MLS games this weekend: Matchday 3 features Lionel Messi, Inter Miami vs. Orlando City

We're one week into the 2024 MLS season and there's already been a Lionel Messi goal.

Messi's stoppage time goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Sunday assured Inter Miami made it through the first two games of the season unbeaten. Messi and his former FC Barcelona bros Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suárez will get a stronger test against in-state rival Orlando City on Saturday.

During opening weekend, last season's MLS Cup combatants — the Columbus Crew and Los Angeles FC — showed their continued quality with wins over expected contenders Atlanta United and the Seattle Sounders, respectively. This week, both squads hit the road, with the Crew visiting Minnesota United (which is coming off a win against Austin FC) and LAFC visiting Real Salt Lake (which lost the MLS season opener to Inter Miami, then drew with St. Louis City SC).

MLS Matchday 3: What are this week's MLS games?

(All games available on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.)



Where can you watch MLS games?

All Major League Soccer games air on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Some select games are available for free on Apple TV and viewers only need an Apple ID to watch. Those games this weekend are: Inter Miami vs. Orlando City, Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Charlotte FC, FC Dallas vs. CF Montréal, Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union and Colorado Rapids vs. Nashville SC.

FOX Sports will air select games on linear television. This week, Inter Miami vs. Orlando City airs on FOX.

MLS game of the week: Inter Miami vs. Orlando City

  • Date and time: Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET

  • TV/streaming info: FOX/MLS Season Pass

It was no surprise that the league's most high-profile team — Inter Miami CF — got two showcase games during the opening week of the season. While their opening opponent — Real Salt Lake — is a pesky squad that seems to find a way to wiggle into the playoff field and the Los Angeles Galaxy appear to be much improved from the mess of a team that missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, Inter Miami's next opponent — Orlando City — will be their first big test this season. Orlando City is a legit contender for MLS Cup and to win the Eastern Conference. Messi and friends might have their hands full with this team.

Concacaf Champions Cup considerations: While Inter Miami earned a Round 1 bye in the Concacaf Champions Cup by virtue of their Leagues Cup triumph last year, Orlando City cruised past Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC in the opening round. In the Round of 16, Orlando City will face Liga MX powerhouse Tigres — 2020 winners of the Concacaf Champions League — and Inter Miami plays Nashville SC — the team it defeated in penalty kicks in the Leagues Cup final. The competition will create some schedule congestion for both teams, as Orlando City's Leg 1 game against Tigres is on Tuesday and Inter Miami visits Nashville for Leg 1 on Thursday.

Reunion in Fort Lauderdale: Close friends Luis Suárez and Nicolás Lodeiro of Orlando City will face off Saturday. Each are newcomers to their respective teams, but Lodeiro is a seasoned MLS veteran having played eight seasons with the Seattle Sounders, winning two MLS Cups with the team. Lodeiro and Suárez are most familiar with each other from their time together with the Uruguay national team, and the two were teammates for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Sneaky-good game of the week: Portland Timbers vs. DC United

  • Date and time: Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET

  • TV/streaming info: MLS Season Pass

Both teams are coming off impressive opening weekend wins under new coaches (Troy Lesesne for D.C. and Phil Neville for Portland). Were those results a precursor for a successful season to come for both of these teams that missed the playoffs last season? Who's to say? But, stacking another three points on top of last week's victory would be a nice momentum-builder early for either squad.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lionel Messi next game: Inter Miami vs. Orlando City on MLS Matchday 3