Nippert Stadium - full crowd overhead shot - FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati get set for inaugural home opener - This Week in MLS

  • Cincinnati’s fans set stage for home test
  • Sporting’s Busio preps for Concacaf U-17 Championship under newly hired veteran coach
  • MLS sides ready to rally in Concacaf Champions League
  • Week 3 Notes
Top 5 Things to Watch this Week:
1. FC Cincinnati get set for inaugural home opener this Sunday: More than 30,000 fans are expected at FC Cincinnati’s inaugural home opener against the Portland Timbers this Sunday (5 p.m. ET, FS1).
2. Three’s good company in the West: With two wins and six goals each, LAFC, Minnesota and Seattle are tied atop the West. Minnesota’s Darwin Quintero leads the league in both goals and assists entering Week 3 after two strong road performances.
3. D.C. United claim another first: D.C. United made club history after opening the season with consecutive shutouts to remain undefeated after the first two games.
4. Vela may be LAFC’s star, but Diomande is shining: The Carlos Vela MVP chatter started Sunday after his two assists and one-goal performance, but off-the-bench hero Adama Diomande has sealed LAFC’s two wins with an assist and two goals, including a stoppage-time game winner during the opening week.
WATCH the “We Are LAFC” docuseries on ESPN+ for behind-the-scenes building of the team.
5. Sightings: Fully embracing MLS traditions last week were boxing champion Roy Jones Jr., driving in Atlanta United’s Golden Spike and Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier at LAFC’s win against Portland.
Cincinnati’s fans set stage for home test
There’s a deafening sea of orange and blue about to erupt in the Midwest, as expansion side FC Cincinnati and more than 30,000 supporters prepare to host the Portland Timbers at Nippert Stadium this Sunday (5 p.m. ET, FS1). Built on an electrifying atmosphere that averaged more than 25,000 per game in 2018, their raucous home games rivaled top-five MLS attendance numbers before Cincinnati even joined the league.
With confidence growing after tying the reigning MLS Cup champs Atlanta United last week, can FC Cincinnati reward their home fans with a win?
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Busio preps for Concacaf U-17 Championship under newly hired veteran coach
Sporting Kansas City’s 16-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio is among an impressive core of teenagers developed from MLS academies that could represent the U.S. at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship and compete for a spot at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup under the tutelage of newly hired head coach Raphaël Wicky. The former Swiss National team star previously managed FC Basel, leading the club to the Round of 16 at the 2018 UEFA Champions League. Wicky will now take over a deep U.S. squad that has featured Busio and NYCFC homegrown defender Joe Scally among a host of other current academy stars.
Busio is showing he belongs on the international stage through his play with Sporting KC’s first team early in the season, starting in the club’s 2-0 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday. The skilled attacker was one of seven academy produced teens to play during the second week of MLS regular season action. Overall, academy produced teens saw their minutes nearly double from the opening week, climbing from 186 to 361 minutes in Week 2.
Also eligible to play in the U-17 tournament for either the U.S. or Mexico is 16-year-old LA Galaxy midfielder Efraín Álvarez who once again dazzled in a substitute role for LA this weekend. Although Álvarez shined, he was bested by FC Dallas 19-year-old midfielder Paxton Pomykal who registered his first career MLS assist, helping Dallas to victory in a strong 90-minute performance.
MLS sides ready to rally in Concacaf Champions League
Nine times total in the Concacaf Champions League (including the Champions’ Cup era), teams have rallied from a two-goal deficit or more for an aggregate series win – including Atlanta United in this year’s Round of 16. Heading into the second leg of this year’s CCL quarterfinals, MLS’ four sides will look to find that comeback magic and earn a semifinal spot in the semifinals.
Starting Tuesday, the New York Red Bulls (at Santos Laguna) and Houston Dynamo (at Tigres UANL) attempt to overturn their 2-0 deficits, while Atlanta looks to make up a three-goal deficit against Monterrey on Wednesday. Sporting Kansas City are down 2-1 to Panama’s Independiente La Chorrera, but they return to Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday to try and mount their comeback.
Among MLS teams’ most prominent CCL rallies, 2013 Seattle Sounders FC overcame a 1-0 first-leg loss and a 1-0 deficit in Leg 2 by posting three unanswered goals for a 3-2 aggregate quarterfinal win against Tigres. The 2004 Chicago Fire rallied from a three-goal deficit to post a 6-5 quarterfinal series victory against San Juan Jabloteh in the quarterfinals. Current Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas netted the 90th-minute series winner for the Fire.
Will this year’s MLS contingent unearth some similar comeback stories this week?
MLS Regular Season: Week 3 Notes
Saturday, March 16
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 1 p.m. ET (TSN1)
  • The Fire gained their first point of the 2019 season, getting a stoppage-time equalizer from CJ Sapong to snatch a 1-1 draw with Orlando City SC at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sapong has scored in the opening two games of the year, the second time in his career he’s started the season with goals in the first two matches (also 2012).
  • Sounders FC won for the second game on the trot, both at CenturyLink Field, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-0 on Saturday evening. Kelvin Leerdam scored for a second consecutive match; his last goal in MLS play had come in his second appearance with Sounders FC on July 23, 2017.
  • The teams met once a year ago, reaching a 1-1 draw on June 23 at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have never lost to the Fire in Seattle, winning four of the six league meetings (with two draws).
  • The Fire won the last meeting between the teams in Bridgeview, a 4-1 win on May 13, 2017. They have a two-game undefeated streak at home vs. Sounders FC.
Columbus Crew SC vs. FC Dallas, 2 p.m. ET
  • Crew SC won their first match of the new season, defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 at Gillette Stadium. Gyasi Zardes scored a pair of goals, his first of the year, as Crew SC are undefeated this season.
  • FC Dallas won their first match of the season, knocking off the LA Galaxy 2-0 at Toyota Stadium. Bryan Acosta scored his first MLS goal while Paxton Pomykal collected his first career assist.
  • The teams reached a goalless draw in their lone meeting a year ago on Sept. 15 at Toyota Stadium. The two matchups in Frisco have ended in draws.
  • Crew SC won the last meeting in Columbus, a 2-1 victory on Aug. 26, 2017. It was their first home win vs. FC Dallas since 2012.
Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 3 p.m. ET (TSN1, CTV)
  • The Dynamo came from behind to claim their first victory of the new season, defeating the Montréal Impact 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mauro Manotas scored for a second consecutive match, already his fourth goal over all competitions this year.
  • Whitecaps FC suffered their second defeat in two games to open the new season, falling 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The teams met twice a season ago. Whitecaps FC took a 2-1 win on March 10 at BBVA Compass Stadium, then they reached a 2-2 draw on May 11 at BC Place. Whitecaps FC have a three-game undefeated streak in the series.
  • The Whitecaps FC victory in Houston last year was the first ever in the series by the visiting team. Whitecaps FC have won six of the eight meetings all-time in Vancouver, with two draws. The Dynamo have now won four of the six encounters in Houston (with one draw).
New York Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 3:30 p.m. ET (Univision)
  • The Red Bulls return to league play after a weekend off, opening their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC on March 2 at Mapfre Stadium. Andreas Ivan scored the Red Bulls’ first MLS goal this year.
  • The Quakes suffered their second loss in two starts to open the new season – both coming at Avaya Stadium – in a 3-0 defeat by Minnesota United FC on Saturday evening.
  • The Red Bulls won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-1 win on Oct. 6 at Avaya Stadium. It was a second consecutive win in the series for the Red Bulls, having won the last matchup at Red Bull Arena, a 5-1 triumph July 19, 2017.
  • The Red Bulls victory last year was the first for the visiting team in the series since 2005, when the Earthquakes defeated the then-MetroStars 1-0 at Giants Stadium. The last previous win for the New York club in San Jose came in 2003.
Orlando City SC vs. Montreal Impact, 4 p.m. ET (TVA Sports)
  • Orlando City reached a second draw in two starts to begin the season, hauled back into a late 1-1 deadlock with the Chicago Fire at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Dom Dwyer picked up his first goal of the season, while Nani assisted on a goal for a second consecutive week.
  • The Impact suffered their first defeat after opening the season with a win, falling 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening. Saphir Taïder netted the Impact goal, his second of the year; he’s been involved in all three Montréal goals scored this season.
  • The Impact won both meetings between the teams a season ago, both coming 10 days apart, without conceding a goal. The Impact took a 3-0 win on June 13 at Stade Saputo, then claimed a 2-0 victory June 23 at Orlando City Stadium.
  • The Impact are undefeated in the last five meetings between the clubs, with four wins in that span. The last OCSC victory in the series came Sept. 7, 2016, a 4-1 victory at Stade Saputo.
D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m. ET
  • D.C. United opened their home campaign with a second result in two matches, reaching a goalless draw with New York City FC at Audi Field. Bill Hamid was credited with six saves in keeping the clean sheet, still yet to concede a goal this season. This is the first time in United’s 24-year history they have opened a season with consecutive shutouts.
  • Real Salt Lake won their first game of the season, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC by the game’s lone goal at Rio Tinto Stadium. Albert Rusnák scored from the penalty spot, his second consecutive game with a goal.
  • Real Salt Lake won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-2 victory on May 12 at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was a second consecutive win for Real vs. D.C. United.
  • Real won the last meeting between the teams in the nation’s capital, a 1-0 victory Aug. 12, 2017, in the final meeting at RFK Stadium. It was RSL’s first win ever in Washington, after six defeats and three draws there over the first 12 years of the series. United has never won at Rio Tinto Stadium; their lone win in Salt Lake City came in the first meeting there, Oct. 5, 2005 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
LA Galaxy vs. Minnesota United FC, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • The Galaxy suffered their first defeat of the season, falling 2-0 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
  • Minnesota United FC won for a second consecutive match – both on the road – in a 3-0 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. MNUFC have won back-to-back away matches for the first time in their MLS history.
  • Darwin Quintero scored his second goal of the season and added his third assist, leading MLS in goals and assists combined after the opening two weeks of the season.
  • The Galaxy have never lost to Minnesota United FC in four meetings between the teams all-time. Last year, the teams reached a 2-2 draw on Aug. 11 in Carson – the first point taken in the series by MNUFC. The Galaxy then claimed a 3-1 win on Oct. 21 in Minneapolis.
  • The Galaxy won both meetings in Minnesota United’s inaugural season – a 2-1 win at TCF Bank Stadium, and a 3-0 win in southern California.
Sunday, March 17
New York City FC vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 3 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes)
  • New York City FC reached a second draw in two matches to open the season, playing to a goalless draw with D.C. United at Audi Field on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Los Angeles Football Club won for a second time in two matches this season, defeating the Portland Timbers 4-1 at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday evening. Carlos Vela netted his first goal of the season and added a pair of assists.
  • The teams reached a 2-2 draw in their lone meeting in LAFC’s inaugural season last year on May 13 at Banc of California Stadium.
FC Cincinnati vs. Portland Timbers, 5 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes)
  • FC Cincinnati gained the first point of their MLS history, getting a late equalizer to snatch a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Roland Lamah netted FCC’s goal, from an assist by Kenny Saief making his MLS debut.
  • FCC will be making their MLS home bow at Nippert Stadium. All-time in MLS history, expansion teams are 8-6-2 in their opening home matches.
  • The Timbers suffered their first defeat of the season, falling 4-1 to the Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday evening. Diego Valeri collected an assist for a second consecutive match.
  • The Timbers are 3-2-1 in their first meetings with MLS expansion clubs since they came into the league in 2011. Last year, they defeated LAFC 2-1 in their first meeting, in Portland.
Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m. ET
  • Atlanta United gained their first point in defense of their MLS Cup championship, pulled back into a late 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Josef Martínez scored his first goal of the season, ATLUTD’s first in league play this year.
  • The Union suffered a second consecutive defeat to start the new campaign, falling 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday afternoon.
  • Atlanta United have never lost to the Union since coming into the league, with three wins and a draw in four meetings, now with a three-game winning streak alive in the series. Last year, ATLUTD won both matchups, a 3-1 win on June 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and a 2-0 win on July 7 at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • The clubs reached a 2-2 draw in their first-ever meeting, Aug. 26, 2017, in Chester, Pa. Atlanta United then took a 3-0 victory on Sept. 27, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN4/5)
  • Toronto FC return to league play after a weekend off, opening the new season with a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field on March 2. Michael Bradley netted a pair of goals, the first multiple-goal game of his MLS career.
  • The Revolution fell to their first defeat of the new season in their 2019 home opener, falling 2-0 to Columbus Crew SC at Gillette Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
  • The teams split their two meetings a year ago, each winning at home. The Revolution won 3-2 May 12 at Gillette Stadium, then TFC took a 4-1 victory on Sept. 29 at BMO Field.
  • TFC has won the last three meetings between the teams at BMO Field. TFC’s win there on Aug. 6, 2016, snapped an eight-game Revolution undefeated streak in the series, dating back to 2013. It was the first home win in the series for TFC since 2010, snapping a six-game winless streak (and three-game losing streak) vs. New England at BMO Field.
  • The Revolution are undefeated in the past seven meetings in Foxborough, with five wins and two draws in that time.
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City, 9 p.m. ET
  • The Rapids went down to their first defeat of the new year, suffering a 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday evening.
  • Sporting claimed their first victory of the new season, defeating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • The teams met twice a season ago. The teams reached a 2-2 draw on March 24 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Sporting coming back from two goals down after the first 10 minutes – then SKC took a 1-0 win on May 5 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • The Rapids had won the past four meetings between the teams in Commerce City, Colo., before the draw last season – three in a row by 1-0 scorelines – their first home wins in the series since 2009.
  • Sporting have won the past two meetings in KC, after a two-game Colorado winning streak at Children’s Mercy Park – the Rapids’ first two wins in Kansas City since the 2002 season. The Rapids won five meetings in a row in the series from 2015-16.

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