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This Week in MLS – May 22, 2017

This Week in MLS – May 22, 2017
  • MLS Summer Beat Memorial Day Weekend concert series to kick off summer of soccer
  • Memorial Day weekend action highlighted by five historic rivalry matches
  • Toronto seeks second consecutive title while teenage phenoms square off in Canadian Championship
  • Players with MLS ties earning big minutes at U-20 World Cup
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 13 Game Previews
MLS Summer Beat Memorial Day Weekend concert series to kick off summer of soccer
Last week, Major League Soccer announced the inaugural MLS Summer Beat, a multi-city Memorial Day Weekend concert series to kick off the summer of soccer. The event will feature live musical performances alongside key MLS matchups taking place this weekend. MLS Summer Beat will start on Friday night, as rapper and Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Mike WiLL Made It will perform at Center Stage in Midtown Atlanta. The celebration in Atlanta will culminate on Sunday, as Atlanta United host New York City FC at Bobby Dodd Stadium (5 p.m. ET, ESPN / ESPN Deportes).In Seattle, a full day celebration on Saturday will lead into one of the biggest rivalry matchups of the MLS season featuring Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers, as all fans will be welcomed to Occidental Park at 12 p.m. ET for a pre-match party and live performance by Washington native Robert DeLong. The performance will lead into the March to the Match from Occidental Park to CenturyLink Field (3 p.m. ET, FOX / FOX Deportes). Also on Saturday in San Jose, fans with tickets to the San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy California Clásico match will be invited to the Avaya Stadium early starting at 4:30 p.m. ET for a beer festival and watch party of the Mexican National Team vs. Croatia friendly match, following by a live performance from Mexican electronica ensemble, Nortec Collective which leads into MLS action (10 p.m. ET, Univision / facebook.com).
More information on MLS Summer Beat can be found here.
Memorial Day weekend action highlighted by five historic rivalry matches
Five of the league’s most prominent rivalries will take center stage this week and Memorial Day Weekend, with four of the fiery matchups to air on national television. The week starts off with the fight for the Brimstone Cup between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas at Toyota Park on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE) before weekend action features some of the most longstanding rivalries in North American soccer, including a historic Cascadia Cup clash between Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers live on FOX (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX Deportes), and the always entertaining California Clasico starring the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy live on Univision on Saturday (10 p.m. ET).
The flurry of weekend rivalries will start up North, when Toronto FC welcomes Trillium Cup foe Columbus Crew SC to BMO Field on Friday night (7 p.m. ET, TSN4), while the weekend will be capped off down South in a heated Texas Derby between FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening (8 p.m. ET, FS1, FOX Deportes).
Brimstone Cup up for grabs as new-look Chicago Fire host Supporters’ Shield winners FC Dallas
The Brimstone Cup – awarded to the winner of the single head-to-head meeting between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas – is up for grabs on Wednesday night at Toyota Park. The Fire will hope to keep the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners at bay and return to the club’s Brimstone Cup dominance which saw the team win the hardware for four consecutive years from 2012-2015. FC Dallas will be up against a new-look Fire team led by German star Bastian Schweinsteiger (two goals, two assists), and will be searching for the club’s first win at Toyota Park since 2011.
Rivalry Notes:
  • FC Dallas won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-1 win July 16 at Toyota Stadium, ending a four-game Fire winning streak in the series.
  • It was the first year since 2011 that FC Dallas had won the Brimstone Cup – awarded by the two supporters’ clubs of the two teams so named when it matched the Fire and the Burn. FCD had won the season series between the clubs every year from 2001-11.
  • The Fire have won the last three meetings at Toyota Park. When the Fire started their four-game series winning streak at Toyota Park in 2012, it was the club’s first win ever in the series in Bridgeview, their last previous home win coming in 2005. It was also the first for the Fire in the all-time series since 2009.
Trillium Cup winner to be decided in final regular season matchup between Toronto and Columbus
The winner of the 2017 Trillium Cup will be decided in Toronto Friday night, when TFC hosts Columbus Crew SC in their third and final regular season matchup. The two teams have already met twice this season, splitting the two matches with respective 2-1 wins, both over less than a month apart at MAPFRE Stadium. TFC will look for a repeat performance of last year when the club won its first Trillium Cup since 2014 with a 3-0 win over Columbus at home that saw goals from Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore. Altidore already has one goal vs. Columbus this year, while Canadian Men’s National Team player Tosaint Ricketts played hero with a brace in the club’s 2-1 win on May 10.
Rivalry Notes:
  • The teams play for the Trillium Cup, the supporters-sponsored award given to the winner of the season series. In the 10 seasons both clubs have been in Major League Soccer together, Crew SC have won the honor on seven occasions.
  • Jozy Altidore has scored three goals vs. Crew SC – the most of any player in TFC club history.
  • Federico Higuaín has scored eight goals and added six assists in 14 league games all-time vs. Toronto FC – the most of any player in Columbus club history.
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Toronto FC 7 wins, 37 goals … Crew SC 13 wins, 45 goals … Ties 10
Portland Timbers look for first ever win at CenturyLink Field in Cascadia Cup clash on FOX
One of North America’s longest and most intense sporting rivalries, spanning multiple leagues and decades, will be on display on Saturday as reigning MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC host the Portland Timbers at CenturyLink Field. This will be the first Cascadia Cup clash between the two clubs this year, with Portland looking for its first ever regular season win on Seattle soil. Sounders FC will take comfort in their home field advantage which has seen the club post a 6-0-2 league record vs. the Timbers at CenturyLink Field, with a 14-4 goal differential.
Rivalry Notes:
  • Sounders FC has won the last five league contests between the clubs in Seattle (though the Timbers did win in Seattle in the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2013).
  • Versions of the club have faced one another in the NASL, Western Soccer League, APSL/A-League/USL First Division and now MLS. Overall, the clubs have met 95 times in official competitions since their first meeting in 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, Seattle winning 48 times, Portland winning 35, and 12 draws.
  • Two big stars have played big parts on both sides of the rivalry. Clint Dempsey has scored eight goals in seven league games vs. Portland, and Fanendo Adi has scored seven goals in eight league appearances (five starts) vs. Seattle.
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sounders FC 8 wins, 31 goals … Timbers 5 wins, 27 goals … Ties 4
LA Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo gets first crack at historic California Clasico at Avaya Stadium on Univision
The 2017 edition of the California Clasico will kick off in San Jose as the Earthquakes welcome the LA Galaxy to Avaya Stadium on Saturday night. This year’s edition will be the final battle for state bragging rights that only features two California teams as expansion club Los Angeles Football Club will join the league in 2018. The two MLS originals have made the most of the notorious Northern-Southern California rivalry over the years, and this time around new Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo will get his first crack in the historic rivalry vs. long-time San Jose boss Dominic Kinnear. Led Mexican star Giovani dos Santos and French newcomer Romain Alessandrini, the Galaxy will look for the club’s first ever win at Avaya Stadium.
Rivalry Notes:
  • The Galaxy have won just once in the last 13 regular season meetings in northern California, across four stadiums – a 1-0 victory June 28, 2014 at Stanford Stadium. The teams have met once all-time at Avaya Stadium, a 1-0 Quakes win Aug. 28, 2015. The Quakes finished undefeated against the Galaxy in league play at their former Buck Shaw Stadium home, with two wins and three draws in five matches there.
  • Chris Wondolowski has now scored seven goals in 17 career appearance vs. LA in league play, the all-time leader among Quakes players.
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Earthquakes 20 wins (1 shootout), 84 goals … Galaxy 29 wins (4 shootout), 100 goals … Ties 14
The battle for ‘El Capitan’ begins in Dallas in Texas Derby showdown
The battle for ‘El Capitan’ – a 19th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon – begins this Sunday when the first installment of this year’s Texas Derby kicks off at Toyota Stadium. The Houston Dynamo will look to retain its title after winning the regular season series last year for the first time since 2012. The Dynamo have pulled off an impressive transformation in 2017 under new coach Wilmer Cabrera and the revitalization of Erick “Cubo” Torres, who has nine goals and one assist in just 11 matches this year. With just two points separating the two Texas clubs in the Western Conference standings, the Texas Derby should be more explosive than ever.
Rivalry Notes:
  • 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 league meetings over the last four years, with one draw. FCD won all five regular-season meetings between the teams from 2013-15.
  • The last Dynamo victory in Frisco came in 2011, FCD winning three home meetings in a row before the draw in the only Toyota Stadium encounter a year ago.
  • Ricardo Clark is the Dynamo’s all-time leader with six goals in 18 matches vs. FC Dallas.
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: FC Dallas 9 wins, 40 goals … Dynamo 10 wins, 40 goals … Ties 8
Toronto seeks second consecutive title while teenage phenoms square off in 2017 Canadian Championship play
All three Canadian MLS clubs kick off 2017 Canadian Championship play with the first match in the two-leg semifinal round. Defending champion Toronto FC will travel to face USL side Ottawa Fury FC at TD Place Stadium on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, TSN1) followed by Vancouver Whitecaps FC playing host to the Montreal Impact at BC Place on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, TSN1). In CONCACAF’s newly redesigned format, this year’s champion will play the 2016 winner Toronto FC in a one-game playoff to represent Canada in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
While Toronto captured last season’s title on aggregate over Vancouver, it was Whitecaps FC midfielder Alphonso Davies who stole headlines when he made his club debut in the semifinals and became the youngest player ever to start for the first team at 15 years old. Davies would then sign a first team contract with Vancouver in July, and has established himself as a steady contributor for the club despite his young age. The 16-year-old is the third youngest player to ever sign an MLS contract. Montreal, meanwhile, has its own teenage phenom in 18-year-old midfielder Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, who has two goals and one assist in his rookie MLS campaign, and will look to make his Canadian Championship debut against Vancouver.
Toronto FC will be eager to secure its record sixth Canadian Championship in the 10-year history of the tournament, but young talents on all sides might prove eager to make marks of their own for the challenging Canadian clubs.
Players with MLS ties earning big minutes at U-20 World Cup
Of the 13 MLS-affiliated players competing at the U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, seven opened the tournament with 90-minute games, including five players from the U.S. squad that began its World Cup pursuits with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Ecuador on Monday, May 22, to earn vital point in the group stage. Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake City, Utah), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Aaron Herrera (Univ. of New Mexico/RSL Academy), and Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; Paradise Valley, Ariz.) remained on the pitch for the entire U.S. match, and will be key players with all eyes now turning to May 25 (7 a.m. ET, FS1), when Americans face group leader Senegal (1-0-0), the only nation in Group F with a win. The U.S. team concludes group play against Saudi Arabia on May 28 (5 a.m. ET, FS1).
Much attention will also be on Venezuela and 19-year-old New York City FC midfielder Yangel Herrera, who saw every minute of action in their 2-0 opening win over Germany. The budding NYCFC playmaker, who picked up a goal and an assist in MLS action before heading into international duty, will next face Vanuatu on May 23 (4 a.m. ET, FS2) and Mexico on May 26 (4 a.m. ET, FS1, Telemundo). Additionally, New York Red Bulls II forward Douglas Martinez went wire to wire for Honduras, which fell 3-0 to France. Martinez will have a chance to help his home nation regain footing against New Zealand on May 25 (7 a.m. ET, FS2/NBC Universo) before facing Vietnam on May 28 (2 a.m. ET, FS2).
Sweet Tweets
Week 13 Game Previews
Thursday, May 25
FC Dallas at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Fire won their third game in a row, defeating D.C. United 1-0 at RFK Stadium. The Fire last won three consecutive games March 29-April 24, 2015; a four-game winning streak would match the second-longest in club history, achieved on six different occasions, last Sept. 2-22, 2012.
  • FC Dallas became final team in MLS in 2017 to suffer a defeat, now 5-1-4 on the season, falling 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Stadium.
Friday, May 26
Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC, 7 p.m. (TSN4)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, having split the first two matches, both over less than a month at Mapfre Stadium. First-half goals from Ola Kamara and Justin Meram answered an earlier strike from Jozy Altidore to give Crew SC a 2-1 win on April 15, then on May 10, Tosaint Ricketts scored twice over the final nine minutes to give TFC a 2-1 victory.
  • Toronto FC had their club-record winning streak put to an end after six games, but still extended their undefeated run, reaching a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
  • Crew SC are concluding a three-game road swing after splitting the first two matches, last a 2-1 defeat by the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Ola Kamara netted his seventh goal of the season, his third over the last five games, tied for fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
Saturday, May 27
Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC, 2:30 p.m. (FOX, TSN)
  • Sounders FC put an end to a three-game losing slide and four-game winless run overall, defeating Real Salt Lake through a Harry Shipp goal in a 1-0 win at CenturyLink Field.
  • The Timbers saw their winless streak extended to four matches with a second loss in that time, falling 4-1 to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo. The Timbers went five games without a win last March 13-April 13; the club’s record in MLS is eight games winless, set in 2014.
  • The Timbers have never won in Seattle in MLS regular season play, Sounders FC now with a 6-0-2 league record in games at CenturyLink Field, with a 14-4 goal differential and wins in the last five league contests in Seattle.
D.C. United at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7 p.m. (TSN)
  • Whitecaps FC returned home off of a four-game road swing and won for the fourth time in the last five matches, defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at BC Place on Saturday afternoon. It was a third consecutive win at BC Place for Whitecaps FC.
  • United suffered a third consecutive loss at RFK Stadium, losing 1-0 to the Chicago Fire. It’s the longest home losing slide for United since losing three in a row March 23-May 8, 2013; United have now been shut out at RFK Stadium in three consecutive games for just the second time in the club’s 22-year history.
New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Red Bulls put an end to a three-game losing slide but still saw their winless streak extended to four games in a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his fifth goal of the season, his first since April 29.
  • Diego Fagundez scored a pair of goals, his second career two-goal game, as the Revolution have won back-to-back games for the first time this season following their 2-1 win against Columbus Crew at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution remained undefeated in Foxborough, now 4-0-2 on their home ground.
  • The Revolution have never won at Red Bull Arena in league play. Since the stadium opened in 2010, the Red Bulls have won seven of eight regular-season games there, with one draw. When the Revolution defeated the Red Bulls 2-1 in Harrison in the first leg of the 2014 Eastern Conference Championship, it was their first win of any sort in New Jersey since 2007.
Sporting Kansas City at Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Dom Dwyer and Seth Sinovic each had a goal and an assist as Sporting won 3-1 at Children’s Mercy Park on April 9.
  • The Rapids concluded a two-game road swing over the week with a second successive loss, falling 2-1 to Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium. The Rapids have lost all six of their away matches this season, one of two teams in MLS still without a point on the road.
  • Sporting had their road winless streak extended to four games with a third defeat in that time, falling 2-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Sporting have won just one of their last nine away matches, dating back to last Oct. 1.
Orlando City SC at Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m.
  • Minnesota United FC have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since the opening two games of their MLS history, following a 2-1 defeat by the LA Galaxy at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Christian Ramirez scored his seventh goal of the season, in a four-way tie for fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Orlando City SC saw their undefeated start in their new stadium come to an end, falling 3-0 to New York City FC at Orlando City Stadium. With their first loss in seven games in their new arena, it matched the second-longest streak for an MLS team opening a new stadium built from the ground up.
  • It’s the first meeting between Minnesota United FC and a member of the expansion class of 2015. It’s also the first between Orlando City SC and an expansion club.
Philadelphia Union at Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m.
  • Real suffered their third consecutive road defeat and their fourth loss in the last five matches overall, falling 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. It was a third consecutive attacking shutout on their travels for RSL, though Nick Rimando saved a penalty kick, the MLS-record 22nd penalty kick saved by Rimando in his career.
  • Philadelphia Union won a club-record fourth consecutive match, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Talen Energy Stadium. CJ Sapong netted his eighth goal of the season, tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot standings; Union conceded their first goal in 378 minutes, the shutout streak the longest in MLS this season and the second-longest in Union club history.
  • Real have never lost to Union in nine meetings all-time. Real have won three times in the series, including a 2-1 win last July 31 at Talen Energy Stadium in the only meeting between the teams.
LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes, 10 p.m. (Univision)
  • The Quakes put an end to their brief two-game winless run and won for a second time in their last three games on the road, handing FC Dallas their first loss in 2017 in a 1-0 win at Toyota Stadium. Jahmir Hyka scored his third goal, his second over the last three matches, for the game’s only goal.
  • The Galaxy have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, following their 2-1 win at Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium. The Galaxy are also now undefeated in their last four games with a second consecutive win on their travels.
  • Giovani dos Santos scored for a third consecutive match for LA, now with four goals for the season, while Romain Alessandrini collected an assist, now with a goal or an assist in three consecutive games.
Sunday, May 28
New York City FC at Atlanta United, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Atlanta United put an end to a three-game winless streak, rolling to a 4-1 win against the Houston Dynamo at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Miguel Almíron scored a hat trick, now with five goals in his first MLS season. It was the second hat trick scored by an Atlanta United this season; they are the first expansion team in MLS history to have two players record hat tricks in its inaugural season (also: Josef Martínez, March 12, vs. Minnesota United FC);
  • New York City FC continued their road swing with a first victory in three games, defeating Orlando City SC 3-0 at Orlando City Stadium on Sunday evening.
  • David Villa scored a pair of goals, now with eight for the season, sitting in a tie for third place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Villa has scored 49 goals in 74 league appearances for his MLS career, the most of any player since he came into the league in 2015; his 12 career multiple-goal games are also the most of any MLS player since 2015.
Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas, 8 p.m. (FS1)
  • The Dynamo lost for a fifth time in five starts on their travels, falling 4-1 to Atlanta United at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday evening. The Dynamo are one of two teams still without a point in away matches this season (also: Colorado Rapids, 0-6-0).
  • Erick Torres scored his ninth goal of the season – his fifth from a penalty kick – sitting in second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • 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 eight league meetings over the last four years, with one draw. The last Dynamo victory in Frisco came in 2011.