Three big storylines
- For the third week in a row we are leading off with a discussion of managers, namely the firings and hirings thereof. Today we look at the new New England Revolution manager, Bruce Arena. How will Arena do playing in an pretty empty stadium on what is reportedly one of the worst surfaces in MLS? At some point Arena is probably going to question what he signed up for as the New England Revolution are a long way from the support and resources Arena received as the manager of the LA Galaxy. But Arena was named both the head coach and sporting director, so he will get to shop for the groceries as well as cook the meals in his new endeavor.
- In a rematch of last season’s two best teams, the New York Red Bulls are hosting Atlanta United. After a slow start to the season, United have won five matches in a row, all via shutout. While Atlanta boasted a record-setting offense last year, this year their defense is doing the heavy lifting — they have only given up eight goals in their 11 games played (only LAFC’s defense is better with 8 from 13 played), while the offense has been surprisingly static and has only scored 13 goals. The Red Bulls are spreading out the scoring load this year as twelve players have scored at least one goal and their leading scorer is a four way tie with two goals. The Red Bulls have won three of their last four and should have a distinct fitness advantage, having not played since last Saturday while Atlanta played Sunday at home followed by Wednesday in Vancouver. This game is on national TV on Sunday in New York.
- LAFC will play FC Dallas for the second time this week on Sunday afternoon (4:30 PM, ESPN+) after they beat Dallas 2-0 at home on Thursday. While LAFC are having a historically good start to the season with 30 points from 13 played (2.31 PPG) and a +23 goal differential and FC Dallas are currently notching 1.42 PPG, this game might be more contentious that it looks at first glance. In the 94th minute on Thursday, with the final whistle about to blow, FC Dallas’s Brazilian defender Bressan came in with an extremely dangerous high slide tackle on LAFC’s star Carlos Vela that manager Bob Bradley and the rest of the LAFC staff made sure to complain about — with good reason — repeatedly after the match ended. No card was awarded for the challenge.
From a Sounders point of view
With six points from the first two played over a stretch of three matches in eight days, the Seattle Sounders are playing with house money on Saturday at the Philadelphia Union. A draw sees Seattle stay at the vaunted 2.0 PPG mark as they would be on 26 points from 13 played.
This is also the first of a four-game road trip for the Sounders, so starting off with a good result would be nice. Their next home game isn’t until June 29th, after MLS takes a short break at the beginning of the summer international tournaments.
National TV listings
San Jose Earthquakes v Chicago Fire
Date/Time: Saturday, 12:30 PM PT
Streaming: Univision Deportes and Twitter Live Stream of the Week
New York Red Bulls v Atlanta United FC
Date/Time: Sunday, 2:00 PM PT
TV: Fox Sports 1
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This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Week 12 gamethread. Watch with us.