The MLS regular season schedule won’t be at its normal lengthy list this weekend, but eight clubs will be in action with hopes of claiming important wins.
Minnesota United hosts the Colorado Rapids in the headlining contest of the four-match slate this weekend, with both teams looking to move up from their respective places in the standings. The Rapids can move to one point from second place with a victory in St. Paul, while Minnesota could finish the weekend in fifth place if it defeats Robin Fraser’s side.
The Seattle Sounders could extend its lead over Sporting KC this weekend with a Cascadia Cup win over visiting Vancouver. Brian Schmetzer’s side sit two points clear of Sporting Kansas City for first place while the Whitecaps could jump into the top seven with a victory at Lumen Field.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Union travels to FC Cincinnati on Saturday while the New York Red Bulls host Inter Miami on the same night.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s MLS matches:
Minnesota United vs. Colorado Rapids
(Sunday, 4 p.m. ESPN)
The headlining clash of this weekend’s slate comes from St. Paul with Minnesota United hosting the Colorado Rapids.
Adrian Heath’s side is jostling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, currently sitting in seventh place. After winning back-to-back league matches, the Loons have since failed to pick up a full three points since mid-September. Luckily for the Loons, Emanuel Reynoso will be available this weekend after MLS rescinded his red card in last weekend’s scoreless draw at FC Dallas.
Colorado continues to be one of the league’s top surprises as the Rapids sit in third place so far. Robin Fraser’s side saw its lengthy unbeaten run come to an end with a 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders last weekend and will be without midfielder Kellyn Acosta due to international duty. Cole Bassett and Jonathan Lewis headline the attacking talent for the Rapids, who will look to take advantage of Sporting KC being off this weekend.
Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
(Saturday, 9 p.m. ESPN+)
The latest Cascadia Cup showdown between Seattle and Vancouver takes place on Saturday with both teams needing a win for different reasons.
Seattle can extend its lead at the top of the West table to five points with a victory at Lumen Field, which would also move its winning streak to four matches in a row. With several players unavailable due to international duty, the Sounders will rely on their depth to claim a first win over the Whitecaps this season.
Vancouver comes into this matchup riding a four-match unbeaten run, most recently downing San Jose 3-0 thanks to Brian White’s hat trick. White has been one of the Whitecaps top players this season, scoring nine goals and also chipping in two assists. With several key players missing from the Sounders squad, Vancouver will hope to take advantage and move into the top seven.
New York Red Bulls vs. Inter Miami
(Saturday, 6 p.m. Univision)
Two of the Eastern Conference clubs looking outside of the playoff places will meet in Harrison, New Jersey with hopes of sparking a run up the table.
The New York Red Bulls welcome Inter Miami to Red Bull Arena, looking to extend their five-match unbeaten run. New York rolled past Inter Miami 4-0 in Florida back in mid-September and since have defeated NYCFC and FC Cincinnati over recent weeks. Omir Fernandez has three goals in his last five appearances for the Red Bulls while Patryk Klimala and Fabio have continued their striking partnership in fine fashion.
Inter Miami has lost four straight and is in desperate need of a spark.
Phil Neville’s side have only registered two goals over that streak, while also conceding 11 over the same span. Gonzalo Higuain leads the way with 10 goals but the Argentine veteran needs help if the second-year club wants to return to the playoffs.
FC Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia Union
(Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN+)
Jim Curtin and his Philadelphia Union squad hit the road for the start of a three-match roadtrip this weekend.
The Union head to TQL Stadium for the first time, looking to inch closer to Nashville SC in second place. Philadelphia has won three of its last four matches, but will be without the services of six players due to international duty. Andre Blake, Jamiro Monteiro, and Olivier Mbaizo are among the key players out for the Union, so youngsters Matt Freese, Paxten Aaronson, and Nathan Harriel are expected replacements this weekend.
FC Cincinnati are losers of five-straight, but did announce the hiring of former Union technical director Chris Albright this week as the club’s new GM. Albright will hope to begin a quick turnaround for the club, who are already well out of the playoff picture for 2021. Luciano Acosta has two goals scored in his last three outings, one of the few bright spots for FC Cincy this season.