Three Big Storylines
- Minnesota United is starting their season with a five-match road trip until they open their new stadium on April 13th. Allianz Field is essentially done, but delaying the start a month gave Minnesota a little buffer if there were any construction delays, plus March in Minnesota can often be a weather challenge. Last week in Vancouver, Minnesota beat the new look Whitecaps 3-2. It was their first in-conference away victory in MLS history. It’s only been two years, but that’s a good streak to end if you are a Minnesota fan worried about that long stretch away from home to start the season. This week Minnesota is at the San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes started their season with a home loss in new manager Matías Almeyda’s debut. It is not inconceivable that Minnesota notch another in-conference away victory as they looked good with Osvaldo Alonso controlling the midfield and Darwin Quintero constantly dangerous in attack.
- Atlanta United are the reigning MLS Cup Champions and they set a record for points in last year’s campaign. But with Miguel Almiron already making waves at Newcastle and manager Tata Martino going over his first full Mexico national team call-up list for the upcoming FIFA fixtures, there are concerns about how the transition is going in Atlanta. United lost 2-0 at D.C. United last weekend and were thoroughly beaten 3-0 at Monterrey on Wednesday in Concacaf Champions League. Atlanta will get a scheduling reprieve this Sunday with a very beatable FC Cincinnati visiting Mercedes Benz Stadium for a nationally televised match. With Cincinnati hosting their inaugural MLS home game next weekend, they might be looking ahead to that big event and give Atlanta the beatable team they need to get some confidence ahead of their CCL return match against Monterrey on Wednesday.
- LAFC suffered 17 fouls from Sporting Kansas City last weekend, while committing 11 of their own in a 2-1 home win that was anything but pretty. This weekend LAFC hosts another Western conference rival in the Portland Timbers. The Timbers played (if you can call it that) in a snowstorm last weekend as they drew 3-3 against the Colorado Rapids, one of five draws in the 12 opening weekend MLS matches. The highlights are worth a watch if you missed the match — it truly lived up to the #SnowClassico hashtag. Despite a performance worthy of Goalkeeper of the Week status, the Timbers were still able to put three goals past Tim Howard, who turned 40 years old on Wednesday.
From a Sounders Point of View
The Sounders have their first away match of the season next weekend as they travel to Chicago to play the Fire. The Fire open this MLS weekend hosting Orlando City SC (Saturday, 10 AM PT, ESPN+), it might be worth watching to see how new Polish attacker Przemysław Frankowski is integrating with the squad.
And it will be curious to see how FC Cincinnati handle Atlanta United’s attack. There is a chance that FC Cincinnati is better than they showed in their debut in Seattle last weekend.
National TV Listings
Date/Time: Saturday, 12:30 PM PT
TV: Univision, Univision Deportes
Atlanta United v FC Cincinnati
Date/Time: Sunday, 2 PM PT (don’t forget to adjust your clocks for Daylight Saving Time!)
LAFC v Portland Timbers
Date/Time: Sunday, 4:30 PM PT
TV: Fox Sports 1
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