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MLS Media Resources: News & Notes

MLS MEDIA RESOURCES: AUDI MLS CUP PLAYOFFS NEWS & NOTES
News and notes and statistical trends from around Major League Soccer
 
WHO HOLDS ADVANTAGE ENTERING SECOND LEG?
 
There is still all to play for in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs with the second leg in the conference semifinal series this week, and teams taking an advantage into the second leg have traditionally held on to advance.
 
The tightest margin comes with teams holding a one-goal advantage after the first leg. In 18 of the 33 occasions where a team won by a single goal in the front end of the series, that club has gone onto to advance. Of the 15 times where the team trailed after the first leg, they moved to the next round following a penalty shootout on four occasions.
 
Following a draw in the opening leg, the home team has gone on to win 12 out of 19 times. That winning percentage of .632 almost exactly mirrors the home-field advantage in MLS over the league’s 23-year history.
 
The biggest advantage, expectedly, comes with clubs holding advantages of two goals or more after the first leg. On the 20 occasions where a team has carried such a margin, it has been overturned on just two occasions – the last in 2004, and in both instances a two-goal deficit was overcome. No team has ever turned around a three-goal deficit or more in an aggregate-goal series.
 
ADVANCEMENT FOLLOWING FIRST-LEG RESULTS (AGGREGATE-GOAL SERIES)
first leg draw
home team: 12
away team: 7
1-goal advantage
advanced: 18
overturned: 15
2-goal advantage
advanced: 14
overturned: 2
3+-goal advantage
advanced: 4
overturned: 0
 
 
ATLANTA UNITED’S GUZAN STRETCHES SHUTOUT STREAK PAST A DECADE
 
Brad Guzan of Atlanta United has still not allowed a goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs – for more than a decade.
 
Guzan has now posted shutouts in two games since his return to Major League Soccer, following Atlanta United’s 1-0 win in the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series vs. New York City FC last weekend. A year ago, Guzan kept a clean sheet as Atlanta United were eliminated in their postseason bow, despite reaching a goalless draw with Columbus Crew SC in the Knockout Round.
 
Guzan had last appeared in the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2007, with Chivas USA. He backstopped his club to a goalless draw in the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal with the Kansas City Wizards, though Chivas USA – the top seed in the West – was eliminated 1-0 on aggregate.
 
Guzan extended his personal shutout streak to 355 minutes – over the 11-year period – with the first-leg win at NYCFC, now the fifth-longest streak in MLS Cup Playoffs history.
 
 
MIN
START
END
Stefan Frei, SEA
624
11/22/2016
12/9/2017
Kevin Hartman, LA
473
10/29/2005
11/10/2007
Kevin Hartman, LA
422
10/2/2002
11/9/2003
Adin Brown, NE
374
9/29/2002
10/12/2002
Brad Guzan, CHV/ATL
355
10/27/2007
current
Matt Reis, NE
337
11/12/2006
11/18/2007
Tally Hall, HOU
335
10/30/2011
11/20/2011
Tony Meola, MET
328
10/3/1998
9/24/2000
Pat Onstad, HOU
322
11/9/2008
11/13/2009
Kevin Hartman, LA
314
10/16/1998
10/31/1999
 
 
SPORTING’S DIEGO RUBIO MAKES PLAYOFFS MARK IN SUDDEN FASHION
 
When Diego Rubio for Sporting Kansas City scored shortly after coming on the field as a substitute in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinal Series vs. Real Salt Lake, it marked the second-fastest of any player entering a match in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
Rubio scored just 38 seconds after coming into the game, the second-fastest in league annals (as far as records are available, since 2002).
 
The fastest to score after coming into an MLS Cup Playoffs match came in 2002. McKinley Tennyson came on as a substitute in the third game of the Western Conference Semifinals between the LA Galaxy and Kansas City Wizards. Tennyson was making his professional debut – he did not play in a single league game that year – and he scored the final goal in the Galaxy’s 5-2 win to clinch the series. Tennyson did not play in a regular season game in his MLS career.
 
10/2/2002
WCSF LA vs KC W 5-2
McKinley Tennyson
31 seconds
11/4/2018
WCSF KC at RSL T 1-1
Diego Rubio
38 seconds
11/8/2015
WCSF DAL vs SEA W 2-1
Tesho Akindele
59 seconds
10/30/2010
WCSF DAL vs RSL W 2-1
Eric Avila
60 seconds
Credit: Elias Sports Bureau
 
 
SOUNDERS FC NEED TO EXTEND POSTSEASON HOME WINNING RUN TO ADVANCE
 
Seattle Sounders FC host the Portland Timbers in the second leg of their conference semifinal knowing that only a victory will advance them to the Western Conference Championship for a third consecutive season.
 
With a win, Sounders FC will extend their home winning streak in the MLS Cup Playoffs to nine matches, dating back to 2014, which would be the third-longest in MLS postseason history.
 
HOME WINNING STREAKS – MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
TEAM
#
START
STOP
D.C. United
12
9/27/1996
11/13/1999
Chicago Fire
10
10/1/1998
9/29/2001
LA Galaxy
8
9/25/2002
11/13/2009
LA Galaxy
8
11/11/2012
 
Seattle Sounders FC
8
11/30/2014
 
 
 
CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS (SECOND LEG) – LOOK AHEAD
 
No. 2 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs. No. 5 PORTLAND TIMBERS
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, 7:30 p.m. PT (FS1 / FOX Deportes; TSN, TVA Sports)
 
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Eduardo Mariscal; 4th: Robert Sibiga; VAR: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 239 games; FC/gm: 23.2; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 40; pens: 71
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sounders FC 10 wins, 38 goals … Timbers 7 wins, 34 goals … Ties 6
AT SEATTLE: Sounders FC 7 wins, 18 goals … Timbers 1 win, 8 goals … Ties 3
 
2018 (MLS):
5/13: POR 1, SEA 0 (Blanco 86)
6/30: SEA 2, POR 3 (Rodriguez 51; Marshall 68 -- Mabiala 48, 74; Armenteros 57)
8/26: POR 0, SEA 1 (own goal 76)
 
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Timbers 3 wins, 7 goals … Sounders FC 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 0
  • The Timbers won the first leg of their conference semifinal series 2-1 at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Timbers have won all three meetings between the teams in the MLS Cup Playoffs, also winning both matches in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, when won the tie 5-3 on aggregate – winning 2-1 at CenturyLink Field, then 3-2 at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers won two of the three meetings during the regular season, winning once at each ground. The Timbers’ 3-2 win at CenturyLink Field on June 30 was their first win ever in Seattle in an MLS regular season game (Sounders FC were 7-0-3 leading up to that match), though the Timbers won there in the MLS Cup Playoffs meeting between the clubs.
  • Sounders FC came into the MLS Cup Playoffs opener riding a five-game winning streak, along with the New York Red Bulls, the first clubs to win their final five league games since 2004 (when overtime in regular-season games was ended).
  • Raúl Ruidíaz scored the Sounders FC goal, his fourth consecutive game with a goal dating back to the end of the regular season. Ruidíaz scored 10 goals in 14 league games since his arrival in Seattle, the fastest to the 10-goal mark in the Sounders’ MLS history.
  • Diego Valeri assisted on the Timbers goal after netting a pair in the Knockout Round win vs. FC Dallas, involved in three of the Timbers’ four goals scored in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers have met 103 times in all competitions, the most between two U.S.-based clubs, the second-most in U.S./Canadian soccer history. Since their first meeting in 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, Seattle has won 51 times and Portland has won 38, with 14 draws. In MLS league play, Sounders FC have won 10 matches, the Timbers have won seven, and six have been draws.
SOUNDERS FC: Victor Rodríguez recorded his third career assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in his fifth appearance. … Cristian Roldan was credited with his first career assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs. … Roldan was then forced off injured after 31 minutes; he played all but seven minutes (3,053) during the regular season. Seven players played all 3,060 available minutes in the regular campaign.
 
TIMBERS: Sebastian Blanco netted his first career goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Blanco has five goals and three assists in his last seven games in league and Cup competition. … Jeremy Ebobisse scored his first career postseason goal, in his fourth career appearance. Ebobisse has a goal and an assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs this year; he has two goals and three assists in his last five games in league and Cup competition.
 
 
No. 1 SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. No. 6 REAL SALT LAKE
Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kan.
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN / ESPN Deportes; TSN, TVA Sports)
 
REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Andrew Bigelow; 4th: Chris Penso; VAR: Kevin Stott
MLS Career: 112 games; FC/gm: 25.9; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 33; pens: 42
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sporting 9 wins, 35 goals … Real 11 wins, 37 goals … Ties 8
AT KC: Sporting 6 wins, 18 goals … Real 3 wins, 13 goals … Ties 5
 
2018 (MLS):
7/4: RSL 4, KC 2 (Savarino 29; Baird 37; Saucedo 46+; L. Silva 100+ -- Salloi 20; Opara 64)
9/30: KC 1, RSL 1 (Opara 52 -- Baird 9)
 
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Sporting 0 wins, 2 goals … Real 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 2
  • The teams reached a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sunday evening.
  • Damir Kreilach assisted on the RSL goal after netting a pair in the Knockout Round win vs. the Los Angeles Football Club, involved in three of Real’s four goals scored in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • RSL have not lost to Sporting this season. In league play, RSL claimed a 4-2 win on July 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium; the teams then reached a 1-1 draw on Sept. 30 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting have defeated Real at home just once since 2013, that win coming last season (1-4-4 in their past nine league matches between the teams at Children’s Mercy Park).
  • Before this year, the teams had met just once in the MLS Cup Playoffs – in MLS Cup 2013 at a frozen Children’s Mercy Park. Alvaro Saborío gave Real the lead early in the second half, but Aurelien Collin netted the leveler with just inside a quarter-hour to play. The match went to a penalty shootout, which lasted 20 rounds before Sporting KC prevailed 7-6.
SPORTING: Diego Rubio scored his first career goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in his second career appearance. … Rubio’s goal came 38 seconds after he came on the field as a substitute, the second-fastest of any player in MLS postseason history after entering a match. … According to Opta, Rubio’s 2018 season average of one goal for every 33.4 minutes as a substitute is the second-best goalscoring rate for an MLS player with five or more tallies off the bench since 2010 (including both league and MLS Cup play).
 
REAL: Albert Rusnák scored his first career goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs, his first goal in any competition since Sept. 1.
 
 
No. 2 ATLANTA UNITED vs. No. 3 NEW YORK CITY FC
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, 5:30 p.m. ET (ESPN / ESPN Deportes; TSN, TVA Sports)
 
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Matthew Nelson; AR2 (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Armando Villarreal; VAR: Dave Gantar
MLS Career: 186 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 42; pens: 57
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: ATLUTD 1 win, 7 goals … NYCFC 1 win, 7 goals … Ties 2
AT ATLANTA: ATLUTD 1 win, 5 goals … NYCFC 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 1
 
2018 (MLS):
4/15: ATL 2, NYC 2 (Garza 29; McCann 56 -- Villa 38; Ring 73)
6/9: NYC 1, ATL 1 (Martinez 48 -- Callens 77)
 
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: ATLUTD 1 win, 1 goal … NYCFC 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
  • Atlanta United took the first leg of their conference semifinal series, winning 1-0 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening. It was the first win ever for the club in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in its second postseason match.
  • Eric Remedi scored the Atlanta United goal, his first since his arrival in MLS – and the first of his professional career, playing three seasons without a goal with CA Banfield in Argentina before coming to the league.
  • The win in the first leg was the first for the visiting team in the all-time series between the clubs. The teams played to two draws in league play this season, a 2-2 draw on April 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and a 1-1 result on June 9 at Yankee Stadium. Last year, in Atlanta United’s inaugural campaign, each team won 3-1 on their home ground.
  • NYCFC have lost the opening leg of all three of their aggregate-goal series in the MLS Cup Playoffs, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC in the 2016 Eastern Conference Semifinals (eliminated 7-0 on aggregate) and dropping a 4-1 decision to Columbus Crew SC in the East semis last year (losing 4-3 on aggregate).
ATLUTD: Brad Guzan was not credited with a save in recording the shutout. Guzan has now kept a clean sheet in each of his past three appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs, dating back to 2007, when he was with Chivas USA. His active shutout streak is now at 355 minutes, the fifth-longest streak in MLS history.
 
NYCFC: NYCFC were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since Sept. 5 (1-0 loss vs. New England). NYCFC were shut out four times in the season, tied for third-most in MLS (Atlanta United and Los Angeles Football Club have three each).
 
 
No. 1 NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. No. 5 COLUMBUS CREW SC
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1 / FOX Deportes; TSN, TVA Sports)
 
REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Jason White; AR2 (opposite): Eric Weisbrod; 4th: Baldomero Toledo; VAR: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 106 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 17; pens: 39
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Red Bulls 30 wins, 100 goals … Crew SC 27 wins, 87 goals … Ties 11
AT RED BULLS: Red Bulls 18 wins, 54 goals … Crew SC 11 wins, 39 goals … Ties 5
 
2018 (MLS):
6/9: CLB 1, NYR 1 (Zardes 26 -- Muyl 57)
7/28: NYR 2, CLB 3 (own goal 50; Royer 69 -- Mensah 7; Mullins 24; own goal 31)
 
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Red Bulls 1 win (0 shootout), 6 goals … Crew SC 5 wins (1 shootout), 12 goals … Ties 0
  • Crew SC took a 1-0 win in the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series at Mapfre Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
  • Crew SC have not lost to the Red Bulls this season. The teams reached a 1-1 draw on June 9 at Mapfre Stadium. Then on July 28 at Red Bull Arena, there were own goals for both teams as Crew SC had a three-goal lead in the opening half-hour before holding on for a 3-2 win. Crew SC were the only Eastern Conference team the Red Bulls did not defeat in the regular season.
  • The teams have met three times in the MLS Cup Playoffs – the biggest encounter coming in MLS Cup 2008 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., where the Crew claimed their only league championship in a 3-1 win. The teams last met in the postseason in 2015, with Crew SC winning 2-1 on aggregate in the Eastern Conference Championship. Crew SC have won all three previous playoff meetings with the Red Bulls, now having won five of the six postseason matches between the clubs.
  • Federico Higuaín assisted on the Crew SC goal vs. the Red Bulls after netting both of the club’s goals in the Knockout Round match. Higuaín has four goals and five assists in 14 career matches in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • The Red Bulls came into the MLS Cup Playoffs opener riding a five-game winning streak, along with Seattle Sounders FC, the first clubs to win their final five league games since 2004 (when overtime in regular-season games was ended).
RED BULLS: The Red Bulls were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since Sept. 1 (3-0 loss at Montréal). The Red Bulls were shut out four times in the season, tied for third-most in MLS (Atlanta United and Los Angeles Football Club have three each).
 
CREW SC: Zack Steffen was credited with three saves in recording his third career shutout in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in seven appearances. He has conceded six goals in those seven matches (0.78 goals-against average). … Gyasi Zardes scored his third career goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs, his first since 2015 (when he was with the LA Galaxy). Zardes has four goals in the last three games in league and Cup competition. … Milton Valenzuela collected his first career assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Series: 
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