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Previews & predictions for Week 21 of the 2023 MLS season

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Despite all the excitement growing around Inter Miami’s recruitment process having secured both Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, the MLS Week 21 predictions 2023 are more than just two players even if Apple TV can expect more viewers once the former Barcelona duo officially join David Beckham’s franchise at the start of July.

MLS Week 21 predictions 2023

Inter Miami vs Austin FC

Sunday 2nd July, 00:30 BST

Our Week 21 MLS preview starts with a trip to DRV PNK Stadium. As the clock strikes 00:00 on July 1st, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets will be Inter Miami employees. However, whether or not they play is still up in the air. Messi has been pretty much slated to make his debut in the Leagues Cup competition against Cruz Azul. At which point, he’ll instantly become one of the best MLS players currently.

However, the other team members need to pull their fingers out if they are to get on Messi’s good side. The team has lost its last seven MLS games including last weekend’s demolition job as Philadelphia Union won 4-1, which ultimately has led to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

After a rocky start to the season, Austin FC has emerged as a team similar to the level they played at last year. Successive 3-0 victories in Texas rivalry games have put them in good contention for postseason football again. Backed by in-form players like Gyasi Zardes and Ethan Findlay, this Austin team could still do very well this year.


Prediction: This will be the third-ever meeting between the two franchises and it’s unlikely we’re going to see Miami register its first win in the fixture. Austin is on fire and the hosts are in the doldrums.

Columbus Crew vs New York Red Bulls

Sunday 2nd July, 00:30 BST

MLS Week 21 predictions 2023 where possible should nod to the past. There might not be a better opportunity than this fixture featuring two of the original franchises as the Columbus Crew host the New York Red Bulls. The overall series record stands at 31 Crew wins, 33 NYRB victories, and 13 stalemates. Could the Crew go one closer to leveling it up?

Crew keeper Patrick Schulte shocked the entire MLS world at the weekend by keeping out Hany Mukhtar in Columbus’ match with Nashville SC. That result put them on a five-game unbeaten streak heading into this match-up.

One of the most inconsistent teams this year is the New York Red Bulls. However, that’s not to say that they aren’t entertaining. Troy Lesesne took over as the head coach in May and has generally improved the team but some results fall short of the mark. That cannot be said about last weekend’s performance as the Red Bulls took seemingly all their chances with a 4-0 win despite having less than 35% possession against Atlanta United.


Prediction: The Crew has been very good at home this season, picking up 2.3 points on average. The Red Bulls are good but can’t expect too much out of the Field fortress.

San Jose Earthquakes vs Los Angeles Galaxy

Sunday 2nd July, 00:30 BST

The original California Clasico barges onto the scene as Stanford Stadium hosts this great staple of Major League Soccer. While for years it has been the LA Galaxy who have been the form team with their big-money signings and prominence, this year it’s the San Jose Earthquakes who are objectively better.

Despite losing their last two matches, San Jose has won enough throughout the season to still be in the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings. A radical achievement given this franchise has been starved of playoff participation for many seasons now. Luchi-ball has most definitely been a step in the right direction as Luchi Gonzalez has got the most out of players like Jeremy Ebboise, Carlos Akapo, and the 19-year-old Cade Cowell.

Where to start about Galaxy’s problems this season…Greg Vanney has been awarded a seemingly long tenure as the head coach despite winning just three of their 18 games so far in MLS. Their last three games have shown a slight upward trend, well, almost. Three draws are better than three losses.

Prediction: San Jose win. Simple.

Atlanta United vs Philadelphia Union

Sunday 2nd July, 21:00 BST

There’s no way that MLS Week 21 predictions 2023 can’t feature this match as two of the best MLS teams this season collide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta United host Philadelphia Union in a game that will have massive implications for the Eastern Conference standings with the teams going into it separated by just five points.

Atlanta is hoping to close that gap to two points. However, their seven-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end as the New York Red Bulls recorded a surprising 4-0 victory at the weekend.

The popular figure of Jim Curtin has been at the helm of the Philadelphia Union since 2014 but will see his contract expire at the end of 2023 if no new deal is accepted by all parties. It would only seem fitting for Curtin to bow out with the MLS Cup after coming so close last season.

Prediction: Despite being a prominent team in Major League Soccer since its establishment, Atlanta United has struggled against Philadelphia having not won in this fixture since 2019. With their confidence up and Atlanta’s down, Philly could win here.

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