Wil Trapp and Zack Steffen
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This Week in MLS - September 11, 2018

  • MLS academy veterans look to lead U.S. MNT against rival Mexico in Nashville
  • Peruvian Ruidíaz looks to maintain perfect record with Seattle
  • D.C. United control destiny with seven-game homestand at Audi Field
  • New silverware awaits when Toronto battles Tigres for Campeones Cup
  • With Friday’s Roster Freeze, MLS clubs locked in for postseason push
  • Atlanta joins Red Bulls among clubs bound for Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs
  • MLS Week 29: Match Notes
 
MLS academy veterans look to lead U.S. MNT against rival Mexico in Nashville
With a stated focus on bringing along younger players during this FIFA Window, the U.S. Men’s National Team has relied heavily on players with experience in both MLS academies and on first-team rosters. A total of 12 of the 16 players who saw the pitch for the U.S. against Brazil last week have played in an MLS academy or for an MLS first team during their career. The U.S. will look toward this contingent to provide a lift when facing rival Mexico at Nissan Stadium in Nashville tonight (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN / Univision / UDN).
 
In the match against Brazil, the U.S. used a total of seven players who signed their first professional contracts as MLS Homegrowns, including the New York Red Bulls’ 19-year-old midfielder Tyler Adams starting alongside Columbus Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp, who served as U.S. MNT captain during the match. Also in the starting XI for the U.S. was Trapp’s Crew SC teammate Zack Steffen who has started two consecutive games in goal for the U.S. MNT.
 
Against Mexico, the United States face a talented side that showed well at the 2018 FIFA World Cup by defeating 2014 champion Germany. LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos played for Mexico at the World Cup and started in its loss to Uruguay last week. The 28-year-old scored a goal and added an assist in his last match with the Galaxy before the international break, and he will be plenty familiar with the MLS-heavy roster when the teams face off tonight.
 
Peruvian Ruidíaz looks to maintain perfect record with Seattle
In the eight matches in which Peruvian forward Raúl Ruidíaz has featured for Seattle Sounders FC, the club has gone a perfect 8-for-8. Following international duty this past week, Ruidíaz will likely be back in the fold when Seattle travels to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday (10 p.m. ET / TSN), looking to extend the league’s longest post-shootout era winning streak (eight games).
 
Since debuting for Sounders FC on July 21, Ruidíaz has tallied three goals and an assist, including a goal during Seattle’s 3-1 victory against Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 1. That win helped Seattle eclipse the seven-game winning streak set by the 2012 Sporting side. The 28-year-old has helped push Seattle into sixth place in the Western Conference heading into Week 29, and Ruidíaz rejoins the club after logging 85 minutes for Peru during Sunday’s match at Germany.
 
Saturday’s match also carries plenty of significance for Vancouver, which enters this week in seventh place in the Western Conference, one spot below Seattle for that coveted spot in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs. Whitecaps FC is led by 17-year-old phenom Alphonso Davies, who assisted Canada’s final goal during Sunday’s 8-0 rout of the U.S. Virgin Islands in Bradenton, Fla. The eight goals in one match set a Canadian record. Davies leads Whitecaps FC with 10 assists this season.
 
D.C. United control destiny with seven-game homestand at Audi Field
Nearly one month ago and in winning fashion on July 14, the inauguration of D.C. United’s brand-new home stadium at Audi Field has completely changed the trajectory of the club’s 2018 regular season.
 
The once last-place team in the Eastern Conference is now only two spots out of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, and with a solid 6-2-0 home record at their new facility, the odds could be in their favor ahead of a pivotal stretch of seven straight home games.
 
Harkening back to last year’s late-season run by Atlanta United, MLS déjà vu could certainly be in the works after Atlanta opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 10, 2017, and the club remained unbeaten in their next six consecutive games at home to clinch a spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
For D.C. United, the postseason question continues this week with Minnesota United FC on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET / ESPN+) and a third and final rivalry meeting against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).
 
New silverware awaits when Toronto battles Tigres for Campeones Cup
The inaugural edition of Campeones Cup is fast approaching, and both Toronto FC and Tigres UANL will be looking to add another piece of silverware to their respective trophy cases when they face off on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The 2018 Campeones Cup will be hosted by Toronto FC, the reigning MLS Cup champion, at 8:30 p.m. ET at BMO Field in Toronto. Liga MX’s representative will be Tigres UANL, decided after defeating the Liga MX Clausura champions, Santos, at the Campeón de Campeones matchup between the Mexican League’s two tournament champions, by 4-0.
 
This year’s Campeones Cup will be a rematch of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal clash in March that saw Toronto go through on their way to a historic run to the final. Tigres, led by French striker André-Pierre Gignac, will look to exact revenge on the pitch next Wednesday in Toronto.
 
Last week, the stunning new silver and gold trophy was unveiled in anticipation of the inaugural battle of champions. Featuring iconic elements like the golden one, and the petal design from which it emerges, as well as the elegant base made of obsidian extracted from Teotihuacán, the trophy will be an excellent addition to any club’s trophy case, and both teams will fight for the honor of lifting it.
 
The 2018 Campeones Cup is a must-see event for any soccer fan. Tickets for the historic match are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.ca.
 
With Friday’s Roster Freeze, MLS clubs locked in for postseason push
MLS teams will lock in their final 30-man rosters for the remainder of the season – including the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup – starting at 5 p.m. ET Friday during the MLS Roster Freeze. With the freeze on the horizon, clubs are preparing for the final home stretch with the personnel to make a strong run over the final six weeks of the regular season.
 
Some clubs have made late-season signings to prepare for crunch time, including D.C. United, who have moved into eighth place in the Eastern Conference thanks to a late-season surge. They recently signed 27-year-old defender Kevin Ellis, who spent seven seasons with Sporting Kansas City and the earlier part of 2018 with the Chicago Fire. Ellis debuted this past weekend during D.C.’s 1-1 road draw against New York City FC. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, on the fringe of the Western Conference postseason positions, bolstered its attack with the Thursday’s signing of former Premier League and English Championship forward Marvin Emnes, who could potentially debut this Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC.
 
Atlanta joins Red Bulls among clubs bound for Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs
While idle in Week 28, second-year side Atlanta United became the second club to clinch a spot in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, joining the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls (17-7-4, 55 points) and Atlanta (16-5-6, 54 points) are first and second, respectively, in the Eastern Conference and are the frontrunners for the Supporters’ Shield. They also tout the top two goal differentials in MLS (Atlanta at plus-23 and New York at plus-21), as well as the top two goalscorers in MLS single-season record holder Josef Martinez of Atlanta with 28 goals and English striker Bradley Wright-Phillips of New York with 16 goals, making for what should be an exciting race over the next month and a half.
 
MLS Week 29: Match Notes
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
D.C. United vs. Minnesota United FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • D.C. United have come away with points on back-to-back matches, gaining a 1-1 draw with New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
  • Wayne Rooney collected his sixth assist of the season, to go with five goals. Rooney has been involved in each of the last four goals scored by United (1 goal, 3 assists); he has been involved in 11 of the 20 goals scored by D.C. since his arrival with the club.
  • MNUFC suffered a second consecutive defeat by shutout in their last match, a 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 25 at Children’s Mercy Park. Minnesota United saw their winless streak reach five games overall.
  • The teams met once during Minnesota United’s inaugural season, with MNUFC taking a 4-0 win on July 29 at TCF Bank Stadium.
 
Saturday, September 15, 2018
Colorado Rapids vs. Atlanta United, 3:30 p.m. ET (UniMás / UDN)
  • The Rapids were shut out for a third consecutive match, falling 2-0 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park last Saturday. The Rapids have lost all three matches, conceding 10 goals over the span, without a goal scored in their past 278 minutes.
  • Atlanta United saw their seven-game undefeated streak put to an end in their last match, a 3-1 loss to D.C. United on Sept. 1 at Audi Field.
  • Josef Martínez saw his nine-game goalscoring streak put to an end, equaling the all-time MLS record set first last season by Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers.
  • Despite the loss, Atlanta United have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season, joining the New York Red Bulls in booking their postseason places.
  • The teams met once in Atlanta United’s inaugural season, ATL UTD taking a 1-0 win on June 24 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
 
Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, ESPN+)
  • The Union saw a four-game winning streak come to an end but they still extended their undefeated streak to five games, reaching a 2-2 draw at Orlando City SC in their last game on Sept. 1. The Union and goalkeeper Andre Blake were beaten for a goal for the first time in 305 minutes, the third-longest shutout streak in club history.
  • The Impact won for a second consecutive match at Stade Saputo, a 3-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 1. Ignacio Piatti scored his 13th goal, sitting in fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Cory Burke and Haris Medunjanin scored late in each half as the Union claimed a 2-0 win on May 12 at Stade Saputo.
  • The visiting team has won the past two meetings – just the second and third for the road side in the all-time series. The Impact won the final meeting last year, a 3-0 win on Aug. 12 at Talen Energy Stadium. The Union have won two of the eight matchups in Chester, with five draws. The Impact have won six of the nine meetings all-time at Stade Saputo.
 
Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
  • Toronto FC suffered a second consecutive loss in their last match, a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Football Club on Sept. 1 at BMO Field. Jozy Altidore scored a pair of goals, his second two-goal game of the season; his first came on March 30 vs. Real Salt Lake, scoring TFC’s first two goals of the season.
  • The Galaxy saw their winless streak reach six games with a third defeat in that time, falling 6-2 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. The six goals allowed matched the Galaxy’s club record set twice previously, including last season vs. RSL. The Galaxy have lost their last three away matches, conceding 13 goals.
  • TFC have won the last two meetings between the teams, over the last two seasons, once at each ground, including a 4-0 win last Sept. 16 at StubHub Center.
  • Last year’s TFC win ended a six-game home undefeated streak in the league series for the Galaxy, TFC scoring their first goal in Carson in 208 minutes in the victory.
  • TFC’s win in the last meeting at BMO Field, a 1-0 victory on June 18, 2017, snapped a 10-game Galaxy undefeated streak in league play in the all-time series, dating back to May 31, 2008. The Galaxy won five of the 10 meetings in between, with five draws. The TFC goal, scored by Drew Moor, ended a 268-minute TFC goalless drought in the series.
 
FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew SC, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • FC Dallas put an end to a brief two-game winless run, defeating the Houston Dynamo 4-2 at Toyota Stadium on Sept. 1. Santiago Mosquera scored a pair of goals; he has three goals in the last two games.
  • Crew SC also put an end to a brief two-game winless run, defeating New York City FC 2-1 on Sept. 1 at Mapfre Stadium. It was a fourth home win in a row for Crew SC.
  • Crew SC won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 2-1 win on Aug. 26 at Mapfre Stadium, their first home win in the series since 2012. FC Dallas had won on their previous visit to Columbus in 2015.
  • The teams reached a 2-2 draw in the last match between the teams at Toyota Stadium, April 2, 2016. Crew SC had won the previous meeting at Toyota Stadium, a 4-2 win on Sept. 29, 2013, their first win in Frisco since 2008.
 
Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The Dynamo saw their winless streak reach 10 games, losing for a second consecutive match in a 4-2 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Sept. 1. The 10-game winless run equals the club record, set May 29-Aug. 14, 2010.
  • The Timbers extended their current undefeated streak to three games with a second win in that time, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-0 at Providence Park on Saturday evening.
  • Diego Valeri scored his 10th goal of the season, to go with 10 assists, the fourth season in his MLS season he’s reached double figures in both goals and assists (2013, ’14, ’17, ’18). He joins Preki and Jaime Moreno as the only players to achieve the feat in four different seasons.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Fanendo Adi scored the game-winning goal 10 minutes from time, giving the Timbers a 2-1 win on July 28 at Providence Park.
  • The Dynamo have never lost to the Timbers at home. The Dynamo have won two of the five meetings all-time in Houston, with three draws, including a 2-2 win last July 29 at BBVA Compass Stadium in the last encounter between the teams.
  • The Timbers have a six-game undefeated streak at Providence Park alive in the series, winning the past three. The Dynamo’s lone league win there came in the first meeting between the teams in Portland in 2011.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United FC, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Real Salt Lake became the first team in MLS history to score six goals or more in back-to-back games, defeating the LA Galaxy 6-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sept. 1. The 12 goals in consecutive games are one shy of the all-time league record for a two-game span.
  • Damir Kreilach netted a hat trick, the 11th player this season to score a triple, the second-most in a year in MLS history. Albert Rusnák also scored twice; Kreilach and Rusnák each have 10 goals on the season.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Darwin Quintero scored one goal and set up two others, including the game-winner from Miguel Ibarra, as MNUFC took a 3-2 win on July 14 at TCF Bank Stadium.
  • The teams met twice in Minnesota United’s inaugural MLS campaign, each winning on their home ground. MNUFC took the first meeting, a 4-2 win on April 1 at TCF Bank Stadium – the first win in Minnesota United’s MLS history. Real returned the favor with a 1-0 victory June 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
  • Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated streak to four games with a second consecutive win, both coming against the San Jose Earthquakes, taking a 2-1 win on Sept. 1 at BC Place.
  • Sounders FC won their eighth game in a row last time out, defeating Sporting Kansas City 3-1 at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 1. The eight-game winning streak is the longest containing within a single season in MLS since the end of the shootout era (beginning 2000).
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Nicolas Lodeiro scored two goals in the opening 31 minutes as Sounders FC took a 2-0 win on July 21 at CenturyLink Field.
  • Sounders FC have won the past three meetings in Seattle, over the last three seasons. Sounders FC have come away with points on three of their last four visits to BC Place, over the last three seasons.
  • The teams have met the most times of any rivalry in soccer history in the USA and Canada. Since the clubs first met at Empire Stadium on June 9, 1974, in the old North American Soccer League, they have played 134 times over all competitions. The Sounders have won 64, the Whitecaps 49, and there have been 21 draws.
 
Los Angeles Football Club vs. New England Revolution, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • LAFC stretched their undefeated streak to four matches with a third win in that span, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 on Sept. 1 at BMO Field.
  • Carlos Vela scored a pair of goals and added an assist, now with 11 goals on the season, tied for ninth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The Revolution put an end to an nine-game winless streak, winning for the first time since June 30, defeating New York City FC 1-0 on Sept. 5 at Yankee Stadium, on the first MLS goal from Brian Wright. The victory also snapped the Revolution’s away winless streak at 10 games, tied for the fourth-longest in the club’s history.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time in their history.
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The Quakes lost for a second time in three weeks to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, falling 2-1 at BC Place on Sept. 1. Vako Qazaishvili scored his ninth goal of the season and his third goal in the last two games.
  • Sporting won for a fifth time in the last six games, a 1-0 win against Orlando City SC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday evening. Tim Melia recorded the shutout, his fifth shutout in the past six games (the six SKC victories); Melia now leads MLS with 12 shutouts this season.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Sporting took a 3-2 win on March 17 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting have a five-game undefeated streak alive in the series, winning three consecutive matchups before the clubs reached a goalless draw last June 17 at Avaya Stadium in the second meeting between the teams.
  • Sporting have won the past three meetings in Kansas City, the last San Jose win at Children’s Mercy Park coming in 2015, a 5-0 victory which is the largest in the all-time series.
 
Sunday, September 16, 2018
D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN, TSN)
  • The Red Bulls saw their six-game undefeated streak come to an end last time out, a 3-0 loss to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo on Sept. 1. The Red Bulls still clinched a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the first team to book a postseason spot this year.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and the Red Bulls won the first two, once on each ground, winning by a 1-0 scoreline each time. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the game’s lone goal July 25 at Audi Field, then Kaku did it on Aug. 26 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls have a seven-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with United’s last win overall coming on May 13, 2016 at RFK Stadium.
  • The Red Bulls have a nine-game undefeated streak going in regular season matches at Red Bull Arena, having won five of the past seven meetings in Harrison. United’s last win at the Red Bulls came in 2011.
  • The teams have met 92 times in all competitions over the years – the most of any two clubs in MLS history. New York has won 34 and United have won 43, including a 7-4-2 record in the postseason. They play for the Atlantic Cup, awarded to the winner of the season series by supporters’ groups from both clubs.
 
Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC, 5 p.m. ET (FS1, TSN)
  • The Fire put an end to their club-record eight-game losing streak, but still had their winless run extended to nine games in a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC at Toyota Park on Aug. 23. Nemanja Nikolic scored for a second consecutive game, now with 12 goals this season, tied for sixth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Orlando City had their winless streak extended to eight matches, dropping a 1-0 decision to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Alan Gordon netted the game-winner in the 82nd minute as the Fire took a 2-1 win on May 26 at Orlando City Stadium.
  • The Fire have won the past two meetings in the series, after going winless in the opening six encounters between the clubs. OCSC had won two of the first six meetings between the teams, with four draws, the victories coming on the club’s first two visits to Toyota Park, both in its inaugural season.
  • OCSC have not won at home in the all-time series, the first three meetings in Orlando all ending in draws.
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