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TWIM: Forty-nine MLS players to shine on CONCACAF Gold Cup rosters

This Week in MLS – July 3, 2017
  • Forty-nine MLS players to shine on CONCACAF Gold Cup rosters
  • MLS players mark a series of USMNT firsts heading into Gold Cup action
  • Houston’s Hondurans square off against Minnesota’s Costa Rican contingent in Gold Cup
  • Young Canadian academy products look to make statement to open 2017 Gold Cup
  • Following successful playing days, Chris Leitch begins coaching career with fireworks in San Jose
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 19 Game Previews
Forty-nine MLS players to shine on Gold Cup rosters
When group play for the CONCACAF Gold Cup begins on Friday, July 7, rosters for eight of the 12 competing nations will feature 49 MLS players from 18 of the League’s 22 clubs. Leading the way with the largest contingent of MLS showstoppers will be the U.S. Men’s National Team with its 16 League talents including the likes of FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta and Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris among a talented crop of selected homegrowns. Canada’s roster will feature the second largest number of MLS players with nine, which will be notably highlighted by Vancouver Whitecaps FC rising star Alphonso Davies alongside five other academy products, and the Reggae Boyz round out the top three most MLS-centric rosters with a Jamaican squad showcasing 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union among its eight MLS standouts.
The complete 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup rosters and schedule of games can be found here.
MLS players mark a series of USMNT firsts heading into Gold Cup action
The U.S. Men’s National team heads into Gold Cup action following an awe-inspiring international debut for Sporting Kansas City forward Dominic Dwyer, who scored the game’s opening goal against Ghana last week while earning his first international cap for the red, white, and blue. Dwyer put the stars and stripes ahead 1-0 with this dazzling volley (WATCH), marking a spectacular first career finish en route to a 2-1 U.S. victory. As a go-to goal scorer for club and now for country too, Dwyer’s history making pursuits are still on the rise. He was Sporting KC’s first player in team history to reach 12 goals in three consecutive regular seasons, and on the international scene, he and his FIFA Women’s World Cup champion wife Sydney Leroux, are making soccer power couple history as the first husband and wife duo to star for the men’s and women’s national team at the same time.
New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe also collected his first U.S. cap during the international friendly, as the four-assist man in MLS play this season also has starts in 16 of 17 regular season games. Rowe has started at least 21 matches in all five previous seasons, and he ranks second in New England Revolution history among Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup goal scorers with his six finishes for the Revolution remaining just one shy of MLS legend Taylor Twellman’s leading tally.
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan is on the brink of his first USMNT appearance, as the 2016 MLS Cup champion has sights set on earning his first cap when the U.S. takes on Panama on Saturday, July 8 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX / Univision / UDN).
Young Canadian academy products look to make statement to open 2017 Gold Cup
With nine MLS players on its roster, including six who developed in MLS academies, Canada will have the first opportunity to make a statement in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, as the tournament kicks off on Friday, July 7 when Canada will take on French Guiana in the first match of a doubleheader at Red Bull Arena (7 p.m. ET, FS2/UDN). All three Canadian MLS teams will see their brightest young stars suit up for Canada in the tournament.
All eyes will be on 16-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps FC Homegrown midfielder Alphonso Davies, who just last month made his international debut after becoming a Canadian citizen. Davies, who is the youngest player on Gold Cup rosters by more than two years, could receive his first minutes in a major tournament.
Another player to develop in an MLS academy, Toronto FC midfielder Raheem Edwards burst onto the scene this season with five assists in the 2017 regular season, ranking second for Toronto and in the top 20 leaguewide. Like Davies, the 21-year-old Edwards, second youngest in Canada’s Gold Cup roster, made his international debut in Canada’s 2-1 friendly victory over Curacao on June 13, a game in which Montreal Impact Homegrown forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored the game-winning goal.
Houston’s Hondurans square off against Minnesota’s Costa Rican contingent in Gold Cup
The second game in Friday’s doubleheader at Red Bull Arena will feature Honduras facing Costa Rica with a strong MLS contingent featured on both sides (9 p.m. ET, FS2/UniMas). Six MLS players made Costa Rica’s 23-man Gold Cup final roster and will be opposed by four MLS players on Honduras’ squad.
The Honduras roster has notable representation with three players from the Houston Dynamo, including the dangerous attacking duo of Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. The 21-year-old Elis, signed this offseason as a Designated Player, has six goals and three assists for the Dynamo this season while also featuring prominently for Honduras. In a World Cup qualifier last month, the midfielder scored to lead Honduras to an important 2-2 draw against Panama. The 25-year-old Quioto, meanwhile, scored Honduras other goal in that match and has shined for Houston to the tune of four goals and two assists in eight games started.
Costa Rica’s six MLS players include Minnesota United FC duo Johan Venegas and Francisco Calvo. The 24-year-old Calvo has played well for Minnesota in his first year with the club, as he leads the league with 19 blocks while also ranking in the top five in clearances and interceptions. Also on Costa Rica’s roster is New York City FC midfielder Rodney Wallace, who has four goals this season while also ranking in the top 20 leaguewide with five assists.
Following successful playing days, Chris Leitch begins coaching career with fireworks in San Jose
It seems fitting that during this Fourth of July week, newly appointed San Jose Earthquakes coach Chris Leitch saw some fireworks in the club’s 2-1 victory over rival LA Galaxy on Saturday. A former defender for the Earthquakes, Leitch begins his coaching career as the leading man for his former club and has already racked up a pair of victories in his first two matches, hoping to usher in a new era for the club.
Following his retirement in 2011, Leitch took over as academy director for San Jose, seeing current standouts Tommy Thompson and Nick Lima develop from youth players to regular first team starters. Now Leitch is coaching the duo on the field to early success. Leitch began his coaching career with a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in the U.S. Open Cup with a starting lineup featuring five players age 23 or younger, securing San Jose’s first-ever victory over an MLS club in the tournament in a non-qualifying round.
The 38-year-old Leitch couldn’t have asked for his first MLS regular season game to come on a bigger stage, as the Earthquakes captured a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind victory over California Clásico rival LA Galaxy in front of more than 50,000 fans at Stanford Stadium as part of Heineken Rivalry Edición Especial.
Leitch will look to continue his winning ways with San Jose for his first road game as coach when facing Atlanta United at Bobby Dodd Stadium with an already announced sellout crowd of 45,000-plus in attendance on Tuesday, July 4 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Live).
Sweet Tweets
Week 19 Game Previews
Tuesday, July 4
Columbus Crew SC at Minnesota United FC, 7 p.m.
  • Minnesota United FC had their two-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 3-1 to New York City FC, a fourth consecutive road loss for MNUFC.
  • Crew SC suffered their fifth loss in their last seven matches, dropping a 2-0 decision to Atlanta United, snapping a two-game home winning streak.
San Jose Earthquakes at Atlanta United, 7 p.m.
  • Hector Villalba scored two goals, the second two-goal game of his MLS career, as Atlanta United have won back-to-back games for the second time in their MLS history, following their 2-0 win against Columbus Crew SC.
  • For a third time in the last six seasons the Quakes scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time for a win against the LA Galaxy, in their dramatic 2-1 win at Stanford Stadium. Shea Salinas netted the winner four minutes deep into stoppage time, making a victor of Chris Leitch in his MLS head coaching debut.
D.C. United at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
  •  FC Dallas put an end to a three-game winless run, rolling to a 3-1 win against Toronto FC, their second consecutive win at Toyota Stadium.
  • Ronald Lamah scored a pair of goals – all six of Lamah’s goals in MLS have come in the last seven matches (since May 25), and all have been scored in the opening 31 minutes of games (with three scored in the first 8 minutes). Maximiliano Urruti scored for a third consecutive game, now with 10 goals on the season.
  • D.C. United suffered their second consecutive defeat, falling 2-0 to the Montréal Impact. It was a fourth consecutive road loss for United – all by shutout – their 12th attacking shutout of the season.
Seattle Sounders FC at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. (TSN)
  •  The Rapids scored a season-high three goals, putting an end to a two-game losing streak in a 3-1 victory against the Houston Dynamo. Kevin Doyle scored one goal and set up the other two, both scored by Marlon Hairston, while Dominique Badji also assisted on all three Rapids goals.
  • Clint Dempsey scored his second goal as a substitute in his MLS career, as Sounders FC came back for a dramatic 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on the road in their last league match.
Real Salt Lake at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.
  •  This is the second meeting between the teams this season. David Romney and Emmanuel Boateng scored five minutes apart in the second half to overcome a Yura Movsisyan first-half goal to give the Galaxy a 2-1 win March 18 at StubHub Center.
  • The Galaxy suffered a second consecutive loss on the heels of an eight-game undefeated run, seeing their away undefeated streak put to an end after five games in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
  • Real Salt Lake suffered their second consecutive defeat, falling 1-0 to Orlando City SC at Rio Tinto Stadium, putting an end to a three-game home winning streak.
Wednesday, July 5
New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
  • This is the second meeting between the teams this season. Goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Danny Royer overcame an early penalty kick from Lee Nguyen, giving the Red Bulls a 2-1 win May 27 at Red Bull Arena. The home team has won the last seven meetings in the I-95 rivalry.
  • Both teams are coming off losses. The Revolution suffered their third consecutive defeat, falling 3-0 to Philadelphia Union, while the Red Bulls lost to cross-river rivals New York City FC for the first time ever at Red Bull Arena, and the second time overall in their history, in a 2-0 reversal on June 24.
Toronto FC at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m. (TSN)
  •  This is the second meeting between the teams this season. Sebastian Giovinco scored a pair of goals in the first half to send TFC on their way to a 2-1 win May 3 at BMO Field.
  • Orlando City put an end to a four-game winless run, defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium, as Will Johnson scored the game’s lone goal against his former club.
  • Toronto FC had their winning run put to an end after two games, falling 3-1 at FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.
Montreal Impact at Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. (TVAS)
  •  The Dynamo had their overall winless run extended to four games with a second defeat in that time, falling 3-1 to the Colorado Rapids despite a 12th goal of the season from Erick Torres. The Dynamo remain winless away from home this season, now 0-7-2 on their travels.
  • The Impact put an end to a three-game winless run, defeating D.C. United 2-0 at Stade Saputo, as Blemim Dzemaili scored a goal and added an assist. Dzemaili has a goal and/or an assist in each of his last five matches, with three goals and four assists in that span.
  • The visiting team has never won in the three-year history of the series between the clubs. The road team has come away with points just once – after a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2011.
New York City FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10 p.m. (TSN)
  • NYCFC have equaled their club record with a fourth consecutive victory, coming back for a 3-1 win against Minnesota United FC at Yankee Stadium. Jack Harrison scored a goal and added an assist, while David Villa scored his 11th goal of the season, his 17 combined goals and assists now tops in MLS.
  • Whitecaps FC matched their club record in their MLS history, falling 4-0 to the Chicago Fire, seeing their three-game undefeated streak put to an end.
Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.
  •  The Fire extended their home winning streak to eight games, matching the club record set in 2000-01, and extended their undefeated streak in league play to 10 games, in a 4-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • Nemanja Nikolic scored two goals, his 15th and 16th goals of the season, leading the MLS Golden Boot standings, a fourth consecutive game with a goal and his fourth multiple-goal game, most in MLS this season.
  • The Timbers saw their winless streak extended to four games with a second consecutive draw, reaching a 1-1 result with Sporting Kansas City.
  • The Timbers have never lost to the Fire in seven meetings all-time between the clubs, with four victories and three draws.
Thursday, July 6
Philadelphia Union at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
  • Daniel Salloi scored his first career goal in MLS as Sporting extended their undefeated streak to five games with a third draw in that time, gaining a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers.
  • Union won their second consecutive match as CJ Sapong scored his ninth goal of the season, matching his single-season career-high, in a 3-0 defeat of the New England Revolution.