LA Galaxy host surprising expansion side Austin FC, FC Cincinnati debuts new stadium vs. Inter Miami

While Javier "Chicharito" Hernández and the Los Angeles Galaxy look to continue on their impressive start to the 2021 MLS season, the first of three new soccer-specific stadiums to open this year will make its debut.

While the team has yet to dazzle on the field in its brief MLS existence, its new home is sure to excite fans. FC Cincinnati's new TQL Stadium debuts Sunday when the team hosts David Beckham's Inter Miami CF on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, FOX). It will be the first of three new stadiums debuting this season, with Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium (June 19) and Columbus SC’s New Crew Stadium (July 3) to follow.

Members of FC Cincinnati stand on the field at TQL Stadium, which hosts its first game Sunday. (Photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)

Here is what you need to know for the fifth weekend of the 2021 MLS season:

Game of the week

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Austin FC (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Univision/TUDN) – Austin FC has refused to settle for mediocrity as an expansion team, defeating the Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United FC en route to earning a decent six points out of four matches this season. Led in attack by Paraguayan designated player Cecilio Domínguez, Austin has scored five goals. However, its midfield partnership of Diego Fagúndez and Tomás Pochettino will have to step up against the Galaxy because central midfielder Alex Ring is suspended after receiving a red card last week against Sporting Kansas City. Galaxy center forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernández basks in good form, leading MLS with six goals.

Austin FC's Cecilio Dominguez has scored two goals through four games. (Photo: Jay Biggerstaff, USA TODAY Sports)

MLS player to watch

Cade Cowell, San Jose Earthquakes – The 17-year-old forward has made a monumental impact on the rising Earthquakes to start the season. Able to play as an attacking midfielder or striker, Cowell has two goals and three assists as second-place San Jose hosts the Portland Timbers at PayPal Park on Saturday.

What is this weekend's MLS schedule?

(All times Eastern. ABC/ESPN games available to be streamed on Watch ESPN; Fox games on FOX Sports Live. Games also available on fuboTV.) 

Saturday

  • New York City FC vs. Toronto FC, 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Austin FC, 3:30 p.m. (Univision, TUDN)
  • Atlanta United vs. CF Montreal, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo, 9 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Real Salt Lake vs. Nashville SC, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers, 10 p.m. (ESPN+)

Sunday

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami CF, 4 p.m. (FOX)
  • New England Revolution vs. Columbus SC, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • DC United vs. Orlando City SC, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)

MLS news and notes

Columbus Crew SC rebrands as Columbus SC: Columbus Crew SC is no more. Kinda. The club on Monday announced it was switching up its brand and marks with a new badge, along with dropping the "Crew" from the club’s name in favor of "Columbus SC." The club also has retained a word mark that contains "the Crew”" but backlash from dropping the "Crew" moniker from the club’s proper name has been met with hard resistance. The organization’s confirmation of the new name and marks on Monday invited a wave of backlash from fans and soccer writers alike. For the time being, Columbus SC is the name of Central Ohio’s MLS franchise. To date, there’s no indication the club is going to reconsider the rebrand and new merchandise is being rolled out. 

'NEGATIVE TO CATASTROPHIC': Columbus Crew brass was told beforehand that rebranding would not go over well with fans

FC Cincinnati to debut TQL Stadium vs. Inter Miami CF: MLS stadium infrastructure is growing again in 2021 with three new venues coming online this season. The first of the venues to host a league match will be FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium on Sunday (4 p.m. on FOX). The 26,000-capacity venue located in the city’s West End neighborhood will be at a restricted capacity of around 6,000 fans, but fans of any number will be a welcome sight for the club as FCC wasn’t permitted to host a single paying spectator in 2020 due to the pandemic. Later this season, Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium and Columbus SC’s forthcoming and under-construction stadium, which currently doesn’t have a naming-rights partner, will also open.

'IT'S A NEW DAY': From Crosley Field to TQL Stadium 

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