The first MLS weekend of March gets underway on Saturday with the defending MLS Cup champions opening their schedule at Banc of California Stadium.
Los Angeles FC hosts the Portland Timbers in Saturday’s afternoon showdown as Steve Cherundolo’s squad begins their quest to repeating as league winners. LAFC’s opening night match with the L.A. Galaxy was postponed due to weather while the visiting Timbers defeated Sporting Kansas City 1-0 at home on Monday night.
The L.A. Galaxy also kicks its season off on Saturday with a road trip to FC Dallas later on Saturday night. Greg Vanney’s squad will be without top goalscorer Chicharito due to a hamstring injury but still have several attacking pieces to call on including Dejan Joveljic, Riqui Puig, and others. FC Dallas fell to Minnesota United 1-0 on opening day and will be fighting for a bounce-back result in front of its home supporters.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Union visits Inter Miami in a top-two clash in the Eastern Conference while Nashville SC visits the New York Red Bulls.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s MLS action:
LAFC vs. Timbers
Saturday, 4:30 p.m., FOX, Apple TV
Defending MLS Cup champions LAFC kicks off its competitive schedule on Saturday with the Portland Timbers coming to town.
LAFC will raise its newest banner at Banc of California Stadium and also fight to walk away with its first victory of the new campaign. Cristian Arango and Gareth Bale are gone from the LAFC attack, but Carlos Vela, Kwadwo Opoku, and others will surely try to fill the void. Kellyn Acosta and Ilie Sanchez anchor LAFC’s midfield while Aaron Long joins the fold as an offseason acquisition.
The Timbers edged Sporting KC 1-0 in their opening match on Monday and will be focused on silencing a potent LAFC attack. Juan Mosquera scored his first MLS goal for the club at Providence Park while the entire backline excelled against SKC. Zac McGraw and Dario Zuparic are key in the back for Portland while Diego Chara and Eryk Williamson are two warriors in midfield.
FC Dallas vs. Galaxy
Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Apple TV
FC Dallas suffered defeat in its first home match of 2023 and will try to avoid a second-consecutive loss on Saturday against the visiting L.A. Galaxy.
Nico Estevez’s side struggled for much in the final third against Minnesota United, registering only one shot on goal. Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola, and Alan Velasco will all try to get things going to avoid an early-season hole before hitting the road.
The Galaxy were one of three teams not in action in Week 1, but cannot afford a slow start at Toyota Stadium. Greg Vanney’s loss of Chicharito due to a hamstring injury means Dejan Joveljic will likely fill in as the club’s main striker. The Serbian international was a key spark off the bench for the Galaxy in many matches in 2023, but will now try and carry that impact over to a starting role. Riqui Puig also impressed last season and will have higher expectations after becoming a new Designated Player for the Galaxy this week.
Inter Miami vs. Union
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Apple TV
Two of the Eastern Conference hopefuls will clash at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday as the Philadelphia Union visits Inter Miami.
Inter Miami blanked CF Montreal 2-0 on opening weekend, using goals from Sergii Kryvtsov and Shaynder Borgelin to claim the win. Josef Martinez made his Inter Miami debut for Phil Neville’s side while Claudio Pizarro returned from his loan spell in Mexico last season. Drake Callender posted a six-save shutout and will now try to repel a dynamic Union attack.
The Philadelphia Union conceded first against the Columbus Crew, but eventually found their groove in a 4-1 home triumph. Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdag both registered braces for Jim Curtin’s side, while Joaquin Torres made an instant impact off the bench as a second-half substitute. A trip to Inter Miami will be tough for the Union, but overall they have more than enough talent to leave Florida with three points.
Red Bulls vs. Nashville SC
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Apple TV
A pair of MLS’ top playmakers square off on Saturday in Harrison, New Jersey as Lewis Morgan and the New York Red Bulls welcome Hany Mukhtar and Nashville SC to town.
Nashville SC started off well in Week 1 with a 2-0 victory over New York City FC. Walker Zimmerman delivered the first goal of the season for Gary Smith’s squad while Jacob Shaffelburg also found the back of the net. Nashville did well to keep NYCFC out of the box for most of the match and will now try to repeat similar success on the road for the first time in 2023.
The New York Red Bulls fell 1-0 at Orlando City on opening night and will try and put their opening night loss behind them ahead of Week 2. Gerhard Struber’s side were hard done by to not walk away with more from the match after outshooting the Lions 4-to-1 in shots on goal. Morgan returns as the Red Bulls top goalscoring option this season while Elias Manoel and Luquinhas also try to contribute immediately.
Here is the rest of the Week 2 MLS Schedule:
Saturday (all times ET)
New England Revolution vs. Houston Dynamo – 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City vs. FC Cincinnati – 7:30 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC – 7:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United – 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. New York City FC – 8:30 p.m.
Austin FC vs. CF Montreal – 8:30 p.m.
St Louis CITY SC vs. Charlotte FC – 8:30 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC – 9:30 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 10:30 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake – 10 p.m.