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Major League Soccer enters into Week 18

This Week in MLS – June 26, 2017
  • More than 50,000 expected for California Clásico in Heineken Rivalry Week Edición Especial
  • Voting for 2017 All-Star Fan XI presented by Target enters final week
  • Young stars set to breakout as 16 MLS players make U.S. Gold Cup roster
  • Chicago heads to hostile territory while Sapong and BWP clash yet again in U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 play
  • Toronto FC hosts rival Montreal in winner-take-all Canadian Championship final
  • The Cowboys Connections of FC Dallas rookie defender Walker Hume
  • Jerseys for 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target unveiled
  • Week 18 Game Previews

More than 50,000 expected for California Clásico in Heineken Rivalry Week Edición Especial
With a Heineken Rivalry Edicion Especial featuring the LA Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, July 1 (10:30 p.m. ET, Univision/facebook.com), a heartstopping California Clásico at Stanford Stadium will showcase two clubs who have been duking it out since the inaugural MLS season.

For the last five years drawing sellout crowds of more than 50,000 to Stanford Stadium, Saturday’s annual soccer showdown will mark the 70th all-time meeting between two clubs that can each claim some bragging rights. At Stanford Stadium, the Quakes are an undefeated 3-0-1. However, in all regular season meetings, the Galaxy have dominated League play by a margin of 30-20 in the win column, with 14 ties.

With rivalry regulars and a few new faces, the Galaxy (6-6-4) and the Quakes (6-6-5) have nearly identical records and will be leaning on big performances heading into Saturday. For San Jose, forward Chris Wondolowski is battle-tested with a tally of eight goals, most of any Quakes player in their history against LA, including the opening goal in the May 27 meeting. The Galaxy came back to steal a 4-2 win in that game, and will be looking to midfielder Romain Alessandrini, who has played his part in the majority of the club’s goals this season, with eight goals and seven assists on the season.

Voting for 2017 All-Star Fan XI presented by Target enters final week
There is only one week left for fans to vote their favorite MLS players to the All-Star Fan XI and on their way to Chicago. Fans can continue to vote via the online ballot, in the MLS app, and/or the EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge through June 30 at 3 a.m. ET. The MLS All-Stars will face Real Madrid on August 2 at Soldier Field in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

Ten players – one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and two forwards – with the highest combined votes will be named to the All-Star Fan XI. The 11th player – a forward – will be determined by the EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge.

Below are the players that currently lead in All-Star Fan XI voting:

All-Star Fan XI Leaders
as of June 26, 2017

GOALKEEPERS
Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Alec Kann (Atlanta United)
Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)
Joe Bendik (Orlando City SC)
Alex Bono (Toronto FC)

DEFENDERS
Greg Garza (Atlanta United)
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
Leandro González Pírez (Atlanta United)

MIDFIELDERS
Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire)
Kaká (Orlando City SC)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)

FORWARDS
Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire)
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
David Villa (New York City FC)
Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)

EA Sports More Than a Vote Leaders
Top 5 in alphabetical order as of June 26, 2017

Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire)
David Villa (New York City FC)

Young stars set to breakout as 16 MLS players make U.S. Gold Cup roster
U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bruce Arena named 16 MLS players to his 23-player roster for the 2017 Gold Cup, with young stars getting their first chance to break through for the national team when taking on Ghana in a friendly at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Saturday, July 1 (4:45 p.m. ET, ESPN/UniMás/UDN).

One of the breakout stars of the U.S. in the recent round of World Cup Qualifying earlier this month, FC Dallas Homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta shined in a 1-1 draw against Mexico at Azteca Stadium and could be a leader for the United States in the tournament. Reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris joins Acosta as one of six players on the roster to come through an MLS academy system.

Three MLS players earned their first call-ups to represent the United States for the first time in their careers. Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer looks to make his USMNT debut fresh off receiving his United States citizenship, with the forward scoring 57 goals since his league debut in 2012, the fourth-most of any player in MLS over that span. New England midfielder Kelyn Rowe receives his first chance for the U.S. after notching five-plus goals and assists in each of the past four seasons for the Revolution.

Rounding out the newcomer list is Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan, who has emerged as a feisty two-way player for the reigning MLS Cup champions. The 22-year-old has a mere two appearances in the U.S. youth national team system but has blossomed as a main distributor in Seattle, as he currently ranks in the top five in the league in touches, tackles, and duels won, and ranks in the top 10 in successful passes.

USMNT Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union;), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent/BEL), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)

Chicago heads to hostile territory while Sapong and BWP clash yet again in U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 play
Thirteen MLS clubs will continue their quests to capture the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title this week with five contests in Round of 16 play pitting MLS clubs against each other.

In one of the three matchups with an MLS team facing off against a lower-division club, the Chicago Fire travel to USL side and MLS expansion hopeful FC Cincinnati on Wednesday, June 28 in a nationally televised match at Nippert Stadium (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Fire are in red-hot form entering the match, carrying a nine-game undefeated streak with wins in seven of its past eight contests. Chicago will play in front of what is expected to be a hostile Nippert Stadium crowd, as FC Cincinnati drew more than 30,000 fans in its last U.S. Open Cup contest two weeks ago.

In other Open Cup play, the New York Red Bulls host I-95 rival Philadelphia Union on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena for the teams’ third matchup this season (8 p.m. ET). The clubs split the first two matches of the season, both at Talen Energy Stadium, behind the offensive firepower of their star strikers. Union forward CJ Sapong scored a hat trick in the Union’s 3-0 victory on May 6, while Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a brace on June 18 for a 2-0 New York victory.

Toronto FC hosts rival Montreal in winner-take-all Canadian Championship final
More than bragging rights will be on the line on Tuesday when Toronto FC hosts rival Montreal Impact in the second and decisive leg of the Canadian Championship final at BMO Field (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS). As winners of the 2016 Canadian Championship, Toronto could lock up a spot in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League by capturing a second consecutive domestic title, while a win by Montreal would force a playoff between the two clubs for the CCL spot.

In the first leg at Stade Saputo on June 21, Montreal and Toronto played to a 1-1 draw with Matteo Mancosu and Jozy Altidore each scoring first-half goals for their respective clubs. The draw was the first meeting between the two bitter rivals since an epic showdown in the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Montreal currently sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but has come away with points in four of its previous five MLS regular season matches. Toronto, meanwhile, sits atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with a 9-1-1 record in its previous 11 matches.

Toronto will look for its second consecutive Canadian Championship title, with the club winning a record five times in the tournament’s history.

Canadian Championship Winner by Year
2016: Toronto FC
2015: Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2014: Montreal Impact
2013: Montreal Impact
2012: Toronto FC
2011: Toronto FC
2010: Toronto FC
2009: Toronto FC
2008: Montreal Impact

The Cowboys Connections of FC Dallas rookie defender Walker Hume
Walker Hume, the 6-foot-5 rookie defender for FC Dallas, has played soccer his entire life, but his bloodlines are in football. Born in Dallas and raised in San Angelo, Hume has many family connections to the Dallas Cowboys.

His grandfather was Tom Franckhauser, a member of the first Cowboys team when they joined the NFL in 1960. Franckhauser is credited as the first person to touch a football in a game for the Cowboys. Selected by the Cowboys in the Expansion Draft from the Los Angeles Rams, Franckhauser returned the opening kickoff in the team’s first regular season game. The cornerback played two seasons for Dallas. Hume’s grandmother, Beverly Franckhauser, attends Walker’s games for FC Dallas.

The Cowboys connections do not end there for Hume. His grand-uncle was Frank Glieber, an announcer on Cowboys radio broadcasts in their first two seasons and a longtime sportscaster for CBS. Walker’s uncle, Craig Glieber, is currently the Cowboys’ assistant director of operations.

Walker Hume was selected by FC Dallas in the second round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft after a standout collegiate career at North Carolina. He has started two games so far for FC Dallas this season.

Jerseys for 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target unveiled
MLS and adidas have today unveiled the jerseys for the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. The jerseys will be worn by the biggest stars in MLS as they take the field against Real Madrid on August 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The design for the jersey is inspired by the famous 1994 U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup “denim” jerseys, with faded star and maple leaf graphics across the front of the blue shirt.

The limited edition authentic adidas 2017 MLS All-Star jersey will be available at select retailers and to fans in attendance at the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. For replica jerseys and other MLS All-Star merchandise, visit MLSstore.com.

 

Week 18 Game Previews
Thursday, June 29
Minnesota United FC at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

  • NYCFC have now won three games in a row, following the club’s first win ever at Red Bull Arena in a 2-0 defeat of the Red Bulls. The club record is four wins in a row. Jack Harrison scored his seventh goal of the season, his third goal over the last five matches.
  • Both Minnesota United goals vs. Vancouver came from defenders as Francisco Calvo and Jêrome Theisson scored their first career MLS goals, MNUFC now undefeated in their last three games at home following a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at TCF Bank Stadium.

Friday, June 30
Orlando City SC at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

  • Real Salt Lake saw their road losing streak extended, falling 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. It was a sixth consecutive loss on their travels for RSL, dating back to April 29; Real have won their last three at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Orlando City saw their road winless streak extended to six games, matching their season-high with four goals conceded in a 4-0 loss to the Chicago Fire.

Saturday, July 1
D.C. United at Montreal Impact, 7 p.m. (TSN; TVAS)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ballou Tabla scored the game’s lone goal after 13 minutes to give the Impact the victory, May 6 at RFK Stadium.
  • Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored his fifth goal of the season – all as a substitute – but the Impact conceded a season-high four goals in a 4-1 defeat by Columbus Crew SC.
  • D.C. United suffered a third consecutive away defeat, all by shutout, now 299 minutes since their last goal scored on their travels, following a 1-0 loss at the Philadelphia Union.

Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Dom Dwyer scored the game’s lone goal in the 53rd minute to give Sporting the victory, April 15 at Providence Park. The road team has won five of the 11 meetings all-time in the series.
  • Sporting Kansas City extended their undefeated streak to four games, defeating the LA Galaxy 2-1 at StubHub Center on Saturday evening, ending their road winless streak at six matches.
  • Fanendo Adi scored the 50th goal of his MLS career, but the Timbers saw their winless run extended to three games, hauled back into a late 2-2 draw with arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC at Providence Park.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Chicago Fire, 7 p.m. (TSN)

  • The Fire won their third game in a row, their seventh victory in their last eight matches, and extended their home winning streak to seven games, one game shy of the club record, with a 4-0 win against Orlando City SC at Toyota Park.
  • David Accam scored a hat trick, the Fire’s first since 2014, and Nemanja Nikolic scored his league-leading 14th goal of the season for the Fire.
  • Cristian Techera scored for a second consecutive game, now with five goals on the season, as Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated run to three games with a second consecutive draw, reaching a 2-2 result with Minnesota United FC.

Toronto FC at FC Dallas, 7 p.m. (TSN)

  • Maximiliano Urruti scored for a second consecutive game, now with nine goals on the season, as FC Dallas reached a second consecutive draw with their winless run extended to three games, playing to a 1-1 result with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Sebastian Giovinco scored his seventh goal of the season and Victor Vazquez collected his league-leading ninth assist of the season as Toronto FC won their second consecutive game, defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 at BMO Field. It was a club-record seventh straight home win for TFC, recording a third consecutive home shutout.

Atlanta United at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.

  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Hector Villalba, Miguel Almíron and Josef Martínez all found the back of the net as Atlanta United claimed a 3-1 meeting June 17 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the first meeting ever between the clubs.
  • Federico Higuaín scored a pair of goals, now with a career-long four-game goal scoring streak, and Kekuta Manneh set an MLS record by scoring a goal and adding an assist within three minutes of coming on the field as a substitute in Crew SC’s 4-1 win against the Montréal Impact, ending a two-game losing skid.
  • Josef Martínez scored the game’s only goal, his seventh goal of the season, as Atlanta United have won their last four games at Bobby Dodd Stadium following a 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids.

Houston Dynamo at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.

  • The Dynamo remained undefeated at BBVA Compass Stadium, but were held without multiple goals for the first time at home this season, playing to a second draw in nine games as hosts following a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas. Erick Torres scored his 11th goal of the season, second in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The Rapids are the only team remaining in MLS without a point on the road this season, their away losing streak now at eight games dating back to last season, following a 1-0 loss at Atlanta United.
  • The Dynamo haven’t won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since 2008, the Rapids now undefeated in their last seven home meetings with Houston (5-0-2).

LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. (Univisión)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Giovani dos Santos scored a pair of goals as the Galaxy claimed a 4-2 win May 27 at Avaya Stadium, just theGalaxy’s second win in the last 14 regular season meetings in northern California.
  • The Quakes put an end to a three-game winless slide, as Danny Hoesen scored a goal and set up the second in a 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake at Avaya Stadium. It was the final game in charge for Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear, who was relieved of his duties following the victory.
  • The Galaxy saw their eight-game undefeated run put to an end, suffering a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at StubHub Center. The Galaxy are now winless in their last five home games, matching the club’s longest streak since 2005.

Sunday, July 2
New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. (FS1)

  • Union put an end to a three-game losing slide, defeating D.C. United by the game’s only goal at Talen Energy Stadium, their fourth win in their last five home games. Fafa Picault scored his fourth goal of the season, his second in the last three matches; all four of his MLS goals have come over the last seven matches.
  • The Revolution have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since dropping the opening two games of the season March 4-18, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field.
  • The teams met twice a year ago, and Union won both by heavy margins, a 3-0 win March 20 at Talen Energy Stadium, and a 4-0 win Aug. 13 at Gillette Stadium.