Clint Dempsey - US national team vs. Costa Rica - September 1, 2017
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This Week in MLS – September 4, 2017

This Week in MLS – September 4, 2017
  • MLS players prep for head-to-head action a week after scoring game-winning goals in international play
  • Dempsey, U.S. MNT look to revive WCQ attack at Honduras on Tuesday
  • Atlanta United to debut brand-new home sweet home on Sunday
  • Houston Dynamo return to home field as humanitarians
  • Crew SC put four-game home winning streak on line against Sporting this Sunday on ESPN
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 27 Game Previews
 
MLS players prep for head-to-head action a week after scoring game-winning goals in international play
With a record 91 MLS players receiving a call to represent their national teams last week, a number of countries received boosts from MLS standouts in the form of game-winning goals and 90-minute performances. MLS players continue facing off in head-to-head action over the remaining two days of play in the September international window.
 
In CONCACAF action, San Jose Earthquakes forward Marco Ureña lifted Costa Rica with a brace in a 2-0 victory over the United States last week and looks to push Los Ticos to first place in the Hexagonal standings when hosting Mexico on Tuesday (10:05 p.m. ET). Costa Rica features seven MLS players on its roster and will take on a Mexican squad with a trio of Los Angeles-based MLS players in recently signed LAFC midfielder Carlos Vela and LA Galaxy midfielders Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos. Elsewhere in CONCACAF action, a contingent of six MLS players on Panama will host Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday looking to climb into World Cup qualifying position (10:05 p.m. ET). Trinidad and Tobago fell to Honduras last week despite a goal from Seattle Sounders FC defender Joevin Jones.
 
In a friendly between CONCACAF national teams, Canada avenged its Gold Cup loss to Jamaica with a 2-0 victory on Saturday behind goals from a pair of MLS Homegrown players. Montreal Impact forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored a goal, then added an assist on Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio’s 30th-minute goal in a promising performance for a Canada squad that saw nine MLS players take the field.
 
With an eye toward Europe, three newcomers to MLS scored goals to help their national teams capture a crucial positive result. Montreal Impact midfielder Blerim Džemaili scored in Switzerland’s 3-0 victory over Latvia on Sunday to help the No. 4 ranked team in the world remain as one of two teams with a perfect record in UEFA World Cup Qualifying play. Elsewhere, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Vako Qazaishvili boosted Georgia with a goal in a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland, while New York City FC midfielder Alexander Ring scored the only goal in Finland’s 1-0 victory over Iceland.
 
A complete list of MLS players called up for international duty sorted by club can be found here.
 
Dempsey, U.S. MNT look to revive WCQ attack at Honduras on Tuesday
The U.S. Men’s National Team hopes this past Friday was just a minor blip in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, and the squad has a prime opportunity to revive the attack it showed the last time it faced Honduras. Los Catrachos host the USA on Tuesday at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (5:30 p.m. ET, beIN SPORTS, Universo).
 
Seattle Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey was the star the last time the U.S. took on Honduras, recording a hat trick by the 54th minute during the USA’s triumphant 6-0 victory on March 24 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Dempsey leads all players with four goals in the Hexagonal, and that match win is still the most lopsided victory in CONCACAF’s fifth round of this qualifying cycle.
 
The U.S. all-time goals record will continue to sit front and center every time Dempsey takes the pitch. Dempsey and MLS legend Landon Donovan share the national team record with 57 goals in their international careers.
 
Honduras’ Houston Dynamo-tied duo of former midfielder Alex Lopez and current Houston striker Alberth Elis served as the difference makers during Los Catrachos’ 2-1 victory at Trinidad and Tobago on Friday. They tallied in the seventh and 16th minutes, respectively, to provide a spark in ending a four-game winless stretch in qualifying (0-2-2). The Dynamo’s Honduras contingent also included a full 90 minutes from Romell Quioto and a second-half appearance by Boniek Garcia.
 
The magnitude of Tuesday’s game is heightened for the U.S. MNT, which is coming off its first loss under head coach Bruce Arena, a 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica that included a brace from the San Jose Earthquakes’ Marco Ureña. The U.S. and Honduras sit side-by-side in the Hexagonal standings (2-3-2, 8 points apiece), with the USA holding a goal differential advantage in third place.
 
Three Hexagonal matches remain and only two automatic qualification spots - and the fourth-place playoff position against the Oceania region - are up for grabs. Three road points would certainly solidify the USA’s outlook at booking a spot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
 
Atlanta United to debut brand-new home sweet home on Sunday
In arguably the world’s most anticipated stadium opening of the year, Atlanta United will host FC Dallas in the first regular season game of any kind at the sparkling new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 10 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1/FOX Deportes).
 
In the midst of a landmark inaugural season, Atlanta United is boasting average attendance of more than 40,000 fans per game, which is the most of any team in any of the big five American sports leagues outside of the NFL.
 
Atlanta is sitting just above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference and hoping to snap a four-game winless streak to extend its current home record (6-2-1) to seven wins. The opposing FC Dallas is in a similar position with just one point edging the club above the playoff line ahead of San Jose in the Western Conference. FC Dallas will be looking to break a streak of seven consecutive games without a win (0-4-3), last posting a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Impact on July 22.
 
Will Atlanta United’s strength in numbers provide the home field advantage to pull out a win, or will the reigning Supporters’ Shield captors regain their form and get back into the win column?

Houston Dynamo return to home field as humanitarians
The Houston Dynamo will return to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, September 9 (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live) for the first home match since Hurricane Harvey devastated the club’s local community. Aiding with the recovery, the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash last week announced that the organization, along with Major League Soccer, MLS WORKS, and MLS clubs, will donate at least $1 million to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in the Houston area.
 
With added sentiment heading into Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rapids, the Dynamo return to action at BBVA Compass Stadium with an undefeated home record (9-0-3), and should see five players return from international duty. Among that group, DaMarcus Beasley (USA), Romell Quioto (Honduras), Alberth Elis (Honduras), and Boniek Garcia (Honduras) will come together as teammates after going head-to-head in a World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday. Colorado, meanwhile, will return USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard, and will be looking for their first win on the road this season.

Crew SC put four-game home winning streak on line against Sporting this Sunday on ESPN
Columbus Crew SC enter the week as one of three MLS teams with double-digit wins at home, next gearing up for Sunday’s match against the Western Conference’s Sporting Kansas City at Mapfre Stadium (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).
 
Columbus has won four straight at home (10-3-1 at Mapfre) and currently sits fourth in the Eastern Conference at 13-12-3 (42 points). Sporting have a demanding two-game road stretch this week, traveling to New York City FC on Wednesday before Sunday’s conference crossover against Crew SC.
 
The matchup could feature a pair of goalkeepers who have piled up a multitude of clean sheets this season. Sporting’s Tim Melia, who has played an integral role in SKC advancing to the Sept. 20 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final against the New York Red Bulls, leads MLS with 10 shutouts heading into Wednesday. His counterpart, 22-year-old Crew SC goalkeeper Zach Steffen, has seven clean sheets to go along with 81 saves as he has played in every minute for Columbus this year.
 
Sporting’s road performance will be put to the test this week. SKC has a 2-5-5 record away from Children’s Mercy Park and is one of only two teams currently in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs positions - if the season ended today - to have posted less than three road wins (the other being the Houston Dynamo at 1-8-5).
 
Sweet Tweets
Justin Meram (@JustinMeram): Tomorrow 🙏🏼 Iraq 🇮🇶 vs UAE 🇦🇪 #Believe #WCQ #Lions 🦁
https://twitter.com/JustinMeram/status/904750458065096706
 
Raheem Edwards (@rvheem_): Support at BMO never seems to fail 🙏🏾 Thank you Toronto 🍁👊🏾#CANMNT
https://twitter.com/Rvheem_/status/904473168252952576
 
Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior): What a great team effort yesterday. Now we go game by game and see what happens🤙🏽
https://twitter.com/Jermainejunior/status/904460242737606660
 
Laurent Ciman (@LaurentCiman23): Mais oui ..... qualification ⚽️⚽️💪🏻💪🏻....
https://twitter.com/LaurentCiman23/status/904452750595035136
 
 
Week 27 Game Previews
Wednesday, Sept. 6
Sporting Kansas City at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • NYCFC extended their undefeated streak to four matches, though their three-game winning streak came to an end in a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Aug. 25. The four-game undefeated streak is one game shy of the club record, set twice previously, including May 31-June 29 this season.
  • Sporting return to action after their match vs. the Houston Dynamo, scheduled for Aug. 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium, was postponed to Oct. 11 because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
  • Sporting KC put an end to a brief two-game winless run in their last action, defeating FC Dallas 2-0 at Children’s Mercy Park on Aug. 19. Sporting have now gone 22 consecutive home games without a loss, equaling the fifth-longest home undefeated streak in MLS history.
  • The teams have met twice ever, and Sporting KC have won both. Sporting took a 1-0 win March 28, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the first meeting between the clubs; last year, SKC claimed a 3-1 win July 10 at Children’s Mercy Park.
 
Saturday, Sept. 9
New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire, 4 p.m. ET (UniMás)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Kemar Lawrence scored the game-winner in the 71st minute, after goals from New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips and Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic put the game in a 1-1 deadlock, giving the Red Bulls the 2-1 win April 29 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls have a five-game undefeated streak alive in the series, winning four of those. The Red Bulls have won the past three meetings at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Fire ended their four-game losing streak, defeating the Montréal Impact 1-0 at Stade Saputo. The losing slide was one game shy of the club-record five-game losing streak set on three occasions.
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger scored his third MLS goal, his first since April 15. Schweinsteiger has a goal and an assist in the past two games.
  • The Red Bulls reached a second consecutive draw, playing to a 2-2 deadlock with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Sacha Kljestan scored his second goal of the season, and also collected his 13th assist of the season, now tied for third in the MLS assist standings.
 
San Jose Earthquakes at Toronto FC, 5 p.m. ET (TSN2)
  • Toronto FC extended their winning streak to four matches, rolling to a 3-1 win against the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo on Aug. 27. The victory extended TFC’s undefeated streak to nine games (6-0-3), the club record in their 11 seasons in MLS.
  • Sebastian Giovinco scored a pair of goals vs. Montréal, with four goals over the past three games, now with 15 goals for the season. It was the 14th multiple-goal game of Giovinco’s MLS career. Giovinco scored directly from a free kick for a second consecutive game, his fifth directly from a free kick this season – equaling the most in a single MLS season (record since 2003).
  • The Quakes put an end to their three-game winless run, defeating the LA Galaxy 3-0 on Aug. 27. The Quakes put an end to their road losing streak after six matches, dating back to June 2, the fourth-longest road losing streak in club history, also putting an end to their away goalless drought after 317 minutes.
  • Chris Wondolowski scored his 11th goal of the season, his third goal over the past five matches. It was the 64th away goals of Wondolowski’s MLS career, now the all-time league leader (surpassing Landon Donovan, 63). Wondolowski now has 132 career MLS goals, one behind Jaime Moreno for third on the all-time list, and two behind Jeff Cunningham for second.
 
Portland Timbers at New York City FC, 5:30 p.m. ET
  • The Timbers extended their undefeated streak to three games, following a pair of victories, reaching a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 27.
  • Diego Valeri converted a penalty kick for his 16th goal of the season, now in a tie for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Valeri scored a goal for a sixth consecutive game, one shy of the all-time MLS record held by three different players.
  • David Villa recorded his ninth assist of the season in the Red Bulls match, a single-season high in his three MLS seasons, in the Red Bulls' match on Aug. 25. It was a fourth consecutive game with a goal and/or an assist, with five goals and two assists in that span. Villa has been involved in seven of NYCFC’s last eight goals over the past four games; he has played a role in 81 of NYCFC’s 159 goals in their history (51 percent; 60 goals, 21 assists).
  • The teams have met twice ever, and the visiting team has won each match. The Timbers won 1-0 in the first meeting between the teams, April 19, 2015 at Yankee Stadium; NYCFC returned the favor with a 2-1 win in the lone meeting last season, May 15 at Providence Park.
 
Orlando City SC at D.C. United, 7 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Cyle Larin and Giles Barnes scored second-half goals as Orlando City took the 2-0 win May 31 at Orlando City Stadium.
  • D.C. United won their third consecutive game, all by a 1-0 scoreline, defeating the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium on Aug. 26. The three-game winning streak is the longest of the season for United, and their longest since winning four in a row last Sept. 24-Oct. 16.
  • It was a third consecutive shutout for United, the first time since Aug. 5-18, 2007 that they have recorded shutouts in three consecutive games. United have now not allowed a goal in 296 minutes, the sixth-longest shutout streak in club history.
  • Orlando City SC suffered a second consecutive defeat, falling 4-0 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. The defeat extended Orlando City’s winless run to eight games, with six losses in that span, a club record during Orlando City’s three MLS seasons.
 
Montreal Impact at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET (TVAS)
  • The Revolution won the last two meetings last season, one at each ground, snapping a five-game undefeated streak for the Impact in the all-time series and also ending a three-game Montréal winning run. The Revolution’s 3-0 win at Gillette Stadium in the regular-season finale last year on Oct. 23 was their first in the series in Foxborough since Sept. 13, 2014.
  • The Revolution put an end to their two-game losing slide, defeating Orlando City SC 4-0 at Gillette Stadium. It was a fourth consecutive win in Foxborough for the Revolution.
  • Kei Kamara scored a hat trick, the first of his career, in his 279th MLS league appearance. Kamara now has 97 league goals in his MLS career; he had the most goals scored of any player in league history without hitting for a hat trick.
  • Lee Nguyen recorded assists on all four Revolution goals, matching the MLS all-time record set four times previously (Carlos Valderrama, TB, 1997; Chris Henderson, KC, 1999; Dwayne De Rosario, HOU, 2006; Landon Donovan, LA, 2012).
  • The Impact suffered a second consecutive defeat following a four-game winning streak, falling 1-0 to the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo on Saturday evening.
 
Philadelphia Union at Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m. ET
  • Minnesota United FC put an end to a two-game losing slide, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-1 at Toyota Park on Aug. 26. The win was the first on the road in Minnesota United’s MLS history, after eight losses and two draws on their travels. Two teams still remain winless on the road this season in MLS (NE, COL).
  • Abu Danladi scored a pair of goals, now with five goals in 18 appearances (10 starts) in his first MLS season, leading all rookies in the league. Danladi has scored three goals in the last four games.
  • The Union saw their winless streak extended to four matches with a second loss in that time, ending in a 2-2 draw with Atlanta United on Aug. 26 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
  • Roland Alberg scored a goal, his sixth of the season and his second in the past three matches. Alberg also added an assist, his first of the season – it was the third time in his two MLS seasons he scored a goal and added an assist in the same game.
 
Colorado Rapids at Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Marlon Hairston scored a pair of goals and Kevin Doyle scored one goal and added a pair of assists as the Rapids took a 3-1 win on July 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Dynamo return to action after their match vs. Sporting Kansas City, scheduled for Aug. 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium, was postponed to Oct. 11 because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
  • The Dynamo came back for a fourth result in their last five away matches last time out, reaching a 3-3 draw with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Aug. 23.
  • Erick Torres scored a pair of goals, now with 14 goals for the season, sitting in a three-way tie for fourth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. The 14 goals are a single-season club record for the Dynamo in their 12 MLS seasons, surpassing Brian Ching’s total of 13 set in 2008.
  • The Rapids suffered a fourth consecutive defeat, falling 3-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. The loss extended the Rapids’ winless streak to nine games overall, equaling the third-longest in club history; the Rapids also saw their road winless streak extended to 14 games overall, the second-longest stretch without a win on the road in club history.
 
Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10 p.m. (TSN1/4)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Albert Rusnák scored the opening goal then set up the next two as Real took a 3-0 win on April 8 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The ‘Caps have won the past four meetings at BC Place, including a 2-0 win last July 13 in the last encounter between the clubs.
  • Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated streak to three games with a second win in that time, defeating Orlando City SC 2-1 at Orlando City Stadium on Aug. 26. It was a third win in the past five away matches for Whitecaps FC, dating back to July 19, having come away with a result in four (3-1-1).
  • Real won their second game on the trot, defeating the Colorado Rapids 4-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Aug. 26. The win extended RSL’s home undefeated streak to five games, the two wins following three consecutive draws.
  • RSL scored four or more goals in back-to-back games for a second time this season, scoring 10 goals in consecutive wins July 4 (6-2 at LA) and July 19 (4-1 at POR). Real’s four games with four or more goals is tied for the most in MLS this season (with Atlanta and Chicago).
  • Luis Silva scored a pair of goals, the third multiple-goal game in his MLS career. Silva has scored goals in four consecutive games, one game shy of the Real Salt Lake club record, set on two occasions by Jason Kreis (2000 and 2002).
 
Sunday, Sept. 10
Sporting Kansas City at Columbus Crew SC, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Columbus won its second game in a row, defeating FC Dallas 2-1 at Mapfre Stadium on Aug. 26. The win extended Crew SC’s undefeated streak to four games, with three wins and a draw; it also extended Crew SC’s home winning run to four games, the club’s longest since a seven-game home winning streak Aug. 16, 2014-March 14, 2015.
  • Ola Kamara scored his 14th goal of the season, his second goal in as many games, now in a four-way tie for sixth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • In the 2-0 win vs. FC Dallas, Graham Zusi recorded a pair of assists, now with five assists for the season. It was the sixth two-assist game of Zusi’s MLS career; he had one in each of six of the past seven seasons (missing only 2016).
  • Sporting won the lone meeting between the teams last season, a 3-2 victory July 3 at Children’s Mercy Park. They have won the past four meetings in Kansas City; the last Columbus victory in Kansas City came July 28, 2012.
  • Crew SC won the only meeting between the teams in 2015, a 3-2 victory on Aug. 22 in Columbus, snapping a five-game Sporting winning streak (and six-game undefeated streak) in the all-time series.
 
FC Dallas at Atlanta United, 3:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Atlanta United saw their winless run extended to four games with a third draw in that time, coming back for a 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Aug. 26.
  • The result extended Atlanta United’s home undefeated streak, finishing their run at Bobby Dodd Stadium with seven games without loss, a five-game home winning run then followed by back-to-back draws.
  • FC Dallas saw their winless streak extended to seven games, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Stadium. The seven-game winless run (0-4-3) is the sixth-longest winless run in FCD club history, the longest since an eight-game span without victory in 2014 (record: 13 games, April 21-July 7, 2012).
 
LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Clint Dempsey had a goal and an assist and Jordan Morris also found the back of the net as Sounders FC took a 3-0 win on April 23 at StubHub Center; the teams then played to a scoreless draw July 29 at StubHub Center.
  • The Galaxy have come away with points on their past three trips to CenturyLink Field over the past two seasons. Sounders FC last defeated the Galaxy at home in league play Oct. 25, 2014, a 2-0 victory. Sounders FC have come away with points on their last three trips to StubHub Center.
  • Sounders FC reached a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 27, extending their undefeated streak to 11 games (6-0-5), the club record in its nine-year MLS history, surpassing the previous record of nine games set May 28-July 16, 2011.
  • Sounders FC also stretched their home undefeated streak to nine games, the club’s third-longest home undefeated run in its MLS history.
  • The Galaxy put an end to their four-game losing run, defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-0 at StubHub Center. The win ended the Galaxy’s winless streak after 10 games overall, matching the second-longest in club history; the Galaxy also ended their four-game attacking shutout streak at StubHub Center, scoring their first home goal in 378 minutes.
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