MLS this weekend: TV and streaming schedule, game of the week, player to watch, power rankings
After an action-packed opening weekend that featured someamazinggoals, Major League Soccer returns for Round 2.
The weekend features a Western Conference heavyweight showdown Saturday between Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders at Banc of California Stadium (6 p.m. ET on ESPN). Capping the weekend's slate of games will be a triumphant Javier "Chicharito" Hernández returning to Los Angeles as his Galaxy take on the New York Red Bulls on Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET on FS1). After experiencing a nightmarish 2020 campaign, Chicharito put forth one of the more inspiring performances of the league's opening weekend.
Here is what you need to know for the second weekend of the 2021 MLS season:
MLS game of the week
Los Angeles FC vs. Seattle Sounders (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN) – Los Angeles is 5-4-1 all-time against the Sounders, but Seattle has knocked LAFC out of the MLS Cup Playoffs the past two seasons, including a 3-1 Sounders win last year. Both teams won their season opener last week, as Seattle proved to be capable of scoring without its injured star, Jordan Morris, defeating Minnesota United, 4-0. LAFC won against expansion team Austin FC, 2-0.
MLS player to watch
Javier "Chicharito" Hernández – The Los Angeles Galaxy’s star center forward scored two goals against David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF one week ago. In a span of just 11 minutes, the former Manchester United and Mexico striker equaled his goal tally from 2020. The Galaxy host the New York Red Bulls on Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Can Chicharito add to his scoring tally and put his previous woes behind him?
With two goals in the LA Galaxy's season-opening win over Inter Miami CF, Chicharito already has matched his goal output from the entire 2020 season. (Photo: Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)
What is this weekend's MLS schedule?
(All times Eastern. ABC/ESPN games available to be streamed on Watch ESPN; FOX games on FOX Sports Live. Games also available on fuboTV.)
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Orlando City (7:30 p.m., FS1)
- New York City FC vs. FC Cincinnati (1 p.m., ESPN+)
- Nashville SC vs. CF Montreal (2 p.m., ESPN+)
- Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (3 p.m., ESPN+)
- San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas (3:30 p.m., UniMas, TUDN)
- Los Angeles FC vs. Seattle Sounders (6 p.m., ESPN)
- Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire FC (8 p.m., ESPN+)
- Minnesota United vs. Real Salt Lake (8 p.m., ESPN+)
- New England Revolution vs. DC United (8 p.m., ESPN+)
- Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF (8 p.m., ESPN+)
- Colorado Rapids vs. Austin FC (9 p.m., ESPN+)
- Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo (10:30 p.m., ESPN+)
- Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls (5:30 p.m., FS1)
MLS news and notes
Fredy Montero passes Deuce: The Seattle Sounders enter Saturday's showdown against LAFC with a new all-time leading regular-season goal-scorer. With his goal against Minnesota United, Fredy Montero passed USMNT legend Clint Dempsey to become the Sounders' new record-holder.
Oh, Canada! Two squads that weren't expected to contend this season got off to impressive starts to their MLS campaigns, Club de Foot Montreal stunned Toronto FC, 4-2, while the Vancouver Whitecaps shut out the Portland Timbers, 1-0. Toronto FC, meanwhile, is into the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League for the second time in four years.
CCL teams getting shut out: For the first time ever, five MLS teams advanced to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League. However, four of those five teams (Atlanta United, Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers) went scoreless during the opening weekend of the MLS season. Leg 1 of the Champions League quarterfinals will be played April 27-28, so mark your calendars accordingly.
RSL finally gets a game: In a scheduling quirk that's a result of a 27-team league, Real Salt Lake had to sit out opening weekend. And, after not qualifying for the playoffs last season, the long layoff dating back to Nov. 8, 2020 finally comes to an end Saturday against Minnesota United. In case you were curious, the Crew are this week's odd team out, but they have a Concacaf Champions League game to look forward to on Wednesday.
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Columbus Crew defender Josh Williams (left) clears the ball out of his own end with a bicycle kick in front of the Philadelphia Union's Alejandro Bedoya. (Photo: Greg Bartram, USA TODAY Sports)
By the numbers
22: One of the most bizarre moments of opening weekend was LAFC coach Bob Bradley mistakenly subbing out Carlos Vela in the 22nd minute against Austin FC. Credit to Bradley for admitting he made a mistake, but this could be a good thing for LAFC's MVP candidate heading into a showdown against Seattle Sounders at Banc of California Stadium. The last thing the Sounders want is Carlos Vela using any type of resentment over the previous week as motivation.
MLS top 10 power rankings
1. Columbus Crew – Columbus and Philadelphia played to a scoreless draw in the opener between two teams that advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. The Crew were awarded a penalty late in the first half, but VAR determined the foul took place outside of the box.
2. Seattle Sounders – No team impressed in Week 1 more than Seattle. The Sounders thumped Minnesota, scoring four goals in the second half. Raúl Ruidíaz led the way with a brace. A battle of heavyweights takes place Saturday when Seattle travels to take on LAFC for a match featured on ESPN.
Raul Ruidiaz scored two goals in the Seattle Sounders' 4-0 win over Minnesota United. (Photo: Jennifer Buchanan, USA TODAY Sports)
3. Los Angeles FC – LAFC welcomed Austin FC to Major League Soccer with a 2-0 victory at home despite the absence of Diego Rossi and the awkward substitution of Carlos Vela. Corey Baird, in for Rossi, broke a nil-nil tie with a 61st-minute goal. Goalie Pablo Sisniega made a number of impressive stops.
4. Philadelphia Union – The Union settled on a scoreless tie with Columbus Crew in the premier matchup of the opening week. Next up for Philadelphia is a matchup with Miami before continuing the Concacaf Champions League with a quarterfinal duel against Atlanta.
5. Sporting Kansas City – SKC was one of six Western Conference teams to earn three points during the opening weekend. Conversely, only two teams in the Eastern Conference managed that feat. A 2-1 win over the Red Bulls was aided by two goals separated by only a minute of game action.
6. New England Revolution – New England battled Chicago to a 2-2 tie in the opening match. The Revolution were behind by two scores after 11 minutes of game action, but goals by Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou erased the deficit by halftime. DeJuan Jones did pick up a red car in extra time.
7. Los Angeles Galaxy – Welcome back LA Galaxy! Two goals by Chicharito sparked a 3-2 victory over David Beckham’s Miami squad. The Galaxy looked like a different team in the second half when head coach Greg Vanney switched formations to a 4-4-2. A home match with the Red Bulls is up next.
8. Orlando City SC – The scoreless draw with Atlanta wasn’t the headliner or main concern for Orlando City fans coming out of opening weekend. New star Alexandre Pato left the game in the 80th minute with a right leg injury that left the club breathless.
9. Portland Timbers – Portland fell 1-0 in the opener with rival Vancouver, but the Timbers’ main focus is on the Concacaf Champions League, where they advanced to the quarterfinals with a convincing 7-2 aggregate win over Marathon (Honduras).
10. CF Montreal – The 4-2 win by Montreal over Toronto was the only multiple-score win for an Eastern Conference club during the opening weekend. Four different players scored goals in the win for a well-balanced Montreal offense, which got on the board first in the third minute when Mason Toye opened his 2021 account.
Moving in: Los Angeles Galaxy, CF Montreal, New England Revolution
Dropping out: Toronto FC (previously: 7), Minnesota United (9), New York City FC (10)
Others receiving votes: Atlanta United, FC Dallas, DC United, Minnesota United, Nashville SC, NYCFC, Vancouver Whitecaps
USA TODAY Sports Network MLS top 10 power rankings poll voters: Pat Brennan, Cincinnati Enquirer; Mike Craven, Austin American-Statesman; Drake Hills, The Tennessean; Jacob Myers, The Columbus Dispatch.
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