The MLS still has a number of fixtures this weekend, despite it being international week. With some players gone to play in World Cup qualifiers, not all teams are in action though. In fact, there are only four games this weekend, two in each conference.
Inter Miami head to New York Red Bulls
One of the two games in the Eastern Conference involves a suddenly struggling Inter Miami side heading to the New York area to face the Red Bulls. The Miami slide in September included a 4-0 home loss to the Red Bulls just three weeks ago. Last season, the Herons won away from home against the Red Bulls as Gonzalo Higuain scored his first MLS goal.
While the Red Bulls have struggled on their travels, they have suffered just one defeat at home all season. They have also won four of the last five, with the other being a draw. Part of the reason for their success is due to Patryk Klimala finding his form. He has been involved in five of their last seven goals with two strikes and three assists.
Conversely, the Miami frontline has disappeared entirely, with just one goal in their last five games, all of which were defeats. Included in this span is a tally of just 6.2 shots per game away from home this season, a league low since the introduction of such stats 11 years ago. Furthermore, Phil Neville's side have been shut out six times in 2021, the second-most in the league behind expansion side Austin FC.
If either team wants to make the post-season, they must get a win in this match. The Red Bulls enter the weekend on 34 points, six outside the play-offs. Meanwhile, Miami have 32 points and must jump four teams to make the play-offs.
Seattle Sounders looking to extend their lead
Top team the Seattle Sounders have the opportunity to extend their lead in the Western Conference as they host eighth-place Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend. Seattle have a two-point advantage plus a game in hand over Sporting Kansas City.
The Sounders defence has been great all season, conceding an MLS-low 22 goals, while Seattle have scored twice as many. They rank second in the West in terms of goals per game and first in terms of goal difference.
Vancouver are one team that Seattle haven't beaten this season as the sides played a 2-2 draw back in June. That result came despite Seattle having 62% of the possession and launching 19 shots on goal.
Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz is in the race for both the Golden Boot and MLS MVP as he has 16 goals this season. However, he is expected to join the Peru National Team for their World Cup qualifiers this week and won't be available for the game against the Whitecaps.
Seattle could also be missing Brad Smith, who is recovering from COVID-19. The diagnosis kept Smith out of the Australian National Team for their qualifiers, and Seattle will have to use their depth and experience against the Whitecaps.
Even without Ruidiaz and Smith, the Sounders are 8/11 to get all three points this weekend, according to Planet Sport Bet. Vancouver are 7/2, while the draw is 5/2.