Bastian Schweinsteiger - Chicago Fire - April 8, 2017
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This Week in MLS - May 29, 2017

This Week in MLS – May 29, 2017
  • Schweinsteiger versus Johnson rematch was three years in the making
  • Dempsey and Beasley on the brink of USMNT records highlighting stellar MLS production in WCQs
  • Thirty-Five MLS players span the globe to represent national teams in international play
  • MLS young stars captain U.S. and Venezuela to top of groups at U-20 World Cup
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 14 Game Previews
Schweinsteiger versus Johnson rematch was three years in the making
When Orlando City SC (6-5-2) hosts the Chicago Fire (7-3-3) this Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1/FOX Deportes), one of the most highly anticipated reintroductions of the season will feature Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger against Lions midfielder Will Johnson for the first time since the two clashed during the 2014 MLS All-Star Game against Bayern Munich.
Johnson, who was formerly of the Portland Timbers when his tackle sidelined the then-Bayern Munich Schweinsteiger, holds a 1-0, game advantage over the former German National team captain as a result of that 2-1 MLS All-Stars victory at Providence Park. However, the player statistics learn more in attacking midfielder Schweinsteiger’s favor as his two goals and three assists in 10 MLS matches tops a more defensive-oriented Johnson’s one goal and two assists in 12 games this season.   
As the Fire are riding a four-game winning streak, five games unbeaten, and a jump up to second place in both Supporters’ Shield standings and in Eastern Conference, could the tables be turning to level the Johnson-Schweinsteiger record? Or, will the Lions, now ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference, recover from two consecutive losses and a streak of six winless games to regain their home field advantage?
Dempsey and Beasley on the brink of USMNT records highlighting stellar MLS production in WCQs
Approaching a star-studded U.S. Men’s National Team camp that features 15 MLS players, Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey and Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley will be within reach of penning their names in the history books, when the stars and stripes meet Venezuela for a June 3 friendly (10 p.m. ET, FS1/Univision) leading into two huge World Cup Qualifiers.
With an international tally of 56 goals, Dempsey is sitting just one finish away from tying Landon Donovan’s USMNT scoring record, and he could be closer to breaking it than he thinks with another inspired performance reminiscent of the hat trick against Honduras and goal against Panama that marked his triumphant return to international competition in March. 
Also with a groundbreaking opportunity, Beasley has the incredible chance to become the first U.S. player to appear in five different qualifying cycles if he can see action against Trinidad and Tobago at Dick’s Sporting Good Park on June 8 (7:50 p.m. ET, FS1/ UniMas/UDN) or against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on June 11 (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, Univision, UDN).
As the USMNT heads South of the border, Mexican international Giovani dos Santos, a familiar MLS foe with six goals and an assist for the LA Galaxy this season, will be chomping at the bit for the chance to go toe-to-toe against League opponents on the international stage. Plus, Real Salt Lake’s newly signed forward Jefferson Savarino, who occupies a Designated Player spot, could be stepping in between the lines for Venezuela.
The international scene has reaped some fruitful benefits from MLS talent, as particularly in Hexagonal games this cycle, MLS mainstays have accounted for seven of eight U.S. goals along with an additional seven other combined finishes for Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago.
U.S. MNT Roster By Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 13/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 35/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6),Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 11/1), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 3/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 20/2), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 3/0), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 14/0), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 0/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 4/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 2/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 6/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 17/3)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 2/0),Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 2/1),Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 8/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/6), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 15/1), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 5/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 38/18)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 36/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 38/18), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/4)
Thirty-Six MLS players span the globe to represent national teams in international play
MLS players embark across the globe this week as 36 standouts have received the call to represent their national teams for international play during the month of June. In addition to the 15 MLS standouts called to the U.S. Men’s National Team, many more MLS players are expected to receive a call up as additional rosters are announced in the coming days.
Atlanta United 23-year-old midfielder Miguel Almiron enters Paraguay’s camp in tremendous form with five goals in his previous two matches, while Venezuelan Jefferson Savarino has made an immediate impact with Real Salt Lake, producing two assists in two MLS starts after he was signed to a Designated Player contract earlier this month.
Eight Costa Rican players and one Mexican player in Giovani dos Santos are set to play in 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying play, while Trinidad & Tobago, Honduras and Panama have yet to announce rosters.
A complete list of MLS players called up for international duty can be found here.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Haris Medunjanin – Philadelphia Union
Ambroise Oyongo – Montreal Impact
Costa Rica
Christian Bolaños – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Francisco Calvo – Minnesota United FC
David Guzman – Portland Timbers
Ronald Matarrita – New York City FC
Marco Ureña – San Jose Earthquakes
Johan Venegas – Minnesota United FC
Rodney Wallace – New York City FC
Kendall Waston – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Mohammed Abu – Columbus Crew SC
Harrison Afful – Columbus Crew SC
Jonathan Mensah – Columbus Crew SC
Giovani dos Santos – LA Galaxy
New Zealand
Kip Colvey – San Jose Earthquakes
Miguel Almiron – Atlanta United
Clement Diop – LA Galaxy
Albert Rusnak – Real Salt Lake
Antonio Delamea Milinar – New England Revolution
Jefferson Savarino – Real Salt Lake
MLS young stars captain U.S. and Venezuela to top of groups at U-20 World Cup
The United States and Venezuela both clinched the top spot among their respective groups at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic last week behind the leadership of MLS standouts, and will now advance to the Round of 16. Venezuela next faces Japan on Tuesday in Daejon (4 a.m. ET, FS1/Telemundo) while the United States squares off against New Zealand on Thursday in Incheon for a chance to advance to the quarterfinals (7 a.m. ET, FS1).
Real Salt Lake forward Brooks Lennon scored the United States’ only goal in a 1-1 draw against Saudi Arabia to secure the team’s top-of-the-table finish, while New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams drew rave reviews for his performance throughout the group stage of the tournament. The U.S. match against Saudi Arabia saw seven MLS-affiliated players start, including Sporting Kansas City defender and United States team captain Erik Palmer-Brown.
Venezuela, meanwhile, finished with a perfect 3-0-0 record in group play after New York City FC midfielder Yangel Herrera captained the squad to three shutout victories over Mexico, Germany and Vanuatu.
Of the 14 U-20 World Cup players to advance through MLS academies or play for first team squads, 13 remain in contention for the title.
Toronto in need of rally to keep repeat Canadian Championship hopes alive
Toronto FC has put forth a red hot run of form in MLS play with an eight-game undefeated streak, but after falling behind to Ottawa Fury FC 2-1 in the first leg of 2017 Canadian Championship semifinal play, the team will need to bring some of its recent magic to the second leg when the teams square off on Wednesday at BMO Field (7 p.m. ET, TSN).
If Toronto wants a repeat of its 2016 Canadian Championship title, it will need to follow in the footsteps of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, which completed a comeback last year in the semifinals against Ottawa after falling behind 2-0 in the first leg. Toronto has shown tremendous depth all season long and possesses some of the most dangerous playmakers in MLS this season with Victor Vazquez (eight assists) and Raheem Edwards (five assists) ranking first and tied for third in the league in helpers this season.
In the other semifinal matchup, the Montreal Impact host Vancouver at Stade Saputo on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN) after falling 2-1 in first leg action. Whitecaps FC 16-year-old midfielder Alphonso Davies dazzled with a goal and assist in the first leg victory, while Montreal 20-year-old midfielder David Choiniere kept the Impact within striking distance with a goal of his own.
Sweet Tweets
Week 14 Game Previews
Wednesday, May 31
D.C. United at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • D.C. United put an end to their three-game losing streak and shutout streak, getting the game’s only goal for a win at Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • Orlando City have matched their MLS club record with a six-game winless run, following a second consecutive defeat in a 1-0 loss at Minnesota United FC.
New England Revolution at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
  • NYCFC return home for the first time since May 7, concluding a four-game road swing with a 3-1 loss at Atlanta United.
  • The Revolution had their two-game winning streak put to an end, falling 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
Seattle Sounders FC at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Crew SC concluded a three-game road swing with a second consecutive loss, a 5-0 defeat at Toronto FC at BMO Field, the heaviest loss in the club’s 22-year history.
  • Sounders FC have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, following their 1-0 win against arch-rivals Portland Timbers at CenturyLink Field.
Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Dynamo gained a point on the road for the first time this season, reaching a scoreless draw with FC Dallas in the first Texas Derby of the season at Toyota Stadium.
  • Real Salt Lake won for a second consecutive home game, a Joao Plata goal giving them a 1-0 win against Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The Dynamo’s 1-0 win vs. Real last May 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium ended a two-game RSL winning streak in Houston – after going their nine games without a victory (0-8-1).
Friday, June 2
San Jose Earthquakes at Portland Timbers, 11 p.m. (UniMás)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Chris Wondolowski scored two goals and set up a third from Jahmir Hyka as the Quakes rolled to a 3-0 win May 6 at Avaya Stadium.
  • The Timbers suffered a second consecutive defeat and saw their winless run extended to five games overall, dropping a 1-0 decision to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
  • The Quakes went a second consecutive home match without a win, falling 4-2 to the LA Galaxy at Avaya Stadium.
  • The Timbers have never lost to the Quakes at home in their MLS history. The Timbers have won six of nine meetings between the teams in Portland, with three draws
Saturday, June 3
Philadelphia Union at New York City FC, 1 p.m.
  • Union had their club-record four-game winning streak put to an end, dropping a 1-0 decision at Real Salt Lake.
  • Jack Harrison has a single-season career-high five goals after netting in NYCFC’s 3-1 loss at Atlanta United, surpassing his total of four goals set in his rookie campaign last year.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jack Harrison and David Villa netted goals after the break – Villa’s a remarkable strike from nearly the halfway line – as NYCFC took a 2-0 victory April 14 at Talen Energy Stadium, their second win in three visits to Chester.
Minnesota United FC at Sporting Kansas City, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Minnesota United put an end to a two-game losing slide, defeating Orlando City SC 1-0 at TCF Bank Stadium. Christian Ramirez scored for a second consecutive match, now with eight goals on the season, tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Sporting lost a second consecutive match – shut out for a second game in a row – in their 1-0 loss at the Colorado Rapids.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Abu Danladi scored his first professional goal and added his first assist in his first MLS start, leading Minnesota United to a 2-0 win May 7 at TCF Bank Stadium.
Atlanta United at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 5:30 p.m. (TSN 3/4/5)
  • Miguel Almíron made it five goals over the last two matches, hitting for a brace as Atlanta United won for a second consecutive match in a 3-1 win against New York City FC at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
  • Whitecaps FC had their three-game winning run at BC Place put to an end, falling by the game’s lone goal to D.C. United.
LA Galaxy at D.C. United, 7 p.m.
  • Giovani dos Santos scored for a fourth consecutive game, now with five goals over that span, as the Galaxy rolled to a 4-2 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. It was a third consecutive win on the road for the Galaxy, the second time in club history they’ve achieved it (first in 2010).
  • Bill Hamid recorded the 45th shutout of his MLS career in D.C. United’s 1-0 win against Vancouver, the youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to reach that total.
  • D.C. United won the last meeting at RFK Stadium, a 1-0 victory March 28, 2015, ending a 10-game Galaxy undefeated streak in the all-time series. The Galaxy had won five of the matches in between, with five draws, dating back to 2008.
New York Red Bulls at Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m. (TVAS)
  • The Red Bulls put an end to a four-game winless run, Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring for a second consecutive game in a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Impact return to league action after putting an end to their two-game losing slide at Stade Saputo in their last MLS match, a 4-1 win against the Portland Timbers on May 20. Ignacio Piatti scored a pair of goals, now with six for the season, having scored in back-to-back matches.
  • The Impact have won once in the last nine league meetings between the teams (with two draws), dating back to 2013. The Red Bulls have won all seven regular season meetings at Red Bull Arena, and have come away with points on three of their six league trips to Montréal all-time.
Toronto FC at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (TSN 3/4/5)
  • Toronto FC extended their undefeated run to eight games with a seventh victory in that time, equaling the club record with five goals in their 5-0 win against Columbus Crew SC at BMO Field.
  • Victor Vazquez scored a pair of goals, his second and third of the season; already leading MLS with eight assists, his combined goals and assists of 11 is second-most in MLS this season.
  • When Toronto FC won the final meeting between the teams a year ago, a 4-1 win Aug. 6 at BMO Field, it ended an eight-game undefeated streak in the series for the Revolution (5-0-3), dating back to the 2013 season. The Revolution are undefeated in the last four meetings in Foxborough, with two wins and two draws in that time.
Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas, 8 p.m.
  • FC Dallas had their winless streak extended to four matches, but snapped a two-game losing slide, reaching a goalless draw with the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Stadium – a second consecutive attacking shutout on their home ground.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Maximiliano Urruti scored a pair of goals and Matt Hedges also added one as FCD rolled to a 3-0 win, May 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • RSL is 1-12-2 at FC Dallas all-time in league games between the clubs, FCD winning the last three meetings there. FC Dallas has also won a home game in the MLS Cup Playoffs (in 2010) and a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal (in 2011). The lone RSL win in Frisco came July 13, 2013, a 3-0 victory.
Columbus Crew SC at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.
  • The Rapids put an end to a two-game losing skid, winning for the second time in their last 10 matches, defeating Sporting KC 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Homegrown Player Kortne Ford scored his first professional goal for the lone tally in the Rapids’ win vs. SKC.
Sunday, June 4
Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
  • The Fire won their fourth game in a row last time out, getting two goals in the first nine minutes for a 2-1 win against FC Dallas. The four-game winning streak equals the second-longest in club history, last in 2012. The Fire also remained undefeated at Toyota Park with their fifth consecutive home win.
  • David Accam scored for a fifth consecutive game, a Fire club record. Accam now has seven goals for the season, six of those coming over the last seven games, now sitting in a tie for sixth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Orlando City have yet to lose to the Fire in league play, with two wins in five meetings all-time (with three draws. They have not won at home, however, playing to a draw in each meeting in Orlando.
Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Erick Torres and Romell Quioto netted first-half goals as the Dynamo took a 2-1 win March 4 at BBVA Compass Stadium in the season opener for both clubs.
  • Sounders FC have never lost to the Dynamo in Seattle. In seven league meetings all-time, Sounders FC have won five, with one draw, outscoring Houston 10-2. Meanwhile, the Dynamo have never lost to Sounders FC in Houston – in eight meetings all-time there, the Dynamo have won four, with four draws.