Author’s Note: Unlike MLS, your author took the entire international break off. I spent two weeks in France following the USWNT throughout the knockout stages (including some GREAT seats for the some games) with my wife and 2-year-old baby plus my brother, his wife and my 12- and 10-year-old niece and nephew. All I can say is that it is SO MUCH BETTER to travel with a 12- and 10-year-old than a newly turned 2-year-old.
Three big storylines
- First of all, the official MLS website has painted the Red Line black. This must be an oversight as that line needs to be red. There is a new playoff format this year where seven teams make the playoffs, so I just hope that the red line being moved from below the sixth team to below the seventh team has resulted in the clearly inadvertent change of color. Speaking of the red line, only the expansion side FC Cincinnati are double digits below the should-be-red line as most teams are still in striking distance of the playoffs. FC Cincinnati have only 14 points through 19 played while the New England Revolution currently occupy the last Eastern Conference playoff spot with 24 points from 20 played.
- There were three game in MLS on Friday night. D.C. United went two goals down to the New England Revolution before rallying for a 2-2 draw in a match that saw Wilfried Zahibo earn a 63rd-minute red card for the visiting Revolution. After the match, former D.C. United manager and current Revolution manager Bruce Arena put the new Audi Field on blast due to its lack of historical touches. There is probably no truth to the rumor that Arena was lobbying the team to import the racoons from RFK. In the other two matches, the away teams scored 3-1 wins on Friday night. LAFC continue their record-setting season with a win against the Houston Dynamo improving their record to 14-2-4 (W-L-T) with an absurd +36 goal differential while the San Jose Earthquakes won the California Clasico in Carson. The Earthquakes took 32 shots with 16 on target in the match compared to the Galaxy’s five shots with one on target.
- Sunday sees an MLS National TV doubleheader with the Seattle Sounders hosting the opener against Atlanta United (this is not the gamethread for that game) followed by the battle of New York in New Jersey as the New York Red Bulls host New York City FC. NYCFC are coming into the game off a 1-0 home loss to the Portland Timbers that followed their franchise best 12-match unbeaten run. After a historic 2018 season, the Red Bulls have struggled to find their form in 2019. They are currently 6th in the Eastern Conference with 28 points through 19 played (1.47 point per game). With a bottom heavy Eastern Conference they are still solidly above the (should be) red line but if they hope to do anything in the playoffs, they need to be better than 1.47 PPG.
From a Sounders point of view
The Sounders currently sit third in the Western Conference. But with most teams having 14 or 15 matches still to play in the 2019 regular season the playoff seeds from 2-7 behind LAFC look to be very close. Every point will likely count for placing.
The Colorado Rapids travel to Cascadia to play the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, we are all Rapids fans on Saturday. A draw in the Minnesota United hosting FC Dallas match is probably beneficial as well.
National TV listings
Seattle Sounders v Atlanta United
Date/Time: Sunday, 12:55 PM PT
Streaming: Watch ESPN
New York City FC v New York Red Bulls
Date/Time: Sunday, 3:30 PM PT
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Join the Discussion
This is your welcome back after the international break Sounder at Heart MLS Week 19 weekend gamethread. Watch with us.