Austin FC to Celebrate Inaugural Home Match at Q2 Stadium this Saturday
Soccer fans around the country will be tuning in this Saturday as Austin FC get set to host their inaugural home match at Q2 Stadium (UniMás, TUDN, Twitter, 9 p.m. ET). The expansion side will welcome a capacity crowd of 20,500 to the new stadium, hosting the San Jose Earthquakes for the team’s first home game in club history. After playing the first eight matches on the road, the team will be looking to capitalize on homefield advantage to climb the standings through the remainder of the season.
In addition to Austin FC’s home matches, the state-of-the art facility has already been identified as a world class venue for international matches. The venue will not only host a U.S. Women’s National Team match on Wednesday this week, but the stadium will also host one of two Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinal matches later this summer.
The opening of Q2 Stadium continues Major League Soccer’s stadium boom this season. Having celebrated the opening of FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium on May 16, fans will look forward to not only seeing the opening of the Q2 this weekend, but also the opening of Columbus Crew’s new stadium in just a few weeks on July 3.
Superlatives Abound From Opening Seven Weeks in 2021 Season
As the MLS regular season picks back up following a June international break, we take a look at some noteworthy performances with history being made over just the opening seven weeks of the campaign:
· Still Unblemished: Two teams have reached the international break still undefeated on the season – Seattle Sounders FC (5-0-3) and Nashville SC (2-0-5). Sounders FC have become just the 12th team in MLS history to reach as many as eight games undefeated from the start of the season; it’s just the third time in league annals two teams have reached as many as seven games without loss in the same season.
· The Chicarito Show: Javier “Chicharito” Hernández leads the MLS Golden Boot race with seven goals in seven games to start the season, one ahead of Raúl Ruidíaz of Seattle Sounders FC. Hernández became just the second player in MLS history to open a season with five goals over the first two games of the year, and was named the first Player of the Month of the season.
· Keeping It Clean: Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union has already recorded five shutouts in eight starts this season, posting an 0.63 goals against average while leading his club to a 4-2-2 record. Blake has a 275-minute shutout streak entering the international break, keeping clean sheets in each of the last three games, the third-longest shutout streak in the league this season. The longest? Joe Willis of Nashville SC, at 414 minutes – which included shutouts in four consecutive matches May 2-23.
· Streaking From The Start: Valentin Castellanos of New York City FC scored goals in each of the first four games in the 2021 season (April 17-May 8), the fifth player in MLS history to score in a season’s opening four matches, the seventh time in all it’s been accomplished. It’s the longest goalscoring streak of the season.
· The Power of Youth: Young goalkeepers have certainly made their marks this season: the second-youngest in league history to start a game (Hunter Sulte, POR, 19 years, 6 days), the third-youngest to be credited with a win (John Pulskamp, KC, 4/17 vs NYR), and the fourth-youngest to post a shutout (David Ochoa, RSL, 5/15 v NSH).
Houston Dynamo looking to spoil LAFC’s return home to full capacity
With both sides returning from the international break in pursuit of a potentially momentum-changing win, Los Angles Football Club hosts Houston Dynamo FC this Saturday (11 p.m. ET, UniMás / TUDN).
Tab Ramos and the Dynamo currently sit fifth in the Western Conference standings and are the only Texas-based side in currently sitting above the playoff line. Maxi Urruti is tied for fifth in the Golden Boot race after scoring four goals in his first seven games for Houston, with three of those goals proving to be game winners. Midfielder Derrick Jones has also been a revelation in midfield since reuniting with his former youth national team head coach Tab Ramos this season, and his ball progression has been instrumental in the side’s spitfire, build-up play with a team-leading 70.6 percent completion rate from his 12 attempted dribbles this season.
Saturday’s game will also be the first in which LAFC will be open its home stadium to full capacity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With Carlos Vela also having three weeks to ease himself back from injury, the anticipation and excitement for both his and the fans’ returns might be exactly what LAFC need to steer the ship straight after a rocky start to the 2021 season. Forward Corey Baird and 23-year-old forward Diego Rossi have already combined for six goals and three assists this season, but a steady reintroduction of the Mexican international to the starting lineup would undoubtedly make this front three one of these best in the league.
Will Atlanta United gain its CCL redemption from Philadelphia Union, Sunday?
When Atlanta United returns to action in its raucous home environment with an estimated 40,000 fans this week, the club will be facing a Philadelphia Union side that has the third-best defense in league play up to this point and a familiar foe that earlier this year took down the Five Stripes 4-1 on aggregate over two legs in the Round of 16 of Concacaf Champions League.
The Union have been in a strong run of form as the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference, with an unbeaten 2-0-1 road record, shutouts in their last three straight games, and a 5-0 margin of victory over that span. Not to mention, Union forward Kacper Przybylko has Atlanta’s number after scoring three of the four CCL goals against them.
As Atlanta United looks to find it stride without scoring superstar Josef Martínez and fellow countryman Ronald Hernández, who were both called up to the Venezuelan National Team for Copa America, will Paraguayan Erik López – who scored his first MLS goal last time out – help the club maintain its recent unbeaten record over that same?
The father-son legacies in focus for Father’s Day this year
Major League Soccer has seen a host of father-son duos throughout the league’s 26-year history, with several notable familial connections along the way. Here are a few to father-son duos to celebrate this week:
Austin FC have a trio of father-son connections currently involved in the game, starting with head coach Josh Wolff and his son, Tyler, who is following in his father’s soccer legacy as a player with Atlanta United. Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna also had the pleasure of watching his son Gio develop at NYCFC’s academy before his move to Borussia Dortmund and rise to stardom with the U.S. national team. In addition, Austin FC is home to midfielder Sebastian Berhalter, son of U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Down in Dallas, Jesus Ferreira continues to make his known name at FC Dallas after his father David was named the 2010 MLS MVP after guiding FC Dallas to an MLS Cup Final.
Staying in Texas, Houston Dynamo forward and Costa Rican international Ariel Lassiter has followed in the footsteps of his father Roy Lassiter, who shared the single-season scoring record of 27 goals (1996) until it was broken in 2018.
Keep an eye on New England Revolution’s Teal Bunbury as he is nearing his 300th MLS appearance in his 12th season in the league after his father finished his career with the Kansas City Wizards in 2000. Bunbury is three games away from reaching the milestone.
Nine years after finishing his career with FC Dallas, Scott Sealy has watched his son Dante rise through the Dallas academy ranks to make his first team debut in 2020 and score his first MLS goal against the Portland Timbers back in May. USL League One’s Greenville Triumph is currently led by head coach John Harkes whose son Ian made his professional debut with D.C. United before joining Dundee United of Scotland in 2019. Raimo de Vries spent a year with the Colorado Rapids in 1996, and his son Jack de Vries looks forward to contributing in a second season with the Philadelphia Union.
Get to Know the All-Star Game Opponent: MLS vs. LIGA MX
As MLS gears up to face off against the best of LIGA MX in the 2021 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday, August 25, at Banc of California Stadium, in an unprecedented matchup that will be the showpiece event of the summer, the entire soccer community will unite to celebrate the sport and soccer culture in North America.
Below is a quick recap of the players and teams that led GUARD1ANES 2021 & 2020 tournaments.
GUARD1ANES 2021 & 2020 Leading Stats
Alexis Canelo (Toluca, 11 goals)
Jonathan Rodríguez (Cruz Azul, 12 goals)
Rubens Sambueza (Toluca, 6 assists)
Martín Rodríguez (Mazatlán FC, 7 assists)
Antony Silva (Puebla, 65 saves)
Carlos Acevedo (Santos, 67 saves)
Cruz Azul (26 goals)
Club América (31 goals)
Cruz Azul (11 goals)
León (14 goals)
GUARD1ANES 2020 Best XI
Goalkeeper: Alfredo Talavera (Pumas)
Right Back: Fernando Navarro (León)
Central Defenders: Stiven Barreiro (León), Johan Vásquez (Pumas)
Left Back: William Tesillo (León)
Midfielders: Ángel Mena (León), Uriel Antuna (Chivas)
Forwards: Juan Dinenno (Pumas), Jonathan Rodríguez (Cruz Azul)
Head Coach: Ignacio Ambriz (León)
GUARD1ANES 2021 Best XI
Goalkeeper: Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul)
Right Back: Kevin Álvarez (Pachuca)
Central Defenders: Pablo Aguilar (Cruz Azul), Matheus Doria (Santos)
Left Back: Salvador Reyes (Puebla)
Midfielders: Rubens Sambueza (Toluca), Álvaro Fidalgo (América)
Defensive Midfielders: Fernando Gorriarán (Santos), Luis Romo (Cruz Azul)
Forwards: Jonathan Rodríguez (Cruz Azul), Alexis Canelo (Toluca)
Head Coach: Juan Reynoso (Cruz Azul)
* GAME NOTES*
Friday, June 18
New York Red Bulls vs. Nashville SC, 8 p.m.
· The Red Bulls put an end to a two-game losing slide, defeating Orlando City SC 2-1 at Red Bull Arena on May 29. Caden Clark scored his fourth goal of the season – tied for fifth in the MLS Golden Boot standings – all five goals have come in home games at Red Bull Arena.
· Nashville SC remained undefeated on the season through seven games, coming back for a 2-2 draw with Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on May 29. Down two goals, Nashville SC got a pair of goals from Hany Muhktar in the 80th and the 83rd minutes to secure the draw.
· The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories. They are also scheduled to meet on Decision Day (Nov. 7) at Nissan Stadium.
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10 p.m. (TSN)
· Real gained a third consecutive draw, reaching a 1-1 result with Minnesota United FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 29. Damir Kreilach scored his third goal of the season; he has a goal and/or an assist in four of six games played this season.
· Whitecaps FC suffered a third consecutive defeat last time out, falling 2-1 to Houston Dynamo FC at BBVA Stadium on May 22. Deiber Caicedo scored his first MLS and Whitecaps FC goal; he has a goal and an assist on the last two goals scored by the ‘Caps.
· The teams met twice a season ago, and Whitecaps FC won both, each by a 2-1 scoreline. In the first match, Lucas Cavallini hit for the match-winner in the 84th minute, giving Whitecaps FC the win Sept. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium, then on Oct. 10, Cavallini netted the game-winner in the 70th minute for the Vancouver victory at Providence Park.
· The Whitecaps FC win last year in Sandy ended a five-game RSL winning streak in the series at Rio Tinto Stadium. The teams are also scheduled to play July 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium, in what will be a Vancouver home game.
Saturday, June 19
Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire FC, 7:30 p.m.
· The Crew won a second consecutive game, defeating Toronto FC 2-1 at Historic Crew Stadium on May 29. Luis Díaz netted his first MLS league goal since Sept. 14, 2019 to open the scoring, and Gyasi Zardes scored his first goal in league play this season.
· Pedro Santos recorded assists on both Crew goals, his second two-assist game in his MLS career, the first coming Aug. 25, 2019 vs. FC Cincinnati.
· Fire FC weren’t able to build upon a first victory in 2021, falling by the game’s only goal to CF Montréal at Soldier Field on May 29.
· The teams met twice a season ago. Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes each scored a goal and added an assist as the Crew eased to a 3-0 win Aug. 20 in Columbus. On Sept. 12 at Soldier Field, Djordje Mihailovic and Robert Beric scored early for the Fire, but Fatai Alashe and Gyasi Zardes scored late for the Crew, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw.
· The Fire are undefeated in their last seven home meetings with Crew SC, with two wins and five draws, Crew SC’s last win at the Fire coming in 2015. Crew SC have a 10-game home undefeated streak alive in the all-time series. The Fire last won in Columbus on June 22, 2013.
FC Cincinnati vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
· FC Cincinnati weren’t able to add to a first victory of 2021, falling by the game’s only goal to the New England Revolution at TQL Stadium on May 29.
· The Rapids won for a fourth time in five games, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on May 29. Michael Barrios scored a goal for a second consecutive game; Barrios has two goals and two assists over the last three games, having played a part in four of the Rapids’ seven goals over that span.
· The teams have met once in their histories, during the 2019 season. Andre Shinyashiki, Nicolas Mezquida and Diego Rubio all netted goals as the Rapids claimed a 3-1 win June 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
New York City FC vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
· NYCFC gained a result for the fifth time in seven matches this season, putting an end to a three-game winless run in a 2-1 victory against Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on May 29.
· Jesús Medina scored his fifth goal of the season, tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot standings, also adding his first assist of the season, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored for a second consecutive game.
· The Revolution won their third game on the trot and extended their undefeated run to four games, defeating FC Cincinnati by the game’s only goal at TQL Stadium on May 29. Adam Buksa scored for a third consecutive game, now with four goals for the season, tied for fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
· The teams met three times a season ago, evenly splitting their season series. NYCFC claimed a 2-0 win behind two second-half goals at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 2; then on Oct. 11, Teal Bunbury scored early and Lee Nguyen late as the Revolution took a 2-1 win at Yankee Stadium. The teams also reached a goalless draw on Sept. 19 in Foxborough.
· The NYCFC win in the first meeting last year ended a four-game undefeated streak for the Revs in the series in Foxborough. NYCFC has won four of the eight meetings all-time in the Bronx.
Toronto FC vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m. (TSN)
· TFC fell to a second successive reversal, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Crew at Historic Crew Stadium on May 29. Ayo Akinola scored his first goal of the season, his first in MLS league play since last Nov. 1 vs. Inter Miami.
· Orlando City SC suffered their first defeat of the season after a six-game undefeated run to start the campaign, dropping a 2-1 decision to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on May 29. Silvester van de Water scored his first OCSC and MLS goal; he has a goal and an assist in the last two games.
· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Tesho Akindele scored the game’s only goal in the 12th minute and Pedro Gallese kept a clean sheet for a second consecutive match as Orlando City SC took the win in their home game at Exploria Stadium on May 22.
· Toronto FC have won eight of the 13 meetings all-time, with two draws. All three of OCSC’s wins have come on their home ground; TFC has now won there four times vs. Orlando City, in six visits. TFC has won four of the six meetings all-time at BMO Field, without defeat; Orlando City’s lone result in Toronto came in a goalless draw on Sept. 28, 2016.
D.C. United vs. Inter Miami CF, 8 p.m.
· The teams are meeting for a second consecutive match, on either side of the international break. Ola Kamara scored a pair of goals and added an assist, and Paul Arriola also had a goal and an assist, as D.C. United rolled to a 3-0 win May 29 at DRV PNK Stadium, putting an end to a two-game losing slide.
· The teams met once in Inter Miami’s inaugural season last year. Yamil Asad and Frederic Brillant scored two minutes apart in the second half for United, overcoming a second-minute goal from Rodolfo Pizarro, leading D.C. to a 2-1 win March 7 at Audi Field.
FC Dallas vs. Minnesota United FC, 8:30 p.m.
· FC Dallas went down to a 3-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on May 29 in their last match before the break.
· MNUFC extended their undefeated run to three games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 29. Niko Hansen scored the 78th-minute equalizer, his first with Minnesota United.
· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Robin Lod scored the game’s only goal four minutes into second half stoppage time to give MNUFC the win May 15 at Allianz Field.
· Minnesota United have won the last three meetings between the teams, all in St. Paul, now with wins in four consecutive home games in the series. FC Dallas have won all four meetings at Toyota Stadium, last on Aug. 29 of last year, as Fafa Picault and Jesús Ferreira netted goals a minute apart early on, pacing FC Dallas to a 3-1 win.
Austin FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m. (UniMás / TUDN)
· Austin FC concluded their eight-game road streak to kick off their inaugural season with a second consecutive draw, reaching a 1-1 result with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on June 12.
· Cecilio Dominguez scored his third goal of the season, his first since netting a brace in Austin FC’s first-ever win, April 24 at the Colorado Rapids.
· The Quakes saw their losing skid extend to four games, falling to the LA Galaxy by the game’s only goal at Dignity Health Sports Park on May 29.
· The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories. They are also scheduled to face off Sept. 18 at Q2 Stadium, then on Oct. 20 at PayPal Park.
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m.
· The Galaxy won for a fourth time in four starts at Dignity Health Sports Park this season, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes by the game’s only goal on May 29. Jonathan Bond recorded 12 saves in posting his second shutout of the season, the second-most saves in a single game in the Galaxy’s 26-year history.
· Sounders FC remained undefeated on the season, gaining a third draw in eight matches, playing to a scoreless draw with Austin FC at Lumen Field on May 30. Stefan Cleveland was credited with three saves in recording his second shutout in three starts this season.
· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Raúl Ruidíaz scored a pair of goals, and Brad Smith netted a goal and added an assist, as Sounders FC cruised to a 3-0 win at Lumen Field on May 2.
· Sounders FC have come away with points on six of their last seven trips to Carson, with three wins and three draws. The Seattle win in 2016 ended an 11-game winless streak there in league and MLS Cup play.
· Sounders FC have scored 12 goals in the last three home meetings with the Galaxy. Sounders FC claimed a 5-0 victory Aug. 18, 2018 at CenturyLink Field, equaling the club’s record for margin of victory over its 10 MLS seasons, and the Galaxy equaling the biggest margin of defeat in their history (set twice previously). It was their first against the Galaxy at home in league play since 2014 (though Sounders FC did win twice at home in the MLS Cup Playoffs over that timeframe).
Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.
· The Timbers saw their two-game winning run come to a half, falling 3-0 to the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park on May 30.
· Sporting KC extended their undefeated streak to four games following three consecutive wins, reaching a 1-1 draw with Austin FC at Children’s Mercy Park on June 12.
· Daniel Salloí scored his fourth goal of the season, his third in the last four games, one of seven players tied for fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
· The teams last met during the 2019 season. Jeremy Ebobisse leveled terms in the 83rd minute, then Brian Fernandez scored the game-winner in stoppage time, giving the Timbers a 2-1 win on Sept. 7 at Providence Park, then Dairon Asprilla snatched a late equalizer as the teams reached a 2-2 draw Sept. 29 at Children’s Mercy Park.
· The Timbers win in the last meeting in Portland was their first home win in the series since 2016. The Timbers’ lone win in Kansas City came on April 27, 2013, a 3-2 victory; Sporting are 2-0-3 in the last five home meetings in the series.
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo FC, 11 p.m. (UniMás / TUDN)
· LAFC weren’t able to build upon a second victory of the season, falling 2-1 to New York City FC at Banc of California Stadium on May 29. Corey Baird scored his third goal of the season, a second consecutive game with a goal or an assist; he has a goal and/or an assist in five of seven games this season.
· Dynamo FC suffered a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on May 29. Maximiliano Urruti scored his fourth goal of the season, a second consecutive game with a goal, tied for fifth in the MLS Golden Boot standings; Matias Vera also netted the first of his MLS career in his third season.
· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Corey Baird scored the opener for LAFC in the 55th minute, but Tyler Pasher leveled terms for Dynamo FC two minutes later, and the teams settled for a 1-1 draw May 1 at BBVA Stadium.
· LAFC has never lost to the Dynamo in seven meetings all-time, winning three in a row before draws in the last two meetings. LAFC has won all three meetings at Banc of California Stadium, with a 9-4 edge in goals scored.
Sunday, June 20
Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union, 2 p.m. (ESPN / ESPN Deportes)
· ATLUTD extended their undefeated streak to four games with a third draw in that time, reaching a 2-2 draw with Nashville SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on May 29. Marcelino Moreno netted his third goal of the season, all coming in the last five games, and Erik Lopez scored his first goal in MLS.
· The Union won a third consecutive game and extended their league undefeated streak to five matches, defeating the Portland Timbers 3-0 at Subaru Park on May 30. Kacper Przybylko scored his third goal of the season, a second consecutive game with a goal, and added an assist; he has eight goals and two assists in 12 games in all competitions this season.
· Andre Blake was credited with four saves in recording his third consecutive shutout, extending his goalless streak to 275 minutes. Blake leads MLS with five shutouts this season, in eight games.
· The teams are meeting for the first time in league play this season, but they did meet in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League. In the first leg, Kacper Przybylko scored a pair of goals and assisted on a third as the Union took a 3-0 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on April 27. Przybylko then scored late in the second leg to seal the tie in a 1-1 draw, the Union advancing 4-1 on aggregate.
· The teams last met during the 2019 season in regular season play, reaching a 1-1 draw March 17 in Atlanta, then the Union taking a 3-1 win Aug. 31 in Chester. They then met in an Eastern Conference Semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, ATLUTD getting goals from Julian Gressel and Josef Martínez for a 2-0 win.
· The Union have won once in six league meetings all time – the last regular season encounter in 2019. ATLUTD had won three of the first five meetings, with two draws, since coming into MLS.