Tim Melia
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Sporting's Melia, Crew SC's Steffen setting new MLS goalkeeping marks

MLS MEDIA RESOURCES: WEEK 3 NEWS & NOTES
News and notes and statistical trends from around Major League Soccer
 
SPORTING KC’S MELIA MOVES TO HEAD OF THE CLASS IN PENALTY KICK SAVES
 
Tim Melia of Sporting Kansas City continued to show his remarkable prowess in stopping penalty kicks last weekend, pushing aside an attempt from Marco Fabián of the Philadelphia Union in the 41st minute of an eventual 2-0 Sporting victory at Children’s Mercy Park.
 
Since the start of the 2016 season, Melia has saved eight penalty kicks among the 18 spot kicks he has faced – the most of any goalkeeper in MLS.
 
MOST PENALTY KICK SAVES (SINCE 2016)
 
PK FACED
PK GOALS
PKS SAVED
Tim Melia
18
10
8
Nick Rimando
15
9
5
Zack Steffen
12
8
4
Andre Blake
16
13
3
Tim Howard
17
12
3
 
 
Melia has now saved eight penalty kicks over his 10-year MLS career – now fourth-most in league history. The all-time leader is still Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, who has made 24 saves among the 88 penalty kicks he’s faced (56 of those goals, with eight off-target).
 
But Melia’s save percentage of better than 38 percent of all penalty kicks faced is the best of any goalkeeper in league history (among goalkeepers with at least five penalty kick saves).
 
MOST PENALTY KICK SAVES (CAREER)
 
PK FACED
PKG
PK SAVED
SAVE %
Nick Rimando
88
56
24
27.3%
Kevin Hartman
57
41
12
21.1%
Joe Cannon
53
41
11
20.8%
Tim Melia
21
13
8
38.1%
Matt Jordan
22
13
7
31.8%
Sean Johnson
35
25
7
20.0%
Tim Howard
27
19
6
22.2%
Luis Robles
39
30
6
15.4%
 
STEFFEN MAKES HISTORY WITH ASSIST TO GO WITH PENALTY SAVE
 
In Saturday’s win for Columbus Crew SC at the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon, Zack Steffen maintained his team’s one-goal advantage early in the second half when he turned aside a penalty kick attempt from Diego Fagundez. Then some 12 minutes later, a long punt from Steffen jumpstarted Crew SC’s second goal, scored by Gyasi Zardes, as Columbus held out for a 2-0 win.
 
Steffen became the first goalkeeper in MLS history to record an assist and also save a penalty kick in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Just one time previously had a goalkeeper been credited with an assist and also been between the posts for a missed penalty kick – Adin Brown of the Colorado Rapids, on May 3, 2000, vs. the Chicago Fire. Brown saw a penalty kick attempt from Diego Gutierrez go over the goal midway through the second half, then four minutes started the attack that led to the eventual game-winning goal in a 2-1 Rapids victory.
 
GOALKEEPER ASSIST AND MISSED PENALTY KICK IN SAME GAME
 
Adin Brown     5/3/2000, COL 2 at CHI 1
            GOAL:             Jorge Dely Valdes       ASSISTS: Junior Agogo, Adin Brown            MIN: 71
            PK:                  Diego Gutierrez           RESULT: High                                                MIN: 67
 
Zack Steffen   3/9/2019, CLB 2 at NE 0
            GOAL:             Gyasi Zardes              ASSISTS: Hector Jimenez, Zack Steffen      MIN: 71
            PK:                  Diego Fagundez          RESULT: Saved                                             MIN: 59

 

CHASE FOR POSITIONING LEADING TO NEW CHALLENGES FOR HOME TEAMS
 
With the new single-elimination knockout format for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs awaiting at the end of the regular season, there is no question every game matters as teams jostle for positioning and all-important home-field advantage.
 
But the early weeks of the 2019 MLS season have shown clubs are heading out from their home grounds with a new intensity in a bid to grab vital points.
 
Through the first two weeks of the season, home teams have won just 10 of 23 games. The overall winning percentage for home teams is .609 – which is well below the lifetime .628 winning percentage for home teams over the first 23 seasons of the league. If the trend holds, the .609 winning percentage would be the lowest for home teams since 2011, and the sixth-lowest in MLS history.
 
Yet home teams have won less than half of the games thus far – victorious at home at a clip of just 43.5 percent. From 1996-2018, home teams historically won better than half of the games (51.8 percent) – and the current record of teams winning at home would be the lowest of any season in MLS history.
 
HOME RECORDS
 
W
L
T
HOME WIN %
% OF HOME WINS
2019
10
5
8
.609
.435
2018
211
97
83
.646
.540
2017
208
76
90
.676
.556
2016
169
64
107
.654
.497
2015
183
85
72
.644
.538
2014
156
78
89
.621
.483
1996-2018
2830
1427
1211
.628
.518
 
 
 
ATLANTA UNITED’S GRESSEL ON PACE FOR ONE OF FASTEST TO 25 ASSISTS
 
Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel collected the 24th assist of his MLS career in his club’s 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last weekend. The assist came in Gressel’s 67th game of his league career – and if he can record another assist over the next seven games, he will be the fourth-fastest to reach 25 assists among all current players.
 
FASTEST TO 25 ASSISTS (CURRENT PLAYERS)
 
DATE OF 25TH ASSIST
GAMES
Nicolas Lodeiro
7/4/2018
56
Diego Valeri
9/7/2014
58
Maximiliano Moralez
10/28/2018
61
Sacha Kljestan
8/30/2008
74
 
 
But over the course of MLS history, Gressel has the chance to become the fastest player to reach 25 assists of all players who came into the league as a rookie – without any prior professional experience before playing their first MLS season.
 
As a rookie in 2017, Gressel recorded nine assists – the third-best mark for rookies all-time in MLS. The fastest players who entered as rookies to 25 assists are Orlando City SC midfield maestro Sacha Kljestan, along with league legend Clint Mathis, who had the second-most assists for a rookie with 10 in 1998. Both Kljestan and Mathis reached 25 assists in their 74th league appearances.
 
FASTEST TO 25 ASSISTS (FROM ROOKIE SEASON)
 
DATE OF 25TH ASSIST
GAMES
Sacha Kljestan
8/30/2008
74
Clint Mathis
7/1/2000
74
Brian Maisonneuve
8/8/1999
81
Antonio Martinez
7/9/2005
84
Pat Noonan
8/6/2006
89
 
 
 
MLS WEEK 3 – LOOK AHEAD
 
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Seattle Sounders FC
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #24)
SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, Ill.
12 noon CT (TSN1, ESPN+; JOEtv / YouTube TV [SEA])
 
REFEREE: Joseph Dickerson. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Baldomero Toledo; VAR: Kevin Stott; AVAR: Peter Balciunas
MLS Career: 10 games; FC/gm: 27.2; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 3; pens: 3
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Fire 2 wins, 13 goals … Sounders FC 7 wins, 16 goals … Ties 4
AT CHICAGO: Fire 2 wins, 9 goals … Sounders FC 3 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
  • 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.
  • 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.
FIRE: CJ 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). … Przemyslaw Frankowski collected his first career MLS assist, coming off the substitutes’ bench.
 
SOUNDERS FC: Raúl Ruidíaz scored for a second consecutive match; he has scored in each of the last five league matches (with seven goals in that time), dating back to last Sept. 29, and now has goals in each of last seven appearances in all competitions. … Stefan Frei was credited with three saves in keeping the clean sheet, the 67th shutout of his MLS league career, seventh-most all-time. … Sounders FC have scored multiple goals in seven consecutive games for the first time in their MLS history.
 
 
COLUMBUS CREW SC vs. FC DALLAS
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #25)
Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
2 p.m. ET (FS-Ohio; FCDTV)
 
REFEREE: Alex Chilowicz. AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: Marcos de Oliveira; VAR: Fotis Bazakos; AVAR: Peter Manikowski
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 1; pens: 1
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Crew SC 19 wins (1 shootout), 63 goals … FC Dallas 17 wins (1 shootout), 63 goals … Ties 11
AT COLUMBUS: Crew SC 13 wins (0 shootout), 38 goals … FC Dallas 5 wins (0 shootout), 26 goals … Ties 7
  • 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.
CREW SC: Gyasi Zardes recorded the ninth multiple-goal game of his MLS career. The last two league games where Zardes has scored have been multi-goal games (scoring a hat trick on Decision Day on Oct. 28 last year). … Pedro Santos recorded his first assist of the season; his last assist came last Sept. 19, his last of seven assists in 2018. … Hector Jimenez collected his first assist of the season; his last came last May 12, his only assist of 2018. Jimenez has recorded at least one assist each of the last eight seasons.
 
FCD: Reto Ziegler scored his first goal of the season, converting a penalty kick. It was his third penalty kick goal in his two MLS seasons (he now has five career MLS goals). … Jesse Gonzalez was credited with one save in recording the shutout, his first of the season and 23rd of his MLS league career.
 
 
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #26)
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
2 p.m. CT (CTV / TSN1; KUBE 57
 
REFEREE: Nima Saghafi. AR1 (bench): Logan Brown; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Mark Allatin; VAR: Hilario Grajeda; AVAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 38 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 4.4; R: 6; pens: 14
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Dynamo 4 wins, 16 goals … Whitecaps FC 7 wins, 20 goals … Ties 3
AT HOUSTON: Dynamo 4 wins, 10 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1
  • 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 match this season, already his fourth goal over all competitions this year – he has goals in each of the Dynamo’s last five league matches.
  • 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).
DYNAMO: Memo Rodriguez scored his first goal of the season, his fourth in four MLS seasons, his last coming last May 5. … Tomás Martínez collected his first assist of the season, his first since recording two in the season finale on Decision Day (Oct. 28) last year. Martínez last year led the Dynamo with 13 assists. … Romell Quioto collected his first assist of the season, his last coming last Oct. 21, the final of his 12 assists in 2018. … The Dynamo were eliminated from the Concacaf Champions League at midweek, falling 1-0 to Tigres UANL of Liga MX in Monterrey, losing their quarterfinal series 3-0 on aggregate.
 
WHITECAPS FC: Whitecaps FC ended the 2018 league campaign with a win and a draw in their final two away matches (defeating Toronto FC; drawing at the Los Angeles Football Club). … According to Opta, Hwang Inbeom created five chances against Real Salt Lake, as many as the rest of his teammates combined.
 
 
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #27)
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
3:30 p.m. ET (Univision)
 
REFEREE: Rubiel Vazquez. AR1 (bench): Kyle Atkins; AR2 (opposite): Andrew Bigelow; 4th: Drew Fischer; VAR: Alan Kelly; AVAR: Thomas Supple
MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 20.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 3
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Red Bulls 13 wins (0 shootout), 60 goals … Earthquakes 17 wins (2 shootout), 58 goals … Ties 9
AT RED BULLS: Red Bulls 10 wins (0 shootout), 40 goals … Earthquakes 4 wins (0 shootout), 19 goals … Ties 6
  • 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, his first career MLS goal (in 10 league appearances).
  • The Quakes suffered their second loss in two starts to open the new season – both coming at Avaya Stadium – in a 3-0 defeat to 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.
RED BULLS: Florian Valot collected his fifth assist over his two MLS seasons, his last coming last June 13. … Michael Amir Murillo recorded an assist for a second consecutive league game, his last coming on Decision Day (Oct. 28) last year, the final of his four assists for the season. … According to Opta, Kyle Duncan had six interceptions against the Crew in the opening match, tied for the most of any player in a single match this season. … The Red Bulls were eliminated from the Concacaf Champions League at midweek, following a 4-2 loss to Santos Laguna of Liga MX in Torreón. Down 0-2 after the first leg at Red Bull Arena, the Red Bulls pulled level on aggregate with goals from Omir Fernandez and Danny Royer inside the first nine minutes, but Santos netted four goals in a nine-minute span late in the match to secure a spot in the semifinals.
 
EARTHQUAKES: The Quakes saw their winless streak at Avaya Stadium extended to six matches. They had their club-record 11-game home winless streak put to an end last Aug. 25. … The Quakes have lost their last five away matches.
 
 
ORLANDO CITY SC vs. MONTREAL IMPACT
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #28)
Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
4 p.m. ET (TVA Sports; YouTube TV / My65)
 
REFEREE: Timothy Ford. AR1 (bench): Jose da Silva; AR2 (opposite): Kyle Longville; 4th: Chris Penso; VAR: Edvin Jurisevic; AVAR: Jozef Batko
MLS Career: 1 game; FC/gm: 16.0; Y/gm: 2.0; R: 0; pens: 0
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Orlando City 3 wins, 14 goals … Impact 5 wins, 18 goals … Ties 2
AT ORLANDO: Orlando City 2 wins, 7 goals … Impact 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 1
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
OCSC: Dom Dwyer picked up his first goal of the season, now with a goal and an assist on the new campaign. … Dwyer has nine goals in 10 career appearances against Montreal, his most against any MLS opponent. … Nani assisted on a goal for a second consecutive week.
 
IMPACT: Saphir Taïder netted the Impact goal, his second of the year; he’s been involved in all three Montréal goals scored this season. … Micheal Azira collected his first assist of the season, his first in an MLS league game since Aug. 26, 2017, when he was with the Colorado Rapids.
 
 
D.C. UNITED vs. REAL SALT LAKE
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #29)
Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
8 p.m. ET (FloSports; KMYU-12)
 
REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Eduardo Mariscal; 4th: Kevin Broadley; VAR: Silviu Petrescu; AVAR: Craig Lowry
MLS Career: 70 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 24; pens: 13
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: D.C. United 7 wins, 33 goals … Real 9 wins, 33 goals … Ties 5
AT D.C.: D.C. United 6 wins, 23 goals … Real 1 win, 10 goals … Ties 3
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
DC UNITED: Bill Hamid was credited with six saves in keeping the clean sheet, still yet to concede a goal this season. Hamid has not allowed a goal in his past three league appearances, dating back to Decision Day (Oct. 28) last year, now 282 minutes since his last MLS league goal allowed.
 
REAL: Albert Rusnák scored from the penalty spot, his second consecutive game with a goal; the longest goalscoring streak of his MLS career is three games, set last Aug. 18-Sept. 1. … Nick Rimando was credited with five saves in recording the shutout, his first of the season and the all-time record 145th of his MLS league career.
 
 
LA GALAZY vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Saturday, March 16, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #30)
Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, Calif.
7:30 p.m. PT (Spec SN; FS-North)
 
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Jason White; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Ramy Touchan; VAR: Daniel Radford; AVAR: Chris Elliott
MLS Career: 241 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 41; pens: 71
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Galaxy 3 wins, 10 goals … MNUFC 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 1
AT GALAXY: Galaxy 1 win, 5 goals … MNUFC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
  • 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.
GALAXY: Since the start of last season, the Galaxy average just 1.0 goals per 90 when Zlatan Ibrahimović is not on the field (1,076+ minutes). They average 2.1 goals per 90 with him on the pitch (2,399+ minutes).
 
MNUFC: Miguel Ibarra scored his first goal of the season, his last coming last Sept. 15, the final of his seven goals in MLS play in 2018.
 
 
NEW YORK CITY FC vs. LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB
Sunday, March 17, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #31)
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
3 p.m. ET (FS1 / FOX Deportes)
 
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Jeremy Hanson; AR2 (opposite): Cameron Blanchard; 4th: Drew Fischer; VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero; AVAR: Gjovalin Bori
MLS Career: 116 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 26; pens: 27
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: LAFC 0 wins, 2 goals … NYCFC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
AT NYCFC: First meeting
  • 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.
  • 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.
NYCFC: Sean Johnson was credited with three saves in recording his first shutout of the season, the 54th of his MLS league career. … For his MLS career, Johnson has a 1.00 GAA, 73,1% save percentage and 35 clean sheets in home matches (1.7 GAA, 66.2% save percentage, 19 clean sheets on the road).
 
LAFC: Carlos Vela netted his first goal of the season and added a pair of assists. It’s the third time in his MLS career (in 30 league appearances) he’s been involved in three or more goals in a game (2 goals, 1 assist, Sept. 1 at TOR; 2 goals, 2 assists, Oct. 12 vs. HOU). … Adama Diomande scored for a second consecutive week, and also added an assist, his first of the year. It’s the first time he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game in MLS. … Mark-Anthony Kaye scored his first goal of the year, his third in MLS (in 22 appearances). … Christian Ramírez scored his first goal of 2019, his third since coming to LAFC from Minnesota United (in nine appearances). … Latif Blessing collected his first assist of the year, his last coming last July 22.
 
 
FC CINCINNATI vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS
Sunday, March 17, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #32)
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
5 p.m. ET (FS1 / FOX Deportes)
 
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Kathryn Nesbitt; AR2 (opposite): Jeffrey Greeson; 4th: Marcos de Oliveira; VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.; AVAR: Cory Richardson
MLS Career: 129 games; FC/gm: 25.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 32; pens: 37
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: First meeting
  • 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.
  • 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.
FCC: Spencer Richey was credited with three saves in goal for FCC, making his second career MLS appearance, his first coming March 18, 2017, for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
 
TIMBERS: Diego Valeri collected an assist for a second consecutive match this season. He has an assist now in four consecutive league matches, dating back to the end of last year (also with a goal during that span). … Jeremy Ebobisse scored his first goal of the season, the fourth of his MLS league career (in 25 games).
 
 
ATLANTA UNITED vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION
Sunday, March 17, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #33)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
7 p.m. ET (FS-South; PHL 17)
 
REFEREE: Robert Sibiga. AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Jon Freemon; VAR: Luis Guardia; AVAR: Jozef Batko
MLS Career: 74 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 17; pens: 20
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: ATLUTD 3 wins, 10 goals … Union 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 1
AT ATLANTA: ATLUTD 2 wins, 6 goals … Union 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
  • 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.
  • 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.
ATLUTD: Josef Martínez scored his first goal of the season, ATLUTD’s first in league play this year. … Julian Gressel collected his first assist of the season, the 24th of his MLS league career (in 67 appearances).
 
UNION: The Union suffered a fourth consecutive loss in the defeat by Sporting KC, dating back to the end of last season, matching the club-record losing run (set five times previously).
 
 
TORONTO FC vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Sunday, March 17, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #34)
BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.
7:30 p.m. ET (TSN 4/5; NBCS-Bos)
 
REFEREE: Ted Unkel. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Gianni Facchini; 4th: Baldomero Toledo; VAR: Geoff Gamble; AVAR: Philippe Briere
MLS Career: 79 games; FC/gm: 23.6; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 28; pens: 45
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Toronto FC 7 wins, 35 goals … Revolution 13 wins, 49 goals … Ties 9
AT TORONTO: Toronto FC 5 wins, 24 goals … Revolution 3 wins, 19 goals … Ties 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.
  • 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 on 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.
TFC: Michael Bradley netted a pair of goals in the season opener, the first multiple-goal game of his MLS career. His last goal in league play came Sept. 18, 2016 – a span of 68 games. … Nick DeLeon scored a goal and added an assist in his TFC debut. The goal was his first in league play since Aug. 27, 2016, while with D.C. United; it was the fourth time he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game, last in 2015. … Jonathan Osorio collected his first assist of the season, a second consecutive game with an assist (also on Decision Day last year). … Auro Jr. collected his first assist of the year, his last coming last Aug. 4.
 
REVOLUTION: The Revs were defeated in their home opener for the first time since 2006 (a 2-1 loss to Chicago). … The Revolution have a five-game away winless run after their opening weekend draw at FC Dallas.
 
 
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sunday, March 17, 2019 (Week 3, MLS Game #35)
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; FS-KC)
 
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho; AR2 (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Guido Gonzales Jr.; VAR: Jorge Gonzalez; AVAR: Jonathan Johnson
MLS Career: 136 games; FC/gm: 22.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 31; pens: 62
 
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Rapids 23 wins (3 shootout), 82 goals … Sporting 25 wins (1 shootout), 100 goals … Ties 14
AT COLORADO: Rapids 18 wins (2 shootout), 52 goals … Sporting 5 wins (1 shootout), 38 goals … Ties 9
  • 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.
RAPIDS: According to Opta, Dillon Serna completed five crosses and corners against Seattle last week, the fourth different Rapids player to do so in an MLS match since 2014.
 
SPORTING: Ilie Sánchez converted a penalty kick for his first goal of the season, his first in league play since last Aug. 11. It was the third goal for Sánchez over all competitions this season. … Tim Melia was credited with four saves in recording the shutout, the 40th of his MLS career. Melia saved a penalty kick, the eighth penalty kick save in his MLS league career (from 21 total attempts faced).
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