MLS Midweek Preview: NYCFC hosts Atlanta United, Union visit Quakes, and more

MLS Midweek Preview: NYCFC hosts Atlanta United, Union visit Quakes, and more

Major League Soccer

MLS Midweek Preview: NYCFC hosts Atlanta United, Union visit Quakes, and more

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Six MLS matches are on tap for Wednesday night with several teams looking to clinch playoff berths and one aiming for a No. 1 seed.

NYCFC can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win against Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium and a win or loss by the Philadelphia Union against San Jose. Domenec Torrent’s side was hit back in a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas on Sunday, while Atlanta United defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1, the previous day. Josef Martinez is out the Five Stripes with a knee injury.

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Union look to bounce back as they take a trip to the San Jose Earthquakes. The LA Galaxy can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s top three MLS matches:

NYCFC vs. Atlanta United – 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

The defending MLS Cup champs visit the Bronx in the first of Wednesday’s six-match slate.

Frank de Boer will be without leading goalscorer Josef Martinez, who will be out several weeks with a knee injury. The loss of Martinez will definitely hurt the Five Stripes attack with Brandon Vazquez and Hector Villalba the likeliest to replace him on Wednesday. Atlanta will have some confidence though after defeating NYCFC, 2-1, back in August.

NYCFC can clinch the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win and Philadelphia loss or tie, and would love to do it in front of the home supporters. A 1-1 draw at FC Dallas saw NYCFC frustrated with the final result, but the club has to look forward. Heber is still unavailable due to injury, so expect Valentin Castellanos and Alexandru Mitrita to lead the offensive attack.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union – 11 p.m. (ESPN+)

Two teams looking to rebound will meet at Avaya Stadium in late night action on Wednesday.

The San Jose Earthquakes are currently holding off the Portland Timbers for the final playoff spot, but could be on the way out should they lose at home. Matias Almeyda’s side will be without the suspended duo of Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza.

Jim Curtin’s side fell, 2-0, to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday in Harrison and will look to bounce back on the road. Mark McKenzie will play no part after suffering a hamstring injury at Red Bull Arena, so we could see Aurelien Collin back in the lineup next to Jack Elliott.

Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy – 9:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

A pair of Western Conference sides meet at Rio Tinto Stadium looking to remain in the playoff picture.

The LA Galaxy can clinch a playoff berth with a win on the road and are in fine form to do so after back-to-back wins. After outscoring their opponents 9-to-3 in a pair of wins, the Galaxy are riding high offensively and should be confident against RSL. Uriel Antuna’s distribution has been key of late in the Galaxy’s attack and his role could increase if Zlatan Ibrahimovic ends up being neutralized.

RSL are fifth in the table and could leapfrog the Galaxy in the table if they pick up a victory. The club has won two of its last five league matches, but have only picked up one point from their last two matches overall. Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach are two focal points in RSL’s attack and will need to be impactful if RSL wants to knock off their West rivals.

Here’s a full schedule of Wednesday’s action:

NYCFC vs. Atlanta United – 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

Minnesota United vs. Sporting KC – 8 p.m. (ESPN+)

Real Salt Lake vs. L.A. Galaxy – 9:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo – 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution – 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union – 11 p.m. (ESPN+)

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