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August 2018
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‘MLS’ Articles

Pro Soccer

MLS and FIFA: Beginning of the World Cup Games




As the most diverse sports league in the world,
MLS sees players from six countries set to participate in World Cup in Russia

NEW YORK (Thursday, June 14, 2018) – The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia begins today, and for Major League Soccer’s contingent of 19 players, representing six countries, it is a chance to be immortalized in history books during the greatest sporting event in the world.

Celebrations were in full swing Wednesday as FIFA announced that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico, but now all eyes turn to this year’s tournament as the globe halts to watch the world’s game.


MLS: The World’s Most Diverse Sports League: As the league of choice for many top players, MLS is the most diverse sports league in the world with players from more than 70 countries competing in 2018. Again leading the charge in diversity (as determined by birthplace) in the North American sports landscape, from a pool of 637 current players, 72 countries are represented in MLS compared with the second-most diverse league, the NBA, that boasts players from 45 countries.

Among those 637 players, 234 have been capped by their national teams and a total of 27 players from 11 FIFA World Cup-bound countries played a part in their respective nations’ World Cup Qualifiers during 2017.

League (year) Total # of Players Players Born Abroad (% born outside U.S.A. & Canada) Countries Represented (incl. USA & Canada) Average Age of All Players (in years)
MLS (2018) 637 315 (49.4%) 72 25.36
MLB (2017) 1087 326 (29.9%) 24 28.33
NHL (2017-2018) 779 225 (28.8%) 22 27.17
NBA (2017-2018) 496 96 (19.4%) 47 26.22
NFL (2017) 2104 57 (2.7%) 26 26.36

Six-nation representation: For a second straight World Cup, six nations have current MLS players on their rosters, which, alongside the 2014 tournament, ties for the most in league history. The country representation includes six MLS players on both Costa Rica and Panama, three for Mexico, two for Peru and one each for Egypt and Sweden. Two other countries include former MLS players, with Australia featuring former New York Red Bulls forward Tim Cahill and former Montreal Impact midfielder Blerim D��emaili representing Switzerland.

Sixteen are new to the big stage: A total of 16 players will be competing in their first FIFA World Cup. Six players among this group are part of Panama’s first trip to the World Cup, including Seattle Sounders FC defender Román Torres, whose late goal against Costa Rica in the finale of the qualifying stage propelled his nation to Russia.

Three World Cup returnees: The MLS pool features three players who have competed at the World Cup previously, led by the LA Galaxy’s Giovani dos Santos, who is headed to his third World Cup for Mexico (2010, 2014, 2018). Dos Santos and the Los Angeles Football Club’s Carlos Vela (in his second World Cup appearance) were teammates on Mexico’s 2010 squad. LAFC forward Marco Ureña also prepares for his second World Cup appearance after representing Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Dos Santos duo marks first MLS brother pairing in World Cup: Heading into the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there have been 58 individual brothers who have played in FIFA World Cup history, either in the same tournament or in different tournaments. This year is unique one for MLS as the LA Galaxy’sJonathan dos Santos and Giovani dos Santos will play alongside each other for Mexico. This year’s World Cup includes four sets of brothers: the dos Santos (Mexico), Eden and Thorgan Hazard (Belgium), Noureddine and Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco), and Anton and Alexei Miranchuk (Russia). Two sets of brothers have won the World Cup alongside each other: Germany’s Ottmar and Fritz Walter (1954) and England’s Bobby and Jack Charlton (1966).

FIFA World Cup Winners: Only 422 players throughout history have lifted the world’s most coveted trophy, two of whom currently play in MLS in the Chicago Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, 2014) and New York City FC’s David Villa (Spain, 2010).  All-time, 11 World Cup winners have played on MLS squads yet none have won both the World Cup and MLS Cup in the same year. The 19 MLS players headed to Russia have the opportunity to join some illustrious company, for both country and club.

LA trio leads Mexico to most successful qualifying run: Mexico clinched its trip to Russia 2018 with several qualifying matches to spare following a 1-0 win against Panama on Sept. 1, 2017. It marked Mexico’s earliest World Cup qualification clinch in the country’s history. The Los Angeles Football Club’s first signing, Carlos Vela, and LA Galaxy brothers Giovani dos Santos and Jonathan dos Santos all featured during the qualifying stage to help Mexico earn its 16th FIFA World Cup appearance.

Torres boosts Panama to first World Cup: Seattle Sounders FC defender Román Torres is being hailed a hero after scoring the winning goal that lifted Panama to its first-ever FIFA World Cup. The last-minute drama took place on Oct. 10, 2017, when Torres’ right-footed strike in the 88th minute completed a 2-1 rally victory over favorited Costa Rica to book Panama’s spot in Russia.


Montreal’s Piatti voted Alcatel MLS Player of the Week




NEW YORK (Friday, June 15, 2018) – Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti was voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the 16th week of the 2018 MLS season.

Montreal defeated Orlando City SC 3-0 on Wednesday night at Stade Saputo, with Piatti scoring two goals to help lift the Impact. Piatti has seven goals and six assists this season, making him the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 of both categories in 2018. The Impact sit ninth in the Eastern conference with 15 points (5-11-0 overall record).

Piatti put Montreal on the board in the early moments of the match with a penalty kick driven into the bottom left corner to give the Impact a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute (Watch Goal). Montreal doubled its lead when Piatti sent a ball out wide to Daniel Lovitz, whose cross in front of goal in the 55th minute forced the defense into an error resulting in an own goal to push the Impact lead to 2-0 (Watch).

The Argentine finished his impressive outing, scoring Montreal’s third goal in second half stoppage time. Piatti broke in behind the defense in the box with a pass from Saphir Taïder, then rounded Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik, finishing with a strike to goal to cap the Impact’s dominant 3-0 victory (Watch Goal). The brace was Piatti’s second multi-goal performance of the season and 12th in his MLS regular season career.

Montreal returns to MLS regular season action on Saturday, June 23 to face Orlando City SC at Orlando City Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, TVAS / ESPN+).

The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is chosen each week of the regular season by members of the North American Soccer Reporters. The organization includes print, television, radio and online journalists who cover domestic men’s soccer in the United States and Canada.

Atlanta United star Josef Martinez recent MLS Player of the Week




NEW YORK (Tuesday, June 5, 2018) – Atlanta United forward Josef Martínez was voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the 14th week of the 2018 MLS season.

Martínez scored three goals in Atlanta’s 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union in front of 45,140 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. The 25-year-old tied a league record with his fifth career MLS hat trick, accomplishing the feat in a mere 34 matches played. Atlanta sits first in the Eastern Conference standings with 29 points (9-3-2 record), while Martínez tops the league with 12 goals scored this season.

The Venezuela National Team forward began his day with a penalty kick goal in the 21stminute for an early 1-0 Atlanta advantage (Watch Goal). Martínez scored again in the 49thminute to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead. Miguel Almirón sent a perfectly placed ball into the box, threading a pass between Union goalkeeper Andre Blake and a defender to an open Martínez, who calmly finished with a deflection to the center of goal (Watch Goal).

Following a Philadelphia goal, Martínez then completed his hat trick in the 83rd minute to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead with a powerful penalty kick goal just inside the left post (Watch Goal). In 34 career MLS regular season matches, Martínez has scored 31 goals for a 0.91 goals-per-game average, the best in MLS history among players with at least 20 career goals scored.

The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is chosen each week of the regular season by members of the North American Soccer Reporters. The organization includes print, television, radio and online journalists who cover domestic men’s soccer in the United States and Canada.

Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen MLS Player of the Month for May




Presented by EA SPORTS™


NEW YORK (Wednesday, June 6, 2018) – Columbus Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen was voted the MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™ by members of the media for the month of May of the 2018 MLS season.

The 23-year-old did not allow a single goal in five matches in May, with Crew SC compiling an undefeated 3-0-2 mark over the month as part of an active eight-game unbeaten streak. Steffen’s active 495-minute shutout streak is the ninth-longest for an individual goalkeeper in MLS history, the longest in Columbus history, and was the eighth-longest shutout streak for a team in the league. The seven shutouts posted by Steffen this season lead the league, helping Columbus to a current third-place standing in the Eastern Conference with 26 points (7-3-5 overall record).

Columbus began the month with a 0-0 draw at Seattle Sounders FC on May 5, with Steffen making one save in the match, a close-range diving stop on Clint Dempsey in the 73rdminute to keep his club even (Watch Save). Days later, Steffen made three saves in Crew SC’s 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on May 9.

The U.S. Men’s National Team standout continued his stellar play with a four-save performance in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on May 12, including a diving stop off a free kick attempt by Diego Campos in the 31st minute (Watch Save). A week later, Steffen registered a season-high six saves in a 1-0 Crew SC victory at the New England Revolution on May 19, highlighted by a diving stop on Teal Bunbury’s shot in the 38th minute (Watch Save ). Steffen concluded the month with a three-save performance in a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City on May 27, registering one of his 17 saves on the month with a diving stop on Daniel Salloi’s rocket from the top of the box in the 63rd minute (Watch Save).

MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™ is voted upon by a panel of select national media members in a process conducted by MLS Communications.

MLS, this week updated it policies on cancellations and postponement of games



With weather conditions disrupting several recent matches, Major League Soccer moved this week to clarify its policies pertaining to match postponements.
According to the league, the MLS Product Strategy Committee on Wednesday agreed to several new rules governing what happens when a game is abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances.

The policy, which has been added to the league’s 2015 Rules and Regulations, is as follows:

Postponement Policy

  • In the event a match is abandoned in or after the 76th minute (i.e. 75:00 on the official game clock), the result and all statistics will stand.
  • In the event a match is abandoned prior to the 76th minute, it will be postponed, rather than cancelled.  In the event the game is abandoned prior the 76th minute, any remaining time will be completed the following day or as soon as practical.
  • The League will determine in its discretion whether to postpone/abandon a match after considering all relevant factors and circumstances including: whether the delay in play exceeds 3 hours and whether resuming play would begin after 12:00 am local time and/or whether the game would be completed by 1:00 am local time; neither factor is determinative.

Match Recommencement

  • The match must restart on the same spot where the abandoned match action occurred (i.e. free-kick, throw-in, goal kick, corner kick, penalty, etc.).  If the match was stopped during the normal flow of the game, a dropped ball on the spot where it was abandoned shall be used to restart.
  • The match shall recommence with the same players on the pitch and substitutes available as when the match was initially abandoned. Any player in play at the time the match was abandoned who subsequently is injured before the resumption of the match and cannot play can only be replaced by a substitute on the official match day roster of the abandoned match.  Such substitute will NOT count against a team’s normally allotted substitutions.
  • No additional substitutes may be added to the list of players on the official match day roster.
  • The teams can make only the number of substitutions to which they were still entitled when the match was abandoned (except as provided above in the case of a subsequent injury).


  • Single yellow cards imposed before the match was abandoned are not carried forward to any other matches before the abandoned match is completed.
  • Players sent off during the abandoned match cannot be replaced and the number of players in the starting line-up remains as it was when the match was abandoned.
  • Players who were suspended following a match played after the abandoned match in question can be included on the team sheet so long as they were on the official match day roster of the abandoned match.
  • Any sanctions imposed before the match was abandoned remain valid for the remainder of the match.

Over the past month, several MLS matches have been disrupted due to heavy weather. In Dallas, the game between FC Dallas and Toronto FC was delayed for 3 hours and 26 minutes on April 18 due to lightning strikes in the area, and finished around 1 am local time. The May 6 match in Utah between Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy was also delayed 62 minutes due to lightning in the area.


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