Wednesday’s MLS slate is crowded. 11 games are scheduled as the league packs in as many regular season games as possible. We’ll get some squad rotation, but that’s part of the fun.
Let’s take a look at some interesting matches.
Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami (7:00pm ET, Fox Sports 1)
I feel like I write about these teams every week, but this will actually be the first time they’ve faced each other. Both teams have positive futures and project as an elite MLS rivalry (in terms of team glamor, not necessarily intensity).
Right now, though, neither team is a contender.
Atlanta were grossly outclassed in a 3-1 loss to Orlando City SC. Miami fell off after a nice win over Orlando, losing 1-0 to Nashville. Inter did come to an agreement with Gonzalo Higuain, but he won’t help immediately.
The story for both teams is still building some sort of identity and seeing what you can get out of the highly-touted attackers. It’s less tactics here and more individual skill that will decide the game.
Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union (7:30pm ET)
The Crew only managed a 0-0 draw against a conservative FC Cincinnati side, following a 1-0 loss to NYCFC. Columbus’s attack has slowed down after they beat the Chicago Fire 3-0 in their first game back in home markets.
Philly, who are two points behind the Crew for second in the Eastern Conference, have fared a bit better of late, skating narrowly past the pesky Red Bulls and running rampant over D.C. United, scoring three quick goals in an eventual 4-1 victory. Both teams will be willing to possess the ball, though depending on squad rotation approaches could be different. The gradual improvement of Brenden Aaronson — who is finding a goal-scoring touch — is something to watch.
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders (9:30pm ET)
RSL continue the Cascadia gauntlet, a few days after a wild 4-4 draw with Portland. Real, currently dealing with big off-the-field problems given owner Dell Loy Hansen’s racism, stormed back from a late 4-2 deficit to steal a draw at Providence Park.
Scoring that many goals against the stout Timbers, one of the best teams in the Western Conference, is a great sign for an RSL attack that hasn’t always been clicking. Seattle beat Portland 3-0 a week and a half ago, so it’s fair to say they’re the favorites here. They also defeated LAFC 3-1, adding to their credentials as the West’s best (and perhaps the league’s best). They’ve stabilized on defense and received some major production in attack from Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris.
LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (11:00pm ET)
Carlos Vela is out with an injury, and while that didn’t seem to hurt them too much at the MLS is Back tournament, LAFC haven’t looked good in the two games they’ve played since the regular season restart. They fell 2-0 to the LA Galaxy in a game that they never really found rhythm, and they had their weaknesses ruthlessly exploited by the Sounders.
Eduard Atuesta will be out again, a big blow to LA’s midfield. The Quakes most recently lost to the Galaxy, 3-2. They’re a tough team to play against, and they could go out at the left side of LAFC’s midfield.
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