As we continue to come down from the excitement of the CONCACAF Champions League, it’s time to look ahead to the Major League Soccer weekend slate.
Eleven games over three days produce a bevy of intriguing matchups, including a showdown of international superstars at Toyota Park.
New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City sit atop the standings in each conference and both are in the national spotlight Sunday.
Here’s a look at all the action taking place in Week 7.
Game of the Week
New York City FC at Atlanta United (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET, FS1)
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference are set for an early-season showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
NYCFC is coming off a midweek win over Real Salt Lake, and it has achieved its success without David Villa in the lineup. Patrick Vieira quietly built one of the league’s top rosters in the offseason and the early-season returns are more than positive. Maxi Moralez and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi are both one goal back of Josef Martinez in the Golden Boot race.
Martinez and Atlanta United are a different animal at home, as they thrashed LAFC a week ago, but a win over NYCFC would deliver more of a statement given the success of the East leaders.
Other Key Games to Watch
LA Galaxy at Chicago Fire (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Univision)
Saturday’s clash between the LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire features a pair of players few thought would be in MLS a few years ago.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes his first road trip as a Galaxy player, while his former Manchester United teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger is thriving in a deeper role for the Fire. Overlooked by the clash of the titans is a battle between two of the scorers in MLS in Ola Kamara and Nemanja Nikolic.
Each of the last five games between the Galaxy and Fire produced at least two goals, with the last two meetings being 2-2 draws.
FC Dallas at New England Revolution (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Saturday’s match at Gillette Stadium doesn’t pop out immediately, but it carries plenty of intrigue on both sides.
FC Dallas is in desperate need of a victory as its hangover from the end of the 2017 season continues. New England’s early success has flown under the radar of other national storylines, but it is right in the mix in the East after two straight wins.
The Revolution are looking to end a seven-year winning drought against FC Dallas. Their last win over FCD came in 2011 by way of goals from Shalrie Joseph and Rajko Lekic.
Seattle Sounders at Sporting Kansas City (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Sporting Kansas City enters Sunday off a road victory over the Galaxy in which it looked like the Sporting of old. Peter Vermes’ new additions have made an immediate impact and the defense is starting to figure things out.
The Sounders comes into Children’s Mercy Park without a goal in three MLS matches and trying to fill the void left by the suspended Clint Dempsey. The Sounders are the only team in MLS to not score a goal.
Rest of the Schedule
Orlando City at Philadelphia Union (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Eighteen goals have been scored in five meetings between Orlando City and Philadelphia, with the Union putting up six on the Lions.
Orlando is one of two teams in the East to concede 10 goals, while the Union’s young backline has let in four in four games.
LAFC at Vancouver Whitecaps (Friday, 10 p.m. ET, TSN, ESPN+)
LAFC has two wins and two losses in its road excursions so far, but a good performance in Vancouver is needed after being blown out by Atlanta in Week 6.
The Whitecaps are 1-0-1 at home and sits second in the Western Conference with 10 points. A home win would put the Whitecaps level with Sporting KC for at least two days.
Montreal Impact at New York Red Bulls (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, TVA Sport, ESPN+)
The New York Red Bulls will try to respond to their CCL exit with a strong performance against the Montreal Impact.
The Impact strung together a pair of 1-0 wins before falling to the Revs a man down in Week 6.
Toronto FC at Colorado Rapids (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, CTV, ESPN+)
Toronto FC and Colorado face off for the third time this season after TFC won the CCL round-of-16 series in February.
The Rapids have five points from their last three games, but the in-form Reds are a much more difficult test than FC Dallas or the Union.
Columbus Crew at D.C. United (Saturday, 7 p.m, ET, ESPN+)
The Crew are one of two MLS teams that have played six games in six weeks. After going undefeated in their first four, the Crew enter Saturday’s clash in Annapolis, Maryland with two straight losses.
D.C. is struggling to say the least as it tries to make it to the opening of Audi Field in striking distance. Saturday is the last game the Black and Red will play in the Washington D.C. area before July 14.
Minnesota United at Portland Timbers (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Part one of the MLS After Dark special is the first game at Providence Park after offseason renovations.
The Timbers started the Giovanni Savarese era with three losses and two draws, but now the expectations really turn up as the new boss gets a chance to produce home results.
Eleven goals were scored in two meetings between the two teams a year ago.
Houston Dynamo at San Jose Earthquakes (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
The winning team in each of the last three meetings between the Houston Dynamo and San Jose Earthquakes recorded a clean sheet.
The Dynamo’s Week 1 shutout win over Atlanta is the only clean sheet earned by either team in 2018.