Here’s what to watch for in the handful of league matches:
Orlando City vs. Sporting KC | 7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
Loser go home match?
Sporting Kansas City have slipped to the extreme outer limits of the playoff race, as they’re eight points and three teams below the Western Conference line. Orlando stayed alive with a road draw against Toronto on the weekend, but still sit tied for ninth place in the East. A home game against a wounded SKC side, all before an arduous four-game stretch, calculates to a bit of a must-win for the Lions.
Orlando will be without fullbacks Ruan and Joao Moutinho again. Freeing Nani to play something through the middle might be best for this stage of his career, even if he’ll naturally drift wide. And will Uruguayan Designated Player Mauricio Pereyra make his debut?
Minnesota United vs. Colorado Rapids | 8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
Minnesota took a calculated risk against fellow playoff-hopefuls FC Dallas on Saturday, deploying a heavily-rotated starting XI. The risk put the emphasis on Wednesday’s home clash against Colorado over Saturday’s road trip to Dallas, which ended in a wild 5-3 loss.
You won’t have your strongest XI available for every game, so it’s fine. That happens. Win on Wednesday and it’s all good. Minnesota have lost just once at Allianz Field this season, while the Rapids haven’t won a road game since May.
Dallas did a ton of work in transition and on the wings against the Loons on Saturday. Now, how will they cope with a team defending deep and springing with Jonathan Lewis and Diego Rubio in transition?
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders | 10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
Here’s a fun fact: Real Salt Lake would overtake Seattle in the Western Conference with a win Wednesday night and could theoretically finish the night in sole possession of second place if other results go their way.
RSL have long been a talented and exciting team, but they were also prone to inconsistencies. That’s a byproduct of relying on so many young players, but they’ve turned a corner this summer. No one will confuse them for a boring team, but RSL are becoming less erratic.
A trip to Utah kicks off a hugely important three-game road swing for Seattle, with games against RSL, Portland and the Galaxy. A few wins would set the Sounders on their way to locking up a home playoff game.
LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas | 10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
For the Galaxy: In Cristian Pavon‘s debut, the team still looked more a disjointed attack filled with talented individuals rather than anything resembling a system or cohesive unit. Obviously, when two of those individuals are Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pavon, things should be alright. But how quickly chemistry is formed will go a long way in determining what the club’s playoff seeding will be or, worst case scenario, their playoff vitality.
For FCD: They scored five goals in a huge win against Minnesota, marking the second time they scored three goals or more since March. They had been held scoreless in four of their prior six matches. Dallas is clinging to the final playoff place with Portland climbing fast. If they find the back of the net with more regularity than they have been, FCD will be one of the teams preparing for the playoffs after Decision Day.
Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire | 11 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
Given Portland’s star power and the Fire’s 1-8-3 road record, the Timbers will be heavily favored. Will Chicago fully rotate their team to focus on huge in-conference games coming up, starting with the Union on Saturday? Bobby Warshaw pointed out a surprising note in regards to Chicago:
“The Fire still have a chance to get over the playoff line. To take it a step further, it might even be in their hands. They have two six-point games left against New England and Toronto, plus Columbus, Cincinnati, and Orlando. Chicago have the soccer in them to take 15 from the last eight games. They just can’t trip over themselves as they get into the sprint.”
Best to rest the starters on Wednesday or are they in a position where they can’t risk sacrificing any points?