Saturday night’s slate of MLS fixtures gets under way at 7:30 p.m. ET, when Toronto FC begin what can only be described as their last chance at securing a 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs berth, at home against LA Galaxy. With seven games remaining, Greg Vanney’s side — the defending champions — trail Montreal Impact by nine points. D.C. United and New England Revolution must also be leapfrogged in the process, meaning TFC sit ninth in the Eastern Conference halfway through the month of September.
Later in the evening, the Western Conference’s top three seeds — FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City and Los Angeles FC, in that order, for now — are all in action. FCD will host Columbus Crew SC at 8 p.m. ET; Sporting KC will visit San Jose Earthquakes at 10:30 p.m. ET; LAFC will host New England in the same late-night time slot.
The last time Brian Schmetzer’s Seattle Sounders lost a game was June 30. That was a dozen games ago. Since then, the Sounders have won nine of 11, including the last eight in a row. The two-time defending West champs go for nine straight against their Cascadia Cup rival Vancouver Whitecaps at 10 p.m. ET.
Click the link above to follow along in real-time, and check back with PST early Sunday morning for a full recap of all of the action.
Tonight’s full MLS schedule
Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy — 7:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew SC — 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers — 8:30 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United — 9:30 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders — 10 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City — 10:30 p.m. ET
Los Angeles FC vs. New England Revolution — 10:30 p.m. ET
Sunday’s MLS schedule
D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls — 1 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC — 5 p.m. ET
Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle look back at a defining derby match between Man City and Man United (00:30), Liverpool’s comfortable win against Fulham (25:45), the stalemate between Chelsea and Everton (31:30) and a hard fought match between Arsenal and Wolves (41:30).
The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.
My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)
Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.
Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:
“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”
Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.