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What to watch this weekend

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For those not watching the greatest rivalry in American soccer, there are five other matches on broadcast TV this weekend.

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MLS: Atlanta United FC at Inter Miami CF
Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) celebrates with medical staff after scoring against Inter Miami CF during the first half at DRV PNK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

There has never been a bigger weekend for Am Socc on television. As the second year of pandemic soccer schedule was being built out, the opening weekend in May started to build into something amazing — four broadcast networks carrying six matches, plus some cable specials.

Obviously when Portland Timbers host Seattle Sounders that’s a broadcast special, no matter how big the crowd is due to Covid-safety concerns. ABC has that one at noon (12:13 PM PT kick). But that’s not their only match and it’s not the only match on broadcast TV from Providence Park this weekend. It’s also not the only game for a Sounders team on Sunday — Tacoma Defiance are at LA Galaxy II at 5 PM PT on ESPN+ on Sunday, too.

Everything this weekend is about jamming soccer in front of your eyeballs.

MLS games to watch

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There are five other MLS matches on linear (broadcast/cable/sat) TV. That’s a massive amount of soccer. But there’s one match that you have to watch for the #MLSAfterDark vibes — Friday night Real Salt Lake hosts the San Jose Earthquakes (6:30 PM PT, ESPN+). The Paladins v. Orcs in the shadows of the Wasatch? Count me in.

FC Dallas v. Houston Dynamo - Saturday at 12:30 PM PT on Univision

Sure, there are more significant rivalries in US soccer, from teams that are more significant, but none have a cooler trophy than this one. El Capitán is a replica cannon. A cannon. Yeah. Plus, both teams get up, because even if you don’t care about the rivalry, they do.

“Personally I’m not a big fan of Houston. Not the team, just the city in general” — Paxton Pomykal

This match will be streamed in English on Twitter.

Orlando City v. New York City - Saturday at 3 PM PT on ESPN/ESPN Deportes

One team uses city, because frankly, they deserve to do that. The other team uses city because sometimes you forget that Orlando isn’t just theme parks.

But you don’t watch this one to make fun of Orlando. You watch it because NYCFC has two three-goal scorers and Maxi Moralez already has 10 key passes. The Lions are stingy though, so maybe no one breaks through.

This match will be streamed on WatchESPN/ESPN3/ESPN app.

LA Galaxy v. LAFC - Saturday at 5 PM PT on FOX/FOX Deportes

El Trafico — you already heard so much about it last week when Seattle dominated the Galaxy. It’s easy to be cynical and think that this derby is overrated, but since the Galaxy don’t suck anymore the game actually matters.

A fully functional squad for Bob Bradley will make this one even more fun. If both Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela are out maybe turn the TV on and fold laundry just to help the MLS ratings.

This match will be streamed on FOX Sports Go.

Inter Miami v. Atlanta United - Sunday at 10 AM PT on ABC/ESPN Deportes

Any time you think you can forget about David Beckham owning a soccer team there’s a house elf version of Don Garber that grabs your remote and turns the TV on. It doesn’t matter how intriguing the Miami team is, Donby’s going to make you watch it.

If this match were next week I’d suggest scheduling your weekend around it, because the Five Stripes might be rested and full strength. Luckily for lesser Inter, Atlanta looked exhausted during their midweek CCL match.

This match will be streamed on WatchESPN/ESPN3/ESPN app.

Sporting KC v. Austin FC - Saturday at 4:30 PM PT on FS1/FOX Deportes

I hate to do this, but give them Blue Hell.

It’s not that I like Sporting KC at all. It’s just that Austin’s colors are derivative and their majority owner went to a BBQ once so he decided he needed to move a team to a new city. I still hate that as a concept. If you are of age, the fun beverage game is to enjoy a drink every time an announcer mentions Matthew McConaughey.

This match will be streamed on FOX Sports Go.

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).

If you’re a cord cutter, services like Fubo TV (affiliate link) can help.

NWSL game to watch

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Portland Thorns v. Gotham FC - Saturday at 10 AM PT on CBS

The 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup Final at Providence Park will have limited attendance. CBS gets the only two undefeated teams from the preseason tourney, and we get the only two sides that earned more points than OL Reign. Allie Long just returned to her first pro club (Gotham was Sky Blue back then) and now she gets to return to dominate Portland, as she do.

Go Gotham. You’ve got a cool brand, and you’re not Portland.

US/Canadian streamers can find it on Paramount+. Internationally it will stream on Twitch.

USL games to watch

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Tampa Bay Rowdies v. Pittsburgh Riverhounds - Saturday at 4:30 PM PT on ESPN+

We don’t talk about the USL Championship Eastern Conference very often on Sounder at Heart. They might as well play on the moon, rather than the Best Coast. Take a bit of time on Saturday afternoon to take this one in. First off, Tampa’s stadium is a waterfront beauty. Secondly, these two teams are the top two in the Atlantic Division. Pittsburgh is all defense. The Rowdies are a bit more complete. Plus they have Ted Lasso’s kid Forrest (half of that statement is true).

Other Broadcast Soccer

I’m sorry. No. You’ve watched enough. Four broadcast networks are carrying US pro soccer this weekend. That’s enough. Don’t be greedy.

This is your AmSocc open thread for the weekend of Friday, May 7 through Sunday, May 9. Watch with us.

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