MLS Week 3 is set for this weekend and it is going to be another busy, crazy weekend across the United States and Canada. Some of the surprises look to keep it going while the big boys who have been slow out of the gates hope this is the week that helps them regain their form. There’s a big five-game slate on Sunday, highlighted by the NYCFC-LAFC match at Yankee Stadium. Here’s the schedule and three storylines to watch:
All times Eastern
Saturday, March 16
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders, 1 p.m. on ESPN+
Columbus Crew vs. FC Dallas, 2 p.m. on ESPN+
Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 3 p.m. on ESPN+
New York Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 3:30 p.m. on Univision Deportes and fuboTV (Try for free)
Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact, 4 p.m. on ESPN+
D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m. on ESPN+
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Minnesota United, 10:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Sunday, March 17
New York City FC vs. Los Angeles FC, 3 p.m. on FS1 and fuboTV (Try for free)
FC Cincinnati vs. Portland Timbers, 5 p.m. on FS1 fuboTV (Try for free)
Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m. on ESPN+
Toronto FC vs. New England, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC, 9 p.m. on ESPN+
1. Atlanta United needs to find stability: Pressure is starting to mount after the slow start to the season and elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League midweek against Monterrey. Frank de Boer still hasn’t won a league game since 2016, this club has one point out of two games and Pity Martinez hasn’t been able to gel with his new team just yet. Welcoming the Philadelphia Union, this weekend would be the perfect time for three points and some much-needed momentum. Last year’s MLS champs look nothing like what they did a season ago.
2. NYCFC faces stiff test in search of first victory: It was always going to be tricky to replace David Villa, and this former team has two goals in two games. Back-to-back draws aren’t all that bad, but there has been a lack of creativity and goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved this team against D.C. United. Now taking on a talented LAFC team, they’ll need to figure something out to avoid going winless through the first three games. Bob Bradley’s LA team has a ton of speed in the final third, and NYCFC will have to play a bit more defensive to avoid going down early as a result of pushing forward out of the back.
3. Ibrahimovic and company take on red-hot Minnesota United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic started the MLS opener and the Galaxy won. He didn’t start the second game and they lost. It’s not to say the Galaxy are Zlatan, but he’s the best player in the league and still an elite talent in world soccer. So if he isn’t starting from the beginning, this team doesn’t have enough to make up for it on a consistent basis. Minnesota is one of three teams to start 2-0-0 and has a league-high six goals in their first two games. This is an underrated game that has the potential for plenty of goals.