The latest round of matches in the MLS 2023 season concludes on Sunday evening when four of the more recognisable teams in the competition are on show looking for three points to boost their position in the standings.
Both matches are live on Apple TV as always. You only need to subscribe to the service to be able to view the first one but you will need an MLS Season Pass subscription in order to watch the second. They are both available with the bookmakers though.
Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls (00.30)
The opening match of the night is a big one in the Eastern Conference when the current champions of that half of MLS, Philadelphia Union, take on the New York Red Bulls who need to get back to winning ways if they are to keep the playoff spots in sight.
The Union dropped out of the top four over the course of Saturday night and they will be eager to win here and ensure they are in those positions when the season ends to host two of the three games in the first round of the playoffs should they need them. Philadelphia have won just four of their last nine in MLS either side of the Leagues Cup but to be fair seven of those matches were on the road. They are a different beast here at Subaru Park where they are 8-2-1 for the season, the one being when they were without players because of international duty. The Red Bulls have lost four of their last five matches in MLS around the Leagues Cup break but their big problems are they don’t score enough goals – they have found the net just 23 times in 26 outings, and their away form is an absolute mess. They have won just one of 12 away matches, which was away to Inter Miami long before their shiny new trio were around but even then Miami missed a penalty after nine minutes at 0-0 which would have given that one a different complexion. Just six goals have come in those 12 matches too. This is a tough assignment for a confident road team let alone a struggling one and I’ve got to think this one is beyond the Red Bulls.
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Los Angeles FC vs Inter Miami (03.00)
We save the best for last in the MLS this weekend as the champions Los Angeles FC play host to an Inter Miami team who many believe will supersede them as MLS Cup winners now that Lionel Messi is in their ranks.
Whether that is the case remains to be seen but before Miami can think about winning MLS Cup they need to ensure they are in the playoffs for a shot at the crown and dropping two points at home to Nashville SC in midweek doesn’t help their cause. They now find themselves 11 points adrift of the final playoff spot with 10 matches to go so you’ve got to think they are going to need at least seven wins, if not eight, just to have any chance of extending their season. These matches are coming thick and fast too after they won Leagues Cup. In fact, with that competition and the US Open Cup, this will be their eleventh match in just 43 days. Even Lionel Messi can’t play full tilt in that sort of run. Los Angeles FC had come out of their break ahead of their Leagues Cup entrance in fine form but they were backed up a little in Charlotte last week. The champions have had the week off to dust themselves down and go again and if all things were equal I would be happy to back them at 10/11 with an 8-3-2 home record, but whether he starts or more likely comes off the bench, the presence of Messi somewhere in this game turns me off the champions and means I’ll sit and watch rather than bet on it.
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