With the international break there are some significant impacts for this weekend’s viewing guide and open thread. On the one hand, it means that most leagues and foreign based players have the weekend off and there are no league games available on broadcast television. On the other hand, with the combination of MLS remaining in action and MLS Live still available for free there are some unique opportunities for filling your Saturday with soccer viewing. In fact, with some internationals being called away and a few timely injuries there may even be one or two chances to catch some younger players who wouldn’t see the field otherwise.
Having said all that, here are the MLS games you can catch on Saturday (as long as you’re “out of market”) and some of the former / current / future USMNT players you might be able to catch as well.
New England v NYCFC - 1:30p
New England Revolution’s Kelyn Rowe was off to a nice start at last summer’s Gold Cup, including a goal and an assist, before being unceremoniously dumped midway through the tournament. Rowe was called in again in January for Camp Cupcake and the thrilling 0-0 draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina but was left home for this break so you can catch him in action Saturday afternoon against NYCFC.
On the NYCFC side of the ball you can catch Sean Johnson in goal and, if our friends over at Hudson River Blue can be trusted, you might have an opportunity to catch 17 year old James Sands in action. Sands has yet to see a match-day squad in 2018 but is apparently one of two viable options to fill in for regular Alex Ring, who is away on International duty with Finland.
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers - 3:30p (also available on Univision)
Kellyn Acosta remains out following sports hernia surgery and Jesse Gonzalez is questionable which leaves us with Matt Hedges as well as a potential Paxton Pomykal sighting on the Dallas side of the ball. Paxton recently turned town an invite to travel to Spain with the U-20 team in order to stay and train with Dallas and got 22 minutes last weekend as they saw out their 3-0 win against 10-man Seattle. There’s a chance he could see some time this weekend as well.
18 year old left back Marco Farfan has started both of Portland’s first two games and gone the full 90 minutes. While the results haven’t been entirely positive (including a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of NYRB’s B / Youth squad) the opportunities for development remain and the USMNT isn’t exactly bursting at the seams with LB depth. 20 year old Eryk Williamson has yet to see any minutes this season.
Columbus Crew v D.C. United - 6:00p
Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp are with the USMNT but left behind teammate Gyasi Zardes who has three goals in three games to start the 2018 season, already more than he scored in 24 games last season. In fact it seems likely that Gyasi will put in more goals this season than in his past three combined.
For D.C. United there are a handful of USMNT players who could see the field. Paul Arriola and Steve Birnbaum will almost certainly see the field. In addition 18 year old Chris Durkin and 22 year old Ian Harkes could see extended playing time due to the International break and some injuries. Both have seen the field already, albeit in limited minutes, and Durkin particularly has shown some play that provides glimmers of hope for the future.
New York Red Bulls v Minnesota United - 6:00p
With Tyler Adams off with the USMNT you won’t be able to watch the most recognizable of NYRB’s young American’s but there might be opportunities for others. 20 year old RB Kyle Duncan has started the last two league games for NYRB and Ben Mines could see a few minutes as well.
The Loons don’t have the same embarrassment of riches with young talent so on that side of the ball you’ll have to be content keeping your eyes on Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra.
Colorado Rapids v Sporting Kansas City - 9:00p
Following DC United and NYRB on this list makes things feel more disappointing than they probably should when looking at the Colorado Rapids and Sporting KC squads. Let’s try to be positive about this...
While Tim Howard may be a shadow of his former self lets remember that’s in part due to the fact that his former self was pretty stinking awesome. Howard has some of the most memorable USMNT performances from the past 10 years and you can still catch him in action this weekend.
Sporting KC has a trio of USMNT players in Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, and Ike Opara who, while not anywhere near the peak of Howard, are more likely to feature for the USMNT at some point in the future.
Vancouver Whitecaps v LA Galaxy - 10:00p
We’re going out with a bit of a whimper on Saturday evening, with no one on the Vancouver side to keep an eye on and David Bingham (a 28 year old with three caps) and Sebastian Lletget likely to be the only members on the LA Galaxy side. Chris Pointius and Perry Kitchen are both questionable for the Galaxy due to injury.