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This Week in MLS - October 16, 2018

  • Best in Show: Atlanta, Red Bulls pursue Supporters’ Shield supremacy
  • Bradley’s LAFC set to top his own mark with best expansion season ever
  • Can Atlanta United reward supporters with first trophy this week?
  • Garber induction launches National Soccer HOF opening festivities
  • NYCFC teammates set to clash in U.S.-Peru friendly
  • Record MUNUFC attendance a sign for future move to Allianz Field
  • Wondo Watch: Quakes striker within 1 tally of Donovan’s all-time record
  • MLS Week 34: Match Notes
Best in Show: Atlanta, Red Bulls pursue Supporters’ Shield supremacy
Atlanta United (20-6-6, 66 points) and the New York Red Bulls (20-7-5, 65 points) – the two Eastern Conference frontrunners who are separated by just one point – have two weeks to corral the Supporters’ Shield, awarded to the top MLS Regular Season club. They can embolden their status as top team in league history as they chase the MLS single-season points record (Toronto FC, 69 points in 2017) and potentially can surpass 20 wins, putting them in a class on their own during the league’s post-shootout era.
“Winning games and going after trophies is important, and we’re right there,” Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good spot.” (LISTEN HERE)
20-win MLS teams in post-shootout era (2000-present)
Seattle Sounders FC
20-10-4, 64 points
Toronto FC
20-5-9, 69 points
Atlanta United
20-6-6, 66 points*
New York Red Bulls
20-7-5, 65 points*
*Two regular-season games remaining in 2018
The top USA-based team in MLS over the 2017-18 regular seasons based on points can also clinch a berth to the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, and Atlanta leads 121-115 over the Red Bulls (Atlanta can clinch with one point or NYRB dropping points over the final two games).
Bradley’s LAFC set to top his own mark with best expansion season ever
Bob Bradley’s legend within North American soccer continues to grow as he has now coached the two most successful expansion clubs in MLS history. The Los Angeles Football Club coach has his club on the brink of becoming the winningest expansion club in MLS history, after tying his 1998 Chicago Fire squad with 56 points in its inaugural season. With a spot already clinched in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, LAFC now sets its sights on clinching the top spot in the Western Conference in an intense three-way battle with MLS originals FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City for homefield advantage through at least the Conference Championships.
Should LAFC finish atop the Western Conference, the club would make MLS history becoming the first expansion team ever to finish atop its respective conference in its inaugural season, something Bradley didn’t accomplish in Chicago’s first season. Second-place LAFC hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+ / TSN1 / TSN4), while first-place FC Dallas host third-place Sporting Kansas City on the same day (5 p.m. ET, ESPN). Sporting KC then host LAFC on Decision Day presented by AT&T in a match whose outcome could dramatically shift the landscape at the top of the Western Conference.
Can Atlanta United reward supporters with first trophy this week?
With an electrifying atmosphere and record-breaking home attendance, Atlanta United could reward its loyal fanbase with the club’s first-ever trophy this Sunday while hosting the Chicago Fire at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (3 p.m. ET / ESPN, ESPN Deportes).
Within reach of the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular season record, the second-year club has been propelled by an average attendance record of 51,826 in 2018, which surpasses their own previously held record of 48,000, as the club looks to become one of only three expansion clubs to win a title in their first two seasons (1998 Chicago Fire – Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup; 2013 Montreal Impact – Canadian Championship).
Garber induction launches National Soccer HOF opening festivities
MLS Commissioner Don Garber will be among the 2018 class to be inducted this Saturday during the exciting opening of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum in Frisco, Texas, the home site of FC Dallas. As part of the first induction at the new location, Commissioner Garber will receive the honor as a Builder of the sport alongside current New England Revolution head coach Brad Friedel (Player), Dr. Bob Contiguglia (Builder), Cindy Parlow Cone (Veteran) and Tiffeny Milbrett (Player).
The induction ceremony kicks off the anticipated launch of the Hall of Fame, a new 19,350-square-foot museum and exhibition in the Dallas region that features 400 prized artifacts, virtual skills challenges, digital trivia, touchscreens to learn about MLS’s greatest moments, a NeoFace facial recognition system to customize your Hall of Fame experience and much more.
NYCFC teammates set to clash in U.S.-Peru friendly
Defenders Ben Sweat’s and Alexander Callens’ performance with New York City FC over the past two seasons has not gone unnoticed, as both players received call-ups to their respective national teams during the October FIFA international window. Thanks in large part to manning a backline for an NYCFC club that has compiled the third-most points since the duo arrived in New York in 2017, Sweat and Callens will be on opposing sidelines tonight when the U.S. takes on Peru in East Hartford, Conn. (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 / UniMas).
Sweat received his first cap for the United States in last week’s friendly against Colombia, a highlight in the 27-year-old’s career that saw him spend two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies before breaking out with NYCFC.
Callens, meanwhile, was called by Peru for the first time in three years since playing with Real Sociedad in Spain. The 26-year-old was rewarded by his club last week when NYCFC announced it had re-signed Callens to a new long-term contract. While both Sweat and Callens have grown accustomed to playing alongside each other with NYCFC, no niceties will be exchanged on the field when their national teams face off tonight.
Record MNUFC attendance a sign for future move to Allianz Field
Minnesota United FC’s final home match at TCF Bank Stadium this Sunday against the LA Galaxy (5 p.m. ET / ESPN, ESPN Deportes) will be another marker of homefield advantage, with more than 50,000 tickets sold and distributed set to break the all-time professional soccer attendance record in Minnesota state history. After 17 home wins to date in their first two seasons, the Loons will next season move into their brand-new, state-of-the-art Allianz Field, where a 28,000-seat supporters’ section – appropriately dubbed the “Wonder Wall” for the Oasis hit that became their victory song – will be a highlight for the more than 14,500 season tickets at the world’s first sports venue to feature a polytetrafluoroethylene covering that will keep the noise in and the elements out.
Wondo Watch: Quakes striker within 1 tally of Donovan’s all-time record
With two chances remaining this year to catch or surpass Landon Donovan for the MLS record of career goals (145), all eyes are on San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski who is just one tally behind with 144. San Jose hosts the Colorado Rapids on Sunday and travels to face Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 28 during MLS Decision Day 2018 presented by AT&T. (WONDO WATCH)
MLS Week 34: Match Notes
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Orlando City SC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Orlando City SC had their winless streak extended to 12 games, falling 2-0 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. OCSC have been shut out in each of their past five games, now 450 minutes played since their last goal, a club record in its MLS history.
  • Sounders FC won their second game on the trot and scored four goals for a second consecutive match, defeating the Houston Dynamo 4-1 at CenturyLink Field on October 8. Victor Rodríguez scored a pair of goals; he has three goals and an assist in the past two games.
  • Sounders FC have never lost to Orlando City in three meetings in the all-time series. The teams reached a 1-1 draw in their lone meeting last year on June 21, 2017, at CenturyLink Field.
  • Sounders FC won the first two matchups between the clubs, a 4-0 victory in 2015 at CenturyLink Field, and a 3-1 triumph on Aug. 7, 2016, at Camping World Stadium in the only encounter in Orlando.
D.C. United vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
  • D.C. United won their third consecutive game and extended their undefeated streak to seven games, defeating FC Dallas 1-0 at Audi Field on Saturday afternoon. The seven-game undefeated run is United’s longest since the 2015 season; they are undefeated in their six games at Audi Field.
  • TFC return to action following a 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BMO Field on Oct. 6. With the defeat, Toronto FC were officially eliminated from playoff contention, just the fourth reigning MLS champion to not reach the postseason the following season.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Nick Hagglund scored a pair of goals after the 86th minute – the second the equalizer in stoppage time, which canceled out Yamil Asad’s second goal of the game in the 90th minute – leaving the teams in a breathless 4-4 draw on June 13 at BMO Field.
  • TFC ended their history at RFK Stadium by coming away with points on four of their final five visits there, including each of the past three seasons. The teams reached a 1-1 draw there last Aug. 5 in the only matchup in D.C.
  • United have come away with points on four of their last six trips to BMO Field, over the past five seasons, including two victories. TFC won the lone meeting in Toronto last year, a 2-0 win on June 17.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
  • Whitecaps FC put an end to a three-game losing skid, coming back for a 2-1 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Oct. 6.
  • Sporting saw their winless run reach three games with a second consecutive draw, playing to a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at Children’s Mercy Park on Oct. 6.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Johnny Russell netted a hat trick in the opening 48 minutes as Sporting rolled to a 6-0 victory on April 20 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Whitecaps FC had won the past two meetings between the teams, both coming last year, once at each ground. The win at Children’s Mercy Park was their first ever for Whitecaps FC in Kansas City in league play. Sporting had won four of the first five meetings there in MLS play (with one draw), though Vancouver did win there in group play in the Concacaf Champions League in 2016.
  • The teams have evenly split their six meetings all-time in Vancouver, each winning two (with two draws).
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Real return to action after their winless run was extended to four games, falling 4-1 to the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Oct. 6. RSL had their home undefeated streak put to an end after 14 games, their first home loss since March 10, the opening game of the season.
  • The Revolution put an end to their four-game winless skid, defeating Orlando City SC 2-0 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. Cristian Penilla scored a goal, his 12th of the season, and added an assist.
  • The Revolution won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 4-0 victory at Gillette Stadium on May 13. It was their second successive 4-0 win in the series in Foxborough, winning there in 2015 by the same scoreline. That victory was the Revolution’s first in the series since 2009, snapping a seven-game Real undefeated streak.
  • The Revolution have never won at Rio Tinto Stadium, their only victories in Utah having come at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the last in 2007. RSL have won four of six meetings all-time in Sandy, with two draws, including a goalless result there in 2016 in the last matchup.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
  • Atlanta United returned to their winning ways last time out, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Oct. 6.
  • George Bello scored the opening goal for Atlanta. At age 16 years, 257 days, he is the sixth-youngest player to score a goal in MLS history.
  • The Fire return to action after a weekend off, falling 2-1 to D.C. United at Audi Field on Oct. 7 last time out. The defeat extended the club’s away winless streak to 11 games, now the third-longest in the club’s history.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martínez netted goals four minutes apart early in the second half, leading Atlanta United to a 2-1 win on May 5 at Toyota Park.
  • The teams split their two meetings last year in Atlanta United’s inaugural season, each winning by shutout at home. Atlanta took a 4-0 win on March 18 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and then the Fire returned the favor with a 2-0 win on June 10 at Toyota Park.
D.C. United vs. New York City FC, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Russell Canouse scored his first career goal in MLS in United’s 1-0 win vs. FC Dallas last weekend, their fourth win in five matches (with one draw) over their seven-game homestand that concludes with the NYCFC match.
  • NYCFC return to action for the first time since Sept. 29, suffering a 2-1 loss to Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium in their last match. Rodney Wallace scored the NYCFC goal, his first of the season.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, the second time in a month. David Villa scored the equalizer in the 86th minute, canceling out a Steve Birnbaum tally, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw on Sept. 8 at Yankee Stadium.
  • United won the final two meetings between the teams at RFK Stadium, including a 2-1 win there last April 8, their third win in four meetings in the Nation’s Capital. NYCFC had won the opening three meetings between the clubs at Yankee Stadium before the draw earlier this year.
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC, 3 p.m. (TVA Sports, TSN, ESPN+)
  • The Impact return to action after a weekend off, putting an end to a brief two-game winless run with a 3-0 win against Columbus Crew SC at Stade Saputo on Oct. 6. Ignacio Piatti scored his 14th goal of the season, to go with his MLS single-season career-best 13 assists.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season in league play, each winning at home. Sebastian Giovinco scored twice in the opening 22 minutes as TFC took a 3-1 win on Aug. 25 at BMO Field; Jeisson Vargas scored the game’s lone goal after 41 minutes as the Impact took a victory March 17 at Olympic Stadium.
  • The win during the first meeting this year was the first in Montréal for the Impact vs. TFC since 2015 in all competitions. TFC had won two of three league meetings in between, with one draw; there were also two draws in the Canadian Championship.
  • The Impact had won two league games in a row at BMO Field before TFC won the past two. They were the first two wins ever for the Impact in Toronto, going 0-6-4 in the first 10 meetings in all competitions at BMO Field.
  • Before this season, the teams had met in every season they have been together in MLS in the Canadian Championship, with each team defeating the other once for the title – TFC winning the second of their three titles in a row in 2017, while the Impact won the title in 2014.
Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Crew SC return to action after seeing their two-game undefeated run put to an end last time out, suffering a 3-0 loss to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo on Oct. 6.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Gyasi Zardes of Crew SC and Sacha Kljestan of OCSC each netted a pair of goals, but Wil Trapp hit for the winner in a dramatic comeback as Columbus took a 3-2 win on July 21 at Mapfre Stadium.
  • Crew SC have a six-game undefeated streak in the series, including four wins, over the past three seasons. The last OCSC victory in the series came on Aug. 1, 2015, a 5-2 win at Orlando City Stadium.
  • Crew SC have not lost to Orlando City in four meetings on their home ground, with three wins, including two in a row. Crew SC have two wins and a draw in their past three visits to Orlando City Stadium.
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The Union extended their undefeated streak to four games with a third win in that time last time out, defeating Minnesota United FC 5-1 at Talen Energy Stadium on Oct. 6. Fafa Picault scored a pair of goals, giving him 10 for the season, while also adding an assist.
  • The Red Bulls won their third game in a row in their past match, a 3-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Oct. 6.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 20th goal of the season, becoming the first player in MLS history to reach the 20-goal mark in three different seasons (2014, 2016, 2018).
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They reached a goalless draw on May 26 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls are undefeated in the past four meetings at Red Bull Arena, winning two in a row before draws in the last two. When the Union won 2-0 there on May 24, 2015, it was their first-ever win in Harrison; the Red Bulls had gone 5-0-1 in their first six home games vs. Philadelphia.
  • The Union have won once in the past six meetings at Talen Energy Stadium, the victory in last year’s first meeting. The Red Bulls have won three times in that span, dating back to 2014.
FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • FC Dallas saw their five-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 1-0 to D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday afternoon.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Michael Barrios netted a hat trick accounting for all the FCD goals in a 3-2 victory on July 28 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • The win in the first meeting was the first for FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park since 2011, the first match there in the series. SKC had won five of the seven meetings in between, with two draws.
  • FCD has a five-game home undefeated streak alive in the series, winning 1-0 at Toyota Stadium last April 22 in the only meeting there a year ago. Kansas City’s last victory in Frisco came on June 12, 2011, a 4-1 win.
Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, the second time in three weeks. Victor Rodríguez scored two goals and Cristian Roldan scored one and set up one as Sounders FC cruised to a 4-1 win on Oct. 8 at CenturyLink Field.
  • Nicolas Lodeiro collected his 12th assist of the season in the win vs. Houston, tying his MLS single-season career high set last year, also tied for 10th place in the MLS assist standings entering the week.
  • The Dynamo suffered a second consecutive defeat last Friday, falling 4-2 to the Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium. Mauro Manotas scored his 16th goal of the season, adding to his Dynamo single-season club record.
  • Sounders FC have never lost to the Dynamo in Seattle. In nine league meetings all-time, Seattle has won seven, with two draws, outscoring Houston 15-3. Sounders FC also won a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at home vs. Houston; the teams played to a scoreless draw in Seattle in the 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • The Dynamo have never lost to Sounders FC in Houston in league play. In eight meetings all-time there, the Dynamo have won four, with four draws.
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 5 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
  • LAFC won their second game on the trot, coming back for a 4-2 victory against the Houston Dynamo at Banc of California Stadium on Friday evening.
  • Carlos Vela played a part in all four LAFC goals, scoring two and assisting on two, the most goals he’s been involved in a single game in his MLS career. Vela now has 13 goals and 12 assists for the season.
  • Kei Kamara scored his 14th goal of the season, the game-winner in Whitecaps FC’s 2-1 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Oct. 6. The 14 goals are Kamara’s second-highest total in his 12 MLS seasons; he now has 114 career league goals, No. 6 on the all-time list, two behind Ante Razov.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time ever. Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi netted second-half goals as LAFC claimed a 2-0 win on April 13 at BC Place.
Minnesota United FC vs. LA Galaxy, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
  • Minnesota suffered a second consecutive loss, falling 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Galaxy saw their two-game winning streak put to an end but still extended their undefeated streak to three games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović scored the Galaxy goal, his 21st of the season; he now has goals in each of his past four games, dating back to Sept. 15, with five goals in that span. Ibrahimović has a goal or an assist now in each of the past six matches.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, reaching a 2-2 result on Aug. 11 at StubHub Center.
  • The teams met twice in Minnesota United’s inaugural season, and the Galaxy won both, once at each ground, a 2-1 win on May 21 at TCF Bank Stadium and a 3-0 win on Oct. 15 at StubHub Center.
Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, the back end of a home-and-home set over three weeks. Sebastian Blanco scored two goals and set up a third as the Timbers cruised to a 4-1 win on Oct. 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Real Salt Lake won both meetings a year ago, one at each ground, putting an end to an eight-game Timbers undefeated streak in the all-time league series. The last previous RSL win had come on April 19, 2014; Portland won four of the eight games in between, with four draws.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • The Quakes saw their losing slide reach six matches last time out, suffering a 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Avaya Stadium on Oct. 6.
  • Chris Wondolowski scored the lone Quakes goal, the 144th league goal of his MLS career, now one away from the all-time record held by Landon Donovan. It was the 10th goal of the season for Wondolowski, his ninth consecutive season with 10-plus goals, both the total number of seasons and the stretch of consecutive years all-time MLS records.
  • The Rapids put an end to a seven-game losing slide, defeating Minnesota United FC 2-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon. The seven-game streak was one shy of the club record set earlier this season.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Bismark Adjei-Boateng netted the game-winner in second-half stoppage time, giving the Rapids a 2-1 win on Aug. 11 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Rapids are undefeated in the past seven meetings with the Quakes in Commerce City, the last San Jose win there coming in 2013. The Rapids have won three times, with four draws. The Rapids win at home Oct. 13, 2016 ended a 14-game overall winless streak in the series.
  • The Quakes have won the three meetings all-time at Avaya Stadium, all by 1-0 scorelines. San Jose has not conceded a home goal to Colorado since a 1-1 draw on May 18, 2013, a span of 514 scoreless minutes for the Rapids in the Bay Area.