Jack Harrison goal celebration-CLB-NYC-4.29.17
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

This Week in MLS - May 1, 2017

  • Eastern Conference showdown takes center stage in prime time
  • In-form Toronto FC seeks to avenge MLS Cup loss against champion Seattle
  • Led by 11 MLS Homegrown and Academy players, U.S. U-17 squad on the brink of World Cup bid
  • Exclusive 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target pre-sale underway
  • PRO officials honor one of their own through symbol of Huntington’s Disease awareness
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 10 Game Previews
 
Eastern Conference showdown takes center stage in prime time
Two of the most exciting offenses in MLS will dazzle in Week 10, as an all-Eastern Conference showdown features the star power of New York City FC (8-4-3) against the up-tempo attack of Atlanta United (8-3-3) at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, May 7 (4 p.m. ET, Univision).
 
Facing a 2017 expansion side for the first time this season, NYCFC is eager to give Atlanta a few pages out of its own 2015 expansion book with dynamic attacking play highlighted from the reigning Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player, David Villa, and 20-year-old midfielder Jack Harrison, who has become a game changer with incredible consistency. Harrison has already equaled his career-high scoring total set as a rookie last season, converting his shots at a 50 percent rate, putting away four of his eight attempts on frame.
 
With Villa out ill last week, Harrison put NYCFC on his back in a 3-2 win against Columbus Crew SC, opening the scoring in the eighth minute, then tucking away the game-winner in the 76th. With goals scored in three of NYCFC’s four wins this season, including finishes in the last three, Harrison is sitting second on the team in scoring, behind only the five goals and one assist produced by the world-renowned Villa.
 
With their 18 goals ranking second-best in the League, Atlanta United are just two points behind NYCFC in the conference standings heading into the match. With goalscoring shared among seven different players, Atlanta has a number of attacking weapons to utilize on Sunday in a match that has added significance to manager Tata Martino, who has lost battles for club and country against Villa, including the 2014 La Liga title and a 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal.
 
In-form Toronto FC seeks to avenge MLS Cup loss against champion Seattle
Heartbreak ensued for Toronto FC the last time they faced off against Seattle Sounders FC, dropping a scintillating MLS Cup showdown that was decided in penalty kicks. On the heels of two straight victories, Toronto will look to avenge its 2016 MLS Cup loss when taking on Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday in a nationally televised contest (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/CTV/TSN2).
 
The two squads are off to similar starts in the 2017 season showing the promise of potent offensive attacks led by their respective trio of playmakers.
 
Two USMNT standouts + an international star on each side of the ball
Seattle’s trio of Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris has combined for 13 goals and assists this season narrowly outpacing Toronto’s marquee threesome of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, who have accounted for 12 combined goals and assists.
 
Dempsey is the difference this time around
A notable difference in this matchup compared to MLS Cup is a healthy and in-form Clint Dempsey who has shined for club and country in 2017 with seven goals in all competitions after missing the end of 2016 due to an irregular heartbeat. Perhaps a healthy Dempsey along with home field advantage pushes Seattle to yet another victory over Toronto, but with the recent in-sync performances of Altidore and Giovinco nothing can be guaranteed as fireworks are expected in this dramatic rematch.
 
Led by 11 MLS Homegrown and Academy players, U.S. U-17 squad on the brink of World Cup bid
The United States Under-17 Men’s National Team is on the brink of qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup after winning all three of its group stage matches during the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championships, including an historic 4-3 defeat over Mexico. With a 20-man roster consisting of four MLS Homegrown Players along with an additional seven players who currently feature in MLS academies, the United States next face Honduras on May 3 and Cuba on May 5 at Estadio Maracana in Panama City with a chance to secure a spot for October’s U-17 World Cup in India on the line.
 
Atlanta United led all MLS clubs with three players developed in its academy system shining for the U.S., including a pair of Homegrown Players in forward Andrew Carleton and midfielder Christopher Goslin, with FC Dallas 15-year-old forward Bryan Reynolds Jr. and D.C. United midfielder Christopher Durkin rounding out the Homegrown contingent. In a historic match during group play, the United States captured a 4-3 win over Mexico to solidify its spot in the next round of play. The victory marked the third U.S. youth national team to secure a win over Mexico in the previous two months including the U-16 squad winning 3-0 in April and the U-20 squad prevailing 1-0 in February as part of its U-20 World Cup qualifying campaign.
 
With six of the United States’ 10 goals scored by MLS academy or Homegrown Players thus far in the tournament, the American squad looks in strong shape to secure a spot in the U-17 World Cup, needing a top-two finish in its group to advance.
 
Exclusive 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target pre-sale underway
MLS fans who download the free MLS app will receive an exclusive pre-sale link for the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target before the MLSsoccer.com pre-sale on Wednesday, May 3 and the general public sale on Thursday, May 4. The best of MLS will take on Spanish giants Real Madrid at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday, August 2 at 9 p.m. ET.
 
For the first time in MLS All-Star Game history, a team from Spain’s La Liga will appear as the MLS All-Star opponent. Real Madrid, who is home to international stars such as four-time Ballon d’Or recipient Cristiano Ronaldo, Welsh forward Gareth Bale, and four-time La Liga Best Defender Sergio Ramos, is one of the most successful clubs in the world, claiming a record 32 La Liga championships and 11 UEFA Champions League titles.
 
More information on an exciting array of MLS All-Star Week events planned for Toyota Park, Fire Pitch, downtown parks and beaches and venues throughout downtown Chicago and Bridgeview, will be made available in the coming weeks. For up-to-date information on MLS All-Star Week, please visit http://www.mlssoccer.com/meta/competition/all-star-game.
 
PRO officials honor one of their own through symbol of Huntington’s Disease awareness
The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) is paying tribute to one of their own, as all officials wear blue wristbands inscribed with the letters “HD” in May as a part of Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month in honor of former PRO official Terry Vaughn, who is battling the devastating disease.
 
Vaughn, a PRO referee in MLS for 15 years, retired in 2012 after spending nine years on the FIFA panel, and officiating games in CONCACAF Champions League, and international tournaments such as the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada. He spent more than 20 years officiating college games and was inducted into the Nation Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association Hall of Fame (NISOA).
 
Huntington’s Disease is a hereditary, incurable, and fatal brain disorder that slowly deteriorates the brain’s nerve cells over time with serious effects on behavior, cognition, and emotional and social stability.
 
More information can be found at PROreferees.com or at HDSA.com (US) or HuntingtonSociety.ca (Canada).
 
Sweet Tweets
 
Week 10 Game Previews
Wednesday, May 3
Orlando City SC at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. (TSN)
  • Toronto FC won their second game in a row in a 2-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo at BMO Field, their first multiple wins in league play since last July 23-Aug. 6, when they won four in a row. Jozy Altidore scored a pair of goals, the seventh multiple-goal game of his MLS career, his fifth since moving to Toronto FC.
  • Making his first appearance since being injured early in the season opener on March 5, Kaká scored his first goal of 2017 as Orlando City SC won their fourth game on the trot with a 2-0 win against the Colorado Rapids, one shy of the club-record winning streak set in their inaugural season.
 
New York Red Bulls at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
  • Sporting won their third consecutive game at Children’s Mercy Park in a 3-0 victory against Real Salt Lake, extending their undefeated streak at home to a club-record 13 games, dating back to last June 19. Dom Dwyer netted his third goal of the season, all coming over the last four matches.
  • The Red Bulls won their third consecutive match with a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Fire, remaining undefeated for the season at Red Bull Arena. It extended their club-record home undefeated streak to 19 matches, dating back to last April 24, now tied for the sixth-longest in MLS history.
 
Friday, May 5
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Colorado Rapids, 10 p.m. (TSN)
  • The Rapids had their losing streak extended to four games, and their overall winless streak to six matches, in a 2-0 loss at Orlando City SC, their longest since a six-game run without victory from Sept. 9-Oct. 10, 2015.
  • Whitecaps FC won their first game away from BC Place this season in their 2-1 win against the Montréal Impact, putting an end to a three-game losing run away from home and a five-game road winless streak overall. Cristian Techera scored his second goal of the season, now with two goals and an assist over his last five games.
  • The Rapids have won the last six meetings between the teams at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, including a 2-0 victory last Aug. 6 in the only meeting in Commerce City. Whitecaps FC have won there once ever, in 2012.
 
Saturday, May 6
Toronto FC at Seattle Sounders FC, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
  • It’s a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup, won by Sounders FC in a penalty shootout after the teams went 120 minutes without a goal, last Dec. 10 at BMO Field.
  • Sounders FC came back from a 0-3 deficit to claim a 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution at CenturyLink Field – the 10th team in MLS history to come back from three goals down to record a draw, the second this season. Nicolas Lodeiro scored his third goal of the season and added his fourth assist.
 
Montreal Impact at D.C. United, 6 p.m.
  • Luciano Acosta scored his third goal of the season as D.C. United won for the first time away from RFK Stadium this season, defeating Atlanta United 3-1 at Bobby Dodd Stadium and concluding a three-game road swing. The triumph snapped a four-game road winless streak, dating back to the regular-season finale last year.
  • The Impact suffered their first loss at Stade Saputo this season, falling 2-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It put an end to a four-game home undefeated streak, dating back to last Sept. 28. Marco Donadel scored his first goal of the season, his first in MLS league play since July 11, 2015.
 
New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m.
  • Union remained winless for the season, the only team in MLS still without a victory in 2017, following their goalless draw with the LA Galaxy. Union have gone 15 league games since their last victory, a 2-0 win vs. Sporting KC last Aug. 27, now tied for the fourth-longest winless streak in MLS history.
  • The Red Bulls have won the last two meetings between the teams, winning once on each ground. Last year’s Red Bulls win in Chester was their first since 2012, ending a five-game regular-season winless run there.
 
New England Revolution at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Crew SC have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, following their 3-2 home loss to New York City FC on Saturday evening. It was their first consecutive defeats since the final two games of the 2016 season. Ola Kamara scored his fifth goal of the season, his second in the last three games, now tied for fifth in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The Revolution recorded a third consecutive draw and their fourth in their last six games, hauled back into a 3-3 draw by Seattle Sounders FC. The Revs were the 10th team in MLS history to lose a three-goal lead and record a draw, the second this season.
  • Juan Agudelo netted a pair of goals, now with six for the season, tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot standings, with three goals in the last two games. It was the fourth multiple-goal game of Agudelo’s career, his second this season.
 
Orlando City SC at Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Dynamo lost their third match in three outings away from BBVA Compass Stadium this season, falling 2-0 at Toronto FC. The defeat extended the Dynamo’s road winless streak to five games, dating back to last year, the longest since their club-record 20-game road winless run was snapped last Aug. 6.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time ever. Orlando City SC has the only victory, in the first meeting between the clubs, a 1-0 win March 13, 2015 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
 
FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.
  • Real Salt Lake suffered their second consecutive defeat, the second time this season they’ve lost back-to-back games (the first under new head coach Mike Petke), in their 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City.
  • FC Dallas remained undefeated for the season – still the only MLS club without a loss in 2017 – following their 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. FC Dallas have now gone six consecutive games in Frisco without loss, since last Oct. 1.
 
Chicago Fire at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.
  • The Galaxy saw their winless streak extended to three games, a pair of losses following by their scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union. The Galaxy have been shut out at the attacking end for the last 187 minutes, now three times for the season.
  • The Fire have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time season following their 2-1 loss at the New York Red Bulls. It was a third consecutive defeat away from Toyota Park for the Fire, still winless on their travels this season. The Fire are now riding a nine-game road winless streak, since a 3-0 win at the Montréal Impact last Aug. 20 put an end to an MLS-record 36-game road winless run.
  • The Galaxy have not lost to the Fire since 2010, a 3-2 Chicago victory in Carson on Aug. 1. In the eight meetings since, the Galaxy have won five with three draws, including a 2-2 draw last Aug. 24 at Toyota Park.
 
Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.
  • The Quakes put an end to a seven-game winless streak, winning for the first time since March 11 when they opened the season with back-to-back victories, defeating Minnesota United FC 1-0 at TCF Bank Stadium. The win was also the first of the season away from Avaya Stadium, ending a nine-game road winless streak dating back to last Aug. 27, equaling the fifth-longest in club history.
  • The Timbers took points from a third away match out of four on the season, reaching a 2-2 draw at FC Dallas. Fanendo Adi scored his sixth goal of the season, tied for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, and added an assist – the second time this season he’s had a goal and one assist in the same game.
 
Sunday, May 7
Sporting Kansas City at Minnesota United FC, 1:30 p.m. (FS1)
  • Minnesota United FC had their two-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes. The loss also snapped a two-game home winning streak for MNUFC in Minneapolis.
  • Sporting and goalkeeper Tim Melia recorded their fifth shutout of the season in the 3-0 win vs. Real Salt Lake. They have allowed just three goals over their first eight matches, equaling the third-fewest goals conceded of any team through eight games in MLS history.
 
Atlanta United at New York City FC, 4 p.m. (Univision)
  • This the first meeting between a member of the expansion class of 2015 (NYCFC and Orlando City SC) and the current expansion teams (Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC).
  • NYCFC won a second game in a row on their travels, defeating Columbus Crew SC 3-2 at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening. Jack Harrison scored a pair of goals, his first career multiple-goal game (in 29 MLS league appearances). Harrison has a goal and/or an assist in four of the last five games, with four goals and an assist in that span.
  • Kenwyne Jones scored his second MLS goal, both coming in the last three matches, but Atlanta United conceded their most goals since coming into the league in a 3-1 defeat by D.C. United.
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