Bradley Wright-Phillips - New York Red Bulls - gets embraced by Daniel Royer after scoring
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This Week in MLS – June 19, 2017

This Week in MLS – June 19, 2017
  • Reigning MVP vs. Reigning Golden Boot as the New York clubs clash in Heineken Rivalry Week
  • Battle for top spot in Western Conference adds heat to Texas Derby
  • We meet again: Timbers, Sounders FC meet in Portland in Cascadia rivalry
  • Rivals Toronto FC and Montreal Impact square off in Canadian Championship
  • All-Star Game Community MVP
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 17 Game Previews
 
Reigning MVP vs. Reigning Golden Boot as the New York clubs clash in Heineken Rivalry Week
The New York Red Bulls and New York City FC will renew their cross-river clash as part of Heineken Rivalry Week on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena (1:30 p.m.; FOX) – and two of the League’s biggest stars on either side of the contest are getting hot at the right time.
 
Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips – the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner, after his 24-goal campaign a year ago – netted a pair of goals in his club’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon. That’s something NYCFC won’t be thrilled to see: In six meetings all-time with NYCFC, Wright-Phillips has scored eight goals, scoring in five of the games. Last year, Wright-Phillips scored four goals in the three matches between the teams, netting two goals on two occasions.
 
Leading the NYCFC charge is David Villa – the winner of the 2016 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award, after scoring 23 goals and adding four assists. Villa now has 11 goals for the season after scoring a brace in his club’s 2-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday – the 13th multiple-goal game in his three MLS seasons, the most of any player in that time. Now with 51 goals for his MLS career after Saturday’s brace, Villa reached the half-century mark in just 78 league games, the fifth-fastest of any player in the League’s history.
 
The rivalry will also be personified in a pair of young guns who are already making their mark on the international stage. Yangel Herrera returned to action for NYCFC last weekend for the first time after returning from the FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he won the Bronze Ball in leading Venezuela to a stunning second-place finish. In the quarterfinals, Venezuela eliminated the USA with a 2-1 win in extra time – a U.S. squad featuring Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, who has also returned to his usual starting spot in his club’s lineup.
 
It’s been a rivalry owned by the Red Bulls -- the teams have met six times in regular-season play, and the Red Bulls have won five, with an 18-5 goal differential. The Red Bulls have never lost to NYCFC at Red Bull Arena, and NYCFC surely hasn’t forgotten their 7-0 loss to the Red Bulls last May 21 at Yankee Stadium, matching the largest margin of victory in MLS history. The Red Bulls further piled on earlier this year, with a 1-0 win in the U.S. Open Cup.
 
Battle for top spot in Western Conference adds heat to Texas Derby
Always a heated rivalry in the heart of the Lone Star State, the Texas Derby will have even more on the line as the Houston Dynamo play host to FC Dallas on Friday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium (9 p.m. ET, UniMás), kicking off Heineken Rivalry Week.
 
A year ago, FC Dallas won the Supporters’ Shield with the best overall record in MLS. A year ago, the Dynamo finished last in the Western Conference with the second-fewest points in MLS. This season, the teams come into their second Texas Derby of the year tied for second place in the West, just three points out of the top spot.
 
The teams have certainly reached their lofty positions with different methods, setting up a meeting of irresistible force against immovable object. The Dynamo have scored 29 goals this season, second-most in MLS, led by Mexican striker Erick Torres, who’s second in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 10 goals. FC Dallas have conceded just 14 goals this season, second-lowest in the league.
 
The battle for El Capitán – the 19th-century cannon which goes to the winner of the season series – could also see itself played out in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the near future. FC Dallas Homegrown products Kellyn Acosta and Jesse Gonzalez have both been included in the U.S. provisional squad – Gonzalez is awaiting FIFA clearance to represent the USA over his native Mexico at full international level. The Dynamo feature Honduran attackers Alberth Elis and Boniek Garcia, both of whom were included in their country’s preliminary roster (which also includes FC Dallas defender Maynor Figueroa).
 
The teams have already met once this season – a scoreless draw a month ago at FC Dallas. The Dynamo have defeated FC Dallas just once over the last four seasons – a 5-0 victory last March 12 at BBVA Compass Stadium, the most goals and biggest margin of victory ever in the Texas Derby. But the stage could be set for a repeat performance – the Dynamo are 7-0-1 at home this season, tied for the best home record in MLS.
 
We meet again: Timbers, Sounders FC meet in Portland in Cascadia rivalry
There’s little more that need be said. Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers. One of the most heated rivalries in all of North American sports – not just soccer – will see its latest installment kick off Sunday afternoon at Providence Park (3:30 p.m. ET; ESPN).
 
The teams have already met twice this season, and Sounders FC have won both. Seattle claimed a 1-0 win in league play May 28 at CenturyLink Field, and then repeated their victory with a 2-1 result in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. That was the 97th time the Cascadia rivals have met since 1975 – Seattle winning 50 times and Portland winning 35, with 12 draws.
 
The Timbers will be looking to regain their early-season form as their old rivals come to town. One player who has turned it back on again is midfielder Diego Valeri, who has been involved in four of the last five Timbers goals over the last three games, with two goals and two assists – reminiscent of the start of the season when he has five goals and two assists in the opening five games. Also back in form is Fanendo Adi, who scored two goals yet again vs. FC Dallas two weeks ago – the 13th multiple-goal game in his MLS career.
 
Sounders FC will be happy to have their international campaigners back again for the Timbers match. Román Torres scored a crucial goal for Panamá in their World Cup vs. Honduras; he’s one of six Sounders players included in the provisional rosters for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
 
The Cascadia Cup rivalry has also been burnished this year as a meeting of the last two MLS Cup champions. MLS Cup 2015 was the first championship in the long history of a Portland Timbers soccer team, which started in 1975. The 2016 title was the first MLS Cup won by Sounders FC, the first championship for the club since the 1995 A-League championship.
 
While the Timbers have still never won in Seattle in MLS regular season play (now with an 0-7-2 league record there), Sounders FC haven’t won in Portland since 2014. It’s also a rivalry that’s featured goals – and lots of them – in games at Providence Park. The Timbers have won the last three league meetings in Portland, over the last two seasons, scoring 11 goals in the process. One of the clubs has hit for four goals in four of the last five meetings at Providence Park; when the Timbers took a 4-1 win June 28, 2015, it was Portland’s largest margin of victory against the Sounders since 1977.
 
Rivals Toronto FC and Montreal Impact square off in Canadian Championship
Anytime rivals Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact face off, tensions will be running high, especially with the clubs meeting for the first time since their epic Eastern Conference Finals clash in the 2016 MLS Cup playoffs. Montreal will look to make a strong statement and avenge its loss to Toronto, while keeping the Reds from their second consecutive Canadian Championship when the teams clash in the first leg of the two-leg final on Wednesday at Stade Saputo (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS).  
 
Toronto will seek its second consecutive Canadian Championship and record sixth overall against Montreal, with the club showing well in MLS regular season play and sitting atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with an 8-1-1 record in its last 10 matches. Montreal, meanwhile, seeks its third ever Canadian Championship after winning in back-to-back years from 2013-2014. The Impact and Toronto FC have met in the Canadian Championship finals on two previous occasions with Montreal proving victorious in both instances.
 
Montreal enters the contest undefeated in its last four matches with an improved run of form thanks to the arrival of Swiss National Team midfielder Blerim Dzemali, who has two goals and two assists in his four matches played with the Impact. Teammate Ignacio Piatti, meanwhile, is tied for third in the Golden Boot standings with eight goals this season after registering a brace in Montreal’s 3-3 draw against Orlando City SC last week.
 
Sweet Tweets
 
Week 17 Game Previews
Atlanta United at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Luciano Acosta scored one goal and set up another as D.C. United took the first meeting ever between the clubs, 3-1 on April 30 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
  • D.C. United saw their winless streak extended to three matches in a 2-0 loss at Toronto FC. United were shut out for a third consecutive match, now 329 minutes since their last goal. It was their sixth attacking shutout in the last seven games.
  • Atlanta United put an end to a two-game losing run, defeating Columbus Crew SC 3-1. It was a third consecutive win for Atlanta United at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Over the last eight games, ATLUTD are 3-0-0 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, 0-4-1 away from home.
 
Portland Timbers at Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Diego Valeri scored a pair of goals and added an assist, while Fanendo Adi also scored a brace, as the Timbers won 5-1 in Minnnesota United FC’s first-ever MLS game, March 3 at Providence Park.
  • Minnesota United FC suffered a second consecutive loss, both on the road, in a 1-0 defeat by Real Salt Lake. MNUFC were shut out at the attacking end for a second consecutive game, their first back-to-back shutouts in their MLS history.
  • The Timbers had their two-game winning run put to an end, falling 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids. It was a fourth consecutive road loss for the Timbers, the third-longest away losing run on their MLS history.
 
LA Galaxy at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.
  • The Rapids won their third game on the trot, coming back to defeat the Portland Timbers 2-1. It’s the first time the Rapids have won consecutive games this season, their longest winning run since a three-game streak last Oct. 1-13; it was also a fourth consecutive win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Galaxy extended their undefeated streak to seven games with a second consecutive draw, hitting for a late equalizer in a 2-2 result with the Houston Dynamo.
  • The Galaxy return to the road riding a four-game road undefeated streak, equaling the club’s long over the last five seasons, achieved now on five separate occasions. The club record is seven road games without loss, achieved twice previously.
 
Orlando City SC at Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m.
  • Sounders FC had their road losing streak extended to four matches, falling 2-1 to New York City FC. The four-game losing run on their travels is the second-longest in the club’s MLS history.
  • Orlando City SC concluded a three-game homestand with a second consecutive draw, coming back for a late 3-3 result with the Montréal Impact. It was the second time this season Orlando City scored the deciding goal in added time – they have scored 12 goals in stoppage time since coming into MLS, the most in the league (along with Portland).
  • The teams have met twice ever, and Sounders FC have won both, a 4-0 victory in 2015 in the first meeting between the clubs, at CenturyLink Field, and a 3-1 triumph last Aug. 7 at Camping World Stadium.
 
Friday, June 23
New England Revolution at Toronto FC, 8 p.m. (TSN2)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Juan Agudelo scored a goal and added an assist, and Diego Fagundez and Benjamin Angoua also hit the back of the net as the Revolution claimed a 3-0 win June 3 at Gillette Stadium.
  • Toronto FC won their club-record sixth consecutive game at BMO Field, defeating D.C. United. Sebastian Giovinco recorded a pair of assists, the fourth multiple-assist game of his MLS career and the 24th time (in 73 career appearances) he has been involved in multiple goals in a game.
  • The Revolution had their three-game home winning streak put to an end, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire. It was the first loss of the season on their home ground for the Revolution, putting an end to an 11-game undefeated streak in league play, the third-longest run without a loss at home in club history.
 
FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo, 9 p.m. (UniMás)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The teams reached a goalless draw May 28 at Toyota Stadium.
  • The Dynamo concluded their two-game road swing with a result, gaining a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy. The Dynamo remained winless away from home this season, now 0-6-2 on their travels, one of four teams still without an away win this season.
  • Maximiliano Urruti scored his eighth goal of the season, his second in the last three games, as FC Dallas continued their road swing with a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • The Dynamo have defeated FC Dallas just once over the last four seasons – a 5-0 victory last March 12 at BBVA Compass Stadium, the most goals scored by a team and the largest margin of victory in the Texas Derby. FC Dallas have won six of the last nine league meetings over the last four years, with two draws.
 
Saturday, June 24
New York City FC at New York Red Bulls, 1:30 p.m. (FOX)
  • NYCFC won their second game on the trot, coming back for a 2-1 win against Seattle Sounders, concluding a three-game homestand undefeated, taking seven of a possible nine points.
  • David Villa scored a pair of goals, now with 10 goals for the season. It was the 50th and 51st league goals of his MLS career, making his 78th appearance, the fifth-fastest player to reach the half-century mark in MLS history. It was also the 13th multiple-goal game of Villa’s MLS career, the most of any player in his time in the league (since 2015).
  • The Red Bulls snapped a six-game losing streak away from home, defeating Philadelphia Union 2-0. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a pair of goals, now eight goals for the season, tied for fourth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. It was the first multiple-goal game of the season for Wright-Phillips, the 17th of his MLS career (since 2014, in 123 league appearances).
 
Colorado Rapids at Atlanta United, 7 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time.
  • Miguel Almiron scored his eighth goal of the season for ATLUTD in the Columbus match, one of 11 players tied for fourth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Almiron has scored six goals in the last five matches, dating back to May 20. Josef Martinez scored his sixth goal of the season, his first since March 18 (when he had five goals in the first two games), after missing 10 games through injury.
  • Alan Gordon scored a goal for a second consecutive week in the Portland match, his second goal with the Rapids. Both of Gordon’s goals have been scored after coming off the substitutes’ bench; of Gordon’s 54 career goals in MLS, 22 have been netted as a substitute.
 
D.C. United at Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Jose Guillermo Ortiz and Luciano Acosta netted United’s first goals of the season for their first victory in 2017, a 2-1 triumph April 1 at RFK Stadium. Then on May 13 in Washington, Haris Medjunanin, Fafa Picault, Oguchi Onyewu and Fabian Herbers all scored their first career MLS goals in a 4-0 Union win.
  • Union suffered a third consecutive defeat – after a club-record four-game winning run – in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. The loss put an end to a three-game home winning streak and a four-game undefeated run at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • Since Luciano Acosta scored in the 55th minute of the first meeting with Atlanta United on April 30, D.C. United have scored one goal – from a penalty kick (May 27 at Vancouver), now 665 minutes since their last goal from open play following the games of Week 16.
 
Montreal Impact at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m. (TVAS)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Justin Meram scored a hat trick, hitting for the game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time to give Crew SC a 3-2 win May 13 at Stade Saputo.
  • Federico Higuaín scored for a third consecutive game – matching the longest goalscoring streak of his MLS career – but Crew SC suffered a second consecutive defeat in a 3-1 loss at Atlanta United.
  • The Impact extended their undefeated streak to four games with a second successive draw, reaching a 3-3 draw with Orlando City SC. The Impact are now undefeated in their last four away matches, equaling the club’s record in its MLS history.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m. (TSN2)
  • Minnesota United have returned home this week following a third consecutive loss away from TCF Bank Stadium. MNUFC is still winless away from home in their MLS history (0-6-2), one of four teams this season still without an away victory this year.
  • Whitecaps FC concluded a four-game homestand with a third result, gaining a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas. Cristian Techera scored his fourth goal of the season, directly from a free kick, his first while in MLS.
  • It’s the second meeting against an expansion club in four weeks for Whitecaps FC, after their 3-1 win vs. Atlanta United on June 3 at BC Place.
 
Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Fire extended their league undefeated streak to eight games with a sixth victory in that time, winning 2-1 at the New England Revolution. The undefeated run equals the Fire’s longest since a club-record 12-game run without defeat over the end of the 2008 season and the beginning of 2009.
  • Nemanja Nikolic scored his 13th goal of the season, his second game in a row with a goal, leading the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Orlando City SC played two men down for the final 24 minutes, but the teams still ended in a scoreless draw on June 4 at Orlando City Stadium. Orlando City have yet to lose to the Fire in league play, with two wins in six meetings all-time (with four draws).
 
Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.
  • The Quakes saw their winless run extended to three games with a second consecutive attacking shutout, reaching a goalless draw with Sporting Kansas City.
  • Real put an end to a two-game losing slide as Yura Movsisyan scored his fifth goal of the year, his first since April 15, hitting for the only goal in a home win vs. Minnesota United FC.
 
Sporting Kansas City at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.
  • The Galaxy’s deadlock with Houston was a third consecutive home draw for the Galaxy, now four games since their last victory at StubHub Center, equaling the third-longest home winless run in club history. The Galaxy have the best record winning percentage-wise on the road this season (.643, 4-2-1) – and have the worst record winning percentage-wise at home this season (.357, 1-3-3).
  • Sporting extended their undefeated streak to three games with a second consecutive draw, reaching a goalless result with the San Jose Earthquakes. Tim Melia recorded his league-leading ninth shutout of the year, a single-season career-high.
 
Sunday, June 25
Seattle Sounders FC at Portland Timbers, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season in league play. Cristian Roldan netted the game’s only goal after just four minutes, as Sounders FC held out for the victory May 27 at CenturyLink Field.
  • Sounders FC also took a 2-1 win in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 13 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. It was the third time in four years the teams faced off; Sounders FC have advanced twice (also in the 2014 quarterfinals). Overall, the clubs have met 97 times in official competitions since their first meeting in 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, Seattle winning 50 times, Portland winning 35, and 12 draws.
  • The Timbers have won the last three league meetings in Portland, over the last two seasons, scoring 11 goals in the process. One of the clubs has hit for four goals in four of the last five meetings at Providence Park. Sounders FC last won in Portland on Aug. 24, 2014, a 4-2 victory.
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