As you’re dealing with your hangover from the U.S. Men’s National Team game on Saturday, you’ll be able to take in three meaningful Major League Soccer contests.
Playing during the international break is far from ideal, but it’s nothing new in MLS and six teams will be forced to deal with the ramifications of international absences.
Here’s a look at the three-game slate in MLS on Saturday.
Vancouver Whitecaps at New York Red Bulls (5 p.m. ET, UniMas)
It’s a shame such a meaningful game will take place during the international break, but no matter how much attention it gets, Saturday’s clash at Red Bull Arena is crucial for both the Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls.
The first-place Whitecaps, who clinched a playoff spot last week, will be without Christian Bolanos, Yordy Reyna and Kendall Waston. A win or tie on the road could extend their lead, which currently sits at four points.
As for the Red Bulls. this is one they have to win. This is their game in hand on the group of potential contenders beneath them on 39 points. A win seals up the sixth playoff berth in the East and leaves them fighting for seeding. A loss, however, creates a ton of drama on the penultimate weekend of the regular season.
Sporting Kansas City at Minnesota United (8 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
The one team that could conceivably overtake the Whitecaps by the end of the regular season is Sporting Kansas City. Peter Vermes’ men have two games in hand on everyone else in the West except for Vancouver. Saturday’s result relies solely on the team’s depth with Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber on international duty.
The Loons have been playing quite well of late, and they’re set to finish ninth in the Western Conference with a respectable point total. However, a fourth win in five games may be tough to achieve with Francisco Calvo, Johan Venegas and Kevin Molino all away on international duty.
FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids (9 p.m. ET, MLS Live)
FC Dallas have been in the middle of a controversy all week, and although they won’t be docked points for their roster hiccup against Orlando City, they’re still facing plenty of pressure. A second win in three games over the Colorado Rapids would boost FC Dallas back into the top six and two points ahead of Houston and three in front of Real Salt Lake and San Jose.
All the Rapids are looking to do at this point in the season is play the role of spoiler. The Rapids do have a respectable 7-5-3 home mark at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and they were able to disrupt Montreal’s late charge in the East last weekend.