International action might take centerstage around the globe this weekend, but many MLS clubs will be in action with hopes of ending the round with three points in their grasp.
The Philadelphia Union hosts Orlando City this weekend, with both clubs fighting to recover from shock defeats in Week Four. Jim Curtin’s side will be without Daniel Gazdag, Jose Martinez, and others due to international commitments, while the Lions should have many of their first-choice players to call on.
The Eastern Conference’s third and fourth-placed teams will meet as FC Cincinnati visits Nashville SC. Both teams dropped points last week and will look to bounce back in this old USL rivalry. Brandon Vazquez and Hany Mukhtar headline the attacking talent in this contest.
Elsewhere, the Columbus Crew hosts Atlanta United, while LAFC takes on FC Dallas at BMO Stadium.
Here is a closer look at the top matchups for Week 5:
Union vs. Orlando City
Saturday 7:30 pm ET, AppleTV+
Both teams had surprising losses in Week Four and will be keen to rebound.
The Concacaf Champions League has done neither of these teams any favors, with Orlando City dropping points to D.C. United the week prior, and the Philadelphia Union falling to CF Montreal.
In what is shaping up to be a hypercompetitive Eastern Conference, both teams must get on track, and a result for either team will provide a much-needed boost heading into April.
Eyes will be on Orlando City and whether or not they can offer anything in the final third without attacker Facundo Torres. Torres is on international duty with Uruguay, meaning someone else will have to step up in his absence. Ercan Kara is the likely replacement after delivering a positive first season in 2022.
Nashville SC vs. FC Cincinnati
Saturday 8:30 pm ET, AppleTV+
2022 league MVP Hany Muhktar is yet to score for Nashville SC this season and will aim to change that by hosting their old USL foes, FC Cincinnati. Sitting just one point apart in the East standings, both of these clubs have had hot starts to the 2023 season.
Nashville SC has only conceded once in the first four matches as the Walker Zimmerman-led back line has proven to be challenging for opposing attacks to breakdown.
FC Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez is still searching for his first goal of the 2023 season after an impressive international window with the USMNT in January. The 24-year-old had 18 goals and eight assists in league play last season and will shoot to get back to that scoring pace in Matchweek 5.
Crew vs. Atlanta United
Saturday 7:30 pm ET, AppleTV+
It’s been a tough start to the season for Wilfred Nancy’s Columbus Crew, with only one win earned out of four matches played. However, three of their matches have been on the road, so the Crew will hopefully get moving in the right direction at Lower.com Field on Saturday.
Lucas Zelarayan remains the Crew’s most dangerous attacker in 2023, but his absence due to international duty leaves a major hole in Wilfried Nancy’s midfield.
Atlanta comes into this match on flying form, with Thiago Almada and Caleb Wiley playing massive roles so far. Almada is with Argentina though, leaving Wiley as the Five Stripes best attacking threat.
LAFC vs. FC Dallas
Saturday 10:30 pm ET, AppleTV+
Two of the top clubs in the West face off as defending champions Los Angeles FC host FC Dallas.
LAFC will plan to continue their quality start to the season as they hunt St. Louis CITY SC for the top spot in the Western Conference. Two key missed chances late in their draw with the Seattle Sounders will likely motivate LAFC to get the full points against Dallas.
Jesus Ferreira will continue to set his sights on the league’s Golden Boot after scoring three goals to start the season. LAFC’s star-studded backline will prove a tough test for the young American, but Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco are also good options to complement Ferreira in the final third.
Full MLS Week 5 Schedule:
All Matches on Saturday:
4:30 pm – Portland Timbers vs. L.A Galaxy, AppleTV+
7:30 pm – Charlotte FC vs. NY Red Bulls, AppleTV+
7:30 pm – Philadelphia vs. Orlando, AppleTV+
7:30 pm – DC United vs. New England, AppleTV+
7:30 pm – Columbus vs. Atlanta United, AppleTV+
7:30 pm – Inter Miami vs. Chicago, AppleTV+
8:30 pm – Nashville vs. Cincinnati, AppleTV+
8:30 pm – Sporting KC vs. Seattle Sounders, AppleTV+
8:30 pm – Austin vs. Colorado, AppleTV+
8:30 pm – Houston Dynamo vs. NYCFC, AppleTV+
8:30 pm – Minnesota vs. Vancouver, AppleTV+
9:30 pm – RSL vs. St. Louis, AppleTV+
10:30 pm – LAFC vs. FC Dallas, AppleTV+
10:30 pm – San Jose vs. Toronto, AppleTV+
Morris with 4 goals tonight. Finally gets out back at his favored striker spot and shows what he is about. Been saying for years Seattle needs to have him in a more of a striker role. Might be worth Schmetzer putting Morris and Ruidiaz up top together.
Morris leading goal scorer in MLS with 7 goals on the season so far.
Been saying he should have been in the striker corps for the USMNT too not on the wing.
Can we start having a real conversation about MLS still playing through FIFA windows? 90 players ranging from u19 to full national teams were called up from MLS teams. That is a significant amount missing from MLS rosters this window. It is only going to grow as MLS becomes more of a destination league. Time for Garber to talk about suspending play during FIFA windows.
Leagues Cup better be awesome otherwise was this worth it? Of course my Crew’s B team crushed ATL’s so maybe I should be rooting for more of this.