Wednesday’s MLS Cup rematch between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders featured a pair of side looking to rectify their respective league campaigns.
Both sides went all in on the Concacaf Champions League while dealing with injuries and are now fighting to climb back up the standings.
In addition to the MLS Cup rematch, there’s four other midweek matches taking place on the first major Wednesday matchday of the season.
Below is a look at each of the five games taking place across MLS on Wednesday.
Seattle Sounders at Toronto FC (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
Following last week’s win over the Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC has seven points from seven league matches, but more has to be done to put the Reds closer to the playoff positions.
With Jozy Altidore’s extended injury absence adding to the struggle to stay healthy in Ontario, manager Greg Vanney must find a way to get the best out of his deep roster against a more challenging Sounders side.
The Sounders face their most crucial stretch of the season to date, as they take on Toronto and Portland on the road.
Brian Schmetzer’s club is dealing with its share of injuries too, and it needs to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis, as it has five goals in seven games.
Sporting Kansas City at Atlanta United (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
If you’re looking for a second-screen experience to the MLS Cup rematch, Sporting Kansas City’s trip to Atlanta is the perfect solution.
The leaders of the Eastern and Western Conference bring different qualities to the field, with the matchup to watch coming in defense, as Ike Opara and Matt Besler look to contain Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Co.
From Atlanta’s perspective, it must limit the movement of Sporting KC’s front three spearheaded by Johnny Russell.
Even with two of the league’s best attacks entering Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the game should be determined by role players like Ilie Sanchez and Jeff Larentowicz, who will be asked to control the tempo.
Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
The Union stumble into Columbus off a loss at BMO Field and in need of resurrecting its road form.
Still, the Union have enjoyed recent success against the Columbus Crew, as they won three of the last five regular-season contests between the two sides.
The Crew played an organized 90 minutes at Talen Energy Stadium in March to earn a 0-0 road draw. The Crew might have some rotation in their squad with Pedro Santos suspended and Federico Higuain coming off 90 minutes on Seattle’s turf.
Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
The Impact come into Toyota Park off a 4-2 win over the New England Revolution that ended a four-game winless run, Now the key for the Impact is to string results together and find some type of form before the World Cup break.
The Fire looked strong in the first half against Atlanta United Saturday, but it couldn’t contain the Five Stripes playmakers for 90 minutes. The Fire face similar challenge at home Wednesday with Ignacio Piatti coming off a Player of the Week performance.
Minnesota United at LAFC (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
The first meeting between Minnesota United and LAFC finishes off the five-game Wednesday slate.
The Loons enter on a two-game winning streak in which they’ve conceded a single goal against Houston and Vancouver.
LAFC is unbeaten in its last four games, but has a bit more motivation to get back on the winning track after giving up a second-half equalizer at home to FC Dallas in Week 10.