MLS and their television partners will try one last time this weekend to carry over audience from the World Cup into MLS action with two games on Sunday, the first starting on Fox immediately following their World Cup coverage. There are no Friday or Saturday network games this weekend so we’ll jump right into Sunday.
Atlanta United v Seattle Sounders - 2:00p on Fox
Immediately following the conclusion of the World Cup coverage on Sunday Fox will roll into coverage of the MLS with a game featuring the Supporters Shield leaders, Atlanta United facing off against a disappointing Seattle Sounders side.
Atlanta are 12-4-4 with identical home and road splits of 6-2-2 and coming off a road win against the Philadelphia Union with Josef Martinez scoring his league leading 18th goal 7 more than a trio tied for second place including American hero Gyasi Zardes! With Andrew Carleton remaining glued to the bench and Greg Garza and Darlington Nagbe both out with long term injuries the USMNT presence on this side of the ball is limited to Brad Guzan.
Seattle’s season has been a disappointing one, having picked up only 16 points half way through their schedule after finishing last year with 53 points. Their results this season have them in 10th place in the Western Conference, 10 points back of the final playoff spot. At 35 Clint Dempsey looks to be regressing to a substitute role and has managed just one goal this season. Cristian Roldan has been a consistent presence in the lineup for the Sounders while younger brother Alex has appeared in 13 games including 7 starts.
Los Angeles Football Club v Portland Timbers - 5:00p on ESPN
Following the Atlanta v Seattle match you can flip over to ESPN to catch some West Coast action as this years “how can expansion teams be so good so fast when DC United is... that” team, LAFC, takes on the Portland Timbers.
LAFC are coming off a 4-1 shellacking of Orlando City and sit in second place in the Western Conference just one point behind FC Dallas. Walker Zimmerman is the youngest of the LAFC Americans and most likely to be involved moving forward though the center back may not be more than an off-cycle / Gold Cup option if the young center backs playing abroad (Brooks, Miazga, EPB, etc.) continue to progress and be available as expected.
The Portland Timbers are also coming in off a win, over hapless San Jose, and are undefeated in their last 11 games. Unfortunately, their success cannot be attributed to any American development as the young Americans, Eryk Williamson and Marco Farfan, have failed to make an impact. Former U-20 member Zarek Valentin has started 15 games this season but at 26 years of age seems unlikely to break into the Senior team at this point.