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MLS Week 3 Preview: FC Cincinnati hosts Sounders, Atlanta visits Charlotte FC, and more

MLS Week 3 Preview: FC Cincinnati hosts Sounders, Atlanta visits Charlotte FC, and more

There are three inter-conference showdowns in Week 3 of the Major League Soccer season, and the most intriguing will come from Cincinnati as two of the top attacking fronts square off.

FC Cincinnati hosts the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night in the third-ever meeting between the two clubs. Pat Noonan’s squad have claimed four points out of a possible six so far and will be fighting to find the back of the net after being held goal-less at Orlando City. The Sounders remain perfect with two victories, six goals scored, and zero goals conceded through their opening 180 minutes of league play. Jordan Morris and Brandon Vazquez headline the top attackers in this meeting.

Saturday’s early match comes from Bank of America Stadium as Charlotte FC welcomes Atlanta United to town. Charlotte FC could desperately use a victory this weekend, especially after being outscored 4-1 through its opening two matches. Atlanta United took a step back in Week 2 after tying Toronto FC 1-1, but has a strong chance with Thiago Almada on its side.

Elsewhere, Los Angeles FC hosts the New England Revolution while St. Louis CITY SC makes the lengthy trip to face the Portland Timbers.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s MLS action:

FC Cincinnati vs. Sounders

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Apple TV

FC Cincinnati has yet to defeat the Seattle Sounders in MLS play and Saturday’s showdown won’t be easy with Brian Schmetzer’s squad riding a strong start to the regular season.

The Sounders have earned clean sheets in each of their first two matches, rolling past the Colorado Rapids before also defeating Real Salt Lake at Lumen Field. Seattle now heads on the road for the first time with Jordan Morris and Heber combining for five of the team’s six league goals so far. Stefan Frei remains key in between the posts while Alex Roldan leads the team with two assists.

FC Cincinnati took a major step forward in 2022 and 2023 should be another crucial year in the club’s history. Pat Noonan still has several deadly attackers to call on with Brandon Vazquez, Brenner, and Luciano Acosta all staying with the club this past offseason. However, all three are still searching for their first goals of the season and will start to feel some pressure if they cannot do so against the in-form Sounders on Saturday.

Charlotte FC vs. Atlanta United

Saturday, 12 p.m., FOX, Apple TV

The first of two head-to-head meetings between Charlotte FC and Atlanta United comes your way weekend at Bank of America Stadium.

Christian Lattanzio’s squad have struggled in the early going, being held to one goal through 180 minutes of action. Enzo Copetti’s first MLS goal boosted Charlotte FC in front last week at St. Louis CITY SC, but the expansion side battled back to earn a 3-1 victory. There is plenty of attacking talent in Charlotte FC’s roster and Saturday would be a great time for Copetti, Karol Swiderski, and Kamil Jozwiak to start clicking in the final third.

Atlanta United fought back to earn one point in Week 2 vs. Toronto FC and Saturday’s trip to Charlotte provides Gonzalo Pineda’s squad with their first chance to impress on the road. Thiago Almada remains key to the Five Stripes attack after scoring two stellar goals on opening weekend, but the Argentine will need help from others if Atlanta United wants to be a force in the East. Luiz Araujo, Miguel Berry, and Caleb Wiley have all started along with Almada in the attacking front.

LAFC vs. Revolution

Sunday, 10:30 p.m., Apple TV

The New England Revolution have impressed through their opening two matches of 2023, but Sunday’s trip to Los Angeles FC will provide a good measuring stick on how much further Bruce Arena’s needs to improve.

The Revs shutout both Charlotte FC and the Houston Dynamo in their opening two matches, using goals from four different players to pick up wins. Bobby Wood and Latif Blessing have already made instant impacts with their new clubs while a strong defensive group led by Dave Romney and Henry Kessler have contributed to the cause. Djordje Petrovic has two clean sheets so far and very well could be important if the Revs steal a result at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC rolled out to a 3-0 lead against the Portland Timbers in Week 2, but ultimately might be a bit disappointed with the final scoreline of 3-2. Steve Cherundolo’s squad will still be lead by several key contributors from last season’s MLS Cup-winning campaign, including Carlos Vela and Giorgio Chiellini, who both scored last week. John McCarthy continues to stand in goal for the suspended Maxime Crepeau.

Timbers vs. St. Louis CITY SC

Saturday, 10:30 p.m. Apple TV

St. Louis CITY SC has punched above its weight through the opening two weeks of the 2023 campaign, but Saturday’s trip to Providence Park might be a different animal for Bradley Carnell’s squad.

After picking up a 3-2 road win over Austin FC in Week 1, St. Louis kickstarted life at CITYPARK by defeating Charlotte FC 3-1. Joao Klauss leads the way with two goals while Eduard Lowen has also been a key arrival in the squad. Tim Parker’s veteran presence has been helpful in the backline and the centerback also has one goal to his name this season.

The Portland Timbers suffered their first loss of the 2023 campaign in Los Angeles and will now have to be wary of a confident St. Louis CITY SC bunch. Giovanni Savarese’s squad fell down early and never recovered against LAFC, a theme that Timbers fans will hope is a distant memory this weekend. Evander and Juan Mosquera both scored their first MLS goals in the defeat and will be two of the key guys for St. Louis to stop at Providence Park.

Here is the rest of the Week 3 MLS Schedule:

Saturday (all times ET)

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Dallas – 5:00 p.m.

Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew – 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire – 7:30 p.m.

New York City FC vs. Inter Miami – 7:30 p.m.

D.C. United vs. Orlando City – 7:30 p.m.

Nashville SC vs. CF Montreal – 8:30 p.m.

Minnesota United vs. New York Red Bulls – 8:30 p.m.

Sporting KC vs. L.A. Galaxy – 8:30 p.m.

Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC – 9:30 p.m.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m.

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