Now that we’re all done stressing over World Cup qualification, we can get back to MLS season with this week’s cheering guide. Remember, I’m here to let you know who you, loyal fan of Austin FC, should root for this weekend.
Chicago Fire FC vs FC Dallas – 2:30 p.m. (Univision, TUDN, Twitter)
Did y’all know this game has a trophy? That’s right! The prestigious Brimstone Cup is on the line as FC Dallas travels to the Windy City. No, seriously. This is a thing.
Besides it being an East vs West matchup, I simply don’t want the Toros to win silverware of any kind. Even the stupid kind where they only play for the trophy once every 3-4 years now.
The Side: Chicago Fire FC
FC Cincinnati vs CF Montréal – 3:00 p.m. (ESPN+)
Let me tell you a secret. Ready? FC Cincinnati may not be absolute trash this year. I’m not here telling you they will make the playoffs or anything, but based on early results, I feel pretty confident in saying they aren’t taking their 4th straight Wooden Spoon. Ultimately this game means nothing for Austin, but every Knifey-Lions win will make that opening day shellacking look better.
The Side: FC Cincinnati
Toronto FC vs NYCFC – 3:00 p.m. (ESPN+)
Toronto returns home to the scene where Canada clinched its World Cup berth just a few days ago. If you didn’t see it, the fans turned out huge to see their country qualify for the first time since Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time” was a Top 10 hit. I have no dog in this fight and I think NYCFC may play a “B” squad with a midweek CONCACAF Champions League game on the slate. Might as well keep the party going, eh Canada?
The Side: Toronto FC
Columbus Crew vs Nashville SC – 5:00 p.m. (ESPN+)
Nashville is learning very quickly about the horrors of playing eight straight road games to open a season. They have four points in four games, despite being widely picked to be a top contender in the West. Sure, there’s still 30 games to go, but as Austin fans know, that hole can get pretty deep real fast. Meanwhile Columbus looks like a decent team and they are playing at home. Usually we are anti-Crew here, but putting Nashville further into their hole is best for ATX.
The Side: Columbus Crew, begrudgingly
D.C. United vs Atlanta United FC – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Both of these teams are weird. D.C. won their first two matches but didn’t look good in either one and have lost their last two. Meanwhile Atlanta has salvaged a win and a crazy ass draw with late goals in their last two. Basically what I’m saying is, this game has all kinds of wacky entertainment potential.
The Side: Who cares, just be fun
New England Revolution vs New York Red Bulls – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
This is a game that exists on the MLS schedule. And in true form between MLS originals, its being played in an empty NFL stadium. Yippee.
The Side: Hey Robert Kraft, build a soccer stadium somewhere near civilization you cheap bastard!
Orlando City vs LAFC – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Orlando City have been a big help to Austin the last two weeks by taking points on the road from both L.A. Galaxy (win) and Portland (draw). Now they get to go back home and play host to a Western Conference foe in LAFC. Let’s get that L.A. sweep!
The Side: Orlando City
Philadelphia Union vs Charlotte FC – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Philadelphia is very good y’all. As in, legitimate Supporters Shield contenders good. Playing at home this week, you have to like their chances against the expansion side. BUT, Charlotte have won two in a row. Win a third and, you know what, I’ll let Sweet Lou Brown tell you:
Ultimately the outcome of this game doesn’t matter for Austin FC. But I’ll throw support behind our new expansion friends and McKenzie Gaines.
The Side: Charlotte FC
Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo – 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+)
May Inter Miami channel their inner Will Smith and slap the shit out of Houston.
The Side: Big Willie Style
Minnesota United FC vs Seattle Sounders – 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+)
Like Nashville, Seattle is off to a slow start and that could easily continue in a road match against the Loons. The Sounders have to balance health with players like Roldan and Nouhou coming back from international duty all while thinking about a midweek CONCACAF Champions League clash with NYCFC. I’m kind of expecting Minnesota to take this, but a plucky draw from Seattle would be the best result.
The Side: A draw
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Sporting Kansas City – 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+)
Don’t overthink this. Vancouver is sitting on one point and is no threat to make the playoffs. SKC definitely are a threat. Let’s go Caps.
The Side: Vancouver Whitecaps
Colorado Rapids vs Real Salt Lake – 8:00 p.m (ESPN+)
Say hello to the game of the weekend! First of all, its a Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry match. Second, RSL and Colorado are both pretty damn good. I just imagine both fan bases like this all week:
Just kick back, grab a cocktail, and enjoy this one after Austin FC beats San Jose. Oh, and hope for a draw. Preferably one with a late equalizer for maximum entertainment purposes.
The Side: MLS After Dark Madness!
Portland Timbers vs L.A. Galaxy – 3:30 p.m. (FS1)
Both of these teams are sitting on six points, though Portland has played one more game than L.A. after sadistically forcing their guys to play during an international break last week. The best result here is a draw. I’ll cheer for that. But a Timbers win won’t break my heart.
The Side: Your best Sunday tie