFC to blow the lead over the last half hour.
- ESPN has a Saturday double header on national TV as the USMNT head to Lyon, France to perform the ignominious task of being another country’s World Cup send-off fodder, followed by a clash of two of MLS’s better teams as the Columbus Crew host the New York Red Bulls. This match will feature MLS’s joint second leading goal scorers on the year, as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Gyasi Zardes both have nine goals (trailing Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez, who has 12). The two managers in MLS rumored to be front runners for the USMNT permanent job are the Crew’s Gregg Berhalter and Red Bull’s Jesse Marsch. While this game will not be a referendum on who gets the job, new GM Earnie Stewart will have to have an eye on the game.
- No Fox Sports national TV game this week as their entire cadre of soccer personnel are either in Russia already for the World Cup or getting ready to call and/or produce the World Cup broadcast from a studio in Los Angeles. The big news in US Soccer this week upcoming will be the vote by FIFA members on who hosts the 2026 World Cup. The joint bid of the United States, Mexico and Canada faces Morocco with the vote on Wednesday. In a break from past procedures that saw Russia and Qatar becoming surprising World Cup hosts, each vote from FIFA’s 211 member associations carries the same weight and the votes will be public (The vote that gave us Qatar was a secret ballot by only the 22 person FIFA Executive Committee.). It now takes just a simple majority to win the right to host. The New York Times has a live tracker here to follow the vote and counting associations that have already publicly committed their votes. At the time of writing, the committed vote was 23 for North America to 17 for Morocco.
From a Sounders Point of View
In what is sadly becoming a recurring theme in this space, the only goal for the weekend (besides scoring a few) is to get three points. The Sounders need to find a way to accrue some points before scoreboard watching begins.
If that paragraph sounds familiar, it’s because I used it last week. To no avail. The Seattle Sounders host D.C. United in their fifth of an eight game road trip leading up to the opening of their new stadium in downtown Washington, D.C. If there’s ever a time to get three points, now is it (of course, the same thing could have been said the last few weeks as well, so...).
National TV Listings
Columbus Crew v New York Red Bulls
Date/Time: Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Steaming: Watch ESPN
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Weekend Week 14 open gamethread. Watch with us.