This Week in MLS – March 20, 2017

  • MLS talent set to shine as 52 players called up to CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and UEFA World Cup Qualifying play
  • Trio from Houston to face teammate as U.S. hosts Honduras for World Cup Qualifier
  • MLS talent answers the call for Canada’s U-23s and CANMNT
  • TSN expands 2017 coverage by adding 18 highly-anticipated MLS games to broadcast schedule
  • MLS WORKS launches annual Don’t Cross the Line campaign
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 4 Game Previews
MLS talent set to shine in CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and UEFA World Cup Qualifying play
A total of 52 MLS players are set to participate in World Cup Qualifying play, representing 13 countries across three separate regions. Outside of the United States, Costa Rica leads the way with nine MLS players called up to its roster, followed closely by fellow CONCACAF foe Panama with eight players.
 
In CONMEBOL, reigning MLS Newcomer of the Year and Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro looks to help Uruguay defeat Brazil and close the gap at the top of the federation standings. Atlanta United also sends three players to CONMEBOL play, including Designated Players Miguel Almiron of Paraguay and current MLS Golden Boot leader Josef Martinez of Venezuela.
 
In UEFA play, Finland leads the way with three MLS players receiving the call while Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman looks to man the backline for Belgium.
  • CLICK HERE for a full list of MLS players called up to play in World Cup Qualifying during this FIFA window and their match schedules.
Trio from Houston to face teammate as U.S. hosts Honduras for World Cup Qualifier
Eighteen MLS players are in the final preparation for the U.S. Men’s National Team in advance of a World Cup Qualifier against a Honduras side that will include a talented quintet of MLS players as well. Three of those five Hondurans head to San Jose from Houston including Boniek Garcia and off-season signings Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. There will be plenty on the line this Friday for both teams as they look for a positive result at Avaya Stadium in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET, FS1/UniMás).
 
Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore will look to add to his U.S. all-time record of 16 goals scored in World Cup Qualifying play, as the 27-year-old is in solid form with two goals and one assist in MLS play this season. Reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris could join Altidore at the top of the attack after scoring a scintillating go-ahead goal for Seattle Sounders FC last weekend. FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta joins Morris as one of two Homegrown Players on the U.S. roster, and the 21-year-old has shown tremendous form with a game-winning goal in the opening match of MLS play along with three scores in CONCACAF Champions League play in the past month. Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe, meanwhile, could start in the midfield following a tremendous diving assist in a 4-2 victory over Houston on Saturday, one of two helpers this season for the 26-year-old.  
 
Honduras boasts five skilled MLS players led by the 21-year-old Elis was signed as a Designated Player following a two-goal performance in Honduras’s fourth-place finish at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Elis has one goal and one assist for a dangerous Dynamo attack in the early weeks of the season. Quioto, meanwhile, enters Friday’s match on the heels of four international goals in 2016, tops on the Honduran team. The 25-year-old forward, signed with Targeted Allocation Money this offseason, already has three goals in his three matches with Houston, including winning MLS Goal of the Week honors in the opening week of play. Rounding out the contingent of MLS players for Honduras are three World Cup veterans in FC Dallas defender and Honduras team captain Maynor Figueroa, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza and Garcia.
 
MLS talent answers the call for Canada’s U-23s and CANMNT
Canada Soccer is preparing for a week of international games with MLS players named to both Canada Men’s National Team (CANMNT) and the Under-23 team.
 
The CANMNT is set to face Scotland at Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh on Wednesday, March 22 (3:45 p.m. ET, TSN Go). Featuring Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Marco Bustos, Montreal Impact defender Wandrille Lefèvre, and D.C. United defender Maxim Tissot among the 18 selected, the trio makes a return to the national team exactly two months after all three earned significant minutes in Canada’s 4-2 win over Bermuda in January. For Canada, the match serves as one of several tune-ups heading into the summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, while for Scotland, it will be preparation for a World Cup Qualifier against Slovenia on Sunday, March 26.
 
Also stacked with MLS talent heading into the Qatar Under-23 Tournament, Canada’s U-23s will face Uzebkistan on March 25 and host nation Qatar on March 28 with Toronto FC forward Jordan Hamilton, who scored three goals in 2016, starring alongside New York City FC 2017 MLS SuperDraft pick Kwame Awuah. Also featured will be Montreal Impact players Louis Béland-Goyette in the midfield and Maxime Crépeau in goal, among a slew of other standout players from MLS-affiliated clubs and United Soccer League teams.
 
Click here for the complete CANMNT roster: http://canadasoccer.com/?t=project&sid=1195
 
Click here for the complete U-23 roster: http://canadasoccer.com/?t=project&sid=1194
 
TSN expands 2017 coverage by adding 18 highly-anticipated MLS games to broadcast schedule
TSN, the official national broadcaster of MLS in Canada, has expanded its 2017 coverage by adding 18 highly-anticipated MLS games to its regular season broadcast schedule. In addition to the network’s unprecedented coverage of all three Canadian MLS clubs, the additional 18 games will feature all U.S.-based teams, and include MLS Heineken Rivalry Week affairs between New York Red Bulls and New York City FC on June 24 and Aug. 25, and Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers on Aug. 27. The expanded schedule also contains five games featuring MLS showstoppers Atlanta United, including the club’s first match at brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium on July 30 against Orlando City SC.
 
The full 18-game schedule is listed below and a full 2017 schedule can be found at http://www.mlssoccer.com/schedule. Network designations are subject to change.
 
Friday, March 31, 2017
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Atlanta United
TSN2
Friday, April 14, 2017
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC
TSN5
Sunday, April 23, 2017
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC
TSN
Sunday, May 14, 2017
New York Red Bulls vs. LA Galaxy
TSN
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
TSN
Saturday, June 24, 2017
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
TSN
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC
TSN
Friday, July 21, 2017
Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United
TSN
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Minnesota United FC vs. New York Red Bulls
TSN
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC
TSN
Sunday, August 6, 2017
New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls
TSN
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Sporting Kansas City vs. Atlanta United
TSN
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Atlanta United vs. LA Galaxy
TSN2
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Portland Timbers vs. New York Red Bulls
TSN
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Minnesota United FC
TSN
Friday, August 25, 2017
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
TSN2
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
TSN
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy
TSN
 
MLS WORKS launches annual Don’t Cross the Line campaign
Last week, MLS WORKS – the League’s community outreach initiative – launched its annual Don’t Cross the Line campaign. The campaign is an extension of the League’s longstanding commitment to supporting its local communities and providing an environment in which clubs, coaches, partners and fans are treated with dignity and respect. Through Don’t Cross the Line, MLS reaffirms its position that discrimination, bias, prejudice or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
 
As part of the annual tradition, the campaign is anchored by a PSA, showcasing some of the biggest stars and most influential voices across the League advocating their support. This year, more players than ever before – representing all 22 MLS clubs – participated in the PSA, with English and Spanish-language versions.
 
Fans are encouraged to join the campaign and these players by taking the pledge online. By taking the pledge, fans will help populate a large digital mosaic connecting the Don’t Cross the Line virtual community. To learn more about the campaign or to take the pledge, visit MLSsoccer.com/dontcrosstheline.
 
Sweet Tweets
Carlos Bocanegra (@BocaBoca3): Very proud of this city and the fans/supporters. The atmosphere at our home games is comparable with the best around the globe.@ATLUTD
 
Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11): Off to San Jose 
 
Jermaine Jones (@jermainejunior): Always special to hear the national anthem #TeamEffort #comeback #ThisIsLA
Now it's time to get the points with the U.S. team #GoUsa
 
Romell Quioto (@RomellSamir): Back to the national team 
 
Johan Venegas (@Johan_VenegasCR): Gracias a Dios ya en #CR , deseoso por empezar a trabajar con #LaSele. / Thank God I'm already home, national team's time! #PuraVida
 
Diego Valeri (@DiegoDv8): "Home is the journey we make." #UniteAgainstRacism #WeAreAllEqual
 
Week 4 Game Previews
Saturday, March 25
Minnesota United FC at New England Revolution, 2 p.m.
  • Minnesota United claimed the first point of their MLS history following a 2-2 draw at the Colorado Rapids, as Kevin Molino and Christian Ramírez each scored their second goals of the season.
  • The Revolution returned to action after a week off but suffered a second defeat in the new season, falling 2-1 at FC Dallas. Lee Nguyen scored the club’s first goal of 2017.
Real Salt Lake at New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m. (UniMás)
  • Real Salt Lake are still looking for a first win of the year, falling for a second consecutive week in a 2-1 defeat by the LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The Red Bulls saw their 18-game league undefeated streak come to an end – matching the third-longest in MLS history, their first regular season loss since last July 3 – in a 3-1 defeat at Seattle Sounders FC.
 
Portland Timbers at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Diego Valeri scored two goals for the second time in three games, the Timbers the only team with three wins from three games this season after their 4-2 victory against the Houston Dynamo.
  • Crew SC won their first match of the season, Ola Kamara and Federico Higuaín each converting penalty kicks in a 2-0 victory at D.C. United.

 

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