Three Big Storylines:
- The Supporters’ Shield is looking like a two team race as we hit the final stretch of the season. New York Red Bulls lead Atlanta United FC by a one point margin, but Atlanta have a game in hand. United (Atlanta version) are in Colorado to play the Rapids in the opening game of the MLS weekend slate. The Rapids have lost their last three matches by a combined 10-0 featuring a 6-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake around more understandable 2-0 away losses to the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers. The Red Bulls are also traveling but have a much shorter trip as they are in D.C. to play a surging D.C. United on Sunday. United (D.C. version) is coming off a come from behind 2-1 win over United (Minnesota version) on Wednesday while the Red Bulls have not played since September 1st.
- Saturday afternoon features Toronto FC hosting the LA Galaxy (4:30, ESPN+) and we will see the debut of interim manager Dom Kinnear for the Galaxy as he took over for Sigi Schmid this week. With both teams being long shots to make the playoffs this game is a de facto loser out match. TFC are nine points out of the playoffs and would need to leapfrog the New England Revolution and D.C. United before tracking down the Montreal Impact for the last playoff spot. They do have a game in hand and might be the healthiest they have been all year. The Galaxy are only three points back of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference currently held by the Seattle Sounders, but the Sounders have two games in hand. A draw here really does neither team any favors, look for both managers to go all out for the win.
- The Campeones Cup makes its debut on Thursday (5:15, ESPN2 and Univision). It is the game featuring the MLS Cup champions playing the Liga MX Campeon de Campeones holder (the regular Liga MX season winners of the Apertura and Clausura play for this title). Toronto FC will host Tigres UANL in a one off game for a new trophy. This is actually a rematch from the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals this year that saw TFC eliminate Tigres on the away goals rule with a 4-4 aggregate score. While it is a new trophy, it does come in a curious spot in the calendar. Look for MLS and Liga MX to continue this game for years to come, but the date might end up being floated around until they find an agreeable (read marketable) spot in the calendar.
From a Sounders Point of View:
TFC could do us a favor and stick a fork in the Galaxy. I don’t think the idea of playing Zlatan in the playoffs is very appealing. Although if the Sounders hosted that game he would have to play on turf.
The Houston Dynamo are hosting the Portland Timbers. The Dynamo’s MLS season is done, but they still need to be sharp for their upcoming US Open Cup Final, hopefully they can get even a draw at home. We are also fans of Minnesota United when they travel to Utah to play Real Salt Lake and the New England Revolution as they make the long trip to LA to play LAFC.
National TV Listings:
Colorado Rapids v Atlanta United
Date/Time: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
DC United v New York Red Bulls
Date/Time: Sunday, 10:00 a.m.
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Chicago Fire v Orlando City SC
Date/Time: Sunday, 2:00 p.m.
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Weekend Week 29 open gamethread. Watch with us.