MLS, NWSL, and USL have intriguing matchups this weekend. Here’s how the Puget Sound Am Socc fan can find them.
People are like “where’s the weekend open thread?” And Jeremiah’s like “who can write this?” And I’m like all I have is enough to time to re-organize the house a third time during the pandemic, and watch D&D livestreams, and apply for jobs, so I guess I’ll do it.
And then I asked myself what soccer outside of Sounders, OL Reign, and Tacoma Defiance is actually worth watching. That question is a lot harder to answer. In order to figure out what to watch around the American soccer landscape you have to know how your own teams are doing; they’re the cool teams. The other teams aren’t cool.
Seattle Sounders face LA Galaxy on Sunday at Lumen Field. Because one of these teams is a current dynasty and the other used to be, this match was picked up by national TV (FS1/FOX Deportes, 6 PM PT). Sounders are giving away vax (and hot dogs) beforehand, so that’s super cool. Also, Nico will play and Fredy might — that’s supa cool, too.
OL Reign were already eliminated from contention for the NWSL Challenge Cup, which helps demonstrate how much five-team groups suck — more on that later — but they did just get a handy win before they play the Kansas City no names (May 3, Paramount+, 5 PM PT).
Tacoma Defiance don’t start their season until May 9th, against Galaxy II (ESPN+, 5 PM PT). That league is staggering their starts, but not by division — there are divisions now, not groups.
With all that knowledge about the local teams, what other games should you focus on?
MLS games to watch
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All three national broadcasters are carrying a match this weekend, but one of those is Seattle hosting Galaxy on FS1 at 6 PM PT Sunday. That lets us shift our focus to one of the games only available in the Puget Sound region via ESPN+.
Houston Dynamo v. LAFC - Saturday at 12:30 PM PT on Univision
LAFC looks to be actually good and Houston exists. The Angels are on the road a bunch in May, so don’t reach much into their coming drop in the standings. Dynamo just lost to Portland, which we can forgive, I guess. My eyes will be on this because it’s on broadcast TV, on the station which has more soccer fans than any other, and I’m all about what’s popular — but also LAFC is talented and can be entertaining.
This match is also available in English streaming on Twitter and on TUDN if your cable, satellite, or cord-cutting package has it.
Nashville SC v. Inter Miami CF - Sunday at 10 AM PT on ESPN
You know all those suckers that wake up early to watch Euro soccer? Yeah, MLS decided to get in on that action a little bit last year and even though ratings were poor they are doing it again, but with worse teams. These two sides are roughly the same quality, which helps the entertainment factor. There will also be plenty of former Sounders on the pitch for both.
For streaming you will want to use WatchESPN/ESPN3.
San Jose Earthquakes v. D.C. United - Saturday at 8 PM PT on ESPN+
Nothing screams MLS After Dark like San Jose. Throw in the East’s favorite chaos beasts of 2021 and this is the match that will be meme-ified by halftime. The Quakes are big favorites, but I’m old enough to remember them giving up 5+ goals five times in a single season (twice at home). This match will be glorious in its attempts to summon Gruumsh, the orc lord.
As a reminder, ESPN+ (affiliate link) is the out-of-market service for MLS games. You may be regionally locked out if you live in a market that is showing the game on linear (that’s broadcast, cable, sat) TV. For most of us this happens when Timbers are on ROOT (they aren’t this week).
NWSL games to watch
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CBS Sports Network has the huge East matchup with North Carolina Courage hosting Orlando Pride at 4:30 PM PT. After NC won and Gotham drew in matchday four both the Courage and Orlando could make the Challenge Cup Final, and so can Gotham. Confused? Yes, you are. Five-team groups are wacky, with random byes complicating attempts to interpret the standings. They are even harder to follow when the games drift about through the week due to a pandemic. Luckily, smarter people than I figured out how the East has three teams that can make the final to face the Portland Thorns.
North Carolina and Orlando play Saturday, with HIGH chaos potential:— Gal Pal Sports (@GalPalSports) April 29, 2021
1: If NC wins - Gotham MUST win to advance
2: If NC ties - Gotham can win OR tie on goal differential
3: If Orlando wins AND gains 3+ goal differential AND Gotham loses AND scores <Orlando - Orlando advances
Both teams have strong incentives to run up the score? This might be the best Am Socc of the weekend.
If you have Fubo TV (affiliate link) you get CBSSN.
- Gotham FC will do their best to prevent prevent the better match from mattering, with their 9:30 AM PT Sunday game on Paramount+.
- With regionalization of the league being more common you may be tired of Portland Thorns already. If you aren’t, Paramount+ has Houston Dash hosting Portland at 4:30 PM PT on Sunday.
USL games to watch
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One of the more exciting USL Championship Pacific Division matchups is on ESPN2 Friday at 7 PM PT. Phoenix Rising hosts San Diego Loyal in their new stadium at Wild Horse Pass. Sounders and Defiance fans both will enjoy this one as Trey Muse will likely be Loyal’s starting keeper. Former Sounder Seyi Adekoya was a big addition for Phoenix in the offseason; he’s coming off a brace in their most recent tune-up. The two clubs, and the league, are using their national TV platform to amplify the league’s position in being anti-homophobic and practicing restorative justice.
Wade Webber and Tacoma host Loyal in Defiance’s Cheney Stadium opener on May 13.
- Los Dos hosts Sacramento Republic on ESPN+ on Friday at 7:30 PM PT. Galaxy II are Defiance’s May 9 opponent.
Other Broadcast Soccer
Guadalajara v. Tigres UANL is on Telemundo at 3 PM PT Saturday. Throw out Duolingo and learn Spanish the cool way — by watching broadcast soccer. Liga MX is the most popular league in the United States. You should watch it so you can make more friends, and also because it’s free.
This is your AmSocc open thread for the weekend of Friday, April 30 through Sunday, May 2. Watch with us.
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