Your Friday Kick Off

Ten duels on MLS card …
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Kick Off: Ten duels on MLS card | Steffen to the shelf | Lions add O’Neill

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Conference leaders defend home turf

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Josef Martinez is in strong form for Atlanta and reportedly garnering interest from abroad. | USA Today Images

Supporters’ Shield front-runners Atlanta United will try to rebound from their midweek home loss in Open Cup play against a Portland team that is unbeaten in 10 across all competitions (4:30 pm ET | FOX – full TV & streaming info). Five Stripes strike ace Josef Martinez is reportedly a target for Liga MX giants Club América, but head coach Tata Martino insists they have no need to sell anyone, even if they receive a big money offer. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Meanwhile, West leaders Sporting KC are set for a Saturday contest against Houston, who happen to be one of their least favorite guests (8:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Dynamo are unbeaten in their last four visits, and hold a 5-4-7 all-time edge in league meetings in Kansas City. PREVIEW

Tough New York tests for TFC, FCD

On Sunday, New York City FC will wager their unbeaten home record against a team they often struggle to beat in any locale, defending MLS Cup champs Toronto FC (5 pm ET | TSN4/5 – full TV & streaming info). Despite the fact that new boss Domenec Torrent has yet to arrive at Yankee Stadium, the Bronx bombers are going about business as usual in preparation for this important game. READ MORE | PREVIEW

The New York Red Bulls will open the gates on Saturday for a visit from FC Dallas (6 pm ET | UniMás, Twitter – full TV & streaming info). Although the Texans are the hottest team in MLS with their four straight league wins, they’re 0-6-1 while being outscored 16-2 in their last seven at Red Bull Arena. PREVIEW

Interleague clashes at LAFC, Philly

Columbus will try to end a four-game win drought when they make their first ever visit to LAFC on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The visitors will need to do it without starting netminder Zack Steffen, who is out for an undetermined length of time with a knee injury. READ MORE | PREVIEW

The weekend MLS slate will kick off in Philadelphia, where the Union play host to suddenly streaking Vancouver (5 pm ET | TSN1/4 – full TV & streaming info). Sam Stejskal examines how the Whitecaps’ previously anemic attack has become both productive and exciting over the last several weeks. READ MORE | PREVIEW

RSL, Sounders seek home comforts

Real Salt Lake will aim for their seventh consecutive league win at Rio Tinto when San Jose comes to town for Saturday’s Western Conference duel (10 pm ET | TV & streaming info). While the Quakes are winless in six league games, they are also 3-1-2 in the last six overall series meetings. PREVIEW

To the north, Seattle will host a Saturday affair with Chicago (10 pm ET | TV & streaming info). While the visiting Fire are unbeaten in five across all competitions, they’ve also lost six straight times at CenturyLink Field. PREVIEW

Competing slumps in Orlando

Orlando City will be looking to halt a six-game skid when they return home to face a Montreal side that has lost six away games in a row (7:30 pm ET | TVAS – full TV & streaming info). The Impact are eager to beef up their attack, and Ouest-France claims they’re pondering a swoop for veteran Guingamp striker Jimmy Briand for just that purpose. READ MORE | PREVIEW

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Caleb Porter has reportedly interviewed for the vacant Orlando coaching position. | USA Today Images

Currently lacking a head coach, Orlando City are even busier with potential moves. Paul Tenorio of The Athletic says that the Lions have already interviewed Caleb Porter for the open position, while a couple other names from the domestic scene also reportedly under consideration. In the meantime, Pro Soccer USA reports that Orlando City have shored up their central defense depth by luring Excelsior defender Shane O’Neill back to MLS. READ MORE | O’NEILL SIGNS

Can Rapids get well at home?

League cellar dwellers Colorado will shoot for their first win in over two months when they host Minnesota United for a Saturday tilt (9 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Loons, who have dropped five straight road games, earned a 2-2 share on their only other visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. PREVIEW

Report: Galaxy lead Hamad chase

According to Swedish daily Expressen, the LA Galaxy have the inside track on multiple MLS suitors in the chase for Hammarby’s Swedish winger Jiloan Hamad. The paper reports that the 27-year-old, who has eight goals and six assists across all competitions at the midway point of the Allsvenskan campaign, would be most inclined to finish out the season with league leaders Hammarby before moving across the pond. READ MORE

Ticos tumble vs. Brazil

A Costa Rica side with plenty of MLS representation held on for 90 minutes vs. mighty Brazil in their second World Cup game, but ultimately fell 2-0 thanks to a pair of stoppage-time goals from Phillippe Coutinho and Neymar. LAFC’s Marco Ureña and Portland’s David Guzman started for the Ticos, while Minnesota’s Francisco Calvo was a 75th-minute substitute. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch

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Brian McBride & Cobi Jones: World Cup 2026 will win over soccer skeptics

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