Giovani dos Santos-headed goal-SJ-LA-5.27.17
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This Week in MLS – June 5, 2017

This Week in MLS – June 5, 2017
  • Fan XI voting to name MLS All-Stars facing Real Madrid on August 2 in Chicago
  • MLS talent on display for USMNT and opponents in two World Cup Qualifiers
  • Bruce Arena’s U.S. Gold Cup roster dominated by MLS players
  • NYCFC midfielder Yangel Herrera captains Venezuela to history at U-20 World Cup
  • Nemanja Nikolić lighting MLS on fire as early Newcomer of the Year candidate 
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 15 Game Previews
Fan XI voting to name MLS All-Stars facing Real Madrid on August 2 in Chicago
The League’s biggest stars will shine brightest on a roster directly impacted by fan voting when the best in MLS face Real Madrid, the newly minted back-to-back reigning UEFA Champions League winners, in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on August 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago (9 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMás, TSN and TVA). With three different options for fan voting, MLS enthusiasts can help build the 2017 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target through the free MLS app, online at, and through the EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge.
After media members nominated eight players from all 22 teams for a total of 176 players on the ballot, 10 players initially will be named to the Fan XI, which includes one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and two forwards.
The 11th player – a forward – will be determined by the EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge. Fans can vote one forward into the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target by scoring goals in EA SPORTS FIFA 17 on Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system through June 30. The forward with the most votes on June 30 – one goal equals one vote –will occupy the final forward spot on the 2017 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target.
The final MLS All-Star roster of 24 players will take shape based on selections by the media, fans, All-Star and Chicago Fire Coach Veljko Paunovic, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Voting ends at 12 midnight Pacific time on June 30.
More information about the selection process and MLS All-Star Week can be found HERE.
Tickets to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target are available via or by calling 800-745-3000. Click here for more information about the Chicago Fire All-Star Plan and All-Star Group 2-Pack or call the Fire at (888) MLS-FIRE.
MLS talent on display for USMNT and opponents in two World Cup Qualifiers
Approaching two pivotal World Cup qualifying matches this week, the U.S. Men’s National Team will not only feature a number of MLS household names, but the Red, White and Blue will also be matching up against some of the League’s most game-changing personalities.
Opening up with Trinidad and Tobago on June 8 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (8 p.m. ET, FS1/UniMás/UDN), the U.S. will first take on a Soca Warriors’ backline that features reigning MLS Cup champion Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders FC) along with defender Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids). Jones leads all defenders in MLS this year with five assists, while Williams has made six starts on one of the stingiest defenses in the MLS Western Conference; a year ago, Colorado posted an undefeated 9-0-7 record in his 16 appearances. Forwards Kenwyne Jones (Atlanta United) and Kevin Molino (Minnesota United FC) lead the Trinidad & Tobago offense with a combined seven goals in MLS action, including Molino’s five goals and three assists from starts in his 12 appearances for the Loons this season.
Taking center stage at Estadio Azteca on Sunday, June 11, the U.S. will face Mexico (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1/Univision/UDN), which features LA Galaxy front man Giovani dos Santos, who has scored a combined five goals in his last five games to tie Romain Alessandrini as the club’s leading scorer. The Mexican international has found the back of the net in four straight MLS outings, including two finishes netted against rival San Jose on May 27.
After playing Venezuela to a 1-1 tie in a tune-up friendly last week, the U.S. will be looking for big performances from its key MLS players. Among the 27 players Bruce Arena has in the national team camp, 14 are currently playing in MLS. Four of those players were starters in the Venezuela friendly, led by Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey, who is still one goal away from tying Landon Donovan for the all-time lead in U.S. national team goals.
Bruce Arena’s U.S. Gold Cup roster dominated by MLS players
Major League Soccer players are set to star at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with U.S. head coach Bruce Arena naming 32 MLS players to his 40-man preliminary roster, with many young players receiving the call to represent the United States for the first time. The United States kicks off Gold Cup play at Nissan Stadium in Nashville against Panama on July 8 (4:30 p.m. ET).
Among the MLS standouts looking to don the red, white and blue for the first time include a number of dual nationals eligible to represent countries other than the United States. After earning his citizenship months ago, Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer earned a call to his first U.S. camp on the heels a spectacular three-season span in which he scored 50 regular season goals, the second-most league wide from 2014-16.
FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, who came through the team’s academy system and signed as a Homegrown Player, could make his senior international debut after starring for Mexico at various youth national team levels throughout his career. This season, Gonzalez has already tied a career-high with five shutouts in his 10 starts, with FCD compiling a 4-1-5 mark when he is between the posts.
The next breakout star for the United States could emerge this summer with eager new faces looking to break their way onto the national scene.
U.S. MNT CONCACAF Gold Cup Preliminary Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (6): Joe Bendik (Orlando City SC), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
DEFENDERS (12): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Greg Garza (Atlanta United), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Jonathan Spector (Orlando City), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna/MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
MIDFIELDERS (15): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Tommy McNamara (New York City FC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (KAA Gent/BEL), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (7): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
NYCFC midfielder Yangel Herrera captains Venezuela to history at U-20 World Cup
The future stars of MLS shone brightly on the world stage during this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup. New York City FC midfielder Yangel Herrera has led Venezuela to an improbable run to the semifinals at the event, leading the squad to victories over notable opponents including Mexico, Germany, and most recently, the United States. Venezuela, which had qualified for only one FIFA U-20 World Cup in the nation’s history before this year, has been arguably the top team in the tournament, allowing one goal through five matches behind the leadership of team captain Herrera.
The 19-year-old scored a late game-winning goal to push Venezuela into the semifinals, and once again starred against the USA in the semifinals, holding the strong U.S. attack to only one goal. Venezuela next faces Uruguay in semifinal action on Thursday, June 8 at Daejeon World Cup Stadium (4 a.m. ET), with Herrera and company providing a much needed lift for a nation in political turmoil back at home.
Herrera has proven to be one of a number of MLS standouts at the U-20 World Cup, with Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse, Atlanta United academy player Lagos Kunga, Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty and Real Salt Lake players Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon all finding the net during the tournament.
Nemanja Nikolić lighting MLS on fire as early Newcomer of the Year candidate
Of the 17 players signed to occupy Designated Player roster spots in their MLS debuts this season, Nemanja Nikolić has established himself as perhaps the most dangerous in the early months of the season. Currently leading the league with 11 goals scored, the Hungarian international is making a strong case as a frontrunner for the MLS Newcomer of the Year award. Atlanta United forward Hector Villalba will look to challenge Nikolić’s claim as the top newcomer to MLS when the two square off in Chicago on Saturday, June 10, as the Fire prepare to host Atlanta United at TOYOTA Park (4 p.m. ET, UniMás/
Atlanta boasts the top offense in the league with 28 goals scored, paced by the speedy Villalba, who has five goals and four assists this season. Chicago, meanwhile, returns to Toyota Park with a six-game unbeaten mark and a stellar 6-0-1 record at home with Nikolić proving especially dangerous at home, with nine of his 11 goals scored on his home pitch.
With two star-studded offensive juggernauts clashing on Saturday, a plethora of goals and plenty of drama awaits for arguably the two flashiest teams in the Eastern Conference.
Sweet Tweets
Week 15 Game Previews
Saturday, June 10
Atlanta United at Chicago Fire, 4 p.m. (UniMás)
  • The Fire had their four-game winning streak, the club’s longest since 2012, put to an end, but still extended their undefeated run to six matches in a scoreless draw with a 9-man Orlando City SC.
  • Atlanta United saw their two-game winning streak come to an end in a 3-1 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Greg Garza scored the lone ATL UTD goal, assisted by Julian Gressel – the fourth consecutive game where the rookie has a goal and/or an assist.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Josef Martínez scored a pair of goals as Atlanta United rolled to a 4-0 win March 18 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the first home win in the club’s history.
Montreal Impact at Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m. (TVAS)
  • Sporting Kansas City recorded their fourth consecutive shutout at Children’s Mercy Park, strolling to a 3-0 win against Minnesota United FC. Now undefeated in their last 16 home games (a club record), SKC last allowed a goal at home on April 9.
  • Blerim Dzemaili scored his first MLS goal as the Impact completed a three-game home stretch with a second consecutive victory, defeating the New York Red Bulls 1-0 at Stade Saputo.
FC Dallas at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.


  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Tesho Akindele scored the game-tying goal for FC Dallas with 10 minutes remaining, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw April 29 at Toyota Stadium. FCD has a five-game undefeated streak alive in the series, having won four meetings in a row before this year.
  • FC Dallas matched their club-record with a six-goal outburst in a 6-2 win against Real Salt Lake at Toyota Stadium. FCD led 5-0 at halftime – the first team in MLS history to score five goals in the first half.
  • Ronald Lamah scored a hat trick in the opening 31 minutes of the game, matching the second-quickest three goals by a player from the start of a game in MLS history.
  • Diego Valeri scored two goals in a game for the third time this season, leading the Timbers to a 2-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Providence Park, snapping a five-game winless skid.