This week provides us with several opportunities to catch USMNT players in action, including a genuine rivalry, as Fox looks to springboard their World Cup coverage into increased viewership of MLS. Both Saturday and Sunday coverage include games that should start up shortly following the World Cup action coming to a close for the day.
Seattle Sounders v Portland Timbers - 4:30p on Fox
Portland won the first match up 1-0 when the two teams met in Portland last month and come in to the match having not lost since early April, an 11 game run (including two US Open Cup matches) that started after Portland had failed to win through their first five games of the season. Portland have climbed to fifth in the Western Conference standings, well ahead of the Sounders but nothing can be taken for granted in the rivalry games. Left-back Marco Farfan has not seen much time - one start and three brief substitute appearances - since Portland’s rough start to the season and Eryk Williamson has made the bench recently but has yet to see the field in league action.
Seattle continues to scuffle with just one win in their last six league games, leaving them in 10th place in the Western Conference with just 12 points through 14 games. Clint Dempsey scored his first goal of the season last weekend against the Chicago Fire, tying Fredy Montero atop the all time Sounders list (the second “all time” list he’s tied for).
Cristian Roldan started the game against Chicago at Right Back his first start at the position since last June. The younger Roldan brother, Alex, started on the bench and made a brief substitute experience.
Atlanta United v Orlando City S.C. - 7:00p on ESPN
The second televised MLS match of the day features Supports Shield leaders Atlanta United facing off against Orlando City. Unfortunately they’ll be without Darlington Nagbe who was recently lost for 2-3 months due to an adductor injury. With Greg Garza also out long term USMNT fans will have to be content watching Brad Guzan and Michael Parkhurst until Tata Martino starts giving Andrew Carleton some more playing time.
Orlando City must be the streakiest team in sports. After going on a six game winning streak (a club record mind you) they promptly went on a seven game loosing streak and now sit at eighth in the Eastern Conference. Sacha Kljestan and Dom Dwyer will be looking to start a new streak Saturday.
Toronto FC v New York Red Bulls - 4:30p on Fox
Jozy Altidore should be nearing a return from his foot surgery in early May that was reportedly to keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks and it will be none too soon for a Toronto team that is scuffling in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Polarizing figure Michael Bradley will also see the field for Toronto as well as Alex Bono, Marky Delgado may also see some time, he recieved 35 minutes last week in a substitute appearance.
The New York Red Bulls are coming off a win thanks in part to the performances of several USMNT players including Tyler Adams and Aaron Long
Tim Parker, Alex Muyl and Derrick Etienne also contributed to the win that moved the Red Bulls into third place in the Eastern Conference, five points back of Atlanta.