Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

Major League Soccer Weekend Preview ��
Major League Soccer Weekend Preview 🔮

MLS is back with a full slate of games after a short pre-summer lull. Let's dig into some of the biggest stories of the upcoming weekend.

Fixture of the matchday

Our fixture of the matchday actually comes Friday evening as the MLS gods have bless us with a little slice of action to get the weekend underway.

And what a fixture it is to kick us off, as a red-hot NYCFC host MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew in an Eastern Conference top-seven showdown.

NYCFC has firmly been 'the best of the rest' through the halfway point of the season, sitting six points off the top of the tree in the east with two games in hand over leaders Inter Miami.

Meanwhile, the Crew are still stinging from a disappointing CONCACAF Champions Cup loss in Mexico just a couple of weeks ago, but their attention can now shift fully back to domestic duties.

Player to watch this weekend

It's about time we give some love to Riqui Puig. The former Barcelona, and current LA Galaxy man is perhaps the most watchable attacking player in the Western Conference, pulling the strings for Greg Vanney's side in Carson.

This season, Puig is first in MLS in touches, passes attempted, passes into final third, and progressive carry distance.

He is truly a one-man show for the Galaxy, and is pure box office on his night.

Three questions ahead of the matchday

Can Inter Miami survive without Messi?

There are few teams in MLS that aren't impacted by the European Championship and Copa América in some way, shape, or form. However, no other teams are missing Lionel Messi.

Miami have shown the ability to win games without Messi, winning away in Vancouver in May without the Argentine, nor Sergio Busquets or Luis Suárez. Despite that, Miami have been shaky as of late, conceding six goals in their last two games, failing to win either of those.

Defensive solidity is clearly an issue for Tata Martino's side, but just how much will the attack suffer without the great one?

Can talent carry a cornered Atlanta United

Atlanta United are up there as one of the most underperforming sides in the league this season, but we know how quickly things can change.

Just a few weeks on from the sacking of head-coach Gonzalo Pineda, the Five Stripes could be primed and ready to rediscover some form.

With talent like Thiago Almada, Saba Lobzhanidze, and Brooks Lennon in their ranks, Atlanta should have all the tools necessary to string together some results. Atlanta square off with Houston on Saturday.

Are Toronto ready to get rolling again? 

Despite sitting relatively comfortably in an MLS Cup Playoff spot, Toronto will be disappointed with the last few weeks of the campaign.

After firing out of the blocks with a rejuvenated look about them, John Herdman's team have now failed to win in MLS since early May.

The perfect tonic for that drought may come this weekend, however, as they play host to a struggling Chicago Fire.

The likes of Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne have found new life up in the Great White North, but they will need to rekindle the flame quickly if they want to avoid the trauma of the past from creeping back in.