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This Week in MLS – April 25, 2016

This Week in MLS – April 25, 2016
  •          Chris Wondolowski has sights set on making history once again
  •          Rimando now second in all-time league games played; other milestones ahead
  •          Week 8 AT&T Goal of the Week voting now open
  •          Check It Out, Quotables, Sweet Tweets
  •          Week 9 Game Previews
 
Chris Wondolowski has sights set on making history once again
 
MLS fans are well acquainted with Chris Wondolowski, but with seven goals in his first eight games this season, the Earthquakes forward is off to another incredible start as he looks to show U.S. Soccer boss Jurgen Klinsmann that he deserves a spot on the Copa America Centenario roster this summer.
 
If he continues this torrid pace, Wondo could once again be staring history straight in the face. He is on track to surpass his 2010 Golden Boot campaign, which started with six goals in eight games, and on pace with the historic 2012 season in which he tied Roy Lassiter’s single-season record of 27 goals, earning the 2012 MLS MVP award in the process.
 
Just two weeks ago, Wondo moved past Ante Razov into fourth overall in the MLS all-time goalscoring leaders and now, with 116 league goals to his credit, is now just 17 behind Jaime Moreno’s 133 career MLS goals.
 
But the season is still young and the Golden Boot race is tight headed into MLS Week 9. Wondo faces tough competition as both Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) and Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers) trail just behind him, each with six goals scored in seven games this season.
 
Adi’s nose for the goal is unparalleled this season as he leads MLS in goals-per-minute (among players with 400+ minutes) after his second two-goal performance this year (and 11th in his MLS career).  Adi, however, has scored five of his six goals at home, while Giovinco has scored all six of his goals on the road as Toronto FC is opening the season with eight straight away games while renovations to BMO Field are completed. 
                     
With Adi and Portland hosting Giovinco and Toronto FC this weekend in MLS Soccer Sunday action (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes) both players will be looking to find the back of the net as they try to catchup to Wondolowski in the Golden Boot rankings.
 
Wondolowski meanwhile will travel East to face the conference-leading Philadelphia Union on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium (4 p.m. ET, MLS Live).
 
 
Rimando now second in all-time league games played; other milestones ahead
 
A number of players have hit significant milestones for their MLS careers over the past few weeks -- and a few more are on the horizon for the near future. On Saturday, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando became the second player in league history to play in 400 regular season games (and with Kevin Hartman holding the all-time record with 416 league appearances, Rimando is in line to become the all-time MLS leader).
 
Some other milestones recently reached:
  • Nick Rimando (RSL): 400 games (4/23 vs LA)
  • Brian Carroll (PHI): 350 games (4/23 vs NYC) 
  • Osvaldo Alonso (SEA): 250 games (4/16 vs PHI)
  • Jason Hernandez (NYC): 250 games (4/16 vs CLB)
  • Brad Evans (SEA): 200 games (4/16 vs PHI)
  • Sacha Kljestan (NYR): 50 assists (4/24 vs ORL)
 
Players who are in line to reach milestones in the near future:
  • Kevin Alston (ORL): 149 games
  •  Mauro Rosales (DAL): 148 games, 48 assists
  • Josh Saunders (NYC): 99 games
  • Alan Gordon (LA): 49 goals
  • Will Bruin (HOU): 49 goals
  • Kyle Beckerman (RSL): 48 assists
 
AT&T Goal of the Week (Week 8) – CLICK HERE to vote
  • Luciano Acosta (D.C.) Send chip from outside the box off the crossbar and into goal for his first career MLS goal
  • Kekuta Manneh (VAN) Outruns defenders for loose ball and draws out goalkeeper Chris Seitz before sending bouncer into back of the net
  • Kevin Doyle (COL) Showed deft touch redirecting cross with a toe poke into back of the net
  • Jordan Morris (SEA) Scores second goal of his career by juking defender and slotting shot far post past diving goalkeeper Zac MacMath
  • Gyasi Zardes (LA) Outmaneuvers trio of defenders, freezing goalkeeper Nick Rimando with shot from outside the box
  • Sebastian Giovinco (TOR) Scores his second goal of the match with left-footed strike from just inside the box
  • Giovani Dos Santos (LA) Sends an arching strike to far post past over goalkeeper Nick Rimando
  • Burrito Martinez (RSL) Rises up to put header past diving goalkeeper Brian Rowe
 
Check It Out
 
Quotables
 
“Greg deserves all the credit in the world. The way he sets the tone inside the team every day in terms of encouraging guys to take big roles and encouraging guys to put everything they have into it and encouraging guys to have opinions and to really think about what goes on every day ... He has created an environment where every person on the inside feels a part of this.”
Toronto FC midfielder and captain Michael Bradley on coach Greg Vanney’s coaching ability.
 
"He's a class footballer. He's a leader, and he doesn't do it with a voice, it's actions. For me there's nothing more powerful in life than to follow someone that's willing to do what he does and risk everything that he has. Every training session, he tackles as if it was a game. He goes through shooting exercises as if it was a game. He drives us on with his mentality, with the way he holds the ball up, with the way he brings players into the game, with the way he scores goals, with the way he defends balls. He does it all."
Colorado Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni on Jermaine Jones’ leadership.
 
“The scary thing about this team and the last few performances is we still have Robbie Keane injured. We haven’t had Nigel [de Jong]. We’re going to be even stronger when the captain comes back and Nigel comes back in as well.
LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard on his team’s ability following a 5-2 victory over previously unbeaten Real Salt Lake.
 
“I’ve never wavered on Airdy even for one minute, even when Piatti — who is probably one of the best players in the league — does his business (on opening day). (Aird) has played against Castillo and (Michael) Barrios (Saturday), Plata last week. I think he’s showed what he’s about. He’s gritty, he’s tough, he’s Canadian. It’s a great response.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC coach Carl Robinson on defender Fraser Aird receiving tough defensive assignments week after week.
 
“He’s super cheeky and tough to defend, so we knew something special was going to come at some point.”
D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum on midfielder Luciano Acosta’s incredible chip shot goal, the first in his MLS career.
 
Sweet Tweets
Nat Borchers (‏@natborchers): Congrats to my homeboy @NickRimando on 400 games.  What a career!  #Legend #firstto500
 
Wil Trapp (@wil_trapp): Look who is a #crewsc fan! Huge shout to @garthbrooks and the #teammatesforkids foundation and all the amazing work they do! #614ever #garthbrooks @columbuscrewsc #asseenincolumbus #gb7
 
Dax McCarty (@daxmccarty): 20 years of history. Proud to be a part of it. #RBNY
                                                                       
Zack Scott (@zkscott): This is what happens when you yell at your kids to find something productive to do!
 
Week 9 Game Previews
Wednesday, April 27
New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact, 7 p.m.
  • New York City FC saw their winless streak extended to six games, with a second consecutive defeat, following their 2-0 loss at Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Impact had their two-game winning streak put to an end, falling 2-0 to arch-rival Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo.
  • The teams met three times in NYCFC’s inaugural season, and the expansion side won the season series. NYCFC was the only team to win at home, taking a 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium on June 13.
  • Each team won on the other’s ground, NYCFC winning 2-1 at Stade Saputo on July 4, and the Impact returning the favor with a 3-2 win on Aug. 1 in The Bronx.
 
New England Revolution vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Revolution had their four-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 3-0 at D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at RFK Stadium.
  • The Timbers return to action after a weekend off, snapping a five-game winless run in their last match, a 3-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 16 at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers won the lone meeting between the teams last year, a 2-0 victory June 6 at Providence Park, ending a three-game winless streak in the all-time series. The Timbers’ only previous win vs. New England had come in 2011; the Revolution won the next meeting, followed by a pair of draws.
  • The Revolution have never lost to the Timbers at Gillette Stadium. New England has won one of three meetings in Foxborough all-time, with a pair of draws, including a 1-1 result in the last meeting there Aug. 16, 2014.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.
  • Whitecaps FC scored their first goal in more than six hours, then cruised to a 3-0 win against FC Dallas on Saturday evening at BC Place, snapping a three-game winless run.
  • Sporting fell to their third consecutive defeat, dropping a 1-0 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Avaya Stadium.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Dom Dwyer scored a pair of first-half goals as Sporting took a 2-1 win March 12 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting have won the last three meetings between the teams, winning both a year ago. SKC have never lost to Whitecaps FC at home, winning all four meetings there lifetime. The lone Whitecaps FC victory in eight meetings all-time came in 2014, a 2-0 win at BC Place.
 
Friday, April 29
New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. (UNI)
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips netted his first two goals of the season and the Red Bulls put an end to a four-game losing slide, taking a dramatic 3-2 win against Orlando City SC on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena.
  • FC Dallas had their six-game undefeated streak put to an end, in a 3-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at BC Place.
  • The Red Bulls have a three-game undefeated streak in the series, after the teams played to a scoreless draw in their only meeting a season ago, May 15 at Toyota Stadium. The Red Bulls had won the previous two meetings between the teams, both by 1-0 scorelines.
  • FC Dallas haven’t won at the Red Bulls since 2006, when they took a 2-1 victory at Giants Stadium. FCD has never won at Red Bull Arena (0-1-2). The Red Bulls have won on three of their last five visits to Frisco, with one draw, in both league and MLS Cup play.
 
Saturday, April 30
Montreal Impact vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m.
  • Jermaine Jones scored for a second consecutive game, in his second match for the club, as the Rapids rolled to a third consecutive victory in their 3-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Impact won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 1-0 win Oct. 10 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, their first win ever against the Rapids. Colorado had won the first three matchups between the teams, over the Impact’s first three seasons in MLS.
  • The Rapids have won the lone meeting in Montréal, a 4-3 win in 2013 at Stade Saputo.
 
New York City FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4 p.m.
  • Kekuta Manneh scored the final goal in Whitecaps FC’s 3-0 win against FC Dallas on Saturday at BC Place – the first goal scored by the club from open play this season. Of the ‘Caps first eight goals this year, four had come from penalty kicks, three came from set pieces and one came on an own goal.
  • New York City FC begin the week winless at home, with a loss and three draws from their first four games at Yankee Stadium heading into their midweek contest vs. Montréal. They are the only team without a home win this season (Toronto FC still have yet to play a match at BMO Field).
  • The teams met once in NYCFC’s inaugural season, the expansion club claiming a 2-1 win Sept. 26 at BC Place.
 
Philadelphia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 4 p.m.
  • C.J. Sapong scored his fourth goal in the last five games as Union claimed a 2-0 win Saturday against New York City FC at Talen Energy Stadium. Union have won all three of their home matches this season.
  • Chris Wondolowski sits alone atop the MLS Golden Boot standings with seven goals from the first eight games, scoring for a fourth consecutive match as the Quakes remained undefeated at home this season with their 1-0 win against Sporting KC on Sunday afternoon at Avaya Stadium.
  • Union have won the last two meetings between the teams, including a 2-1 victory last Sept. 5 at Avaya Stadium in the only encounter. It was Union’s first win ever at San Jose (the Quakes ending with two wins and a draw at Buck Shaw Stadium).
  • Union won the last meeting in Chester, a 4-2 victory Aug. 24, 2014, their first win vs. the Quakes since 2011, which ended a two-game San Jose winning streak in the all-time series.
 
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 4 p.m.
  • Rookie Jordan Morris scored his second goal in as many games, but Sounders FC had their three-game undefeated run put to an end in a 3-1 defeat by the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Crew SC won their match in a row after opening the year with a five-game winless run, Kei Kamara scoring the game’s goal from the penalty spot for a win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Mapfre Stadium.
  • Crew SC won the only meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-2 victory May 9 at Mapfre Stadium, ending a three-game winning streak for the visiting team in the series. It was Crew SC’s first win ever against Sounders FC on their home ground; Seattle won three of the first four meetings all-time in Columbus, with one draw.
  • Crew SC have won on their last two trips to Seattle, including a 2-1 win March 29, 2014 in the last meeting at CenturyLink Field.
 
Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m.
  • The Fire return to action after a weekend off, Kennedy Igboananike scoring his third goal of the season last time out in a 2-1 loss to the Montréal Impact at Toyota Park on April 16.
  • Luciano Acosta scored his first MLS goal as United defeated the New England Revolution 3-0 over the weekend. The goal was assisted by Alvaro Saborío; the pair have combined on four of United’s last five goals, with Acosta assisting on two of Saborío’s three goals in that span.
  • United have won four consecutive games in the series, winning all three meetings between the teams a year ago, after going six matchups without a victory. When United won 1-0 on June 24 at Toyota Park, it was their first win in Bridgeview since Aug. 29, 2009, going 0-2-4 there in between.
  • United have won the last three matches at RFK Stadium, undefeated in their last four home meetings with the Fire, dating back to 2015.
 
New England Revolution vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Cyle Larin netted his fourth goal of the season, his first after hitting the back of the net in each of the first three games this season, but Orlando City still saw their winless run stretched to a third game in a 3-2 loss at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Orlando City took a late lead through Kevin Molino, but the Revolution scored an equalizing goal deep in stoppage time for a second time this season to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw at the Citrus Bowl. Lee Nguyen scored the latest penalty kick in the club’s history, in the 96th minute, for the equalizer.
  • The teams met twice during Orlando City’s inaugural MLS season. They reached a 2-2 draw May 8 at the Citrus Bowl in the first meeting, then the Revolution claimed a 3-0 victory Sept. 5 at Gillette Stadium.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo, 9:30 p.m.
  • Real became the final team to suffer a loss this season, after their 5-2 defeat to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Juan Manuel Martínez scored for a second consecutive game; RSL had opened the year with four wins and two draws in six games.
  • The Dynamo had their winless run extended to five games with a second consecutive loss, following their 1-0 defeat at Columbus Crew SC on Saturday evening.
  • RSL has won the last four meetings between the teams, including victories in both matchups a year ago, a 2-0 win July 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium, and a 3-1 win Sept. 12 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • RSL has taken points from their last seven home games vs. Houston, with four victories in that time. Real have won on their last two visits to Houston – their first wins ever there. They suffered eight defeats and one draw in their first nine road games against the Dynamo.
 
Sunday, May 1
Portland Timbers vs. Toronto FC, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN1)
  • For the second time this season, and the 11th time in his MLS career, Fanendo Adi scored a pair of goals in the Timbers last match, their 3-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 16 at Providence Park. Adi has scored 31 goals in 64 league appearances; in the 20 games when Adi has scored a goal, he’s netted a brace in 11.
  • Sebastian Giovinco also did it again, hitting for both goals in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win against the Montréal Impact on April 23 at Stade Saputo. Giovinco has been involved in each one of TFC’s eight goals this season, with six goals and two assists; it was the sixth multiple-goal game in his MLS career (in 40 career appearances).
  • Toronto FC won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 1-0 victory May 23 at BMO Field.
  • The visiting team has never won in the all-time series between the clubs. The Timbers have won one of the two meetings at Providence Park, with one draw, their lone victory in the all-time series coming there in a 4-0 triumph Sept. 7, 2013 in TFC’s last visit. Toronto FC have won three of four meetings all-time at BMO Field, with one draw.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. (FS1)
  • Sporting were shut out at the attacking end for the first time this season in their 1-0 loss at the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon. Four teams have still scored in every game this season through Week 8 – Orlando City, San Jose, Portland and Real Salt Lake.
  • Giovani dos Santos scored his third goal in the last two matches as the Galaxy exploded for a 5-2 win against previously undefeated Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy have scored nine goals in their last two games; dos Santos has three goals and two assists. It was the third time this season the Galaxy have hit for four or more goals in a game.
  • The teams met twice a year ago, each winning by a 2-1 scoreline on their home ground, the Galaxy victorious April 18 at StubHub Center, and Sporting winning Oct. 25 in KC.
  • The Galaxy have not won in Kansas City since 2007; Sporting have won four of their seven home games since, with three draws. Sporting’s last win against the Galaxy in Carson came in 2010 – the last victory by the visiting in the series; the Galaxy have won their last three home meetings with KC.