Newsworthy notes from all Major League Soccer teams every Thursday. MLS transfers, player announcements.
A special Friday edition offering a preview of key matches and predictions from the 4th week of games in Major League Soccer, highlighted by a regional rivalry of epic proportions.
Seattle Sounders vs. LAFC
The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will hit the road for the Club’s first regular season away match of the season, taking on the Seattle Sounders Saturday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. Brasilia Time at Lumen Field.
The Black & Gold return to MLS regular season action after clinching a berth into the Cocacaf Champions League Quarterfinals with a 4-2 (W, 3-0; L, 2-1) aggregate victory over LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica) in the second leg of their series on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium.
Steve Cherundolo, técnico do LAFC e ex-jogador da Seleção Americana oferecendo sua avaliação de como a política salarial da liga atrapalha as equipes da Major League Soccer diante do calendário extendido de torneios da FIFA e o novo Mundial de Clubes em 2025. pic.twitter.com/wkUqkgJ0AF
— Território MLS™️ (@territoriomls) March 17, 2023
Saturday’s contest will mark the 15th meeting between LAFC and the Sounders. The Black & Gold hold a slight edge in the head-to-head series with a 6-5-3 record.
Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers
Atlanta United returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday as it hosts the Portland Timbers. Portland won the last meeting between the teams 2-1 in 2022. The last time Portland visited Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta defeated the Timbers 2-0 in MLS Cup 2018.
The game comes a week after the youngster Caleb Wiley and Brazilian Luiz Araújo scored the fastest two goals from kickoff (12th minute) in Atlanta’s MLS history in the club’s 3-0 win against Charlotte.
As a result of a very strong performance, Wiley was named MLS Player of the Matchday after recording two goals and an assist, all in the first half. At 18 years and 79 days old, the Homegrown defender became the fourth-youngest player in MLS history to produce at least three goal contributions in a half and the youngest player in club history to score two goals in a match.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Thiago Almada leads MLS with 12 chances created, according to Pro Football Focus. The midfielder tallied five chances created against Charlotte and is one of three MLS players with at least four chances created in multiple games this season.
On the other side of the field, an Evander-less Timbers now heads cross-country after dropping two games following a Matchday 1 home win vs Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park.
Austin FC vs Houston
Austin FC continues to reel in from the embarrassment of its elimination from the CCL by a team who could barely field players because of visa issues with a few. Meanwhile, a dazed-looking Josh Wolff took a question from TMLS and seemed not to understand what had gone wrong with his team during the 180-minute 3-2 loss to Violette AC from Haiti. The team now travels to Houston for a derby with its rival, which is reeling in from 2 losses in 2 games. What gives?
Minha pergunta para Josh Wolff na coletiva de ontem após a eliminação para o Violette.
O técnico comentou sobre a eliminação e lamentou o 1° gol não ter saído mais cedo.
Classificação histórica do clube haitiano e eu pude fazer parte disso! 🇭🇹⚽️@territoriomls
Confiram aqui: pic.twitter.com/yZECneYVl4
— Tiago Brandão (@Tiago_Brandao_) March 15, 2023
Meanwhile, Austin FC midfielder Owen Wolff was named to the U.S. U-20 Men’s Youth National Team (MYNT) roster for the program’s upcoming training camp and international friendly matches against England, France, and Serbia to take place later this month in Spain.
The 18-year-old Wolff earns his second call-up at the U-20 international level after participating in the U.S. U-20 MYNT’s domestic training camp in January. Last September, Wolff competed with the U.S. U-19 side, which won the Slovenia Nations Cup, scoring a goal in the team’s second match of the tournament against Croatia.
“I’m honored to earn this call-up and to have the chance to travel abroad with the team,” said Wolff. “The training camp in January was a fantastic experience, and I’m excited to test myself in matches at the U-20 international level for the first time.”
From the VERDE & Black to the Red, White & Blue!
Congrats to Owen Wolff on earning a call up to the U-20 @USYNT! pic.twitter.com/CclJN2Ewp3
— Austin FC (@AustinFC) March 17, 2023
CF Montréal vs Philadelphia Union
In preparation for this first game in Montreal, the Club held its 2023 season launch event on Tuesday, where the team announced that Quebec midfielder Samuel Piette would be the first team’s captain this season.
Heading into the match, CF Montréal has a lifetime 9-8-9 record against the Union with 45 goals scored and 37 goals conceded.
Meanwhile, the Union has managed 13 consecutive home wins in MLS (including playoffs) but only two in its last eight road matches. Moreover, the visitors have conceded nine goals in their last three road trips after allowing just seven in their previous 11 away games.
It’s worth noting that the Union will be playing a fourth match in 12 days. The team was in El Salvador on March 7 for its Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 first leg against Alianza FC (0-0), then hosted the Chicago Fire, winning 1-0 last Saturday. In the second leg against Alianza on Tuesday night, Jim Curtin’s side went on to win 4-0 at Subaru Park to advance to the next round.
Chicago Fire vs. FC Cincinnati
Chicago will host FC Cincinnati at 9:30 p.m. Brasilia Time at Soldier Field. Ezra Hendrickson, the Fire’s coach, met with the media to give his remarks:
I’ve been saying this from preseason, and it was a fact of last year, we
just have to finish. We just have to finish our chances. We create enough chances, especially
early in games; that if we take those chances, it makes the game a lot easier for us.
The second-year coach also updated the media on Xherdan Shaqiri’s status for the game:
How is [Xherdan] Shaqiri doing right now?
“So Shaqiri had some tightness in his leg, his lower leg. So we’re being
cautious with that. Hopefully, he’s in for Saturday, and I expect him to be.”
Orlando SC vs. Charlotte FC
Charlotte FC travels to Orlando City SC for the fourth season match at Exploria Stadium at 8:30 p.m. Brasilia time.
Charlotte FC started the season with three straight losses. Head Coach Christian Lattanzio’s side will be looking to provide a similar spark to the campaign in the 2022 season, in which CLTFC also started 0-3 to start the year, but then went 4-1-2 in the next seven matches.
Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United
The Colorado Rapids return home this Saturday to welcome Minnesota United FC at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park for Matchday 4 (10:30 p.m. Brasilia Time) – for Free on Apple TV.
Colorado enters the game looking to extend a nine-game unbeaten run at home after playing to a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City in their home opener two weeks ago. That result continued one of the best runs of forms at home in MLS over recent years: since 2021, the Rapids are tied for the fewest losses at home in the league (3) and currently hold the third-best win percentage at home in MLS (72.9%). The only teams with a better win percentage at home in that span are last year’s MLS Cup finalists, LAFC, and the Philadelphia Union.
Matches in the Centennial State have been a stumbling block for the Black and Blue since joining Major League Soccer. In 13 regular season games, MNUFC is 4-7-2 against the Rapids, with all four wins taking place at home. After seven attempts, the Loons have yet to win in the Rapids’ house, accumulating a record of 0-5-2.
Toronto FC vs. Inter Miami CF
The match will be the first of two games between the sides this season. Last season, Inter Miami came out victorious in both competitions and looked to hit the repeat button in 2023. Inter is still reeling from the loss of Gregore, which held the captain’s armband in Miami before going down with a Lisfranc injury that should sideline him for several months.
LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps
After earning a shutout in a 0-0 draw on the road at Sporting Kansas City on March 11, the LA Galaxy play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the 2023 Home Opener at Dignity Health Sports Park at 11:30 p.m. Brasilia;
Saturday’s match marks the 32nd meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, with LA leading the all-time series 15-10-6. Against Vancouver, the Galaxy holds a 14-10-6 record in league play and a 1-0-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In the last Dignity Health Sports Park meeting between the two teams, LA earned a 5-2 victory over the Whitecaps on Aug. 13, 2022.
NYCFC vs. DC United
NYCFC getting a home result against Inter Miami was incredibly important for the squad after experiencing a slightly rocky first two matches on the road against Nashville SC and the Chicago Fire. Crafting a winning mentality at home is a strong basis to eventually expand to being successful on the road. NYCFC must face a visiting D.C. United side has a revamped squad and a wish to clinch their first away win of this regular season. Suppose NYCFC can bypass United and get their second win in a row. In that case, it will undoubtedly contribute to building an unstoppable momentum that can help propel the squad up the Eastern Conference standings.
NY Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew
Oh my.#Crew96 equalize in the dying moments! pic.twitter.com/IOaoZYQKl0
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 20, 2022
Cover: Celso Oliveira / TMLS