Jozy Altidore -- Celebrates -- Crowd in Background
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Eastern seedings and Wild West showdowns showcase FS1 doubleheader

This Week in MLS – October 9, 2017
  • Eastern Conference seedings and Wild West showdowns to showcase FOX Sports doubleheader
  • Altidore, U.S. knocking on door to Russia, take on T&T in final WCQ on Tuesday
  • Whitecaps FC’s Waston lifts Costa Rica into World Cup; Džemaili, Swiss vie for perfect WCQ run
  • Newcomers light MLS ablaze, in contention to lead League in numerous categories
  • Homegrown talent leading the way as USMNT U-17s power through FIFA U-17 World Cup
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 32 Game Previews
 
Eastern Conference seedings and Wild West showdowns to showcase FOX Sports doubleheader
The pressure is mounting in the second-to-last week of the regular season, as simultaneous matchups intensify an action-packed weekend of high-stakes competition. With teams jockeying for postseason positioning, the FS1 and FOX Deportes coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET with five concurrent Eastern Conference matchups, followed by five Western Conference games and an interconference matchup all kicking off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
 
FOX Sports is providing comprehensive linear and digital coverage with up-to-the-minute highlights via a whiparound show on FS1 and a special digital whiparound show on FOX Soccer’s social media platforms (Facebook / FOX Sports Go).  
 
.Also on the digital side, MLS is pulling out all the stops of this penultimate week with the grand unveiling of a brand-new studio for ““The Countdown to Decision Day presented by AT&T,” featuring pre- and postgame coverage hosted on MLSsoccer.com, MLS social media platforms (Facebook / TwitterYouTube the AT&T Facebook page on both sides of the FOX Sports coverage on MLSsoccer.com, MLS social media platforms (Facebook / Twitter/ YouTube) and the AT&T Facebook page.
 
Week 32 broadcast details and more information can be found here.
 
Altidore, U.S. knocking on door to Russia, take on T&T in final WCQ on Tuesday
With a win, the U.S. is in – a draw would likely suffice too. The U.S. Men’s National Team is in good shape heading into its final FIFA World Cup Qualifier when it visits Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday at Ato Boldon Stadium (8 p.m. ET, beIN SPORTS and Universo). Three points would guarantee a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and a draw could also put the USA through even if Panama defeats Costa Rica. The U.S. holds a plus-5 goal differential compared to Panama’s minus-2 heading into Tuesday.
 
Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore picked the perfect time to shine, scoring his first two goals in the Hexagonal and adding an assist during the U.S. MNT’s dominant 4-0 victory against Panama on Friday at sold-out Orlando City Stadium. Altidore is now tied with Seattle Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey with 18 career WCQ goals, and he surpassed Dempsey to move into second place with seven career multi-goal international performances, second only to Landon Donovan (9).
 
The Toronto striker is enjoying a career year on the MLS front, as well, having set a personal high with six assists while matching his career high of 13 goals for the Reds in 2015.
 
For Trinidad and Tobago, they will try to play the role of spoiler as they enter the final qualification match looking for a second victory in the Hexagonal. Minnesota United FC’s Kevin Molino will attempt to pick up an attack that has produced five goals in nine matches in the fifth round. Molino is the only player on his side to have scored multiple goals in this stage of qualifying and enters in fine form after scoring the game-winning goal for his club Minnesota United FC in midweek MLS action last week.
 
Whitecaps FC’s Waston lifts Costa Rica into World Cup; Džemaili, Swiss vie for perfect WCQ run
One of the most dramatic finishes of the Hexagonal came courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Kendall Waston, whose stoppage-time heroics have catapulted Costa Rica into the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Waston’s thrilling header five minutes into second-half stoppage time lifted Costa Rica to a 1-1 draw against Honduras on Saturday to secure second place in the Hex behind Mexico. Though Waston wasn’t a part of the Ticos’ World Cup squad in 2014 in Brazil, the 29-year-old center back has certainly solidified his credentials for both country and his Western Conference-leading Whitecaps FC.
 
Costa Rica should have a heavy MLS presence next year in Russia as evidenced by the current roster touting San Jose Earthquakes forward Marco Ureña, Minnesota United teammates Johan Venegas and Francisco Calvo, New York City FC teammates Rodney Wallace and Ronald Matarrita and Portland Timbers midfielder David Guzman.
 
Among those still looking to secure a World Cup spot, Montreal Impact midfielder Blerim Džemaili and his Switzerland side (9-0-0, 27 points) have a chance to earn automatic qualification to the tournament with a victory or draw Tuesday. The task will be heavy as the Swiss face Cristiano Ronaldo and second-place Portugal (8-1-0, 24 points) in Lisbon. Both clubs have already earned minimally a playoff position in qualifying. Džemaili netted his seventh career international goal during Switzerland’s 3-1 win against Latvia on Sept. 3.
 
Orlando City SC’s Yoshimar Yotún, who signed with the club two months ago, helped Peru’s defense shut down Lionel Messi to earn a scoreless draw last Thursday in Buenos Aires. Now the Peruvian has an opportunity to book a World Cup spot if his side can earn the full three points against Colombia on Tuesday in Lima.
 
The CONMEBOL picture is almost set in stone for Nicolás Lodeiro of Seattle Sounders FC, whose Uruguayan team is second behind Brazil and needs only a draw against Bolivia on Tuesday to guarantee itself an automatic World Cup berth.
 
A complete list of MLS players called up for international duty sorted by club can be found here.
A complete list of MLS players called up for international duty sorted by national team can be found here.
 
Newcomers light MLS ablaze, in contention to lead League in numerous categories
The incredible level of production from the 2017 class of MLS newcomers makes this year’s Newcomer of the Year award race crowded and difficult to predict with a number of standouts in contention to lead the league in goals or assists. With two weeks of play remaining in 2017, this year’s newcomers have nearly tripled the number of assists and goals scored compared to 2016’s newcomers.  
 
 
GP
GS
MIN
G
A
2016
1029
746
66926
98
93
2017
2061
1682
149374
252
258
 
Among the league leaders are Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolić who currently leads the Golden Boot race with 21 goals scored to set an all-time Fire record, while Atlanta’s Josef Martínez ranks fourth with 18 goals in a mere 18 games played. Toronto’s Víctor Vázquez’s 16 assists rank second league wide while a trio of newcomers in Real Salt Lake’s Albert Rusnák and Atlanta’s Miguel Almirón and Yamil Asad rank tied for fifth with 13 assists this season.
 
Newcomers Romain Alessandrini (LA Galaxy, 11g, 10a) and Héctor Villalba (Atlanta United, 13g, 10a) have proven dynamic as both scorers and distributors as two of only three players in MLS to register double digit goal and assist totals. While Atlanta has seen its newcomers shine, fellow expansion club Minnesota United FC has received tremendous production from forward Christian Ramirez and defender Francisco Calvo. Ramirez is one of two Americans to rank in the top 10 league-wide in goals scored (14), while Calvo has helped lead Costa Rica to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.  
 
Homegrown talent leading the way as USMNT U-17s power through FIFA U-17 World Cup
The United States Men’s National Team’s Under-17 squad is two games through the FIFA U-17 World Cup and has already booked a place to the knockout round with a pair of strong victories. The U.S. will look to complete group play with a perfect record when taking on Colombia on Thursday, October 12 (10:30 AM ET, FS2/Universo).
 
After a 3-0 rout of host nation India, the red, white and blue pulled off a hard fought 1-0 win against Ghana on Monday to qualify for the next round. Thus far in the tournament, MLS-affiliated players have shined early in the tournament with Homegrown and academy players accounting for three out of the four goals scored.
 
D.C. United’s Chris Durkin and Atlanta United’s Andrew Carleton were at the helm of the U.S. attack against India as both Homegrown Players were able to sketch their names on to the score sheet. Durkin and Atlanta United's Chris Goslin earned three more points for the USMNT when they created the perfect chance for Toronto FC Academy standout Ayo Akinola’s game-winning goal against Ghana.  
 
Sweet Tweets
 
Week 32 Game Previews
 
Wednesday, Oct. 11
Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET
  • The teams were originally scheduled to play Aug. 26, but the match was postponed following the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
  • The Dynamo have won the last two meetings in Houston, including a 2-0 win last May 7 at BBVA Compass Stadium in the only encounter in Houston between the clubs, the only victories for the home team in the series in the last 11 matches.
  • The Dynamo put an end to their six-game winless streak, but still stretched their undefeated run to three matches, defeating Minnesota United FC in their last match.
  • Alberth Elis scored his 10th goal of the season, his third in the last two matches. Elis became the second Dynamo player to net 10 goals this season, after Erick Torres has already set a club record with his 14-goal season, the first time since the Dynamo’s inaugural season of 2006 they’ve had multiple 10-goal scorers in the same year.
  • Sporting Kansas City had their road winless streak extended to five matches, reaching a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium. Sporting have two losses and three draws on the road since their last away victory, a 2-1 win at the LA Galaxy on June 24.
  • Diego Rubio scored his sixth goal of the season for the lone Sporting KC goal. Rubio has four goals over the last four matches, having scored four of the last five goals netted by SKC (dating back to Sept. 16). All six of Rubio’s goals have come over the last 12 matches, since July 6, when he was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time (having started nine of those 12 games since).
 
Sunday, Oct. 15
Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire, 5 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Chris Pontius scored a pair of goals and CJ Sapong added a late tally as Union eased to a 3-1 win Sept. 23 Talen Energy Stadium.
  • The Fire have won the last three meetings at Toyota Park, their first wins at home vs. the Union since 2012; Philadelphia had won two of the four Bridgeview meetings in between, with two draws. The Union have won the last two meetings in Chester; the home team has won each of the last four matches in the series.
  • The Fire gained a second consecutive result, reaching a 1-1 draw with New York City FC at Toyota Park on Sept. 30. It was a third consecutive home result, with a win and two draws, since dropping back-to-back games in Bridgeview on Aug. 19-26 which snapped a club-record nine-game home winning streak.
  • Nemanja Nikolic scored his 21st goal of the season for the Fire, retaking the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings. It was the fifth goal in the last five matches for Nikolic, with goals in four of those games, after going nine consecutive games without a goal (from July 5-Sept. 2).
  • The Union won their second consecutive home game last time out, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium on Oct. 1.
  • Haris Medunjanin recorded assists on both Union goals, his first assists since Aug. 5. It was his third multiple-assist game of the season (also May 13 and July 2); now with 10 assists for the season, Medunjanin is in a tie for 11th place in the MLS assist standings.
 
New York City FC at New England Revolution, 5 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. David Villa scored a late equalizer then Jonathan Lewis popped up for the stoppage-time winner as NYCFC took a 2-1 win Aug. 20 at Yankee Stadium. On May 31 in The Bronx, Xavier Kouassi scored the tying goal for the Revs with four minutes to play, canceling out a goal from NYCFC’s Miguel Camargo midway through the second half, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw.
  • The Revs have won two of the three meetings at Gillette Stadium, once each of the last two seasons, including a 3-1 win last Sept. 10 in the last encounter in Foxborough. NYCFC ended a three-game home winless streak in the series with the victory in the last meeting.
  • The Revolution saw their long home winning streak come to an end, still extending their undefeated run at Gillette Stadium following a scoreless draw with Atlanta United on Sept. 30. The draw ended a six-game winning streak for the Revolution at Gillette Stadium, one game shy of the club-record home winning streak.
  • NYCFC extended their undefeated run to four games with a third draw in that time, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sept. 30. The result extended NYCFC’s road undefeated streak to five matches, matching the longest in the club’s history, also achieved last year from May 8-July 6.
  • David Villa scored his 20th goal of the season for NYCFC, becoming the second player in MLS history to score 20-plus goals in multiple seasons, the first to do it in back-to-back years (also: Bradley Wright-Phillips, 2014 and 2016).
 
Atlanta United at New York Red Bulls, 5 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Danny Royer scored a late equalizer before an own goal gave the Red Bulls a 2-1 win March 5 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the inaugural game in Atlanta United history. Yamil Asad gave ATLUTD a first-half lead with the first goal scored in club history.
  • The Red Bulls put an end to their winless streak in league play after eight matches, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-0 at Red Bull Arena. With the victory, the Red Bulls secured their place in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, an eighth consecutive year of reaching the postseason.
  • The Red Bulls’ Sacha Kljestan recorded a pair of assists, the 11th two-assist game in his MLS career. Kljestan now leads MLS with 17 assists for the season, a year after becoming just the second player in MLS to reach the 20-assist mark in leading the league. Kljestan now has 51 assists over the last three seasons, since his return to MLS, just the second player in MLS history to record 50 or more assists over a three-year span (Carlos Valderrama, 53, 1998-2000).
  • Atlanta United saw their overall undefeated streak and their unbeaten record at their new home come to an end, falling 3-2 to Minnesota United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Oct. 3.
  • The defeat put an end to Atlanta United’s eight-game undefeated streak, the third-longest for an expansion team in MLS history. It was also the first loss for ATLUTD at their new Mercedes-Benz Stadium after five wins and one draw. The loss snapped their 12-game home undefeated streak (10-0-2), dating back to May 20.
 
Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC, 5 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Justin Meram scored goals in each half as Crew SC took a 2-0 victory April 1 at Mapfre Stadium. On Aug. 19 in Orlando, Lalas Abubakar gave Crew SC the first-half lead, but Giles Barnes netted a second-half equalizer to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw.
  • Crew SC have a three-game undefeated streak in the series, including a pair of wins, with a win and a draw in their last two visits to Orlando City Stadium. Crew SC have not lost to Orlando City in three meetings on their home ground.
  • Orlando City SC gained a second consecutive home result, reaching a goalless draw with FC Dallas at Orlando City Stadium on Sept. 30. Orlando City have won once in their last eight matches at Orlando City Stadium, dating back to May 31, the six-game winless streak at home snapped on Sept. 27 vs. New England the club’s longest in their MLS history.
  • Crew SC extended their long undefeated run with a second consecutive victory, defeating D.C. United 2-0 at Mapfre Stadium on Sept. 30.
  • The win extended Crew SC’s undefeated streak to eight matches overall, the club’s longest since an eight-game undefeated skein March 27-May 23, 2010. The club record is 19 games without loss, set in 2004-05.
 
Montreal Impact at Toronto FC, 5 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, each having won away. Sebastian Giovinco scored a pair of goals – one from a free kick – and Jozy Altidore added a third as TFC cruised to a 3-1 win Aug. 23 at Stade Saputo. Then on Sept. 20, Ignacio Piatti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel each scored two goals as the Impact had a three-goal lead before the game was a half-hour old, cruising to a 5-3 win at BMO Field.
  • The Impact have won the last two league meetings in Toronto, the win there last year their first-ever in their MLS history, 0-6-4 in the first 10 meetings in all competitions at BMO Field.
  • Toronto FC put an end to their two-game losing slide in emphatic fashion, rolling to a 4-2 win against the New York Red Bulls at BMO Field on Sept. 30.
  • Justin Morrow scored a hat trick, the fifth hat trick scored in Toronto FC club history (the other four all scored by Sebastian Giovinco). Morrow now has eight goals this season, his single-season career-high, surpassing his total of five scored a year ago.
  • The Impact suffered a third consecutive defeat, falling 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sept. 30. The Impact have suffered seven defeats in their last eight matches, dating back to Aug. 27, a 3-1 loss to Toronto FC. The only victory in that span was the 5-3 win vs. Toronto FC on Sept. 20.
 
Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and Real have won both. Yura Movsisyan and Brooks Lennon scored three minutes apart in the final moments of the match, overcoming a Kevin Doyle goal in the first half, as Real took a 2-1 win April 15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. On Aug. 26, Luis Silva scored a pair of goals as Real cruised to a 4-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Real Salt Lake have won three of the last five visits to Commerce City, over the last four seasons. Real have a 15-game home undefeated streak alive vs. Colorado; the Rapids have never won at Rio Tinto Stadium (0-9-4 all-time in league play).
  • The Rapids extended their home undefeated streak to three matches, reaching a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday evening.
  • Stefan Aigner scored for a second consecutive match, his second goal since coming to the Rapids and MLS. Aigner was making a third consecutive start, a seventh consecutive appearance since his arrival.
  • Real Salt Lake extended their undefeated streak to three games, following a pair of wins with a dramatic 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Sept. 30. The result followed a pair of road losses for RSL, now three games since their last away victory.
 
Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The match is the back end of a home-and-home series over five days, caused when the first meeting set for Aug. 26 between the teams was postponed following the effects of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
  • Sporting’s last win at home in the series came in 2011, winless in their last six meetings at Children’s Mercy Park (0-1-5), including a 3-3 draw last Sept. 9 in the only encounter in Kansas City between the clubs.
 
Minnesota United FC at LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. A Christian Ramírez goal in the second half answered a Giovani dos Santos goal in the first half to leave the teams tied, but an own goal six minutes from the end gave the Galaxy a 2-1 win May 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.
  • The Galaxy saw their winless streak extended to six matches with a third draw in that time, reaching a 1-1 result with Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center on Sept. 30.
  • The Galaxy have won one game in their last 17 league starts, dating back to June 24, with a 1-13-3 record over that span. They have won once in their last nine matches at StubHub Center, since that same date (1-6-2).
  • Minnesota United FC extended their home undefeated streak to three games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at TCF Bank Stadium. It was a fourth result over the last five matches for MNUFC, having taken 10 of a possible 15 points over that time, since Sept. 16.
  • Abu Danladi recorded his third assist of his rookie season for MNUFC, his first since collecting assists in back-to-back games May 7-13. Danladi has a goal or an assist in four of the last five matches, with three goals and an assist in that span, since Sept. 16. Danladi leads all rookies this season with eight goals.
 
FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They reached a goalless draw Sept. 16 at Toyota Stadium.
  • Sounders FC have won the last six league meetings between the teams in Seattle, and seven of the nine meetings there all-time, having outscored FC Dallas 8-0 there over the last two seasons. The only FCD win at CenturyLink Field came in 2011, a 1-0 victory on May 25.
  • Sounders FC suffered a second loss in the last three matches, falling 2-0 to Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Oct. 1. It was a third consecutive shutout on their travels for Sounders FC, now 341 minutes since their last away goal. Sounders FC have one win over their last seven matches, with a 1-2-4 record in that time, dating back to Aug. 23.
  • FC Dallas made it three games in a row without loss, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday evening. It was a second consecutive draw on FCD’s three-game road swing, still with one win over their last 13 matches, dating back to July 29 (1-6-6).
 
San Jose Earthquakes at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Whitecaps FC had a two-goal lead after 17 minutes, but Chris Wondolowski scored one goal and set up another, leading the Quakes to a 3-2 come-from-behind win on March 11 at Avaya Stadium.
  • The Quakes’ 2-1 win last Aug. 12 at BC Place was the first ever for the away team in the all-time series. The Quakes had lost on each of their six previous visits to Vancouver. The Quakes have never lost to Whitecaps FC at home, with three wins in nine meetings there all-time.
  • Whitecaps FC concluded a three-game road swing with a second 3-0 loss on the trip, falling to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Quakes put an end to a two-game losing skid, defeating the Portland Timbers 2-1 at Avaya Stadium on Sept. 30.
  • Vako Qazaishvili scored his fourth MLS goal for the Quakes, his first since Aug. 27. Qazaishvili also collected his second assist, both coming over the last two matches. Qazaishvili has been involved in each of San Jose’s last three goals, and in five of their last nine, dating back to Aug. 19.
 
D.C. United at Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. ET

 

  • D.C. United won the only meeting between the teams a year ago, a 2-0 win Aug. 13, their first win ever at RFK Stadium vs. the Timbers in three matches all-time. The win ended a Timbers three-game winning streak and five-game undefeated streak in the series, United’s last win in the series coming May 29, 2011 in the first meeting ever between the teams.
  • The Timbers have won the last two meetings between the teams at Providence Park, including a 1-0 victory May 27, 2015 in the last matchup in Portland.
  • Diego Valeri had his all-time MLS record goalscoring streak put to an end after nine matches, going without a goal for the first time since July 23. Since starting the streak, Valeri has still scored 10 of the 17 goals netted by the Timbers.
  • D.C. United had their road winless streak extended to three matches, falling 2-0 to Columbus Crew SC at Mapfre Stadium on Sept. 30.
  • D.C. United were shut out at the attacking end for the 16th time in 32 matches this season. The 16 shutouts are tied for the second-most in a single season in MLS history; the all-time record is 17, set by D.C. United in 2010. Of the four times a team has had 16 or more shutouts in a season, three of those have been done by D.C. United (also, 16 in 2013).
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