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What to watch this weekend

MLS After Dark vibes in Houston and a bunch of American Soccer on national TV.

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Eastern Conference Championship - Real Salt Lake v Chicago Fire
This guy doesn’t play in Chicago any more, but people still tune into Fire games because he used to play there.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Man, you take a week off from the What to Watch for your birthday and the whole of American Soccer turns upside-down. I’m sorry, the producer has indicated that life is pretty normal in the higher levels. The Seattle Sounders are on broadcast TV — again — this time facing off against Atlanta United on FOX/FOX Deportes at 1:30 PM PT Sunday, May 23. And of course, OL Reign at Portland Thorns is also on national TV (CBSSN on Sunday May 23 at 3 PM PT). All is right and just in the world when the best Am Socc to watch is the Am Socc you would be watching anyway.

The only thing that’s unusual locally is that Tacoma Defiance are undefeated (2-0-1, +3) and rapidly charging up the Power Rankings. They’re off this weekend.

MLS games to watch

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Portland Timbers v. LA Galaxy - Saturday at 12:30 PM PT on ABC/ESPN Deportes

Let’s review two significant details. Chicharito is the best scorer in the league and as good as he’s ever been, anywhere. Portland’s goalie is [initiates search] Logan Ketterer or Hunter Sulte. I hardly know who those two are and I worked in USL soccer professionally for two years (I actually know who they are).

For streaming you will want to use WatchESPN/ESPN3.

Chicago Fire FC v. Inter Miami FC - Saturday at 3 PM PT on UniMas/TUDN

Once upon a time Fire had Cuauhtémoc Blanco. Since that time MLS and Univision have forced Chicago on Spanish-speaking America. Somehow it works. Add in a dose of Miami and the ratings will be good, even though the soccer won’t be.

This match is also available in English streaming on Twitter and on TUDN if your cable, satellite, or cord-cutting package has it.

Nashville SC v. Austin FC - Sunday at 8 PM PT on FS1/FOX Deportes

Yellow v. Green, it’s like the PES version of MLS Cup 2020. Nashville has some hope of being a playoff team. Austin has a famous minority owner that TV will babble about constantly. Tune in so you can see how Bwana is doing.

MLS After Dark special: Houston Dynamo v. Vancouver Whitecaps - Saturday at 6 PM PT on ESPN+

National TV didn’t think this one is worth showing, but they’re wrong. Sure, the Dynamo aren’t good. That doesn’t matter. With Vancouver not having home games, not having their best player from 2020 (Adnan), not having a clear direction and identity the Dynamo could fireball Vancouver.

As a reminder, ESPN+ (affiliate link) is the out-of-market service for MLS games. You may be regionally locked out if you live in a market that is showing the game on linear (that’s broadcast, cable, sat) TV. For most of us this happens when Timbers are on ROOT (they aren’t this week).

NWSL games to watch

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Racing Louisville FC v. Washington Spirit - Friday at 5:30 PM PT on Twitch

Did I pick the Twitch game of the week because I prefer the platform? Possibly yes! Did I pick Racing because of their lilac kit? Possibly also yes! Did I pick Louisville because I love their stadium and want to see another dozen like it in the country? Also also yes.

But on the pitch this should be a strong game. One of the youngest talents in the country will be on display as Trinity Rodman continues her simultaneous run for MVP and Rookie of the Year. Racing’s a fairly typical middling expansion side still determining their identity.

  • Paramount+ has the rest of the NWSL matches on the weekend. The best soccer will be Courage v. Pride (Saturday at 5 PM PT). Like, good soccer. Fun soccer. Make some time for it ,too.

If you have Fubo TV (affiliate link) or YouTube TV you get CBSSN.

USL games to watch

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Colorado Springs Switchbacks SC v. New Mexico United - Friday at 6 PM PT on ESPN+/Sirius XM FC

This match has big implications for Defiance as both of these teams are out-of-division matchups for Tacoma later this year. Switchbacks are opening their new 8k downtown stadium, which should be a lot of fun for the city. New Mexico features a former Sounder, as they do — Micheal Azira. Switchbacks D has Jimmy Ockford. United are going to be a power this year. They were already a strong side and now they get to play home games.

  • San Diego at Louisville could break Donovan (and Yedlin!)’s team (Saturday, 4:30 PM PT on ESPN+).
  • Defiance want OCSC and Quails to draw (Saturday, 7 PM PT on ESPN+).

This is your AmSocc open thread for the weekend of Friday, May 21 through Sunday, May 22. Watch with us because what else are you going to do this weekend?

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