Sebastian Giovinco and Alphonso Davies
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This Week in MLS - October 9, 2018

  • Giovinco’s return to Italy, Paraguayan youngsters highlight top MLS international call-ups
  • FC Dallas Homegrown Cannon ready for pressure with U.S. MNT call-up
  • D.C. run evokes similarities to 2016 MLS Cup-winning Sounders FC
  • MLS academy products look to lift Canada to new heights
  • MLS Week 33: Match Notes
 
Giovinco’s return to Italy, Paraguayan youngsters highlight top MLS international call-ups
Stars across Major League Soccer have been recognized for their quality in league play this season to earn call-ups to their respective national teams, ranging from young players representing their countries for the first time to veterans reentering the international fold.
 
Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco returns to the Italy National Team thanks to a successful individual 2018 season with a combined 26 goals and assists, ranking as one of only three players across the league in the top 10 of both categories. Giovinco receives the call from new Italy boss Roberto Mancini. Giovinco, the 2015 Landon Donovan MLS MVP and 2018 Concacaf Champions League MVP will face Ukraine and Poland in this window and U.S. Men’s National Team fans should keep an eye on his performance, as repeat call-ups in the November window could see the Atomic Ant face Toronto teammates Michael Bradley and Marky Delgado, both called in for the U.S. camp.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Johnny Russell has seen a resurgence with Scotland, having played in both matches during the September international window. With nine goals and nine assists for SKC, Russell will look to continue his strong production with Scotland when facing Israel and Portugal this week.
 
Young players across the league have also used their club play to break through for the first time in international play. Paraguay has seen three young MLS stars enter the program with high hopes for the first time this year, including 24-year-old Héctor Villalba (Atlanta United), 23-year-old Kaku (New York Red Bulls) and 20-year-old Cristhian Paredes (Portland Timbers). Kaku and Villalba have been instrumental to their squads, which are fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and could each break the record for most points ever in an MLS season. Combined with fellow star Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), the Paraguay National Team has three players age 24 or younger that have combined for 24 goals and 37 assists in MLS play this season.
 
FC Dallas Homegrown Cannon ready for pressure with U.S. MNT call-up
From virtually unknown to anchoring one of the best defensive units in MLS, 20-year-old FC Dallas Homegrown Player Reggie Cannon is bound for his first U.S. Men’s National Team camp as the USA prepares for No. 14 FIFA-ranked Colombia on Thursday in Tampa (7:30 p.m. ET / FS1, UniMas, UDN).
 
Cannon’s emergence under FCD head coach Oscar Pareja has helped catapult the club to the top of the Western Conference. After playing just one minute in 2017, Cannon this year has played in 31 games (all starts), logged 2,741 minutes and tallied a goal and three assists. He also was voted No. 7 on MLSsoccer.com’s 22 Under 22 rankings. Alongside the rising defender will be a former teammate, Colorado Rapids midfielder and former FCD Homegrown Player Kellyn Acosta.
 
“I’m looking forward to heading into this camp with solid confidence,” Cannon said. “Kellyn’s really going to help me with that. He’s my roommate and my best friend. He’s going to help me a lot with getting integrated into the system. It’s going to be a good trip.” (LISTEN HERE)
 
“I like to play the players when I know they’re going to have a good scenario,” Pareja recently told the Dallas Morning News. “With Reggie’s situation, that probably happened more than with anyone else.”
 
“You have that national team call-up, people are looking at you differently,” Cannon said. “People are expecting you to always be at that level. That bar you set, you always have to go above it.”
 
U.S. MNT roster:
  • Current MLS Homegrowns: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Mark Delgado (Toronto FC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
  • Former MLS Homegrowns: Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Additional MLS youth products: Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Tim Weah (New York Red Bulls)
 
D.C. run evokes similarities to 2016 MLS Cup-winning Sounders FC
D.C. United (11-11-8, 41 points) could be one step closer to the Audi 2018 MLS Cup playoffs this week with a potential slide into sixth place, moving the club above playoff line for the first time this regular season. With potential postseason qualification in view and a couple games in hand, D.C.’s turnaround is showing signs of mirroring the memorable U-turn of 2016 MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC.
 
The 2016 Sounders went 6-12-2 (20 points) through July 24 of that season, then went on to post an 8-2-4 record (28 points) the rest of the way to advance to the postseason. This year’s United team posted a 3-9-5 record (14 points) through July 25 of this year and has since sported an 8-2-3 record (27 points) heading into Week 32.
 
2016 MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders FC:
  • March 6-July 24, 2016: 6-12-2, 20 points
  • July 31-Oct. 23, 2016: 8-2-4, 28 points
2018 D.C. United:
  • March 3-July 25: 3-9-5, 14 points
  • July 28-present: 8-2-3, 27 points (4 games remaining)
The 2012 LA Galaxy were the trendsetters of comeback MLS champions. Through July 4, 2012, LA went 6-10-2 and was out of the postseason picture, but then went 10-2-4 over the remainder of the regular season, then would go on to defeat the Houston Dynamo in MLS Cup.
 
A postseason berth still needs to occur for D.C., which collides with Western Conference-leading FC Dallas this Saturday (4:55 p.m. / Univision, UDN) at Audi Field, where United have gone 4-0-1 in their past five home matches.
 
Since Sept. 1:
  • D.C. United: 4-0-2 (4-0-1 in past five matches at Audi Field)
  • FC Dallas: 3-0-2 (defense has posted three shutouts)
“Give credit to the team and all the fans, and the new stadium, for bringing in a new type of energy and feel to the organization,” D.C. midfielder Paul Arriola said. “It’s been fun, and the more that we can continue to win now, the easier it is for us to push ourselves into the playoffs.” (LISTEN HERE)
 
MLS academy products look to lift Canada to new heights
With nine current players called into the Canada National Team, Major League Soccer’s influence on coach John Herdman’s squad is undeniable. The strong contingent of particularly young players developed through MLS academies and features a world-class attacking trio that rivals the excitement and potential of any in North America.
 
Ballou Tabla, the 19-year-old midfielder who transferred to Barcelona from the Montreal Impact, could make his national team debut on Oct. 16 when hosting Dominica in Toronto. Tabla forms a talented attacking unit including 17-year-old Vancouver midfielder Alphonso Davies who is headed to Bayern Munich next year in a record transfer. Former Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin also has emerged as a starter for Turkish power Besiktas and is the focus of Canada’s attack up top.
 
Along with Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio, the 2018 Concacaf Champions League Golden Boot winner, Canada has a wealth of MLS-produced attacking talent that is set to lead the country in its quest to secure a spot in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
 
MLS Week 33: Match Notes
Friday, October 12, 2018
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • LAFC became the fifth expansion team to clinch a playoff berth in its first season, following a 3-0 win against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday evening. It was LAFC’s seventh away win of the season, matching the all-time record for expansion teams, set by the Chicago Fire in 1998.
  • Adama Diomande netted a pair of goals, now with 11 goals for the season. LAFC now have three goalscorers with 10 goals or more, including Carlos Vela (11) and Diego Rossi (10), and is the first expansion team ever to achieve that feat.
  • The Dynamo had their three-game winless streak put to an end, falling 4-1 to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Monday evening. With the defeat, the Dynamo were eliminated from playoff contention. DaMarcus Beasley scored the Dynamo goal, his first in MLS since 2016.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time ever. LAFC held a two-goal lead as the clock hit 90:00, but stoppage-time goals from Mauro Manotas (94+) and Philippe Senderos (96+) hauled the Dynamo back into a 2-2 draw July 3 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
 
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Minnesota United FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • MNUFC saw their two-game winning run come to sudden halt, falling 5-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening. Darwin Quintero netted his 11th goal of the season (to go with 13 assists).
  • The Rapids saw their losing streak reach seven games, falling 3-0 to the Los Angeles Football Club at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday evening. The losing slide is one game away from the club record, set earlier this season (April 21-June 9).
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Tommy Smith netted the game-winner deep into second-half stoppage time as the Rapids came back for a 3-2 win on June 23 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The teams met twice in Minnesota United’s inaugural campaign. They reached a 2-2 draw in the first encounter on March 18 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; MNUFC then claimed a 1-0 win on April 18 at TCF Bank Stadium.
 
D.C. United vs. FC Dallas, 4:55 p.m. ET (Univisión, UDN, Twitter)
  • D.C. United extended their undefeated streak to six games with a second consecutive win, coming back for a 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire at Audi Field on Sunday afternoon. The six-game unbeaten run is United’s longest of the season and their longest since 2015; they now have a five-game undefeated streak alive at Audi Field.
  • Wayne Rooney scored both United goals vs. Chicago and now has nine goals in 16 appearances since coming to the club. It was a second consecutive two-goal game and his third in MLS; Rooney has goals in his past three contests.
  • FC Dallas extended their undefeated streak to five games with a third win in that time, defeating Orlando City SC 2-0 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. The win extended FCD’s home undefeated streak to four games, a second consecutive shutout in Frisco.
  • FC Dallas have won the past three meetings between the clubs, including a 4-2 win on July 4, 2017, at Toyota Stadium in their only matchup. D.C. United last won in Frisco on Sept. 1, 2007, a 4-0 victory. FC Dallas have won five of their seven home meetings since, with two draws.
  • FC Dallas concluded their RFK Stadium history with a 3-0 win there on March 26, 2016, FCD’s first win in the nation’s capital since 2010. United’s last win in the series came on East Capitol Street, a 4-1 win in 2014.
 
New England Revolution vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The Revolution saw their winless streak extended to four games with a second consecutive defeat, falling 2-1 to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
  • Orlando City SC had their club-record winless run stretched to 11 games with a fourth consecutive defeat, falling 2-0 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. OCSC has not scored a goal in its past four matches, the 360-minute goalless drought the second-longest in the club’s MLS history.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Orlando City’s Scott Sutter hit for the equalizer three minutes into second-half stoppage time, leaving the teams in a 3-3 draw on Aug. 4 at Orlando City Stadium.
  • The away team has never won in the all-time series, in eight meetings. The Revolution have won two of the three meetings at Gillette Stadium, including a 4-0 win in the last matchup there, last Sept. 2. Orlando City had won their last two home matches vs. New England, before this year’s draw.
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