Three big storylines
- The season is winding down and playoff spots are really up in the air. Let’s talk about those in the next two points. For big storyline number one, we have to discuss some off field goings on in MLS. The Chicago Fire were just sold as Andrew Hauptman has sold his controlling interest to Joe Mansueto. Reportedly the 51% percent stake that Mansueto acquired from Hauptman went for $204 Million which would value the Fire at $400 Million. That seems high for a team without a stadium, speaking of which the Fire are also moving out of Bridgeview and into Soldier Field next season as they are finalizing a three year lease with two more options for three years and a couple other one year options. Apparently they are moving to the city, but keeping their options open when it comes to building their own stadium going forward. In other news, Inter Miami’s owners Jorge Mas and David Beckham are reportedly in Spain attempting to lure a striker to Miami for their inaugural season in MLS next year. What will they have to trade the Seattle Sounders for Luis Suarez’s discovery rights? Hopefully it’s a lot. Do the Sounders actually have Suarez’s discovery rights, well it’s impossible to know as MLS is opaque when it comes to ‘discovering’ players not in the league. But this author is just going to assume that the Sounders acquired Suarez’s discovery rights when they signed Nico Lodeiro. There is also another player in Barcelona that Inter Miami reportedly wants, good luck with that.
- The Eastern Conference sees New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union leading the way in first and second respectively and are the only two teams to have officially qualified for the post season heading into the weekend. Toronto FC took advantage of the United States Men’s National Team’s largess and secured four points over the international break behind their international players who were given a pass from these last two friendlies and are now up to fourth place in the conference. Expansion side FC Cincinnati has officially been eliminated from playoff contention with only 18 points from 29 played.
- The Western Conference has been won by LAFC. Congratulations. Now for the playoff spots as if the playoffs started today the LA Galaxy would be on the outside looking in, for the second year in a row. As it stands now, Zlatan Ibrahimovic would never have experienced the pressure cooker that is the MLS Playoffs. The Galaxy will close the MLS weekend when they host Sporting Kansas City on national TV at 7:30 PM on Sunday night. The playoff spots second through seventh in the Western Conference just ahead of the Galaxy (who are on 42 points with five matches to play) are separated by three points as Real Salt Lake sit in second with 46 points and FC Dallas are in seventh on 43 points. The Sounders, Minnesota United, San Jose Earthquakes, and Portland Timbers round out the playoff spots in that order. Only the Vancouver Whitecaps have been eliminated from the playoffs in the west.
From a Sounders point of view
For this late in the season, there are a surprising six inter conference matches on the calendar this weekend and most have a clear rooting interest for the Sounders.
At 9:30 AM Saturday (what are these kickoff times, is this MLS or your preferred European league on the telly?) New York City FC hosts the San Jose Earthquakes, Go NYCFC!
FC Dallas travels to Bridgeview on Saturday (12:30 PM, Univision) for the Fire’s second to last game at that not so historic venue, go Fire!
Also on Saturday the Philadelphia Union host LAFC, we don’t really have a rooting interest there.
On Sunday the Portland Timbers host D.C. United, Toronto FC hosts the red hot Colorado Rapids (yes, RED HOT with three wins in a row) and the Seattle Sounders host the New York Red Bulls. Let’s go Sounders, D.C. United and Toronto FC (in that order).
National TV listings
Chicago Fire v FC Dallas
Date/Time: Saturday, 12:30 PM PT
Streaming: TUDN Streaming and Twitter Stream of the Week
Portland Timbers v D.C. United
Date/Time: Sunday, 12:30 PM PT
Streaming: Watch ESPN
LA Galaxy v Sporting Kansas City
Date/Time: Sunday, 7:00 PM PT
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
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This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Week 28 gamethread. Watch with us.