CJ Sapong celebrates-PHI-NY-4.6.17
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This Week in MLS – June 12, 2017

This Week in MLS – June 12, 2017
  • MLS Expansion Clubs Enter Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with High Expectations
  • ‘Fresh Prince of Chest-Air’ looks to haunt Red Bulls once again
  • Canadian Call-ups overflowing with MLS talent
  • 68 MLS players represent national teams during June FIFA window
  • Nominations Now Open for 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 16 Game Previews
MLS Expansion Clubs Enter Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with High Expectations
The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is ramping up with 19 MLS clubs joining the fold for fourth-round games this week during the 104th edition of the longest running professional soccer tournament in U.S. history.
MLS newcomers Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC will be looking to replicate the trophy-winning exploits of the 1998 Chicago Fire and 2009 Seattle Sounders FC teams that won the coveted trophy in their inaugural MLS seasons.
Atlanta United will see Open Cup action for first time its young history, however, Minnesota United will revel in the experience of its North American Soccer League (NASL) days with a chance at revenge against Sporting Kansas City. Sporting KC twice took down the then-NASL Loons in fourth-round tournament games, including a 2-1 extra-time winner last year. The two remaining MLS head-to-heads include the New York Red Bulls facing New York City FC and Seattle Sounders FC hosting the Portland Timbers.
Under the new CONCACAF Champions League format, the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winner will be qualified to participate in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, joined by the 2017 MLS Cup winner and the 2018 U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup winners.
More information on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including links to individual game streams can be found here.
U.S. Open Cup Champions from MLS
Seattle Sounders FC: Champions 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
Chicago Fire: Champions 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006
D.C. United: Champions 1996, 2008, 2013
Sporting Kansas City: Champions 2004, 2012, 2015
Los Angeles Galaxy: Champions 2001, 2005
FC Dallas: Champions 1997, 2016
Columbus Crew SC: Champions 2002
New England Revolution: Champions 2007
‘Fresh Prince of Chest-Air’ looks to haunt Red Bulls once again
When the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls last faced off on May 6, CJ Sapong exploded for his first career hat trick in a 3-0 Union decisive victory, the first of four consecutive wins for the club. During his time with Philadelphia, Sapong has scored more goals against the Red Bulls than any other team in MLS (five goals in seven matches) and will look to continue his torrid scoring pace when the clubs resume the I-95 rivalry on Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium (5 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes).
Sapong is currently tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot race (8 goals), and his tremendous play this season landed him a spot on the U.S. Soccer 40-man preliminary roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer. The Union will be relying on the “Fresh Prince” to extend their current three-game home winning streak and simultaneously prolong the Red Bulls’ road woes.
Since opening the season with an away victory in Atlanta, the Red Bulls have lost six consecutive matches away from home, their worst road losing skid since a nine-match streak in 2009.
Aiding the road team, the Red Bulls could see the return of Tyler Adams, the 18-year-old midfielder who starred for the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup earlier this month and just last week attended his high school senior prom.
Canadian call-ups overflowing with MLS talent
With a CONCACAF Gold Cup tune-up match on the horizon, 11 MLS players will make up nearly half of the 23-man roster for a Canadian Men’s National Team friendly against Curaçao on Tuesday, June 13 at Stade Saputo, home of the Montreal Impact (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN1/3/4/5).
Sixteen-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps phenom Alphonso Davies earned his first call-up just six days after becoming a Canadian citizen, and if paired with Orlando City’s Cyle Larin along the front line, could put the average age of the CANMNT’s attacking front at 19-years-old. A Vancouver academy product, Davies has been a huge Whitecaps FC contributor, netting two goals in CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals to accompany a goal and an assist in a first-leg Canadian Championship win. Orlando City SC’s Larin hasn’t been too shabby either, boasting a League-leading five game winners and accounting for at least a tie every time he has found back of the net this season.
Larin’s Orlando City teammate, veteran midfielder Will Johnson, will be looked upon to command the center of the park alongside Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. Below is a complete list of MLS players in the squad for the Canadian friendly.
MLS players on CANMNT
Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact)
Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact)
Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC)
Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact)
Will Johnson (Orlando City)
Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC)
Tyler Pasher (Sporting Kansas City)
Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Cyle Larin (Orlando City)
68 MLS players called to represent national teams during June FIFA window
MLS players from Africa, Oceania, Europe, South America and North America represented their respective national teams in myriad international competitions during June, with 68 such MLS players receiving the call to attend national team camps.
The largest group of MLS players were called to play in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying play with six Panamanian players set to square off against four Honduran MLS players on Tuesday in Panama City (9:35 p.m. ET). All four players from Panama suit up for Texas-based MLS clubs, with the Houston Dynamo accounting for star offseason signings Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto in addition to World Cup veteran Boniek Garcia. Also on Tuesday, seven MLS players on Costa Rica will also play host to four MLS players from Trinidad and Tobago in San Jose, Costa Rica (10 p.m. ET). That large contingent is in addition to LA Galaxy midfielder Giovani dos Santos of Mexico and 15 U.S. players who have already wrapped up this round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Elsewhere across the globe, Harrison Afful was one of three Columbus Crew SC players to represent Ghana in a 5-0 victory over Ethiopia in 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifying play, while LA Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop received his first career cap for Senegal in a draw against Uganda.
Among five European MLS players to represent their countries in UEFA World Cup Qualifying play, newly signed Montreal Impact midfielder Blerim Dzemaili played 86 minutes in Switzerland’s 2-0 victory over the Faroe Islands.
A complete list of MLS players called up for international duty can be found here.
Nominations Now Open for 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo
The nomination period for the 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo is now open. The annual contest recognizes individuals who use soccer as a tool to make a difference in communities across the U.S. and Canada. Through June 28 (8 p.m. ET), MLS fans can nominate individuals making this kind of impact in their local community.
One Community MVP finalist will be chosen to represent each of the League’s 22 clubs, with each finalist receiving two tickets to an MLS match in their local market and a trip for two to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target in Chicago. One Grand Prize winner, selected through a three-week voting window beginning on July 13,  will be announced during halftime of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target and receive a $25,000 donation for a charitable cause.
To nominate a member of your community or learn more about the Community MVP Contest, visit mlsworkscmvp.com.
Sweet Tweets
Week 16 Game Previews
Saturday, June 17
Seattle Sounders FC at New York City FC, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Both goals came from the central defense pairing as NYCFC came back for a 2-1 win against Philadelphia Union in their last league match. Maxime Chanot and Alexander Callens scored the goals, the first time in NYCFC club history the club trailed by a goal after the 80th minute and scored twice to secure a victory.
  • Sounders FC won their third consecutive home game, defeating the Houston Dynamo by the game’s only goal in their last league match. It was a third consecutive home shutout for Sounders FC, now 427 minutes since their goal allowed at CenturyLink Field.
Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United, 7 p.m.
  • Atlanta United were shut out at the attacking end for just the second time this season, having now suffered back-to-back losses for the second time in their MLS history, following their 2-0 defeat by the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon.
  • Federico Higuaín scored for a second consecutive match, but Columbus Crew SC suffered a 2-1 loss at the Colorado Rapids in their last league outing, their third consecutive road loss and fifth loss in their last six matches away from Mapfre Stadium.
Chicago Fire at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Nemanja Nikolic scored a pair of goals and Bastian Schweinsteiger scored one goal and set up another as the Fire cruised to a 3-0 win, April 15 at Toyota Park.
  • The Chicago Fire won a sixth consecutive game on their home ground, defeating Atlanta United 2-0. It’s the second-longest home winning streak in the club’s history, also done is 2012; the Fire are now undefeated in their last 11 home games, dating back to the end of last season.
  • Nemanja Nikolic scored his 12th goal of the season in the Fire victory, leading the MLS Golden Boot standings, two goals ahead of Erick Torres of the Houston Dynamo.
  • Juan Agudelo scored and added an assist as the Revolution put an end to a brief two-game winless run with a 3-0 win against Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium in their last league match.
Montreal Impact at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m. (TVAS)
  • Orlando City SC return to action after a goalless draw in their last match, with the Chicago Fire at Orlando City Stadium. Orlando City played two men down for the final 24 minutes; all-time in MLS history, teams receiving two or more red cards in a game are now 13-36-20.
  • The Impact had their two-game winning run put to an end but still extended their undefeated run to three games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday evening. The Impact are undefeated in their last three away matches (1-0-2), dating back to April 22.
D.C. United at Toronto FC, 8 p.m. (TSN 1/4)
  • Toronto FC had their club-record undefeated streak put to an end after eight games in their last match, suffering a 3-0 loss to the New England Revolution. TFC were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since March 31 – it was the first time this season TFC lost by shutout (both of their previous shutouts ended in goalless draws).
  • D.C. United put an end to their three-game losing slide at RFK Stadium, but still saw their home winless streak extended to four games, reaching a goalless draw with the LA Galaxy in their last league match. It was a second consecutive attacking shutout for United, now 209 minutes since their last goal scored.
Sporting Kansas City at San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. An own goal in the 89th minute was the difference for a 2-1 Sporting win, March 18 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting saw their six-game home winning streak come to an end, but still extended their club-record undefeated run at Children’s Mercy Park to 17 games, in a 1-1 draw with the Montréal Impact. Gerso Fernandes scored the Sporting goal, his sixth of the season.
  • The Quakes suffered a second consecutive loss in their last league match, a 2-0 defeat by the Portland Timbers on June 2. It’s the first back-to-back losses for the Quakes since March 18-April 1.
Portland Timbers at Colorado Rapids, 9:30 p.m.
  • Alan Gordon and Kevin Doyle scored the tying and winning goals after the 80th minute to give the Colorado Rapids consecutive wins for the first time this season, following their 2-1 win against Columbus Crew SC last time out. The Rapids have now won three home games in a row.
  • Fanendo Adi scored a pair of goals, his first since April 29, as the Timbers have won back-to-back games for the first time since winning their three matches of the season in a 2-0 victory against FC Dallas. It was Adi’s 13th multiple-goal game in his MLS career, out of 36 total games where he has scored a goal (his second this season).
Minnesota United FC at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Christian Ramírez scored a pair of goals, and Kevin Molino scored one goal and assisted on two others, as Minnesota United raced to a 4-2 victory April 1 at TCF Bank Stadium.
  • Real suffered a second consecutive loss in their last league match, falling 6-2 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. The six goals allowed by RSL equaled their club record, achieved twice previously; Real have now allowed 11 goals over their last two matches, the 11 goals over a two-game span equaling the second-most allowed by a club in back-to-back matches at any point in MLS history.
  • Minnesota United FC went down to defeat in their last league match, a 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, a second consecutive loss away from TCF Bank Stadium. MNUFC is still winless away from home in their MLS history (0-5-2), one of four teams this season still without an away victory.
FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10 p.m. (TSN 1/4)
  • Whitecaps FC won for a second time in their three-game homestand, defeating Atlanta United 3-1 in their last league match. Kendall Waston scored a pair of goals, the first multiple-goal game of his MLS career, as the ‘Caps won for a fourth time in the last five home matches.
  • FC Dallas suffered their second consecutive road defeat, falling 2-0 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday evening.
Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy, 11 p.m. (UniMás)
  • The Galaxy completed a four-game road swing undefeated, gaining a goalless draw with D.C. United in their last league match, June 10 at RFK Stadium. Overall, it’s now six games without loss in league play for the Galaxy. The Galaxy were bidding to become the first club in MLS history to win four times in four consecutive games all on the road.
  • The Dynamo started a two-game road swing with a defeat in their last league match, a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC. The Dynamo remained winless away from home this season, now 0-6-1 on their travels, one of four teams still without an away win this season. It was the fifth time the Dynamo were shut out at the attacking end on the road this season.
Sunday, June 18
New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. (ESPN)


  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. CJ Sapong scored a hat trick – all the goals within 11 minutes, from the 74th minute on – as Union claimed a 3-0 win May 6 at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • Union suffered their second consecutive loss in their last league match, falling 2-1 to New York City FC. It was a second consecutive loss away from Talen Energy Stadium for Union, now 1-4-2 on their travels this season; Union return home riding a three-game home winning streak, undefeated in their last four games in Chester.
  • The Red Bulls suffered their sixth consecutive loss on their travels in their last match, falling 1-0 to the Montréal Impact. The six-game losing side away from Red Bull Arena is the club’s longest since a nine-game losing streak during the 2009 season. The club record is 12, set in 1996-97.