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Juan Pablo Montoya, Oriol Servia named to test 2018 universal aero kit for IndyCar Series

 

 

Juan Pablo Montoya IndyCar (2014 photo by Sarah Stierch via wikipedia commons)

Oriol Servia in 2005 By DECHUSA Motorsport Photography, www.dechusa.tk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, July 15, 2017) – Veteran Indy car drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia have been named by INDYCAR to perform testing duties for the Dallara universal aero kit to be used by all Verizon IndyCar Series teams starting in the 2018 season.

Testing of the universal kit, which will be fitted to the current Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all teams, begins July 25-26 on the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Subsequent tests will take place on the permanent road course at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the short oval at Iowa Speedway and a street-course simulation at Sebring International Raceway.

The two test cars will represent the engine manufacturers currently competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Team Penske will provide the Chevrolet-powered Dallara chassis to be driven by Montoya. Servia will drive a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara with a Honda engine.

While the teams are providing crews to service the cars, the testing regimen will be supervised by INDYCAR, sanctioning organization for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“If we can help in any small measure to have a great product in 2018, I’ll be honored,” said Servia, who has raced Indy cars since 2000 and reached his milestone 200th career start at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May.

“It’s great that INDYCAR is doing it to make sure we have good racing. We want to help them accomplish what they want to accomplish.”

The 2018 universal aero kit marks the beginning of a new era. Dallara was named last month to manufacture the kit following a yearlong process at INDYCAR to establish the parameters for a sleeker, bolder bodywork kit whose look is inspired by past favorite chassis that competed in Indy car racing.

Chevrolet and Honda have been supplying aero kits to their contracted teams since 2015, but that will cease at the end of this season. The new universal kit is expected to be more cost-effective, with the intent to draw additional engine manufacturers to the Verizon IndyCar Series since they no longer need to supply aero kits as well.

“I think they did a really good job with it,” said Montoya, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who counts 15 race wins and the 1999 CART championship among his motorsports accomplishments. “I think going back to one aero kit for both (engine) manufacturers is good for the sport. … It opens the door to other companies to get interested in INDYCAR again.”

INDYCAR will maintain control of the test chassis and data, so as not to provide either test team a competitive advantage for the 2018 season. Data and results will be distributed to all teams once testing is complete.

The universal kit contains additional safety enhancements and is intended to deliver even greater on-track racing since most of the aerodynamic downforce will be generated from underneath the car. That will create less air turbulence for trailing cars, allowing for more overtaking opportunities.

Another component of the universal kit’s design is a weight redistribution to improve the car’s handling and balance.

“The new car will have more weight on the front,” said Tino Belli, INDYCAR’s director of aerodynamic development. “We’ve removed the (rear) wheel guards and the beam wing, which obviously is quite a bit of weight far back on the car. We’ve introduced side-impact structures beside the driver and moved the radiators forward a bit. We’re anticipating having about 1.6 percent more weight on the front axle, so that could require a small amount of front downforce.”

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway test will mark the public debut of the new car look. Computer-generated images of the universal kit were initially released in January and followed up with more detailed images in May. The response from Verizon IndyCar Series drivers has been overwhelmingly positive, as were the responses of Servia and Montoya to the invitation to be the first to test it.

“To be chosen as one of the guys to test it is exciting,” Montoya said. “It works out really well. Since I’m not running full-time this year, it was a good fit.”

As with the current kits, the universal kit will come in two specifications: one for superspeedways and the other for road courses, street circuits and short ovals. Testing at all venues will be used to confirm the baseline standards for the package, starting with the superspeedway kit at Indianapolis.

“Once we’re sure the car is in the right window, we’ll move on to reliability testing,” Belli said. “We’ll put the car back to a race-level of downforce, fill it up with fuel and check that we don’t have issues with the exhaust heating the bodywork too much and establish the cooling levels for each engine.

“We’re not really trying to go a certain speed and we’re not trying to check how the car handles in traffic,” emphasized Belli. “Those things won’t be established until we’re able to work ‘in anger’ next year, but we just want to make sure that we haven’t missed on our aero targets specifically.”

After IMS, the rest of the test schedule is set for Aug. 1 at Mid-Ohio, Aug. 10 at Iowa and Sept. 26 at Sebring.

About INDYCAR
INDYCAR is the governing body of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing series in North America; the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires development ladder, which includes Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda; and the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich Tires. INDYCAR events are available to a worldwide audience through a variety of multimedia platforms, highlighted by long-term and broad-reaching partnerships with ABC and NBCSN. INDYCAR is continually at the forefront of motorsports innovation with drivers, teams and tracks benefiting from safety and technological improvements such as the SAFER Barrier, SWEMS wheel and chassis component tethers, chassis enhancements, advanced aerodynamic bodywork kits, high-definition in-car cameras and E85 ethanol fuel.

About the Verizon IndyCar Series
The Verizon IndyCar Series is the premier open-wheel series in North America, competing on a challenging and diverse combination of superspeedways, short ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits. The Verizon IndyCar Series conducts races in the United States and Canada – all available in high-definition television worldwide through comprehensive, long-term agreements with ABC, NBCSN, ESPN International, Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and Canal+ in France. The Verizon IndyCar Series continues to be the fastest, most diverse and most competitive racing series that features an international cast of star drivers and venues. For more information about the Verizon IndyCar Series, visit www.indycar.com.

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series driver to challenge fans in kart race July 20 at Speedway Indoor Karting

Ryan Reed after 2017 NASCAR Trucks win at Daytona By Kkdwoods6 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ryan Reed will challenge fans to a kart race from noon-2 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at Speedway Indoor Karting on Main Street in Speedway, setting the stage for the Lilly Diabetes 250 and Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 July 21-23 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

California native Reed will look to take the checkered flag versus local celebrities, fans, and media. Reed, who has Type 1 diabetes and is sponsored by Indianapolis-based Lilly Diabetes, will be available for interviews during the event.

The first 20 fans to sign up at SIK can participate. Fans and media are asked to register at the IMS booth inside SIK at noon Thursday, July 20.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS COMMUNICATIONS

 

NASCAR Trucks Series travels to Eldora Speedway Wednesday night

 

 

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Eldora Dirt Derby

The Place: Eldora Speedway

The Date: Wednesday, July 19

The Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Business, 9 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 75 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

The House That Tony Stewart Built

Eldora Speedway is a half-mile dirt racing facility located in western Ohio. The facility is owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. Stewart, an Indiana native, purchased the neighboring state dirt track from Earl Baltes in 2004.

 

Eldora Speedway has hosted four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since the 2013 season.

 

In those four races, there have been four different winners.

 

Starting with the most recent, below are the four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winners at Eldora Speedway:

 

Winner                       Date

Kyle Larson                 07/20/2016

Christopher Bell          07/22/2015

Darrell Wallace Jr.       07/23/2014

Austin Dillon                07/24/2013

 

Three of the four Eldora Speedway winners are currently full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers or have made starts in the series this season. Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) both have Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins this season and have qualified for the playoffs, while Darrell Wallace Jr. spent time in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford filling in for the injured Aric Almirola.

 

Christopher Bell, who won at Eldora in 2015, is a rising NASCAR star with five career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins. He has also made two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts this season.

 

One thing to watch this week at Eldora? The finish. Over the last two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora, the margin of victory has been nearly identical.

In 2016, Larson beat out Bell by 0.767 of a second.

 

In 2015, Bell edged out Bobby Pierce by 0.761 of a second in the closest margin of victory in track history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

A Guide To Eldora
Eldora’s qualifying and race formats differ from the knockout qualifying seen weekly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Below is a guide to how it works.

At Eldora, a random draw determines the qualifying order for two-lap, single-truck qualifying that determines the starting positions for the qualifying races (five races in total). The fastest qualifier earns the Keystone Light Pole Award.

Each of the five qualifying races consist of 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting. The top five trucks in the two-lap qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races. The lineups for the qualifying races are filled based on qualifying speeds (sixth competes in the first qualifying race, seventh in the second, eighth in the third, etc.)

The top-five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the race. Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

When the five qualifying races are completed, there will be a last-chance qualifying race. The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counting. The top two finishers transfer to the race, where they will start in positions 26-27.

The 28th-31st starting positions go to the highest-ranking eligible trucks in owner points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying.

The 32nd starting position goes to the most recent eligible past series champion; if that position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned based upon owner points.

The race will be 150 laps divided into three stages: Stage 1 ends on lap 40, Stage 2 ends on lap 90, and the Final Stage ends on lap 150. During the competition cautions at the stage breaks on Lap 40 and Lap 90, caution laps will not count and positions cannot be improved on pit road.

 

Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not elect to pit may remain on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.

Bell Looking To Ring In Pay Dirt At Eldora

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell is widely considered a dirt dynamo. He grew up in Oklahoma and got his start in racing with sprint cars in 2011. In 2013, Bell won the USAC National Midget Championship and in 2014, he won 24 Quarter Midget races and 26 total dirt races, including the Turkey Night Grand Prix.

 

In 2015, Bell appeared in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races with Kyle Busch Motorsports and won his first career race at … Eldora Speedway.

 

Bell got a full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2016 and would prove how good he is on dirt tracks as he finished second at Eldora to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson.

 

During the 2016 NASCAR off-season, in what’s highly regarded as the “Super Bowl of midget racing,” Bell won the 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals.

 

When asked about his career thus far after winning his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this season last Thursday at Kentucky, Bell was proud that he’s been able to race cars at all levels and be successful.

“Being successful in multiple cars is something I’ve felt like I’ve done my entire career and I want to continue that. It’s why Kyle Larson is where is he is today, because he’s won in everything he’s got in. I want to continue that for my personal goals – to continue to win in everything I drive.”

 

When asked if he has an advantage at Eldora in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck, Bell was not shy in his answer.

 

“Eldora is different. The trucks are hard to drive. I enjoy it because I have an advantage whenever I go there over the other guys. I call it the week of Eldora now because I’ve been able to run the Kings Royal before the truck race. The week of Eldora is my second favorite week of the year besides the Chili Bowl.”

 

You can find the audio from that post-race media availability here.

 

Bell will be looking for his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Eldora Speedway this Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and his third-consecutive top-two finish.

Briscoe Hoping To Dig Deep At Eldora

Brad Keselowski Racing driver Chase Briscoe will be racing close to home this week at Eldora Speedway. Briscoe, a native of Mitchell, Indiana, is looking for his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win when he makes his series debut at Eldora Wednesday night (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

In a NASCAR teleconference with fellow NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell, Briscoe was eager to make his debut at a dirt track he visited frequently as a kid.

 

“This is the one track I have been looking forward to racing at more than any. I have been going there ever since I was little. Eldora is a Daytona or Indianapolis for us dirt guys, it will definitely be an honor for us come Wednesday.”

 

You can find the audio from that teleconference here.

 

Briscoe is a co-leader in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings with ThorSport Racing driver Grant Enfinger. The two are tied at 125 points apiece heading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora.

 

Briscoe has had a strong Sunoco Rookie campaign through 10 races this season. He has four top fives, five top 10s, two Keystone Light Poles and has led 105 laps. Briscoe has yet to finish outside the top-25 this season.

 

He currently sits third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

 

Reigning Champion Looking To Enjoy Eldora

Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter is having another championship-like run through 10 races this season.

 

Sauter has one win (Dover), seven top fives, nine top 10s and 316 laps led. He has yet to finish outside the top-15 this season.

 

But there’s one thing that the champ has yet to master… dirt.

 

In his four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora Speedway, Sauter has finished 13th (2016), 22nd (2015), eighth (2014) and 29th (2013).

 

This year, Sauter is looking to have fun at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ only stop at a dirt track. When asked about his mindset going into Eldora, he responded:

 

“Eldora is a little bit of a different situation for me. I have fun at Eldora, it’s a great atmosphere with a lot of good fans. My mindset there is to have fun. If we can stay out of trouble, we could be there in the end.”

 

But just because he’s looking to have fun at Eldora, doesn’t mean he’s not going to compete and is preparing for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the dirt track. Sauter was preparing by going to a local dirt-track near his home in Wisconsin.

 

“This week for the first time ever, I have taken it upon myself to try and gear up a dirt car, it’s a street stock. I live in Wisconsin so there’s a dirt track called Beaver Dam Raceway that’s a half-mile track. I want to go over there for four of five hours on Sunday. I can honestly say this is my way of getting prepared on my own.”

 

Sauter will be looking for his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Eldora Speedway when he takes his Chevrolet Silverado to the dirt Wednesday night (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Eldora Speedway Quick Facts

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Eldora Speedway Wednesday, July 19 (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), below are some series quick facts at the dirt track:

Races: 4

Pole Winners: 4

Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (07/23/2014 – 18 years, 1 month, 23 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ken Schrader (07/24/2013 – 58 years, 1 months, 25 days)

Race Winners: 4

Youngest Winner: Christopher Bell (07/22/2015 – 20 years, 7 months, 6 days)

Oldest Winner: Kyle Larson (07/20/2016 – 23 years, 6 months, 50 days)

Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 0

Race Record: Austin Dillon 67.401 mph (07/24/2013)

Qualifying Record: Ken Schrader 91.329 mph (07/24/2013)

 

First Time Diggers At Eldora

There are nine Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Eldora Speedway in Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.

 

One current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver won his first career win at Eldora – Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell (07/22/2015).

 

Over the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway, there have been three drivers who have won their first career pole at Eldora.

 

They include Caleb Holman (07/20/2016), Bobby Pierce (07/22/2015) and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion (2015) Erik Jones (07/23/2014).

 

Familiar Faces Running Eldora

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon headlines a group of non-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regulars making starts this week at Eldora Speedway.

 

Dillon will be running in the No. 99 K&L Ready Mix Chevrolet for Matthew Miller at Eldora and will be looking for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win there. Dillon has three career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora and has one top five and two top 10s.

 

Bobby Pierce will be making his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Eldora and has been successful in his last two runs there.

 

He finished a career-best second at Eldora Speedway in 2015 in his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start there.

 

Dirt ace Rico Abreu will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start this season at Eldora. Abreu made his track debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora last season and finished third after starting 27th.

Blast From The Past

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing at Eldora Speedway remains a popular and special race on the calendar each season for multiple reasons.

 

It’s the only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race run at dirt track and its unique qualifying format makes it’s a must-watch for racing fans.

 

Both of those reasons combined for a big one in 2013 thanks to Norm Benning when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its inaugural trip to Eldora Speedway.

 

In 2013 at Eldora Speedway, Benning had to race his way into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series main event by finishing in the top five during the qualifying races to earn a transfer spot.

 

Benning took fifth in the last chance heat race and provided fans and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors alike with excitement as he battled Clay Greenfield in the final laps. Both drivers raced hard, but Benning was able to use the outside wall on the final lap to get around and beat Greenfield. Click here to see a video of the moment.

 

With his truck receiving some damage due to his battle in the qualifying race, crew members from other teams assisted Benning in repairing the truck for the main NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.

 

Benning would go on to finish 26th in the race, but the thrill of an underdog racing his way into the main NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora proved to be true in the first NASCAR national series event at the dirt track.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

IMS invites fans to Friday, July 21 NASCAR Cup Drivers Hauler Parade

NASCAR Cup Drivers To Participate in Enhanced Hauler Parade Friday on Main Street in Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway invites media and fans to attend the annual Hauler Parade and new Fan Fest celebration on Main Street in Speedway. Both events will take place Friday, July 21, as IMS gears up for the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400.

The Fan Fest is an exciting new event this year. Starting at 4:30 p.m., Fan Fest brings even more fun and opportunities to engage with drivers heading into the race weekend. Some of the activities include a pit stop competition, relays and Minute to Win It games. Drivers participating include Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Chris Buescher and Corey LaJoie. Fans looking to participate with drivers in these special activities should line up at the IMS registration tent on Main Street by 5:30 p.m. Please note spots are limited, and fans will be selected on first-come, first-serve basis.

The event will also have fun activities for all attendees, including an inflatable slide, face painting, photo booth, caricature artist and more.

The Hauler Parade will begin at 6 p.m., starting at the Allison Transmission Lot at 4044 W. Michigan St. Drivers Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman are scheduled to appear in the parade, followed by a Q&A with IMS President Doug Boles. The Hauler Parade is a Brickyard fan favorite as more than 40 colorful NASCAR transporters make their way down Main Street, creating photo opportunities for fans along the way.

All activities for the Hauler Parade and Fan Fest are free and open to the public.

 

WHAT: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Fan Fest & Hauler Parade
WHO: Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Chris Buescher, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Corey LaJoie, Doug Boles, Monster Girls
WHEN: 4:30 – 8 p.m., Friday, July 21

Note: Fan Fest begins at 4:30 p.m. Hauler Parade will start at 6 p.m. Haulers will begin route by leaving 4044 W. Michigan St., finish route on Main Street in Speedway.

WHERE: Main Street, activities located near Ed Carpenter Racing.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY COMMUNICATIONS

MLS enters Week 20 with key games set to go

This Week in MLS – July 17, 2017
  • Six MLS stars receive the call as reinforcements for United States at CONCACAF Gold Cup
  • MLS standouts lead Canada-Jamaica, Costa Rica-Panama to quarterfinal matchups at Gold Cup
  • David Villa set to face Sebastian Giovinco, Bastian Schweinsteiger in star-studded, Eastern Conference leader clash
  • Regional showdowns in the Southeast and Northwest highlight action packed slate of MLS matches
  • Dynamo’s Manotas Finds a Home, Thanks to Stadium Security Guard and Family
  • Finalists Announced for 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest Presented by Wells Fargo
  • Week 20 Game Previews

Six MLS stars receive the call as reinforcements for United States at CONCACAF Gold Cup
Head coach Bruce Arena elected to call in six MLS players as reinforcements for his U.S. Men’s National Team squad at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Highlighted by four of the most accomplished U.S. players in history along with two of its brightest young stars, the U.S. is set to face El Salvador and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Darwin Ceren in a quarterfinal match at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, FS1/UniMas).

Four of the most celebrated players in U.S. history offer plenty of firepower to a U.S. squad that finished in first place in group play. With a goal, Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey will tie Landon Donovan’s national team record of 57 goals scored, while Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), the eighth most capped player in national team history, also gets the call. A pair of Toronto FC teammates in Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore round out the quartet of players that have all registered over 100 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Joining the team are also two of the USMNT’s most exciting young stars in Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe and FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Nagbe has blossomed into one of the U.S.’s most brilliant offensive creators, starring in four 2018 World Cup Qualifying matches since Arena’s takeover as head coach while featuring for a Timbers side that is tied for the most goals scored (34) in the Western Conference. Gonzalez will participate in his first U.S. camp after previously suiting up for Mexico at various youth national team levels. The 22-year-old has starred with five shutouts in 15 matches played for a Dallas squad that ranks as the second best defensive team in MLS with 18 goals allowed.

These six players join a U.S. team that has been heavily reliant on domestic players, with an MLS player scoring or providing the assist on six of the seven U.S. goals, the most of any nation in the tournament.

MLS standouts lead Canada-Jamaica, Costa Rica-Panama to quarterfinal matchups at Gold Cup
With the quarterfinal matchups set, it’s clear MLS players have played large roles in pushing advancing teams through to this part of the tournament. When looking at the four teams with the heaviest MLS presence aside from the United States, MLS players scored 13 of 19 goals overall and are set to shine once again in the quarterfinals with Costa Rica facing Panama on Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field (6 p.m. ET, FS/UniMas) and Canada opposing Jamaica on Thursday at University of Phoenix Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1/Univision).

Canada’s 16-year-old midfielder Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) is tied for the Golden Boot lead with three goals scored in Gold Cup play, becoming the youngest player in tournament and Canadian National Team history to score. Davies will be joined by Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin, who was added as a replacement player following group play thanks to his scoring pedigree. Larin has scored 39 goals in three seasons of MLS play including eight goals in 2017. Jamaica, meanwhile, has seen all three of its goals scored by MLS players with Portland Timbers forward Darren Mattocks leading the effort with two goals.

Costa Rica finished atop its group thanks to crucial goals from San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Marcos Urena and Minnesota United FC defender Francisco Calvo. They will face off against Panama, which has seen MLS players provide the goal or assist in four of its six goals, the second most scored during Gold Cup group play. New York City FC midfielder Miguel Camargo helped the team advance with one goal and two assists, tied for second best in the tournament.

The complete 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup rosters and schedule of games can be foundhere.

David Villa set to face Sebastian Giovinco, Bastian Schweinsteiger in star-studded, Eastern Conference leader clash
When MLS returns to play from its two-week Gold Cup break on Wednesday, fans will be treated to some of the most high-profile stars the league has to offer. New York City FC, sitting third in the Eastern Conference, will play the two teams directly above in the standings, first against Toronto FC on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2/MLS LIVE), followed by a Saturday matchup at home against the Chicago Fire (2 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).

Reigning MLS MVP winner David Villa will face 2015 winner Sebastian Giovinco for the first time since Toronto easily dispatched NYCFC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Villa has 12 goals scored this season, second in MLS, while Giovinco ranks in the top 10 with nine goals scored. Additionally, both players were voted into the Fan XI for the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

Villa then shifts his sights to his first MLS matchup against another star in Bastian Schweinsteiger, as New York City FC will look to end the Chicago Fire’s MLS best 11-game unbeaten streak. Two of the biggest stars in MLS will meet at Yankee Stadium, 11 days before taking the field against Real Madrid as All-Star teammates.

Regional showdowns in the Southeast and Northwest highlight action packed slate of MLS matches
MLS returns from a two-week Gold Cup break with a pair of highly anticipated regional showdowns highlighting the action, first on Saturday in a southeastern showdown between Orlando and Atlanta, followed by a Pacific Northwest clash between Portland and Vancouver on Sunday.

The long-awaited I-75 Rivalry will finally see the light of day starting this week, with back-to-back games between Orlando City SC and expansion Atlanta United FC in a nine-day stretch. The first meeting occurs this Friday at Orlando City Stadium (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes). Atlanta (9-7-3, 30 points) and Orlando (8-7-5, 29 points) are side-by-side in the upper half of the Eastern Conference standings, so this inaugural matchup certainly carries plenty of weight. Atlanta is in the midst of a club-record three-game winning streak while Orlando has one victory in its past six games (1-2-3 record during this current stretch). Following Friday’s game, they meet again on July 29 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will attempt to add to its strong home track record against the Portland Timbers when the two sides meet this Sunday at BC Place (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1/FOX Deportes). Whitecaps FC has won the past three home matches against the Timbers and will be looking to reverse the season series’ opening result. Portland’s Darren Mattocks scored what proved to be the winner against his former Whitecaps FC side to lead the Timbers to a 2-1 victory on April 22 at Providence Park. Both clubs will be coming off midweek clashes, with Whitecaps FC traveling to face the LA Galaxy and the Timbers hosting Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. This Sunday is the second of three regular-season meetings; they cap off the regular season at Portland’s Providence Park on MLS Decision Day (Oct. 22).

Dynamo’s Manotas Finds a Home, Thanks to Stadium Security Guard and Family
Since arriving in Houston just over two years ago, Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas has always felt at home, even though he lived the first 19 years of his life in Columbia. His transition to the U.S. has been made more comfortable because Manotas has found a second family in the household of Ed Chavez, a longtime security guard at Dynamo games at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Ed Chavez and his wife, Ingrid, volunteered to Dynamo management that they would take Manotas into their home. It was a good fit for everyone involved because they have a son, Chad, who is close to Manotas’s age and a daughter, Haley, who is just a few years younger. After Mauro stayed with the Chavez family for a few months, his own family visited from Columbia and everyone hit it off and agreed that Mauro was in an ideal home as he began his MLS career.

Now in his third season with the Dynamo – he is third on the team in goals – Manotas continues to live with the Chavez family.

“I feel like I am at home,” said Manotas. “When I first arrived in Houston, I was alone for two weeks and that was rough. I didn’t eat well and was very uncomfortable. Having the structure really helped me. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without their support.”

Finalists Announced for 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest Presented by Wells Fargo
Major League Soccer last week announced finalists for the 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo. The Grand Prize winner, as voted by fans, will be recognized on-field during halftime of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 2 and will receive a $25,000 donation for their selected charity.

MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo are recognizing individuals who use soccer as a tool to make a difference in their community. Throughout June, MLS fans nominated individuals who are helping to build better communities. Twenty-two finalists have been selected, one representing each MLS club.

Fans are encouraged to vote by visiting the Community MVP Contest site (www.MLSsoccer.com/CommunityMVP) and using the vote or Tweet buttons for each finalist.

Week 20 Game Previews

Wednesday, July 19
Philadelphia Union at Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m. (TVA)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Impact overcame a three-goal deficit with Anthony Jackson-Hamel scoring the second of his two goals three minutes from full time to leave the teams in a 3-3 draw April 22 at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • The Impact suffered a second loss in their last three games in their last match, a 3-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 4.
  • Philadelphia Union had their two-game winning streak put to an end but still extended their undefeated run to three games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on July 6.

San Jose Earthquakes at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

  • The Red Bulls won a second consecutive away match on the heels of a six-game losing streak on the road, coming back for a 3-2 win against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on July 5. The three goals scored by the Red Bulls were their season-high in a game this year.
  • The Quakes had their two-game winning run put to an end, conceding a season-high in goals in a 4-2 loss to Atlanta United at Bobby Dodd Stadium on July 4. It was a second consecutive defeat on the road for the Quakes, coming off a three-game undefeated homestand.
  • The Quakes have not won at New York since 2005. Since San Jose’s return to MLS, the Red Bulls have won five home encounters with the Quakes, with two draws.

Toronto FC at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m. (TSN2)

  • New York City FC are undefeated vs. Toronto FC in league play in their two MLS campaigns, winning two of five meetings all-time, with three draws. The teams also met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals – and Toronto FC won 7-0 on aggregate, winning 2-0 at BMO Field, then 5-0 at Yankee Stadium.
  • David Villa has scored six goals in three appearances vs. Toronto FC, including both goals in the draw in The Bronx last year. Sebastian Giovinco has four goals and two assists in league play, including a hat trick in a nine-minute span in a wild 4-4 draw between the teams July 12, 2015 at Yankee Stadium; he also scored a hat trick and added an assist in the second leg of the MLS Cup Playoffs series.
  • New York City FC had their winning streak put to an end after four games last time out, falling 3-2 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on July 5. The four-game winning streak equaled the club record, originally set last June 18-July 6.
  • Toronto FC won their third game out of their last four, defeating Orlando City SC 3-1 at Orlando City Stadium on July 5. The win in Orlando snapped a two-game road losing streak for TFC, having conceded three goals in each defeat.

Houston Dynamo at Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m.

  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Goals from MNUFC’s Christian Ramirez and Johan Venegas canceled out goals from the Dynamo’s Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw April 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Minnesota United suffered a second consecutive defeat, falling 1-0 to Columbus Crew SC at TCF Bank Stadium on July 4. MNUFC had their three-game undefeated streak in Minneapolis put to an end, after two wins and a draw.
  • The Dynamo put an end to a four-game winless run, defeating the Montréal Impact 3-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 5. The win extended the Dynamo’s home undefeated streak to 10 games, their longest since the MLS-record 30-game home unbeaten run July 9, 2011-April 28, 2013.

D.C. United at Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m.

  • Sounders FC put an end to a three-game winless run, defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 4. Sounders FC put an end to their road winless streak after five games, their first road win since April 23.
  • D.C. United suffered their third consecutive defeat, falling 4-2 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on July 4. United scored on the road for the first time since a 1-0 win May 27 at Vancouver, putting an end to their away shutout streak after 419 minutes, after four consecutive road shutouts.
  • Sounders FC have won the last four meetings between the teams, and are undefeated in the last six league encounters in the series (4-0-1). United’s last win against Seattle in league play came May 4, 2011

Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.

  • The Timbers saw their winless streak extended to five matches with a third consecutive draw, reaching a 2-2 result with the Chicago Fire at Providence Park on July 5. The draw extended the Timbers home undefeated streak to six matches at Providence Park (3-0-3).
  • Real Salt Lake put an end to a two-game losing streak overall, rolling to a 6-2 win against the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on July 4, matching their club record with the six-goal outburst.
  • RSL became the second team in MLS history to score six goals and allow six goals in the same season (losing 2-6 to FC Dallas on June 3). The Dallas Burn did it in 2001 (2-6 vs MIA on 6/2/2001; 6-3 at COL on 6/16/2001).
  • The Timbers have an eight-game undefeated streak alive in the all-time league series, Real last winning April 19, 2014. Portland has won four of those eight games, with four draws.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m. (TSN)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Romain Alessandrini scored twice for the Galaxy, but Matias Laba scored the final two goals for Whitecaps FC, snapping a 2-2 tie for a 4-2 victory April 1 at BC Place. The opening Vancouver goal in the first meeting snapped a 347-minute scoreless streak for the ‘Caps in the series.
  • The LA Galaxy suffered a third consecutive defeat, suffering a 6-2 loss to Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center on July 4.
  • The six goals conceded by the Galaxy matched their club record, set once previously in their 680 MLS league matches (3-6 vs Dallas, Sept. 12, 2009). Both of those games have been at StubHub Center. The loss also extended the Galaxy’s home undefeated streak to six games.
  • Whitecaps FC put an end to a three-game winless run, hitting for a late winner for a 3-2 win against New York City FC at BC Place on July 5.

Friday, July 21
Atlanta United at Orlando City SC, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

  • Atlanta United extended their winning streak to three games, their longest since coming into MLS, in a 4-2 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Bobby Dodd Stadium on July 4. Atlanta United have won five consecutive home games, dating back to May 20.
  • Josef Martínez scored a pair of goals in Atlanta United’s win, now with nine goals in his first MLS season (in nine appearances), already with three multiple-goal games for the season (including one hat trick).
  • Orlando City lost at home for the first time since May 21 last time out, suffering a 3-1 loss to Toronto FC at Orlando City Stadium on July 5.

Saturday, July 22
Chicago Fire at New York City FC, 2 p.m.

  • The Fire had their four-game winning streak put to an end, but still extended their two-month long undefeated streak, reaching a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on July 5. The Fire extended their undefeated streak in league play to 11 games, dating back to May 6, their longest since the club-record 12-game unbeaten run Oct. 23, 2008-May 28, 2009.
  • David Villa scored his 12th goal of the season in the loss at Vancouver, now tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot standings (with Erick Torres of HOU; Nemanja Nikolic of CHI has 16). Villa scored a goal for a second consecutive game, now with four goals in his last four games.
  • NYCFC are undefeated in the last four meetings between the teams, since the Fire won 1-0 on April 24, 2015 in their first match ever. NYCFC have won two of those four matches, with two draws.

New York Red Bulls at Minnesota United FC, 4 p.m. (ESPN)

  • During the Gold Cup break, the Red Bulls reached the semifinals in the U.S. Open Cup for the first time since 2003, following a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution on July 13 in Cambridge, Mass. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the game’s lone goal three minutes from full time.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time ever. The Red Bulls opened the season facing a member of the expansion class of 2017, winning 2-1 at Atlanta United.

Colorado Rapids at Toronto FC, 7 p.m. (TSN)

  • The Rapids suffered their third loss in their last four matches in their last action, falling 3-1 to Seattle Sounders FC on July 4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Sebastian Giovinco netted a pair of goals in TFC’s win at Orlando City, his third two-goal game this season, his second vs. OCSC. Since the start of 2015, when Giovinco came into MLS, he has 12 multiple-goal games, tied for second-most in the league (David Villa, NYC, 13).
  • The Rapids have won three of last four meetings between the teams, over the last four seasons – all by 1-0 scorelines. The Rapids won 1-0 on April 12, 2014 in Toronto, their only victory ever against TFC at BMO Field.

Houston Dynamo at D.C. United, 7 p.m.

  • The Dynamo come into the week still winless away from home this season, with trips ahead to Minnesota and D.C. United, now 0-7-2 on their travels, one of four teams without an away win this season. The seven away defeats are tied for the league-high (with Colorado, New England and Minnesota).
  • Ian Harkes scored his first career MLS goal in the July 4 defeat at FC Dallas, after recording his career MLS assist when the club scored its last previous goal June 21. Harkes became part of the fourth father-and-son combination to score goals in MLS, along with father John, joining Alex and Teal Bunbury, José and José Adolfo Valencia, and David and Jesus Ferreira.

FC Dallas at Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m. (TVA)

  • FC Dallas won their third consecutive game at home, extending their overall undefeated streak to four games, defeating D.C. United 4-2 at Toyota Stadium on July 4.
  • Ronald Lamah scored a pair of goals for a second consecutive game for FCD, now with eight goals on the season – all of them coming in the last eight matches (since May 25). Michael Barrios collected a pair of assists, now with 10 for the season, tied for the MLS league lead (with Victor Vazquez of Toronto FC).
  • The Impact start the week with two games at Stade Saputo vs. Philadelphia and Dallas riding a three-game home winning streak, the club’s longest in league play since a seven-game winning run Sept. 5, 2015-April 9, 2016.

Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.

  • Crew SC won for a second time in three games in their last match, defeating Minnesota United FC 1-0 at TCF Bank Stadium on July 4. Kekuta Manneh scored his second goal of the season, both coming in the last three games.
  • Union won all three meetings between the teams a season ago. Union won both matches at Mapfre Stadium – both by 2-1 scorelines, on March 12 and Aug. 24 – their first two wins ever in Columbus. Crew SC had won six of seven meetings there prior, with one draw.

LA Galaxy at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

  • The Revolution suffered their fourth consecutive loss overall in league play, their second in a row at Gillette Stadium, in a 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls on July 5. The Red Bulls then eliminated the Revolution from the U.S. Open Cup at the quarterfinal stage in a 1-0 result July 13.
  • The Galaxy were also eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup at the quarterfinal stage since their last league match, falling 3-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on July 11.
  • The Galaxy won 4-2 last May 8 at StubHub Center, their second consecutive win at home in the league series – the third time in the last four matchups the winning team has hit for four goals or more. The teams reached a 2-2 draw in their last meeting at Gillette Stadium, May 31, 2015 – after each team hit for five goals in consecutive regular season matches the two years previous (NE 5-0 win in 2013; LA 5-1 win in 2014).

Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m.

  • Sporting extended their undefeated streak to six games with a fourth draw in that time, reaching a 1-1 result with Philadelphia Union on July 6. The draw extended Sporting’s club-record home undefeated streak at Children’s Mercy Park to 18 games.
  • Sporting also reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the third time in the last six seasons, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 in extra time on July 12, Latif Blessing scoring a pair of goals.
  • In RSL’s 6-2 vs. LA, Jefferson Savarino scored his first two goals in his MLS career, while Albert Rusnák scored his fourth MLS goal and also collected a pair of assists, now with seven for the season –his second two-assist game in MLS.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Gerso Fernandes all hit the back of the net, giving Sporting a 3-0 win April 29 at Children’s Mercy Park. The SKC win in the first meeting snapped a seven-game winless streak in league play in the all-time series (0-4-3), their first victory since 2013.

Sunday, July 23
Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks each found the back of the net as the Timbers took a 2-1 win April 22 at Providence Park.
  • Whitecaps FC have won the last three league meetings at BC Place, over the last two seasons, their only league wins at home vs. the Timbers.
  • Fanendo Adi scored his 10th goal of the season in Portland’s 2-2 draw with Chicago, reaching double-figures in goals for a third consecutive season. Adi is in a four-way tie for fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Adi has four goals over the last six matches.
  • The teams first met on May 16, 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, the Timbers winning 2-0 at Empire Stadium in Vancouver. The teams have met 88 times in all, across a number of competitions – the Whitecaps hold a 37-33-18 advantage in the all-time record between the clubs. The teams met twice in the NASL playoffs, in 1978 and 1980, each team advancing on one occasion.

San Jose Earthquakes at Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m.

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Nicolas Lodeiro gave Sounders FC the lead in the 84th minute, but Chris Wondolowski scored in the final minute of the regulation 90, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw April 8 at Avaya Stadium.
  • Chris Wondolowski scored his eighth goal of the season in the Quakes’ 4-2 loss at Atlanta United, his second consecutive game with a goal. It was Wondolowski’s first goal scored away from Avaya Stadium this season – the 63rd career goal scored on the road in his career, tied for the most in MLS history (with Landon Donovan).

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

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