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‘MLS’ Articles

Pro Soccer

MLS welcomes in Week 9 of the 2018 season

MATCH PREVIEWS & NEWS WRITTEN BY MLS COMMUNICATIONS

This Week in MLS – April 23, 2018

  • LAFC to play inaugural match at $350 million Banc of California Stadium on Sunday
  • Osorio, Toronto FC in must-win state to capture Concacaf Champions League Final crown
  • MLS players prepare for 2018 FIFA World Cup with tournament 50 days away
  • 100 Days until MLS All-Stars face Juventus in Atlanta
  • FC Dallas, stalwart defense look to maintain unbeaten start at East-leading NYCFC
  • MLS equals all-time record for goals scored in a weekend
  • MLS Week 9: Match Notes

LAFC to play inaugural match at $350 million Banc of California Stadium on Sunday
The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) last week unveiled its $350 million Banc of California Stadium and will take on Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday for the first ever match at the state-of-the-art facility (9 p.m. ET, FS1). Banc of California Stadium will be the 15th stadium built from the ground up in MLS and the 19th built with soccer in mind. Following the opening of D.C. United’s Audi Field in July 2018 and Minnesota Untied FC’s Allianz Field in 2019, 21 of 23 MLS clubs will play in venues built with soccer in mind.

  • Click here for aerial drone videos of Banc of California Stadium
  • Click here for photographs of Banc of California Stadium

LAFC also opened its new $30 million training facility earlier this month that serves as home for the first team, academy, and club staff. The LAFC Performance Center is the fifth world class MLS training site to open since 2017 catering to both the first team and academy players with New York City FC opening later this season.

With an already announced sellout of its 22,000-seat stadium for its inaugural home match, LAFC expects raucous support for its match against Seattle. Mexico National Team starCarlos Vela and 20-year-old Uruguayan Diego Rossi are both tied for the league-lead in combined goals and assists with eight. The duo have led LAFC to an impressive start to the season, winning four of its first six matches on the road to power the highest scoring team in the league in goals per game (2.67 goals per game).

MLS Club Training Facility Cost Year Opened
Vancouver Whitecaps FC $32.5 million 2017
Atlanta United $60 million 2017
Real Salt Lake $60 million 2017
Sporting Kansas City $75 million 2018
LAFC $30 million 2018
NYCFC TBD Opening 2018

Osorio, Toronto FC in must-win state to capture Concacaf Champions League Final crown
Toronto FC travels down to Guadalajara, Mexico, with the hopes of achieving a first in MLS history – to earn a trip to the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup this December in the United Arab Emirates. To accomplish this feat, Toronto needs to overcome a 2-1 aggregate deficit against famed Liga MX side Chivas de Guadalajara in the second leg of the Concacaf Champions League Final on Wednesday at Estadio Akron (9:30 p.m. ET / UDN, TSN, go90.com).

Toronto’s 25-year-old midfielder Jonathan Osorio has been a breakout player contributing to the club’s CCL success. Following a 2017 MLS season in which he was utilized more frequently off the bench, Osorio has firmly established himself as an attacking stalwart in the CCL as the frontrunner for the Golden Boot race with four tallies, including Toronto’s 19th-minute goal in the opening 2-1 loss to Chivas on April 17 at BMO Field. With Osorio, free kick specialist Sebastian Giovinco (3 goals in CCL) and striker Jozy Altidore (2 goals in CCL) among Toronto’s arsenal, the club will attempt to defeat a third Liga MX side after advancing past Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals and Club América in the semifinal stage.

Jonathan Osorio: Clutch in the CCL

Date/Match Timing of goal Scenario
Feb. 20 Round of 16 – Leg 1 at Colorado Rapids 55th minute Opening goal in frigid conditions would prove to be the series winner (2-0)
March 7 Quarterfinal – Leg 1 vs. Tigres 89th minute Was the Leg 1 game-winner (2-1 victory) to provide Toronto the momentum into an eventual series win
April 10 Semifinal –     Leg 2 at Club América 12th minute Gave Toronto an early lead at Estadio Azteca to establish a 4-1 aggregate advantage against América
April 17 Final –            Leg 1 vs. Chivas 19th minute Supplied a quick equalizer after Guadalajara had opened the match with a second-minute tally

Toronto FC established themselves as one of the best clubs in MLS history after earning the treble in 2017 – the Supporters’ Shield, Canadian Championship and MLS Cup. Winning the CCL Final would further etch Toronto’s name in MLS lure.

How to Watch:

  • Leg 2: Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Toronto FC (Wednesday, April 25, 9:30 p.m. ET) – Watch live on UDN or TSN, or live stream via go90.com or the go90 app

Leg 2 Scenarios:

  • Toronto FC: TFC can win the CCL Final with a two-goal victory (or greater) to win on aggregate; Toronto can also win the final with a one-goal victory provided it can overtake Chivas’ road goals tiebreaker advantage (Chivas leads 2-0).
  • Chivas de Guadalajara: Chivas can win the CCL Final with a win or draw; Chivas can also win with a one-goal loss if they maintain their current road goals tiebreaker advantage of 2-0.
  • Shootout scenario: If Leg 2 ends in a 2-1 Toronto FC win, the series will be decided in a penalty kick shootout.

MLS players prepare for 2018 FIFA World Cup with tournament 50 days away
This Wednesday marks the 50-day countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and a number of MLS players are battling to be included in their respective nation’s roster for the world’s biggest sporting event. Among the standouts expected in Russia this summer include Los Angeles Football Club’s Carlos Vela (Mexico), Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Kendall Waston (Costa Rica) and Orlando City SC’s Yoshimar Yotún (Peru).

Players across the league are also using strong MLS league play to prove they deserve inclusion on their country’s 25-man World Cup roster. Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders FC) started for Sweden in World Cup qualifiers and could be joined by New York City FC defender Anton Tinnerholm and LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović. Tinnerholm has scored two incredible goals for league-leading NYCFC while Ibrahimović’s well known antics have captured Los Angeles by storm with three goals scored in four appearances.

With Mexico set to face Sweden in Group F play, plenty of MLS star power could be on display as Vela could join MLS rivals Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy) on the world’s biggest stage.

100 Days until MLS All-Stars face Juventus in Atlanta
The best in MLS are 100 days out from facing Italy’s finest, Juventus, in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on August 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. As the opposing Italian giants are in deep pursuit of another Serie A title-clinching season after already securing a spot in the Coppa Italia Final set for next month.

Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira, with eight goals this year including a hat trick against Udinese and two goals against Sassuolo, took notice of the global spotlight shining on Atlanta’s record-breaking attendance and supporters culture:

As you can see, if they are coming with 70,000 people, and also we played there last year, so the fans there like ‘soccer’ as they said, I think it will be an amazing experience to play there against the MLS All-Star Team.” (Download Video)

Tickets to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game are on sale now through Ticketmaster.com. The annual midsummer showcase will feature a week of events in Atlanta surrounding the game, including concerts, community service initiatives, player appearances, as well as an additional showcase match featuring the best young players from across the league. More information on the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target can be found at MLSsoccer.com/AllStar.

FC Dallas, stalwart defense look to maintain unbeaten start at East-leading NYCFC
Entering Week 9 of the 2018 season, only one unbeaten club remains as FC Dallas (3-0-3, 12 points) travel to face Eastern Conference-leading New York City FC (5-1-2, 16 points) on Sunday in Frisco, Texas (6 p.m. ET / ESPN+). FC Dallas are third in the Western Conference and sport a mix of top youth prospects and a sturdy defense to compensate for the absences of key figures such as U.S. Men’s National Team and Homegrown Players Kellyn Acosta and Jesse Gonzalez.

Homegrown 19-year-old defender Reggie Cannon has been a significant piece in solidifying FC Dallas’ defense, having started in all six matches in his first full season with the club. Dallas has conceded an MLS-low three goals in six games, anchored by goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer who leads MLS with a 0.50 goals-against average and is tied for the league lead with three shutouts.

Several young players from last year’s FCD squad have played an elevated part in 2018, such as 22-year-old midfielder Jacori Hayes. The first-round selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft has already logged nearly six times as much playing time as his rookie season, starting in all six matches (518 minutes), while scoring the game-winning goal at the New England Revolution on April 14 and assisting the lone Dallas goal during a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers on March 24. Paraguayan forward Cristian Colman , 24, has earned back-to-back starts the past two weeks, and his 89th-minute equalizer off the bench against the Colorado Rapids on April 7 kept Dallas’ unbeaten start intact.

MLS equals all-time record for goals scored in a weekend
With 46 goals scored last Friday through Sunday across an 11-game slate, MLS matched the all-time record for goals scored over a single weekend. That total equaled the 46 goals from last season’s high-stakes MLS Decision Day 2017 presented by AT&T (also scored among 11 matches), when postseason hopes were on the line in Week 33. Sporting Kansas City led the way with a 6-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Friday, which equaled a club single-game record set three times previously. Sporting midfielder Johnny Russell and Montreal Impact playmaker Ignacio Piatti each recorded a hat trick, with Piatti surpassing the 50-goal career milestone (currently has 51 goals). (Watch all 46 goals from Week 8).

MLS Week 9: Match Notes
Friday, April 27, 2018
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)

  • Whitecaps FC suffered the heaviest defeat of their MLS history, falling 6-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Friday evening. The previous club record for goals allowed in an MLS game was four, set on eight occasions.
  • Real Salt Lake won for a third consecutive match – all at Rio Tinto Stadium – with a 3-0 win against Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening. Albert Rusnák scored a goal and added an assist – already the sixth time in his MLS career he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game – while Nick Rimando posted his 139th career league shutout, his first in 2018.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Luis Silva and Jefferson Savarino scored to lead Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 win on April 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The ‘Caps have won the past five meetings at BC Place, dating back to 2014, winning 3-2 there last Sept. 9 in the last encounter in Vancouver. RSL have won the last three meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Saturday, April 28, 2018
Atlanta United vs. Montreal Impact, 1 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, ESPN+)

  • Atlanta United extended their undefeated run to six games – the second-longest in the club’s MLS history – with a 2-0 win against the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Saturday evening.
  • Josef Martínez scored his sixth goal of the season – now leading the MLS Golden Boot standings – while Miguel Almirón converted a penalty kick for his fourth goal of the season, one of two players in MLS this season with at least four goals and four assists.
  • The Impact suffered their third consecutive defeat, falling 5-3 to the Los Angeles Football Club at Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon.
  • Ignacio Piatti scored a hat trick – with all three goals coming before halftime – the first hat trick of his MLS career and the fifth in the Impact’s MLS history. Piatti became the 61st player in MLS history to reach 50 goals in his league career (now with 51).
  • The teams split their two meetings a year ago in Atlanta United’s inaugural season in MLS. The Impact took a 2-1 win on April 15 at Stade Saputo; Atlanta United returned the favor with a 2-0 victory on Sept. 24 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m. ET (CTV, ESPN+)

  • Toronto FC suffered their fourth defeat in five matches, falling 5-1 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Mitchell Taintor – signed on loan the day before the match – scored the TFC goal on his MLS debut.
  • The Fire won their second match on the season, over the past three games, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 at Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon. Nemanja Nikolic scored his fifth goal of the season, sitting second in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Toronto FC have won the past six meetings between the teams, including both matchups a year ago, both by a 3-1 scoreline – the first coming April 21 at BMO Field, the second Aug. 19 at Toyota Park.
  • The Fire’s last victory in the series came April 4, 2015, a 3-2 win at Toyota Park, which ended a 12-game Fire undefeated streak in the series (6-0-6), dating back to 2010.
  • TFC have won the last two meetings at Toyota Park, their only wins ever there. The Fire had come away with five wins and five draws in the first 10 meetings all-time in Bridgeview. TFC have won the past four encounters at BMO Field.

Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m. ET (UniMás, UDN)

  • The Union suffered a second consecutive defeat while seeing their winless streak stretched to five matches, falling 2-0 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. The Union saw their current goalless streak extended to 206 minutes.
  • D.C. United return to action after a week off, their last match a 1-0 win against Columbus Crew SC at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. Ulises Segura scored the game’s lone goal after 43 seconds – the third-longest in MLS history a team has held on for a 1-0 win.
  • The teams met three times a season ago, and the Union won twice. D.C. United took a 2-1 win on April 1 at RFK Stadium in the first matchup between the clubs, but the Union won the next two, once at each ground, a 4-0 victory on May 13 in the nation’s capital, then a 1-0 win on June 24 at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • The Union win in the second meeting last year ended a six-game United undefeated streak in the series at RFK Stadium. The Union’s last victory on East Capitol Street had come April 21, 2013.
  • The Union have won the past four meetings in Chester, over the last three seasons, without conceding a goal. United have now not scored a goal in the past 444 minutes played at Talen Energy Stadium.

Columbus Crew SC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Crew SC put an end to a three-game losing skid but saw their winless streak extended to four games, reaching a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening. Gyasi Zardes scored his fifth goal of the season, sitting in a tie for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The Quakes had their winless streak stretched to five matches, falling 3-2 to Orlando City SC at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday evening. Florian Jungwirth scored both San Jose goals, his first two goals this season (he had two in 30 appearances last year).
  • The Quakes won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 2-1 win on Aug. 5 at Avaya Stadium, extending their home undefeated streak in the series to six matches (3-0-3).
  • Crew SC have won once in the past 10 meetings between the teams – the last meeting at Mapfre Stadium, a 2-0 victory on Aug. 27, 2016. The last Crew SC win had been Aug. 8, 2009, a 3-0 victory at Candlestick Park in San Francisco – the Quakes won two of the next eight meetings, with six draws.

New England Revolution vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • The Revolution gained their second consecutive result on their travels, reaching a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew SC at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening. Alex Bunbury scored his third goal of the season, all coming over the past four games.
  • Sporting extended their undefeated streak to seven matches, matching their largest margin of victory in the club’s 23-year history, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 6-0 at Children’s Mercy Park on Friday evening. The win equaled a 6-0 win against the MetroStars on June 20, 1999.
  • Johnny Russell scored a hat trick, the eighth in SKC club history, now sitting in a tie for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings with five goals for the season.
  • Sporting won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-1 victory on Sept. 16 at Children’s Mercy Park. The Revolution have won once on their past 11 trips to Kansas City, since 2008, a 3-2 victory on Sept. 26, 2014, which ended an eight-game winless streak there in the series.
  • The Revolution have won the past three meetings in Foxborough. The Revolution’s 2-0 win at Gillette Stadium on April 26, 2014, snapped a six-game Sporting undefeated streak in league play in the series, scoring their first goals vs. SKC since July 30, 2011, snapping a 592-minute shutout streak.

Minnesota United FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Minnesota United suffered their fourth consecutive loss – the longest losing run of their MLS history – in a 3-1 defeat by Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Dynamo put an end to their four-game winless run, defeating Toronto FC 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The five goals matched the club’s record in MLS league play, set four times previously.
  • The teams met three times a year ago in Minnesota United’s inaugural MLS season, and the Dynamo were undefeated. The Dynamo claimed the only win in the series, a 2-1 victory on Sept. 30 at Houston.
  • The teams played to draws in the first two meetings, once at each ground – a 2-2 result on April 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium, and a goalless match on July 19 at TCF Bank Stadium.

LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • The Galaxy suffered a second consecutive defeat at StubHub Center, falling 2-0 to Atlanta United on Saturday evening.
  • The Red Bulls followed a victory with a loss for a third consecutive league match this season, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Galaxy won the only meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-1 victory on May 14 at Red Bull Arena, the first win by either side in the series since 2014. The teams had played to draws in each of the previous two meetings, one at each ground.
  • The win last year was the second by the Galaxy in the past nine meetings, dating back to 2010. Last year’s win also ended a three-game winning streak at Red Bull Arena for New York.
  • The Galaxy have won once in the past five meetings between the teams at StubHub Center, a 4-0 victory on Sept. 28, 2014.

Sunday, April 29, 2018
Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City SC, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)

  • The Rapids had their four-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 3-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Orlando City SC won their fourth consecutive match – one game shy of the club’s record in MLS – defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Dom Dwyer scored for a fourth consecutive game – now with five goals on the season, tied for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings – while rookie Chris Mueller scored for a third consecutive season, one game shy of the MLS record for consecutive games with a goal by a rookie.
  • The Rapids have yet to win – and score a goal – in the all-time series vs. Orlando City. Orlando City have won twice, both times by 2-0 scorelines, both times at home – June 24, 2015 at the Citrus Bowl, and last April 29 at Orlando City Stadium in the only meeting between the teams.
  • The teams played to a goalless draw in their only meeting ever at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Aug. 20, 2016.

New York City FC vs. FC Dallas, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

  • New York City FC saw their undefeated start to the season put to an end, falling 3-0 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon. The defeat snapped an overall eight-game undefeated streak in league play, dating back to the end of last season.
  • FC Dallas are the only team remaining in MLS without a loss this season, following their 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Union at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. It was a second consecutive win for FCD, both by shutout, now 208 minutes since last conceding a goal.
  • FC Dallas have yet to lose to NYCFC in their all-time series. FCD claimed a victory in the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 2-1 win on Sept. 12, 2015 at Toyota Stadium.
  • The teams have reached draws in each of the past two seasons, once at each ground – a 2-2 result Sept. 17, 2016 at Yankee Stadium, then a 1-1 draw in last year’s only encounter, May 14 at Toyota Stadium.

Los Angeles Football Club vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m. ET (FS1)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time ever. Diego Rossi scored in the 11th minute as LAFC opened their MLS history with a 1-0 win against Sounders FC on March 4 at CenturyLink Field, the fourth expansion team in league annals to start with a victory.
  • LAFC concluded their six-match road trip to start their MLS history with a fourth victory, storming back from two goals down for a 5-3 win against the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon.
  • Carlos Vela scored his fifth goal of the season, now tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot standings, while Marco Ureña collected his fifth assist of the season, sitting in a tie for the league lead.
  • Sounders FC won their first match of the season, ending a four-game winless run to start the year, defeating Minnesota United 3-1 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon.
  • Cristian Roldan collected a pair of assists – the first multiple-assist game of his MLS career – as Will Bruin scored his second goal of the season.

 


MLS announces Johnny Russell of Sporting KC as Alcatel Player of the Week

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

NEW YORK (Tuesday, April 24, 2018) – Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell was voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the eighth week of the 2018 MLS season.

Sporting KC extended its season-best unbeaten streak to seven matches with a 6-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Friday, with Russell scoring a hat trick in front of the home crowd. Over eight starts this season, the 28-year-old Russell ranks tied for second in the league with five goals scored to go along with his two assists. SKC sits atop the Western Conference and is tied for the most points in the league with a 5-1-2 overall record (17 points).

The Scotland National Team member gave Sporting KC an early advantage in the 10thminute. Receiving a pass from Roger Espinoza at the top of the box, Russell launched a right-footed shot between the defender’s legs to the left side of goal to beat goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic far post (Watch Goal). Russell would give SKC a 2-0 lead in the 16thminute with an impressive run into the box, outmaneuvering a defender with a myriad of moves before beating the keeper with a right-footed shot that snuck inside the near post (Watch Goal).

Russell capped a career day with his third goal in the 48th minute to give SKC a 4-0 advantage. Matt Besler sent a pass into the right side of the box, with Russell collecting the ball along the goal line and sending a chip shot over Marinovic into the left side of the net (Watch Goal). Sporting KC would then score two more goals in the second half to complete the 6-0 victory.

Sporting Kansas City returns to action on Saturday, April 28 to face the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, 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.


MLS Disciplinary Committee announces penalties

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

NEW YORK(April 25, 2018) – The MLS Disciplinary Committee has found both Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps FC in violation of the Mass Confrontation Policy during the 36th minute of the teams’ match on April 20 (VIDEO). The MLS Disciplinary Committee has issued an undisclosed fine to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, as well as to head coach Carl Robinson, for the club’s second violation of League policy this season. Sporting Kansas City has been issued a warning for the club’s first violation this season.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee has issued an undisclosed fine to Vancouver defender Kendall Waston for his role in instigating and escalating the mass confrontation incident.

In addition, Whitecaps FC midfielders Efrain Juarez and Yordy Reyna have been issued undisclosed fines for failure to leave the field in an orderly manner during the 36th minute.

Major League Soccer welcomes in Week 8 of the season

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

This Week in MLS – April 16, 2018
USA Today Sports Images

  • Toronto FC is two games away from the FIFA Club World Cup
  • LAFC to unveil Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday
  • Belgian star defender Ciman returns to Montreal to face former side
  • Ibrahimović, Galaxy host league’s top offense in Atlanta
  • Two most recent MVPs clash as Portland hosts league leading New York City FC
  • MLS Week 8: Match Notes

Toronto FC is two games away from the FIFA Club World Cup
History is on the line Tuesday night at BMO Field for the first game in a series that TFC President Bill Manning speculated could be the most important in MLS history.

Win the two-leg aggregate-goal series and Toronto FC will become the first MLS club to book a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup to compete against the top clubs from around the world like Real Madrid, Liverpool, A.S. Roma or Bayern Munich. Goalkeeper Alex Bonocould face the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. Sebastian Giovinco could go toe-to-toe in a scoring duel against Mohammed Salah or Robert Lewandowski.

But first, Toronto FC must defeat Mexico’s all-time winningest team in Chivas de Guadalajara.

Toronto defeated defending Mexican champion Tigres UANL with a 2-1 victory at BMO Field in Leg 1 of the quarterfinals before scoring twice in a 3-2 second leg at El Volcán to advance to the semifinals on away goals. The Reds once again flexed their muscle at home defeating Club América 3-1 in Leg 1 of the semifinals before a strong defensive outing at Estadio Azteca for a 1-1 draw in the second leg.

A tournament title would be Toronto’s fourth trophy in the past year, solidifying its spot atop MLS history books. Giovinco and Homegrown midfielder Jonathan Osorio are both tied for the Golden Boot lead with three goals scored in this tournament, helping Toronto become the first team in league history to defeat two Mexican clubs in multi-leg series. Complementing the outstanding home goalscoring, Toronto will need its defense to come up strong once again as a shutout at BMO could put Chivas in a hole without any away goals entering the second leg.

Soundbytes from Toronto FC press conference can be found here

How to Watch:

  • Toronto FC vs. Chivas de Guadalajara (Tuesday, April 17, 8:15 p.m. ET) – Watch live on UDN or TSN2, or live stream via go90.com or the go90 app.
  • Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Toronto FC (Wednesday, April 25, 9:30 p.m. ET) – Watch live on UDN or TSN, or live stream via go90.com or the go90 app.
LAFC to unveil Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday
Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will officially unveil the 22,000-seat, $350 million Banc of California Stadium during a star-studded ribbon cutting ceremony this Wednesday. Celebrity owners, including Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, Nomar Garciaparra, and Tom Pennalongside MLS Commissioner Don Garber and local elected officials will participate in the ceremony.

Belgian star defender Ciman returns to Montreal to face former side
Los Angeles Football Club and Belgium national team defender Laurent Ciman heads back to Montreal for the first time to face his former Impact side on Saturday at Stade Saputo (1 p.m. ET / TVA Sports, ESPN+). The 2015 MLS Defender of the Year, who will likely represent Belgium in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, spent the three previous seasons in Montreal.

Ciman was an integral part of the Impact, leading the club to the Concacaf Champions League final during his first MLS season in 2015. Now, he anchors an exciting expansion campaign with LAFC, which won its first two games to open the 2018 and enters this week fourth in the Western Conference. This match will be LAFC’s sixth straight on the road, before the club moves into its state-of-the-art new home, Banc of California Stadium, to host Seattle Sounders FC on April 29.

LAFC’s acquisition of Ciman was the first trade in organization history; the club sent their fourth- and fifth-round MLS Expansion Draft selections – former Columbus Crew SC defender Jukka Raitala and former Toronto FC forward Raheem Edwards, respectively – to Montreal.

One of the Impact’s brightest spots this season has been Chilean midfielder Jeisson Vargas, who is among a number of young South American talents who joined MLS this season. The 20-year-old leads Montreal with three goals, two of which were game-winners in March against defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC and 2017 MLS Cup runners-up Seattle Sounders FC.

Ibrahimović, Galaxy host league’s top offense in Atlanta
The LA Galaxy’s show master, Sweden great Zlatan Ibrahimović, returns to StubHub Center this Saturday for a bout against the league’s top-scoring offense, Atlanta United (10:30 p.m. ET / ESPN+). For fans seeking goal-scoring prowess, this matchup of the Western Conference’s and Eastern Conference’s second-place teams has all the ingredients.

Atlanta (4-1-1, 13 points) leads MLS with 2.5 goals per game, led by 24-year-old VenezuelanJosef Martínez who owns the distinction of scoring more goals in his first 25 MLS games (24 tallies) than any other player in league history. Martínez is tied for the league lead with five goals alongside Sporting Kansas City’s Felipe Gutiérrez. This past week for Atlanta also featured the long-awaited debut of 19-year-old Argentine midfielder Ezequiel Barco, who has worked his way back from an early-season quad injury. The offseason acquisition played the final 20 minutes during Atlanta’s 2-2 draw against New York City FC on Saturday.

For the Galaxy (3-2-1, 10 points), the 2018 spotlight continues to shine on Ibrahimović, who has now scored three goals in three games, tallying the lone score during their 1-0 victory against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. LA is hoping for a substantial turnaround from the only other previous meeting between the two sides, a dominant 4-0 Atlanta victory on Sept. 20, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Two most recent MVPs clash as Portland hosts league leading New York City FC
Two of the most electrifying players in MLS history and the last two winners of the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award will square off on Sunday when the Portland Timbers host league-leading New York City FC at Providence Park (6 p.m. ET, FS1 / TSN2). Portland midfielder Diego Valeri captured the 2017 MVP award, holding off a repeat effort from 2016 MVP David Villa, with both players off to strong individual starts in 2018. Valeri has three goals and two assists in six starts for the Timbers, while Villa has two goals and two assists despite starting in only two matches this season.

NYCFC currently sits atop the league standings with 17 points (5-0-2 record) and is one of two undefeated teams in MLS. Depth has been a strong suit of the club this season as 20-year-old Paraguay National Team midfielder Jesús Medina leads the league with five assists, while Maxi Moralez and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi are tied for third in the league with four goals scored. Portland will look to build off last week’s home opening 3-2 victory over Minnesota United FC with another strong performance at Providence Park. Costa Rica National Team midfielder and World Cup hopeful Sebastián Blanco is off to a strong start in his second season with the Timbers with three goals and one assist and will play a pivotal role in Sunday’s matchup.

MLS Week 8: Match Notes
Friday, April 20, 2018
Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)

  • Sporting extended their undefeated streak to six games, getting a late goal from Graham Zusi to come back for a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday evening.
  • Whitecaps FC suffered a second consecutive defeat, their league home undefeated streak put to an end after nine games in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Football Club at BC Place on Friday evening.
  • The teams met twice a season ago, and Whitecaps FC won both – a 2-0 victory on May 20 at BC Place, and a 1-0 win on Sept. 30 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • The Whitecaps FC win at Children’s Mercy Park was their first ever in Kansas City in league play. Sporting had won four of the first five meetings there in MLS play (with one draw) – though Vancouver did win there in group play in the Concacaf Champions League in 2016.

Saturday, April 21, 2018
Montreal Impact vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 1 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, ESPN+)

  • Jeisson Vargas scored his third goal of the season, but the Impact dropped a second consecutive decision, falling 3-1 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon. Vargas has scored each of the Impact’s past three goals, over the last four matches (since March 17).
  • LAFC put an end to a two-game losing skid, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 at BC Place on Friday evening.
  • Diego Rossi scored his fourth goal and added his fourth assist – the only player in MLS this season with at least four goals and four assists – and Carlos Vela also added his fourth goal. The pair have combined for eight of LAFC’s 11 goals on the season.
  • The Impact have defeated an incoming expansion team in their first league meeting just once in their MLS history – a 2-1 win against Atlanta United last April 15 at Stade Saputo.

New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire, 2 p.m. ET (Univisión, UDN)

  • The Red Bulls won their third game in a row in league play at Red Bull Arena, defeating the Montréal Impact 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a goal and added an assist – he now has 90 goals in his MLS regular-season career, passing Carlos Ruiz for No. 11 on the all-time list.
  • The Fire saw their brief two-game undefeated run at Toyota Park put to an end, falling 1-0 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Red Bulls have a six-game undefeated streak alive in the series, winning four of those, coming away with points in both meetings a year ago. The Red Bulls won 2-1 at Red Bull Arena on April 29, their third consecutive win in the series at Red Bull Arena. The teams played to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park on Sept. 9.
  • The Red Bulls have come away with a result on their past three trips to Toyota Park (one win, two draws). When the Red Bulls won on Oct. 25, 2015 at Toyota Park, it was their first win ever in Bridgeview. The Red Bulls’ last away win against Chicago had come May 14, 2005, a 3-0 victory at Soldier Field; in between, the Fire were unbeaten in 14 home games in the league series (9-0-5).

Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC, 3 p.m. ET (CTV, TSN, ESPN+)

  • The Dynamo saw their winless slide extended to four games with a second draw in that time, reaching a 2-2 result with the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. Tomás Martínez and Mauro Manotas scored for the Dynamo, with Manotas netting his third of the year.
  • TFC headed into their massive Concacaf Champions League final first-leg match with a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, their third loss in four league outings.
  • Toronto FC won the lone meeting between the teams last year, a 2-0 victory at BMO Field on April 28. The TFC win ended a four-game winless streak in the series; their last win vs. the Dynamo had come July 12, 2014, a 4-2 victory at BMO Field.
  • The teams have played to five consecutive draws in Houston, all at BBVA Compass Stadium. The last win for either team there came in 2011, a 2-0 Dynamo victory at Robertson Stadium.

Columbus Crew SC vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Crew SC suffered their third consecutive defeat, conceding the opening goal after just 43 seconds and then seeing D.C. United hold out for a 1-0 victory in Annapolis, Md. It was the third-longest in MLS history a team held out for a win by the game’s only goal.
  • The Revolution saw their two-game winning run put to an end, dropping a 1-0 decision to FC Dallas at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The teams met twice a season ago, each winning on their own ground. Crew SC claimed a 2-0 win on May 6 at Mapfre Stadium, before the Revolution took a 2-1 win on May 21 at Gillette Stadium, which ended a three-game Crew SC winning streak in the series.
  • Crew SC have won the past four league meetings in Columbus, since 2014, though the Revolution won the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series in 2014, as well as both matches in Columbus during the 2013 regular season.

Orlando City SC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Orlando City made it three wins on the trot, winning on the road for the first time since last September in a 2-0 defeat of the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Friday evening.
  • Dom Dwyer netted for a third game in a row, with four goals over that span. He now has goals in each of his past four league appearances dating back to the end of last season, matching the longest goalscoring streak of his MLS career.
  • The Quakes reached a second consecutive draw but saw their winless streak stretched to four matches, playing to a 2-2 result with the Houston Dynamo at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. Magnus Eriksson scored for a second consecutive game.
  • The teams have played to draws in each of their three meetings all-time. The teams reached a 1-1 draw last May 17 at Avaya Stadium, the second 1-1 they have played to in San Jose (also in 2015).
  • The teams played to a 2-2 draw in their lone encounter in Orlando on June 18, 2016, at the Citrus Bowl.

FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • FC Dallas remained undefeated on the new season with a second victory in five matches, defeating the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening, FCD’s first game outside of Frisco. Jacori Hayes scored his first professional goal for the game’s lone tally.
  • The Union had their winless streak extended to four games with a second loss in that span, falling 2-0 to Orlando City SC at Talen Energy Stadium on Friday evening.
  • The Union defeated FC Dallas for the first time in their history last year, a 3-1 win at Talen Energy Stadium on Aug. 5. Over the first nine meetings between the clubs in league play, FCD had won five, with four draws, including three wins in a row before last year’s Union victory.
  • FC Dallas have won four of the five all-time meetings in Frisco, with one draw, including each of the past two encounters at Toyota Stadium.

Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • RSL were shut out at the attacking end for first time this season, falling 4-0 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday evening.
  • The Rapids stretched their undefeated streak to four games with a second win in that time, defeating Toronto FC 2-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon.
  • The teams met three times a season ago, and Real won twice. RSL took wins on both grounds, a 2-1 victory on April 15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, then a 4-1 victory on Aug. 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Rapids claimed a 1-0 win in Commerce City, Colo., on Oct. 15.
  • Real have a 15-game home undefeated streak alive vs. Colorado. Since the Rapids’ last win in Utah, a 2-0 victory on April 30, 2007, at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Real have won 11 games with four draws. Colorado has never won at Rio Tinto Stadium (0-9-4 all-time in league play). Real Salt Lake have won three of the past six visits to Commerce City, over the last four seasons.
  • The rivals play for the Rocky Mountain Cup, a trophy awarded by the supporters’ groups of both teams.

LA Galaxy vs. Atlanta United, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Zlatan Ibrahimović scored his third goal since coming to MLS in making his first start for the Galaxy, his new club winning for the third time this season in a 1-0 defeat of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon.
  • Atlanta United saw their club-record four-game winning streak put to an end but still extended their undefeated run, reaching a 2-2 draw with New York City FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
  • The teams met once in Atlanta United’s inaugural MLS campaign, a 4-0 win for Atlanta on Sept. 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Sunday, April 22, 2018
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Minnesota United FC, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)

  • Sounders FC scored their first goal of the 2018 league campaign, but still remained winless on the new season, reaching a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday afternoon.
  • MNUFC suffered their third consecutive defeat, falling 3-2 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday evening.
  • Darwin Quintero made his MLS debut, starting in the midfield and scoring his first league goal.
  • The teams met twice in Minnesota United FC’s inaugural MLS campaign, and Sounders FC won both. Seattle took a 4-0 win when the teams first met, Aug. 5 at TCF Bank Stadium, then claimed a 2-1 victory just 15 days later at CenturyLink Field.

Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC, 6 p.m. ET (FS1)

  • The Timbers won for the first time in 2018 in their first home match of the season after five away contests, defeating Minnesota United FC 3-2 at Providence Park on Saturday evening.
  • Diego Valeri scored his third goal of the season, now with goals in the last three matches – last year he set the all-time MLS record with goals in nine consecutive matches July 29-Sept 24.
  • NYCFC remained undefeated on the new season with their second draw in seven outings, reaching a 2-2 result with Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
  • David Villa scored his second goal of the season and added his second assist – already the 15th time in his MLS career he’s had at least one goal and one assist in the same game.
  • The teams have met three times all-time – and the visiting team has won each. The Timbers have won twice at Yankee Stadium, both by 1-0 scorelines, the first in the inaugural meeting between the clubs in 2015, and the second in last year’s lone meeting, Sept. 9.
  • NYCFC took a 2-1 win in the only encounter between the teams in Portland, May 15, 2016, at Providence Park.


MLS announces Timbers’ Powell voted Alcatel Player of the Week

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

NEW YORK (Tuesday, April 17, 2018) – Portland Timbers defender Alvas Powell was voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the seventh week of the 2018 MLS season.

In the Timbers home opener, Powell electrified the Providence Park crowd with a goal and an assist during Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Minnesota United FC. Through four starts this season, Powell has one goal and one assist, while his nine successful dribbles completed ranks in the top five among all MLS defenders. With its first victory of the season, Portland now sits tied for ninth in the Western Conference (five points, 1-3-2 record).

The Jamaica National Team member gave Portland fans something to cheer about early, taking the ball near midfield and using his speed to dribble through multiple defenders towards goal. Powell then unleashed a rocket from the right side of goal to beat goalkeeper Matt Lampson near post for a 1-0 Timbers advantage in the 20th minute (Watch Goal).

Moments later, Powell had another moment of brilliance, sending a perfectly placed cross from the right side of the field to set up Diego Valeri’s right-footed flick to give Portland a 2-0 lead in the 23rd minute (Watch Assist). The 23-year-old Powell would then help Portland preserve the 3-2 victory.

Portland returns to action on Sunday, April 22 to host New York City FC at Providence Park (6:00 p.m. ET, FS1 / TSN2).

The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is chosen each week of the regular season by members of the North American Soccer Reporters.


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