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This Week in MLS – May 15, 2017

This Week in MLS – May 15, 2017
  • Could Orlando City SC bring out the broom this week?
  • Ramirez vs. Alessandrini as newcomer Minnesota hosts MLS original LA Galaxy on Sunday
  • MLS players among elite youth talent at FIFA U-20 World Cup
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 12 Game Previews
 
Could Orlando City SC bring out the broom this week?
Orlando City SC (6-3-1) could be looking at the first season series sweep in club history when they host the third and final regular season matchup against New York City FC (5-3-2) on Sunday, May 21 at Orlando City Stadium (7 p.m. ET, FS1 / FOX Deportes).
 
The Lions and forward Cyle Larin have had NYCFC’s number since debuting the sparkling new Orlando City Stadium with a 1-0, season-opening win over their 2015 expansion rivals thanks to this Larin finish, which set Orlando City in motion for an MLS record of five straight wins to open a new stadium. Next earning a 2-1 road win at Yankee Stadium on April 23, Orlando City SC saw Larin’s two-goal performance set the Canadian international’s career total against NYCFC to nine goals and an assist for his highest tally against any MLS club to date.
 
Orlando City has never taken three wins from any Eastern Conference opponent in a single season, with the Lions going undefeated in a three-game series twice previously, 2-0-1 against the Chicago Fire in 2015 and 1-0-2 against the New England Revolution in 2016.
 
It’s certain that NYCFC and reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP David Villa will not concede without a fight, as they travel to Orlando following a three-game unbeaten streak. Will NYCFC claim the final meeting of the season, or can Larin and the Wall at Orlando City Stadium hold the Lions up to remain undefeated for one more home match and provide their first MLS sweep?
 
Ramirez vs. Alessandrini as newcomer Minnesota hosts MLS original LA Galaxy on Sunday
On Sunday night, as 2017 expansion side Minnesota United FC host MLS original LA Galaxy, (5 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes) fans can count on one thing – goals.  While Minnesota United have scored 17 goals across their 11 games this season, third most in the Western Conference, the Loons have also conceded more goals than any team, offering the Galaxy a key opportunity to take home integral points from the intraconference contest. Although equal on points in the standings, 11 points apiece,  the Galaxy have a game in hand headed into the first meeting of the two clubs.  After a troubling start to the season for both the newcomer and perennial MLS powerhouse, both clubs will be hungry for the three points.
 
Two key players to watch in the match are Minnesota forward Christian Ramirez and Galaxy midfielder Romain Alessandrini – on the stats sheets, they make all of the difference.
 
Not only is Ramirez the top goal-scorer for the Loons with six goals this season, but each time he has scored since the season opener, Minnesota has come away with at least a point. With a home record of 3-2-0, Minnesota will be squarely focused on maintaining that home-field winning percentage, and if Ramirez scores, odds are they will.
 
Alessandrini has been essential for the Galaxy, leading the team with six goals and four assists, including a two goal performance last week against the New York Red Bulls for the Galaxy’s only win in their last five matches. LA will be looking for their first consecutive wins this season and confidence headed into next week’s match against heated rival San Jose. 
 
MLS players among elite youth talent at FIFA U-20 World Cup
The future stars of international soccer are set to square off in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, with 13 MLS affiliated players set to represent their respective nations in the tournament running from May 20 - June 11 in Korea Republic. The United States leads the way with 11 players from MLS clubs or academies, nine of whom are first-team players for their respective squads.
 
Of the nine first-team players, eight developed through MLS academies, led by four standouts from Real Salt Lake. In addition, RSL academy product Aaron Herrera and Atlanta United academy player Lagos Kunga join the MLS players on U.S. head coach Tab Ramos’ roster. The U.S. U-20 squad heads to the World Cup after capturing its first ever CONCACAF U-20 Championship in March, the first of two American youth national teams to qualify for its respective World Cup, followed by the U-17 squad in early May.
 
New York City FC midfielder Yangel Herrera and New York Red Bulls II forward Douglas Martinez will also represent Venezuela and Honduras in the World Cup, respectively.
 
Matches by National Teams with MLS Players:
UNITED STATES
  • May 22 vs. Ecuador (4 a.m. ET, FS1/Telemundo)
  • May 25 vs. Senegal (7 a.m. ET, FS1)
  • May 28 vs. Saudi Arabia (5 a.m. ET, FS1)
 
HONDURAS
  • May 22 vs. France (4 a.m. ET, FS2)
  • May 25 vs. New Zealand (7 a.m. ET, FS2/NBC Universo)
  • May 28 vs. Vietnam (2 a.m. ET, FS2)
 
VENEZUELA
  • May 20 vs. Germany (1 a.m. ET, FS1)
  • May 23 vs. Vanuatu (4 a.m. ET, FS2)
  • May 26 vs. Mexico (4 a.m. ET, FS1/Telemundo)
 
MLS Affiliated Players by National Team: 
UNITED STATES
DEFENDERS (5): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake City, Utah), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (Univ. of New Mexico/RSL Academy; Las Cruces, N.M.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.)
 
MIDFIELDERS (2): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.)
 
FORWARDS (4): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United FC Academy; Tucker, Ga.) Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Park City, Utah)
 
HONDURAS
FORWARDS (1): Douglas Martinez (New York Red Bull II; Olanchito, Honduras)
 
VENEZUELA
MIDFIELDERS (1): Yangel Herrera (New York City FC; La Guaira, Venezuela)
 
Sweet Tweets
 
Week 12 Game Previews
Wednesday, May 17
Houston Dynamo at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
  • Union have won two games in a row after putting an end to their 15-game winless run, with Haris Medunjanin, Oguchi Onyewu and Fafa Picault all scoring their first MLS goals in a 4-0 win at D.C. United.
  • The Dynamo have won back-to-back games for the second time this season, after winning their opening two matches of the year, with Alberth Elis scoring for a second game in a row in their 2-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
 
Colorado Rapids at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Fire put an end to a three-game winless run in their 4-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC, remaining undefeated at Toyota Park this season. It was the most goals scored by the Fire in a single game since May 10, 2014.
  • The Rapids put an end to a seven-game winless streak with their 3-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Shkelzen Gashi scored a pair of goals, his first goals in MLS league play this season.
 
Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
  • Latif Blessing scored his first two career MLS goals, making his first career MLS start, as Sporting KC came back for a 2-2 draw at Orlando City SC.
  • Sporting return home riding a club-record 14-game undefeated streak at Children’s Mercy Park, following their win last week vs. New York Red Bulls. The streak, dating back to last June 19, surpassed a 12-game mark set March 8-Aug. 15, 2015; SKC has recorded eight shutouts during the run.
  • Sounders FC suffered a second consecutive loss in their 4-1 defeat by the Chicago Fire, their first losses in back-to-back games since last July 17-24.
 
New York City FC at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m.
  • Real suffered their fourth consecutive defeat, a 4-0 loss to the New England Revolution, the first time in the club’s 13-year history it has allowed three goals or more in at least three games in a row.
  • NYCFC have now scored a goal in nine consecutive games, the longest streak of games with a goal in MLS this season, extending their overall undefeated streak to three games and their road unbeaten run to three games in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
 
Orlando City SC at San Jose Earthquakes, 10 p.m.
  • The Quakes had their defensive shutout streak put to an end after 229 minutes, the eighth-longest in MLS this season, their winning streak coming to an end after two games in a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids
  • Kaká scored his third goal of the season, all coming over the last four matches, as Orlando City remained undefeated in their new stadium in a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
 
Friday, May 19
Toronto FC at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. (TSN)
  • Toronto FC won their club-record sixth game in a row, the longest in a single season in MLS since New England did it late in 2015, and remained undefeated at BMO Field this season with a late 3-2 win against Minnesota United FC.
  • TFC’s Tosaint Ricketts scored for a second consecutive game, netting the game-winner in the last quarter-hour of the match in each contest.
  • The Red Bulls saw their home undefeated streak put to an end after 19 games, equaling the sixth-longest in MLS history, losing a third match in a row in a 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Red Bull Arena.
 
Saturday, May 20
Portland Timbers at Montreal Impact, 3 p.m. (TVAS)
  • Ignacio Piatti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel each scored their fourth goal of the season, but the Impact suffered a second consecutive home defeat in a 3-2 loss to Columbus Crew SC.
  • The Timbers saw their winless streak extended to three games with a second draw in that time, following their 1-1 draw with Atlanta United at Providence Park.
 
Chicago Fire at D.C. United, 4 p.m. (UniMás)
  • United had their two-game winning streak at RFK Stadium put to an end, falling 4-0 to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening, the four-goal loss equaling the club’s heaviest defeat ever at RFK Stadium.
  • United are riding a nine-game undefeated streak in the series, over the last three seasons, scoring 24 goals over that span. United have won five of those matches, with four draws. United have won the last four matches vs. the Fire at RFK Stadium.
  • Nemanja Nikolic scored a goal in a third consecutive game in the win vs Seattle; with eight goals for the season entering the week, he’s tied for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings (with Erick Torres of Houston).
 
Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders FC, 5 p.m.
  • Sounders FC have won the last six meetings between the teams in Seattle, after winning the final two meetings between the teams a year ago, both by 2-1 scorelines, and both at CenturyLink Field.
  • Sounders FC are winless in their last three games at CenturyLink Field; the club has gone winless in four consecutive home games just once in its MLS history, that during its inaugural season of 2009 (July 25-Sept. 19).
 
Colorado Rapids at Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m.
  • Union have still never defeated Colorado on their home ground, with three draws and two losses all-time in Chester.
  • The home team has won just once in nine meetings all-time in the series – a 4-1 Rapids victory Aug. 29, 2010 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
 
Houston Dynamo at Atlanta United, 7 p.m.
  • Atlanta United put an end to a two-game losing skid but still saw their winless streak extended to three games, gaining a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers.
  • Rookie Julian Gressel scored his first professional goal for ATL United; he had recorded two assists previously.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time. The Dynamo have defeated incoming expansion teams in their first meeting just twice – both coming in 2011, when they defeated both Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Portland Timbers in their first meetings that season (both at BBVA Compass Stadium).
 
Sporting Kansas City at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7 p.m. (TSN)
  • Brek Shea scored for a second consecutive game, but Whitecaps FC saw their winning streak snapped after two games in a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo.
  • SKC have a five-game undefeated streak in league play alive in the series, with four victories in that time, over the past two seasons. The lone Whitecaps FC victory in 10 MLS meetings all-time came in 2014, a 2-0 win at BC Place.
 
San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas, 8 p.m.
  • FC Dallas extended their season-opening undefeated streak to nine games and their overall league undefeated streak to 14 games dating back to last Sept. 17, following their 1-1 draw with New York City FC. It’s the second-longest undefeated run in club history (after 19 games, May 27-Oct. 9, 2010).
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jahmir Hyka netted the equalizer deep in stoppage time to give the Quakes a share of a 1-1 draw with FCD on April 14 at Avaya Stadium.
  • The Quakes have not won in the series since 2014, now eight consecutive matches without a victory vs. FC Dallas (0-4-4).
 
Sunday, May 21
Columbus Crew SC at New England Revolution. 2:30 p.m.
  • The Revolution put an end to a five-game winless run with a 4-0 victory against Real Salt Lake. Diego Fagundez, Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen each scored a goal and added an assist for the Revs in their first triumph since April 8.
  • Justin Meram scored the first hat trick of his MLS career, now with seven goals on the season, netting the game-winner in stoppage time as Crew SC defeated the Montréal Impact 3-2 at Stade Saputo.
 
LA Galaxy at Minnesota United FC, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Romain Alessandrini scored two goals – his second two-goal game in 10 MLS appearances – as the Galaxy put an end to a four-game winless run in a 3-1 win at the New York Red Bulls. Giovani dos Santos also scored a goal and added an assist, a second consecutive game hitting the back of the net.
  • Kevin Molino scored two goals in a game for the second time in his MLS career, but Minnesota United FC remain winless away from TCF Bank Stadium in their MLS history following a 3-2 loss at Toronto FC.
 
New York City FC at Orlando City SC, 7 p.m. (FS1)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Cyle Larin scored the game’s lone goal to give Orlando City SC the win in the season opener March 5 at Orlando City Stadium, then Larin struck yet again in New York, hitting for two goals in a 2-1 OCSC win April 23 at Yankee Stadium.
  • Orlando City have won the last three meetings between the teams and are undefeated in the last six matchups, with victories in five. OCSC has now won each of the last two seasons in The Bronx, the only road wins in the seven all-time meetings between the expansion class of 2015.
  • Larin has scored nine goals in seven appearances all-time vs. NYCFC. In the four meetings between the clubs in Yankee Stadium, Larin has netted six goals; his 10 goals as a visitor against the New York clubs (both NYCFC and the Red Bulls) is tied for the most in MLS history, with Jaime Moreno.
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