Dom Dwyer - close-up - at Orlando City introduction
Mark Thor / Orlando City SC

This Week in MLS – August 7, 2017

This Week in MLS – August 7, 2017
  • Young international signings, blockbuster trade highlight active transfer window set to close on Wednesday
  • Scoring takes center stage with Villa vs. Nikolic in tight Golden Boot Race and Wondo within reach of all-time record
  • Quakes vie for first U.S. Open Cup finals appearance when they visit Sporting on Wednesday
  • Streaking Sounders FC Host Best in the West Sporting Kansas City on Saturday
  • MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo award Keith Palau and Embrace Oregon with 2017 Community MVP grand prize
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 22 Game Previews
 
Young international signings, blockbuster trade highlight active transfer window set to close on Wednesday
Major League Soccer has seen a flurry of roster moves since its secondary transfer window opened on July 10, highlighted by a blockbuster deal and a number of young international signings ahead of the close of the transfer window on Aug. 9. Teams have two days remaining to make an addition in hopes of boosting their postseason chances heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
 
Perhaps the biggest story in MLS over the past month was Orlando City SC’s acquisition of U.S. Men’s National Team forward Dom Dwyer from Sporting Kansas City in a record-breaking deal. Dwyer, who broke out with the U.S. during the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and scored the equalizing goal in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target against Real Madrid, returns to Orlando where he previously played with the club while on before the team’s move to MLS.
 
Orlando also signed 27-year-old Yoshimar Yotún to a designated player contract during the transfer window following the midfielder’s standout performances with the Peru National Team in three Copa America tournaments (2011, 2015, 2016).
 
Yotún is one of 18 new players signed to MLS contracts during this transfer window, joined by Mexico’s Jonathan dos Santos, who joins older brother Giovani in Los Angeles following a standout performance in the 2017 FIFA Confederation’s Cup.
 
The 18 players signed thus far in the secondary transfer window average 24.89 years of age, with 10 of the 18 (55.56%) possessing at least one cap for their respective national team.
 
Players signed during secondary transfer window:
 
Player Team Age Birth Country National Team
Francois Affolter San Jose 26 Switzerland Switzerland
Stefan Aigner Colorado 29 Germany  
Deian Boldor Montreal 22 Romania  
Michael Boxall Minnesota 28 New Zealand New Zealand
Claude Dielna New England 29 France  
Jonathan dos Santos LA 27 Mexico Mexico
Fidel Escobar NYRB 22 Panama Panama
Victor Fernandez Seattle 28 Spain  
Nicolas Hasler Toronto 26 Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
Muhamed Keita NYRB 26 Gambia  
Stefan Marinovic Vancouver 25 New Zealand New Zealand
Tomas Martinez Houston 22 Argentina  
Bruno Miranda DC 19 Bolivia Bolivia
Sam Nicholson Minnesota 22 Scotland  
Samuel Piette Montreal 22 Canada Canada
Bill Tuiloma Portland 22 New Zealand New Zealand
Pele van Anholt LA 26 Netherlands  
Yoshimar Yotun Orlando 27 Peru Peru
 
 
Scoring takes center stage with Villa vs. Nikolic in tight Golden Boot Race and Wondo within reach of all-time record
The 2017 Golden Boot race is heating up after New York City FC forward David Villa not only scored a hat trick, but also notched his 17th goal of the season to overtake the former league-leading tally of 16 held by Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolić. An MLS All-Star and the top-ranked finisher for the past 10 straight weeks, Nikolić has established himself as force to be reckoned with after two impressive scoring streaks, including six goals in four games from April 29-May 17 and five goals in four games from June 10-July 1. Nikolić has accounted for 16 goals in the span of 18 games to date this season, but he has also experienced a bit of a dry spell in recent weeks, going without a single finish in the last month from July 5-Aug. 5. Villa, on the other hand, is living up to the steady production that earned him 2016 MLS Landon Donovan Most Valuable player honors. Finishing one goal at a time for much of the 2017 season, his sparks of two-goal games on March 12, May 21 and June 17 in addition to his first MLS career three-goal game on Aug. 6 could prove this year’s race to be more of a marathon than a sprint.
 
San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski is rapidly closing in on the MLS all-time career goal-scoring record, as he currently sits in fourth place with a tally of 130 goals scored in his 13 seasons. With 12 games remaining and San Jose barely above the playoff line, some late season heroics could see Wondo catching D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno’s third-place tally of 133 goals scored in 15 seasons or former Columbus Crew SC striker Jeff Cunningham’s second-place total of 134 earned in 14 seasons. Landon Donovan holds the top spot with 145 goals scored in his 15 MLS seasons. 
 
Below is the all-time MLS goal-scoring list:
 
Player
Last or Current Team
GP
Goals
Landon Donovan
LA Galaxy
340
145
Jeff Cunningham        
Columbus Crew SC
365
134
Jaime Moreno                    
D.C. United
340
133
Chris Wondolowski               
San Jose Earthquakes
282
130
Ante Razov                      
Chivas USA
262
114
Jason Kreis
Real Salt Lake
305
108
Dwayne De Rosario               
Toronto FC
343
104
Taylor Twellman
New England Revolution
174
101
Edson Buddle
LA Galaxy
304
100
Kei Kamara
New England Revolution
275
94
 
Quakes vie for first U.S. Open Cup finals appearance when they visit three-time winners Sporting on Wednesday
The San Jose Earthquakes have never advanced to the finals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. They hope to change that trend when they visit Sporting Kansas City during Wednesday’s semifinal stage at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. (8:30 p.m. ET).
 
The Quakes have reached this stage of the tournament just once before in 2004, and coincidentally it was the Kansas City Wizards who ended San Jose’s run with a 1-0 victory on an Igor Simutenkov penalty kick strike. SKC is hoping to advance to the final for a fourth time, having won the crown in each previous championship appearance (2004 as the Wizards, 2012 and 2014).
 
Wednesday’s result automatically means an MLS squad will reach the final. The league is vying for a ninth consecutive all-MLS final. On the other side of the bracket, the New York Red Bulls will wait until Tuesday, Aug. 15, for their road semifinal against the USL’s FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati (8 p.m. ET). The Red Bulls are hoping to reach their second Open Cup final after the former N.Y./N.J. MetroStars were runner-up to the Chicago Fire in 2003. The Red Bulls advanced past the New England Revolution 1-0 on July 13 on a last-minute Bradley Wright-Phillips goal.
 
Cincinnati has been the Cinderella Story of the 2017 tournament, coming off a 1-0 win against the NASL’s Miami FC in the quarterfinals on Aug. 2. Cincinnati previously posted a 1-0 win against Columbus Crew SC in the fourth round and topped the Fire 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout in the Round of 16. FCC is looking to become the first lower-division team since the Charleston Battery to advance to the final. In 2008, Charleston finished runner-up to D.C. United.
 
Streaking Sounders FC Host Best in the West Sporting Kansas City on Saturday
Riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3 record), Seattle Sounders FC continued their steady climb up the Western Conference table over the weekend, but must face Western Conference leader Sporting Kansas City on the path to the top spot.  Sporting have put together a nine-game unbeaten streak of their own and may prove to be a tough opponent as they have gone undefeated in their last three away matches.
 
Seattle is currently tied on 34 points with the Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers, and just three points shy of opponent Sporting Kansas City (9-4-10, 37 points).
 
The Sounders’ rise can be credited to a defense that has posted three straight clean sheets. Seattle’s defensive turnaround is a huge contrast to a side that has conceded three or more goals in four games so far this season. Such was the case when the Sounders and Sporting met last time, when SKC earned a 3-0 victory on May 17 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. Gerso Fernandes recorded a second-half hat trick in just a 13-minute span.
 
The race to the playoffs is on, and both clubs will be jockeying for position as the second half of the season continues.
 
MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo award Keith Palau and Embrace Oregon with 2017 Community MVP grand prize
MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo announced during halftime of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday the 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Grand Prize winner, Keith Palau.
 
Palau, the Portland Timbers community representative, won a $25,000 check from MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo for Embrace Oregon. Founded in 2012, Embrace Oregon connects caring community members with vulnerable children and families in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services.
 
A long-time leader in the charitable actions of the Timbers Army’s 107ist organization, Palau was nominated as the Timbers Community MVP after recently creating Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC-themed visitation rooms in the Oregon Department of Human Services offices to provide a welcoming and warm environment for foster children and their families, as part of the Timbers sixth-annual Stand Together Week. In just 48 hours, Palau raised over $8,500 for the project and received a major donation from La-Z-Boy Furniture. Additionally, Palau organized a team of 93 volunteers, who dedicated nearly 800 hours of work toward the cleaning, priming, painting and staging of the visitation rooms at the Oregon Department of Human Services offices in Beaverton, Ore.
 
All 22 MLS clubs selected one Community MVP finalist to represent their club. Palau competed against finalists from 21 MLS clubs in a three-week public voting window. The contest recognizes leaders in the community who utilize soccer to improve the lives of others.
 
Sweet Tweets
 
Week 22 Game Previews
Saturday, Aug. 12
Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC, 4 p.m. ET
  • Sounders FC extended their undefeated streak to seven matches with a third consecutive shutout, rolling to a 4-0 win against Minnesota United FC. It was a third consecutive shutout for Sounders FC who have now gone 310 minutes since allowing their last goal, the eighth-longest shutout streak in the club’s MLS history.
  • Clint Dempsey scored a pair of goals, now with nine goals on the season, his second two-goal game in his past three appearances and the 11th multiple-goal game of his MLS career. Joevin Jones added his 10th assist of the season, the most by a listed defender this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City extended their undefeated streak to nine games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United. The nine consecutive games without a loss is the club’s longest streak since a 13-game undefeated run over the end of the 2012 season and the first game in 2013; Sporting have also now gone 21 consecutive home games without a loss, the sixth-longest home undefeated streak in MLS history.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Gerso Fernandes scored a hat trick inside of 13 minutes in the second half – the 10th-fastest three-goal clip in MLS history – in Sporting’s 3-0 win on May 17 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting won in the last league meeting at CenturyLink Field, a 1-0 victory in the 2016 season opener for both clubs on March 6, just their second win ever in Seattle. But Sounders FC won the Knockout Round match between the clubs in Seattle in the MLS Cup Playoffs, a 1-0 victory last Oct. 27.
 
Portland Timbers at Toronto FC, 6 p.m. ET (TSN2)
  • Toronto FC extended their undefeated streak to five games with a third draw in that time, reaching a 1-1 result with D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • It was a third consecutive away match without a loss for Toronto FC. They have the best away record in MLS this season, the only team above the .500 mark (4-3-5).
  • The Timbers extended their undefeated streak to three games with a second victory in that time, defeating the LA Galaxy 3-1 at Providence Park on Sunday.
  • Diego Valeri scored a goal for a second consecutive game, now with 12 goals for the season, sitting in a tie for fourth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, his second-highest seasonal mark in his five MLS campaigns.
  • TFC have never lost to the Timbers at home, winning the past two meetings there, back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015. The Timbers have never lost to Toronto FC in Portland in three matches all-time, winning the past two meetings there, including a 2-1 win on May 1, 2016, in the only meeting a season ago.
 
Real Salt Lake at D.C. United, 7 p.m. ET
  • D.C. United ended their long losing run but still saw their winless streak extended to seven games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at RFK Stadium. The six-game losing run was one game shy of the United club record, set in 2013; the seven-game winless run is the club’s longest since United recorded 15 games without a victory, set Aug. 10, 2013-March 29, 2014.
  • Real Salt Lake extended their undefeated streak to five games with a third consecutive draw, reaching a scoreless result with the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium. All three draws have come in home matches, Real now with a 4-4-4 record in Sandy this season.
  • Nick Rimando was credited with one save in keeping the clean sheet, the 134th of his MLS career (the all-time league record). It was his fifth shutout this season, his first since June 17.
  • Real Salt Lake have never won at RFK Stadium. United have won six of the nine league encounters all-time on East Capitol Street, and also claimed a U.S. Open Cup play-in match there in 2010. Their last meeting in Washington was a wild 6-4 D.C. United win in 2015, the 10 total goals tied for second-most in a game in MLS history.
 
Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The Fire and Crew SC are meeting for the third time this season. The teams reached a 1-1 draw in the season opener on March 4 at Mapfre Stadium as Crew SC’s Ethan Finlay and the Fire’s David Accam traded goals, then Nemanja Nikolic scored the game’s only goal for a Fire win on April 8 at Toyota Park.
  • The Fire win in the last meeting ended a 10-game winless streak against Crew SC. The last Fire victory had come June 22, 2013, a 2-1 win in Columbus. Crew SC are undefeated in their past six home meetings in the series.
  • Crew SC saw their winless streak extended to three games with a second loss in that time, falling 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The Fire returned home and put an end to a two-game losing run (and three-game winless stretch), defeating the New England Revolution 4-1 at Toyota Park. The win was the ninth in a row at Toyota Park for the Fire, the club’s all-time record in its 20 MLS seasons.
  • The Fire scored four goals for a third consecutive home game, now with 44 goals in their 22 games this season, the most in MLS. Patrick Doody recorded three assists, equaling the Fire club record set five times previously, last by Cuauhtémoc Blanco on May 25, 2008 vs. the New York Red Bulls.
 
Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The Red Bulls had their four-game winning run put to an end, falling 3-2 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a pair of goals, now with 13 goals for the season, sitting in third place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. It was a third consecutive game with a goal for Wright-Phillips, and also his second multiple-goal game of the season. He now has 18 multiple goal games in his MLS career to tie for fifth-most in league history.
  • Sacha Kljestan recorded a pair of assists, now with 12 for the season, leading the MLS assist standings by two. It was his fourth consecutive game with an assist, with six assists in that time.
  • Orlando City SC saw their winless streak extended to four games with a third defeat in that time, falling 2-1 to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo.
  • Cyle Larin scored his ninth goal of the season – the 40th goal of Larin’s MLS career, in 79 career league appearances. Larin became the youngest player in MLS history to reach the 40-goal plateau (at 22 years, 111 days).
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, as Servando Carrasco scored the game’s lone goal to give Orlando City the win April 9 at Orlando City Stadium. The win in the first meeting was Orlando City’s first at home in the all-time series, and just the second in six meetings with the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls won both meetings a year ago at Red Bull Arena; OCSC’s first win in the series was a 5-2 victory on Sept. 25, 2015, at Red Bull Arena.
 
Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas, 8 p.m. ET
  • FC Dallas lost their second consecutive game, falling 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union. The back-to-back losses are the second occurrence for FCD this season, also losing back-to-back games May 20 (vs. San Jose) and May 25 (at Chicago).
  • The Rapids had their winless streak extended to four games with a second draw in that time, reaching a 2-2 result with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Kevin Doyle scored his fifth goal of the season, his first since July 1. Doyle has scored five goals or more in each of his three MLS seasons, with a single-season career-high of six last year.
  • The Rapids have won the past two meetings with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium, including a 1-0 win last Sept. 26 in the last match between the teams. FC Dallas had won four consecutive home meetings before the two Rapids wins.
  • The teams have played to three consecutive 1-1 draws at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have won just one of their past seven home matches against FCD, with three draws, dating back to the 2012 season, now winless in their past four meetings with Dallas in Commerce City.
 
Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union, 8 p.m. ET (TVA Sports)
  • The Union won for a second time in the last three matches, easing to a 3-1 win against FC Dallas. Philadelphia has won four consecutive matches at Talen Energy Stadium, equaling the club’s second-longest home winning streak.
  • CJ Sapong scored a pair of goals, extending his MLS single-season career-high to 12 goals, sitting in a four-way tie for fourth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Sapong has three goals and two assists in the past three games.
  • The Impact put an end to a two-game losing slide, defeating Orlando City SC 2-1 at Stade Saputo.
  • Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored his sixth goal of the season. Jackson-Hamel has now scored seven goals in his MLS career – five of those have come in the 77th minute or later, six of them having come after entering the game as a substitute.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. The Impact overcame a three-goal deficit with Jackson-Hamel scoring the second of his two goals three minutes from full time to leave the teams in a 3-3 draw April 22 at Talen Energy Stadium; then on July 19, Michael Salazar and Blerim Dzemaili each scored as the Impact took a 2-1 win at Stade Saputo.
  • The visiting team has won once in the all-time series – a 1-0 Union victory in 2015 at Stade Saputo. The Union have won two of the seven matchups in Chester, with five draws.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at New England Revolution, 8 p.m. ET (TSN2)
  • The Revolution had their two-game winning run put to an end, falling 4-1 to the Chicago Fire. The loss was a second in a row on their travels for the Revolution, now having gone 13 games since their away victory, matching the club record set April 5-Oct. 6, 2012.
  • Kei Kamara scored his eighth goal of the season, hitting the back of the net for a third consecutive game. Kamara has four goals over his last three games.
  • Whitecaps FC continued their road swing with a second consecutive result, gaining a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids. The draw extended Whitecaps FC’s road undefeated streak to three games, with two wins and a draw in that span.
  • The road team has won the past two meetings between the clubs. The Revolution won 2-1 on June 18, 2016 at BC Place; the year previous, Whitecaps FC took a 2-1 win on June 27 at Gillette Stadium.
 
San Jose Earthquakes at Houston Dynamo, 9 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Erick Torres and Alberth Elis netted goals on either side of halftime to give the Dynamo a 2-0 win April 22 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • The Quakes have won once at BBVA Compass Stadium in five meetings, a 1-0 win in 2015. The Dynamo have won two of the three meetings between the teams at Avaya Stadium, including a 2-1 win last Aug. 19 in the last encounter in San Jose.
  • The Dynamo extended their undefeated streak to five games with a third draw in that time, reaching a goalless result with Real Salt Lake. It was a third consecutive result on their travels for the Dynamo, with a win and two draws in those three away matches.
  • Chris Wondolowski scored his ninth goal of the season as the Quakes won their second consecutive game, coming back for a 2-1 win against Columbus Crew SC at Avaya Stadium. The two-game winning streak matches the season-high for the Quakes, achieved three times previously (last: June 24 vs. Real Salt Lake; July 1 vs. LA Galaxy).
 
New York City FC at LA Galaxy, 11 p.m. ET (FS1)

 

  • The Galaxy had their winless stretch extended to seven matches, falling 3-1 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The seven-game winless run equals the fourth-longest in club history, the longest since a seven-game winless stretch last year from May 11-June 25.
  • New York City FC returned to their winning ways, defeating the New York Red Bulls 3-2. NYCFC is now undefeated at Yankee Stadium in their past eight home matches.
  • David Villa scored a hat trick, the first of his MLS career. Villa took over the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 17 goals for the season, now one ahead of Nemanja Nikolic of the Chicago Fire. Villa has scored nine goals over the past eight games, dating back to June 17; it was the 14th multiple-goal game of Villa’s MLS career, the most of any player since his entrance into the league (in 2015).
  • The teams have split their two meetings all-time, each winning on their home ground. A year ago, Villa scored the only goal of the game after five minutes on Aug. 20 as NYCFC took the win at Yankee Stadium. In 2015, Robbie Keane scored a pair of goals as the Galaxy rolled to a 5-1 win at StubHub Center on Aug. 13 in the first meeting ever between the clubs.
  •  
Series: 
Topics: