Walker Zimmerman - LAFC - March 23, 2019
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MLS-led U.S. MNT backline still perfect in run to Gold Cup semifinals

  • MLS-led U.S. MNT backline still perfect in run to Gold Cup semifinals
  • All-Stars Blake, Lawrence have sights on third straight Gold Cup final
  • Red-hot NYCFC face Timbers’ record-breaking Fernández
  • Red Bulls, Atlanta United reignite unspoken rivalry
  • Week 18 Notes
Top Things to Know in MLS this Week
MLS players guaranteed to be Gold Cup champions: All four remaining semifinal teams include MLS players, with a total of 25 contending for the title.
  • Tuesday, July 2 (10 p.m. ET, FS1 / Univision): Mexico (2 MLS players) vs. Haiti (2 MLS players)
  • Wednesday, July 3 (9 p.m. ET, FS1 / Univision): USA (16 MLS players) vs. Jamaica (5 MLS players)
Two teams on a tear: The San Jose Earthquakes are on a six-game unbeaten streak, while the Colorado Rapids – who were winless in their first 11 – are unbeaten in their last seven consecutive matches.
 
New MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by Target introduced in Orlando: A groundbreaking collaboration with The F2 will feature global icons on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
  • More information is available here. Images and video assets are available here.
 
MLS-led U.S. MNT backline still perfect in run to Gold Cup semifinals
With zero goals conceded through four matches in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team backline – led by MLS defenders – have carried the squad into Wednesday’s semifinal against Jamaica (9 p.m. ET / FS1, Univision, UDN). Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club) and Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes) garnered a 1-0 quarterfinal win against Curacao on Sunday. That trio, along with former Red Bulls defender Tim Ream, has started together in three of four Gold Cup matches and has provided strong support in front of 2018 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zack Steffen.
 
The USA garnered its sixth Gold Cup crown in the previous tournament final against Jamaica and will need to go through the Reggae Boyz once again in search of title No. 7. Will this year’s stout MLS defense pave the way for another championship appearance this Sunday?
 
All-Stars Blake, Lawrence have sights on third straight Gold Cup final
Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake and New York Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence, who were both recently named to the 2019 MLS All-Star Game roster, will be key cogs for Jamaica when they square off against the USA on Wednesday. The Reggae Boyz, whose roster also includes FC Cincinnati forward Darren Mattocks who tallied the lone goal during their quarterfinal win against Panama, are looking to advance to their third straight Gold Cup final.
 
Blake and Lawrence have been on the cusp of several trophies with their respective club teams. The 2016 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Blake, who was the 2017 Gold Cup Golden Glove winner, has previously led the Union to three appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. Lawrence is a two-time Supporters’ Shield winner with the Red Bulls, whose regular-season success has still been absent an MLS Cup. Both players have an opportunity this week to capture a long-awaited championship, provided Jamaica grabs two more wins under their belt this week.
 
Red-hot NYCFC face Timbers’ record-breaking Fernández
New York City FC are the hottest team in MLS with a franchise-record 11-game unbeaten streak, but they’ll have to face a pair of difficult Cascadia opponents when hosting Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+) and the Portland Timbers on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1 / FOX Deportes / FOX Sports Go). NYCFC are powered by 2019 MLS All-Star midfielder Maxi Moralez, who leads the league with 11 assists, helping the club to the second-most points per game in MLS this season. Moralez and co. will face off against an equally dangerous set of playmakers residing in the Pacific Northwest.
 
Portland Timbers midfielder Brian Fernández has entered the league like no player in MLS history, setting a record with goals scored in five consecutive regular season games to begin his MLS career. That streak extends to seven games including Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition. The 24-year-old forward has rewarded the Timbers investing in him with the largest transfer fee in club history following a season in which he ranked second in Liga MX with 12 goals scored. Fernández will look to continue his lethal scoring ways (eight goals in seven matches overall) in his first trip to the Big Apple.
 
Before NYCFC encounter Portland, they must first focus on Seattle, which enters Wednesday’s contest in third place in the Western Conference. Sounders FC should be bolstered by the return of Nicolás Lodeiro from 2019 Copa América action with Uruguay, where he helped the team advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament behind a goal and an assist. In MLS play, Lodeiro’s eight assists are tied for fourth-most in the league despite missing the last three matches due to international play.
 
Red Bulls, Atlanta United reignite unspoken rivalry
It’s no secret that the unspoken rivalry between last year’s two most accomplished teams will resurface when the New York Red Bulls visit Atlanta United this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, immediately following the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
 
In the relatively young history between the two clubs, tensions run deep after they rocked the end of both the regular season and postseason in 2018. Sunday’s match will be the first time the Red Bulls return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium since their 3-0 Audi 2018 MLS Cup Eastern Conference Playoffs loss.  
 
The Red Bulls own an all-time 4-1-1 regular season advantage with a 9-5 goal advantage in regular season meetings. However, despite pulling off an incredible rally to finish atop the league table as Supporters’ Shield champions with an all-time single-season points record (71) and wins record (22), Atlanta United went on to win MLS Cup.
 
The Red Bulls have already sought revenge with an early upper hand this season with a 1-0 win on May 19. With All-Star defender Kemar Lawrence still producing for Jamaica and Aaron Long anchoring the U.S. Men’s National Team defense in the Concacaf Gold Cup, will the Red Bulls’ depth help continue their regular season dominance, or will Atlanta United channel their postseason winning ways for success?
 
MLS Regular Season: Week 18 Notes
Wednesday, July 3
New York City FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7 p.m. ET
  • NYCFC extended their club-record undefeated streak to 11 games, defeating the Philadelphia Union 4-2 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. NYCFC have scored nine goals in winning back-to-back games, the club’s most in consecutive matches in its five MLS seasons.
  • Maximiliano Moralez scored two goals in the NYCFC win, his first multiple-goal game in league play since coming to MLS. Moralez also added an assist, now four consecutive games with an assist, with seven assists in that span. Moralez has a goal and/or an assist in six games in a row, dating back to May 4, with five goals and eight assists in that time.
  • Sounders FC put an end to a three-game losing slide in dramatic fashion, Kelvin Leerdam netted the game’s only goal deep in second-half stoppage time for a victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday evening.
  • The clubs have evenly split their four meetings all-time, each winning once at home and once away. Sounders FC won last year’s lone encounter, a 3-1 victory on July 29 at CenturyLink Field. NYCFC had won the year before, their first win in the series at Yankee Stadium, a 2-1 win on June 17.
  • Each team won at the other’s ground in the first two meetings. Sounders FC won the first meeting ever between the teams, a 3-1 win in the Bronx in 2015; NYCFC then returned the favor with a 2-0 win in Seattle in 2016.
 
Orlando City SC vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Orlando City SC won for a third time in their past five matches, defeating Columbus Crew SC 2-0 at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening. Tesho Akindele scored his sixth goal of the season, his four over the last five games.
  • The Union had their four-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 4-2 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. Kacper Przybylko netted a goal for a second consecutive game, while Jamiro Monteiro assisted on both goals, with two goals and three assists over his last five matches.
  • The teams are meeting in a home-and-home series over a four-day span. Orlando City SC have never lost at home to Philadelphia Union; the teams last met on Sept. 1 of last season, a 2-2 draw in Orlando, the third draw there in four meetings.
  • Orlando City won the last matchup at Talen Energy Stadium, a 2-0 victory there last April 13. It was just the second win by the road team in the all-time series; OCSC also won in Chester in 2016.
 
Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United, 8 p.m. ET
  • The Fire had their winless stretch extended to six games, falling 3-1 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Friday evening. Nemanja Nikolic netted his sixth goal of the season, his third over the past eight games.
  • Atlanta United won for a third time in four games, defeating the Montréal Impact 2-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday evening. Justin Meram scored both goals, his first two goals for Atlanta United since coming to the club via trade from Columbus.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Josef Martínez scored a pair of goals as Atlanta United took a 2-0 win on June 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Atlanta United have won the past three meetings between the teams, taking both matchups a year ago, each by a 2-1 scoreline, first on May 5 in Bridgeview, Ill., then on Oct. 21 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • The teams split their two meetings 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 in Bridgeview.
 
Minnesota United FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8 p.m. ET
  • Minnesota United FC became the seventh team in MLS history to score seven goals or more in an MLS league game, defeating FC Cincinnati 7-1 at Allianz Field on Saturday afternoon. The dominant win put an end to a three-game losing slide.
  • Ike Opara scored a pair of goals, the first multiple-goal game of his MLS career, while Jan Gregus collected three assists, one shy of the MLS all-time single-game record.
  • The Quakes extended their undefeated streak to six games with a fourth victory in that time, defeating the LA Galaxy 3-0 at Stanford Stadium on Saturday evening. The six-game run without loss is the club’s longest since an eight-game run over the end of the 2013 season and start of 2014.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Darwin Quintero scored one goal and assisted on a second as Minnesota United won 3-0 at Avaya Stadium on March 9 – MNUFC’s first win in five meetings vs. San Jose.
  • The Quakes won the first four meetings all-time between the teams, winning both encounters a year ago – a 3-2 win on March 3 at Avaya Stadium in the season opener for both teams, and a 3-1 win on May 12 at TCF Bank Stadium. The Quakes won both meetings in MNUFC’s inaugural campaign, a 1-0 win on April 29 in Minneapolis, and a 3-2 triumph on Oct. 22 in San Jose.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Sporting saw their three-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 2-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The Los Angeles Football Club saw their eight-game undefeated streak come to an end, falling by the game’s only goal to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Adama Diomande netted the game-winner deep into second-half stoppage time, giving LAFC a 2-1 win in the season opener for both clubs, on March 3 at Banc of California Stadium.
  • Sporting won the first two meetings ever between the clubs in LAFC’s inaugural season, a 2-0 win on Aug. 11 at Banc of California Stadium, and a 2-1 win on Decision Day (Oct. 28) at Children’s Mercy Park.
 
Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 9 p.m. ET
  • The Dynamo return to BBVA Stadium after going down a third defeat on their three-game road swing in a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. The Dynamo are undefeated at home this season, with a 6-0-3 record, one of four teams without a home defeat this season.
  • The Red Bulls extended their home undefeated run to four games with a third victory overall in their past four matches, defeating the Chicago Fire 3-1 at Red Bull Arena on Friday evening.
  • The Red Bulls have won eight of the past 11 league meetings between the teams, dating back to 2012. The Red Bulls are 10-0-3 all-time at home in league play vs. Houston, with wins in the past seven regular season matches in Harrison, dating back to 2012, including a 1-0 win last Aug. 29 in the lone matchup between the clubs.
  • The Dynamo have won the past two meetings between the teams in Houston, the last a 4-1 victory on April 1, 2017, ending a three-game regular season streak there where the Red Bulls had come away with points.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew SC, 10 p.m. ET
  • Real put an end to their three-game winless slide, defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Crew SC saw their stretch without a victory extended to six games, falling 2-0 to Orlando City SC at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The teams met once a year ago, with Crew SC taking a 2-1 win at Mapfre Stadium on June 30. RSL have not won in Columbus in league play since 2006, the Crew having won eight of the past nine regular-season meetings there. Real did win the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series between the teams in 2009 in Columbus, on their way to an MLS Cup title.
  • The teams have reached draws on their past two meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium, last a 2-2 draw on July 29, 2017. Real are undefeated in the past three meetings between the clubs on their home ground.
 
Thursday, July 4
Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution, 9 p.m. ET
  • The Rapids extended their undefeated streak to seven games with a fifth victory in that time, defeating the Los Angeles Football Club by the game’s lone goal at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday evening. The seven-game undefeated streak is the Rapids’ longest since a club-record 15-game stretch without loss in 2016.
  • The Revolution extended their undefeated streak to six games with a second win in their last three, defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 at Gillette Stadium. Teal Bunbury scored his second goal of the season, both coming in the last three games.
  • The Revolution won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 2-1 win on March 10 at Gillette Stadium. The Rapids last won in Foxborough, Mass., in 2010. The Revolution have won four of the five home meetings since, with one draw.
  • The Rapids won the last meeting between the clubs at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, a 1-0 victory to open the 2017 season. The win was the first for the Rapids vs. the Revolution since 2013, when they had also scored their last goal against New England. The Revs won the three games in between, by a combined 7-0 scoreline.
 
FC Dallas vs. D.C. United, 9 p.m. ET
  • FC Dallas had their four-game undefeated run put to an end, falling by the game’s only goal in a loss to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday evening.
  • D.C. United extended their undefeated streak to five games with a fourth draw in that time, gaining a late 1-1 result with Toronto FC at Audi Field on Saturday evening.
  • Wayne Rooney reached the 10-goal mark for the second time in two MLS seasons, now tied for third place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, converting a penalty kick in stoppage time for the D.C. United equalizer.
  • D.C. United won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 win in the first matchup ever at Audi Field, on Oct. 13. The win was the first for United in the series since 2014, snapping a three-game FC Dallas winning streak.
  • FC Dallas won the last matchup at Toyota Stadium, a 4-2 win on July 4, 2017. D.C. United last won in Frisco, Texas, on Sept. 1, 2007, a 4-0 victory. FC Dallas have won five of their seven home meetings since, with two draws.
 
LA Galaxy vs. Toronto FC, 10:30 p.m. ET (TSN)
  • The Galaxy had their three-game winning streak away from home put to a halt, falling 3-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Toronto FC made it a win and a draw from their last two matches, gaining a 1-1 result with D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday evening. Nick DeLeon scored his fourth goal of the season, his third over the last five games.
  • TFC have won the last three meetings between the teams, over the last three seasons, last year claiming a wild 5-3 victory on Sept. 15 at BMO Field.
  • TFC won the last meeting between the teams in Carson, Calif., a 4-0 win on Sept. 16, 2017. The victory 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 have won the last two meetings at BMO Field; their win there in 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.
 
Saturday, July 6
Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 7 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting on the back end of a home-and-home series over four days, the first leg at Exploria Stadium on July 3.
  • Nani assisted on both Orlando City SC goals in their 2-0 win at Columbus Crew SC, now with six assists on the season, tied for 10th-most in MLS this season. Since the start of April, Nani has scored eight goals and assisted on three, involved in 11 of OCSC’s 18 goals in that time.
  • Ilsinho collected an assist in the Union’s 4-2 loss at New York City FC; over the last four games, since the start of June, he has two goals and three assists.
 
FC Cincinnati vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories, the only league meeting this season.
  • FC Cincinnati had their losing skid extended to six games in historic fashion, falling 7-1 to Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday afternoon. Emmanuel Ledesma netted his first career goal in MLS for the FCC tally.
  • Darwin Ceren netted the Dynamo goal, his first of the 2019 season, in the Dynamo’s 2-1 loss at the New England Revolution on Saturday evening.
 
Columbus Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Sounders FC remained undefeated at home this season in the 1-0 win vs. Vancouver, one of four teams still without a loss on their home ground this season. The win extended their home undefeated streak to 12 games, third-longest in the club’s MLS history (record: 14 games, set in 2013).
  • The teams met once a year ago, reaching a scoreless draw on May 5 at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have a win and a draw from the last two meetings in the series in Seattle; Crew SC had won the previous two matchups there.
  • Crew SC won the last meeting between the teams at Mapfre Stadium, a 3-0 victory on May 31, 2017. It was just the second win ever for Crew SC against Sounders FC on their home ground; Seattle won three of the first four meetings all-time in Columbus, with one draw.
 
Montreal Impact vs. Minnesota United FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (TVA Sports)
  • The Impact had their two-game winning run come to an end, falling 2-1 to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday evening. Zakaria Diallo netted the Impact goal, his second of the season.
  • Mason Toye scored his first career MLS league goal, and also added an assist, in MNUFC’s 7-1 win against FC Cincinnati at Allianz Field. Ethan Finlay and Angelo Rodríguez each had a goal and an assist, while Darwin Quintero collected a pair of assists.
  • The teams have met twice all-time, and Minnesota United FC have won both. MNUFC claimed a 2-0 victory in the lone matchup a year ago, May 26 at TCF Bank Stadium; MNUFC took the first meeting between the teams, a 3-2 win on Sept. 19, 2017, at Stade Saputo.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Sporting have won the last two meetings between the clubs, once at each ground, last year taking a 4-3 victory on March 10 in Bridgeview, Ill. The win was the first for Sporting at the Fire since 2013; the Fire had won three consecutive home meetings in the series.
  • Sporting won the last encounter between the clubs at Children’s Mercy Park, a 3-2 victory July 29, 2017. Sporting have won the last four meetings between the teams in KC, the Fire’s last win there coming in 2012 (six meetings).
 
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. ET (TSN)
  • LAFC return to Banc of California Stadium riding a 14-game home undefeated streak, dating back to last Aug. 15. They are one of four teams still undefeated at home this season.
  • Whitecaps FC saw their six-game undefeated streak overall come to an end last time out, falling by the game’s only goal in a loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Hwang Inbeom netted the game’s only goal in the 27th minute, giving Whitecaps FC the win on April 17 at BC Place.
  • The teams met twice in LAFC’s inaugural season a year ago. LAFC won the first meeting, a 2-0 victory at BC Place on April 13; they then reached a 2-2 draw on Oct. 21 at Banc of California Stadium.
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Vako Qazaishvili netted a goal and added an assist in the Quakes’ 3-0 win vs. the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium. He has three goals and an assist over the last two games, involved in four of San Jose’s last five goals.
  • Sam Johnson netted both goals in Real’s 2-0 win against Sporting Kansas City at the weekend, his first multiple-goal game since coming to MLS. Damir Kreilach collected assists on both goals, his second career-multiple-assist game in MLS, now with three assists in his last four games.
  • The teams played to a pair of draws in their two meetings a season ago, reaching ia 1-1 deadlock June 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium, and playing to a goalless draw July 28 at Avaya Stadium.
  • Real are undefeated in their past five home meetings with the Quakes, with two wins and three draws in that time, the last San Jose victory in Sandy coming in 2013.
  • The Quakes now own a four-game undefeated streak in the series in San Jose, with three successive wins before last year’s draw, the last RSL win there a 1-0 triumph on April 5, 2015.
 
Sunday, July 7
Atlanta United vs. New York Red Bulls, 2 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • The Montréal Impact goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win for Atlanta United put an end to ATLUTD’s shutout streak after 506 minutes on their home ground, the 12th-longest such streak in MLS history, and the longest in the league since 2016.
  • Kaku and Brian White each scored for a second consecutive match in the Red Bulls’ 3-1 win against the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena. Kaku has a goal or an assist in five consecutive games, with three goals and two assists in that span, while White has three goals and an assist in his last five games.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Tom Barlow scored the game’s lone goal in the 65th minute, giving the Red Bulls the win May 19 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls have never lost to Atlanta United in five meetings all-time, winning four. The Red Bulls have now won the last three matchups after taking both a year ago: a 3-1 win on May 20, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium – their second victory in two visits to Atlanta – then a 2-0 win on Sept. 30 in Harrison, N.J.
  • The teams met twice in Atlanta United’s inaugural MLS season – and the Red Bulls came away with points from both. The Red Bulls won 2-1 on March 5 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta United’s first league match; the teams played to a scoreless draw Oct. 15 at Red Bull Arena.
  • Atlanta United did claim the Eastern Conference Championship a year ago, winning 3-0 at home in the first leg before the Red Bulls took the second leg 1-0 in Harrison.
 
New York City FC vs. Portland Timbers, 6:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Valentin Castellanos netted a pair of goals in NYCFC’s 4-2 win against the Philadelphia Union, his first multiple-goal game in his two MLS seasons. Both goals came from the penalty spot, the first time NYCFC have scored two goals on penalty kicks in the same game.
  • Brian Fernández set the all-time MLS record, scoring in his fifth consecutive game since the start of his MLS career, netting the game’s only goal in the Timbers’ victory against FC Dallas at Providence Park on Sunday evening. Fernández has scored in each of his seven games over all competitions since coming to the Timbers, also an MLS record.
  • The Timbers have won the last two meetings between the teams, each by shutout, once at each ground. Last year, the Timbers took a 3-0 win on April 22 at Providence Park; the year prior, they took a 1-0 win on Sept. 9 at Yankee Stadium.
  • NYCFC have won once in the four meetings in the series, a 2-1 win in 2016 at Providence Park. The Timbers claimed the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 1-0 win in the Bronx in 2015.
 

 

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