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This Week in MLS – August 15, 2016

This Week in MLS – August 15, 2016
·         Marquee rivalries, player reunions set to unfold on MLS Soccer Sunday
·         MLS squads look to continue strong start to CONCACAF Champions League play; matches to be        streamed live on Facebook
·         Week 23 AT&T Goal of the Week voting now open
·         Check It Out, Quotables, Sweet Tweets
·         Week 24 Game Previews
 
Marquee rivalries, player reunions set to unfold on MLS Soccer Sunday
 
Lampard and Gerrard to reignite on-field rivalry when LA Galaxy visits New York City FC
“When that whistle goes and for 90 minutes when we are competing against each other it is war. We fight against each other, we always have. And when it’s over there is a mutual respect there.” 
LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard on his rivalry with New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard
 
Saturday’s star-studded matchup between New York City FC and LA Galaxy at Yankee Stadium (3 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes) will reignite a player rivalry that has lain dormant since 2014 – the last time English icons Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard faced off against each other.
 
Both players are in tremendous form as Lampard has nine goals in his last 10 games and Gerrard is tied for second most assists in MLS with 11. In 20 head-to-head matchups between Lampard’s former club, Chelsea, and Gerrard’s former club, Liverpool, Lampard holds the edge with a 10-7-3 all-time record. Gerrard will be seeking some payback as their last meeting resulted in a 2-0 Chelsea win at Anfield in April 2014.
 
Entering the week, LA sits third in the Western Conference standings (38 points, 9-3-11 record) claiming a nine-game unbeaten streak, while NYCFC tops the Eastern Conference (38 points, 10-7-8 record), winning three straight at home. LA’s defense ranks second best league wide with a mere 23 goals allowed this season, but it will have its hands full against forward David Villa, who is currently tied for the Golden Boot with 15 goals.
 
Lloyd Sam faces former team New York Red Bulls in Atlantic Cup rivalry matchup
After a trade sent midfielder and fan favorite Lloyd Sam to D.C. United one month ago, the Ghanaian international is already gearing up to face his former New York Red Bulls in a highly-anticipated Atlantic Cup match on Sunday at RFK Stadium on his new home field (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). The pacey winger recorded 20 goals and 22 assists as a Red Bull, and has already dished out two assists in his four United appearances. The Red Bulls will be bringing fresh faces in tow with newly acquired Israeli international Omer Damari, who is on loan from the Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig, and made his first appearance last week against the Montreal Impact.
 
Sunday’s Atlantic Cup meeting reignites one of MLS’ oldest rivalries, dating back to the league’s inaugural season in 1996. United holds the all-time advantage with a 34-25-10 regular season record against NYRB, but the Red Bulls famously had the last laugh in 2015 when it knocked D.C. United out of the MLS Cup Playoffs. In their first meeting this year, United took the upper hand with a 2-0 victory on May 13 at RFK Stadium.
 
Seattle sparkplug Nicolás Lodeiro to get first taste of Cascadia Cup action vs. Portland Timbers
Seattle Sounders FC have gone unbeaten in their last three games… three games that have featured recent Designated Player signing, Uruguayan international Nicolás Lodeiro. The electric playmaker has a goal (watch golazo) and three assists since his arrival and has reignited the scoring prowess of Seattle’s attacking duo: Jordan Morris (one goal, two assists since Lodeiro’s arrival) and Clint Dempsey (three goals, one assist since Lodeiro’s arrival). Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer will look for Lodeiro to give Sounders FC life and a positive start to his Cascadia Cup coaching history in his first rivalry match at the helm. 
 
The Sounders currently sit five points behind the Timbers but have two games in hand as both teams look to pick up integral points during this intraconference match. 
 
Anytime Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers face off, it’s required viewing, and this Sunday is no different (9:30 p.m. ET, FS1/FOX Deportes).
 
MLS squads look to continue strong start to CONCACAF Champions League play; matches to be streamed live on Facebook 
After four MLS teams opened 2016-2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League play in victorious fashion two weeks ago, Sporting Kansas City – the fifth and final MLS team – begins its campaign against Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC. Sporting KC will get an early scouting report on recent Atlanta United signing and T&T captain Kenwyne Jones, who is on loan with Central FC through the end of 2016.   
 
The CCL doubleheader concludes with reigning Supporters’ Shield winners New York Red Bulls looking for another strong performance after opening group play with a 3-0 victory over Antigua GFC on August 3. The Red Bulls relied heavily on its Homegrown talent in the match, with Alex Muyl notching a goal in the opening victory. Homegrown midfielder Sean Davis has also impressed, filling in for an injured Dax McCarty after scoring a goal and registering two assists in last week’s 3-1 victory over Montreal Impact. The Red Bulls will look for continued production from its young academy products as they face a talented Alianza side in El Salvador.
 
Tuesday, August 16
8 p.m. ET, Facebook.com – Sporting Kansas City vs. Central FC (Trinidad and Tobago)
10 p.m. ET, Facebook.com – New York Red Bulls vs. Alianza (El Salvador)
 
AT&T Goal of the Week voting now open (Week 23) – CLICK HERE to vote
·         Shkëlzen Gashi (COL) Freezes goalkeeper Brian Rowe with a screamer from outside the box into the upper 90
·         Simon Dawkins (SJ) Beats defender and sends left-footed rocket far post past diving goalkeeper David Ousted
·         Jozy Altidore (TFC) Scores equalizer with right-footed rocket off a Sebastian Giovinco corner kick
·         Cristian Maidana (HOU) Right-footed half-volley from tough angle leaves goalkeeper Alex Bono helpless
·         Roland Alberg (PHI) Fools defender with slick backheel spin then blasts home left-footed shot to cap the rout
·         David Villa (NYC) Collects beautiful Andrea Pirlo entry pass and finishes with left-footed shot
·         Nicolás Lodeiro (SEA) Scores first MLS goal with left-footed one-timer into top corner of goal
·         Luciano Acosta (DC) Collects pass between pair of defenders and flicks ball over goalkeeper Jake Gleeson
 
Check It Out
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Parker a policeman for the day
 
Quotables
“The whole team rises up with him. That could be his biggest contribution aside from a goal and an assist tonight. He makes everybody else around him better. I’m not going to put too much pressure on his shoulders. The attention he is getting is deserving. That’s how I want to put it.”
Seattle Sounders FC interim coach Brian Schmetzer on Nicolas Lodeiro’s continued impact on Seattle’s improved attack
 
"We went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the East and maybe the best team this summer. We felt like we dominated much of the game. We're a good team. We'll fight every second until we're mathematically eliminated."
Columbus Crew SC midfielder Ethan Finlay on his team’s recent performance and determination to end the season on a high note
 
"I've got to be proud of these guys this year. They have been very disciplined with the game. The first year (I was here), we struggled with cards, not just yellow cards but red cards too. This year, the boys are growing in professionalism, and I just hope that they can continue with it playing a clean game but still being intense and being strong."
FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja on his team’s improved discipline this season
 
“(Pablo) told me he’s excited to have me. He hopes that I can help this team try to reach the MLS Cup and win it together. It was a good conversation and I’m very happy that he’s confident in me. It’s a good trade for me. I’m very happy to be here. I know it’s a big expectation for this team.”
Colorado Rapids midfielder Sebastien Le Toux on his trade to Colorado and hopes for the team
 
“You just feel a bit on the edge with one goal. You know, with what’s happened in the last few games, you need another. . . . [United’s second goal] knocked a bit of the stuffing out of them.”
D.C. United midfielder Lloyd Sam on his team’s two-goal performance and subsequent win
Week 24 Game Previews
Friday, August 19
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo, 11 p.m. ET (Univision)
  • The Earthquakes extended their undefeated streak to five games, moving to within a point of the red line in their 2-1 win at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Friday evening. Quincy Amarikwa scored his third goal of the season as the Quakes made it three road games without a loss.
  • The Dynamo had their winless streak stretched to six games with a fourth draw in that time, reaching a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC in a weather-delayed match on Sunday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, the second time in three weeks. On July 31, Houston’s Alex and San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski scored on either side of halftime as the teams reached a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium. In the first meeting May 11 at Avaya Stadium, Alberto Quintero scored twice as the Quakes claimed a 3-1 win.
  • The draw in the last meeting was the second ever between the teams, the first since Sept. 13, 2008, when the teams played to a 1-1 result at Buck Shaw Stadium in the second meeting ever between the clubs.
  • The two teams have shared a pitched rivalry since the Earthquakes returned to the league in 2008, after the Dynamo moved to Houston from San Jose in 2006. The Dynamo have won eight meetings and the Quakes six, with one draw.
 
Saturday, August 20
New York City FC vs. LA Galaxy, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • David Villa scored two goals – his fourth two-goal game of the season – and moved into a tie in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 15 goals as NYCFC concluded their two-game road swing with a second consecutive draw, reaching a 3-3 result with Columbus Crew SC on Saturday evening at Mapfre Stadium.
  • Frank Lampard also netted a goal for NYCFC, his ninth goal of the season, all over the last 10 matches (since June 18), as his club maintained its hold on the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Galaxy extended their league undefeated run to nine games with a third consecutive draw, coming back for a 1-1 result with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at StubHub Center.
  • The teams met once during NYCFC’s inaugural season, and it was a 5-1 rout for the Galaxy, Aug. 13 at StubHub Center. Robbie Keane scored two goals and set up two others; Giovani dos Santos also scored a goal and added an assist.
 
New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The Revolution suffered a third consecutive defeat, conceding four goals for a second game in a row in their 4-0 loss to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. It matched the largest margin of defeat, and the heaviest loss by shutout, for the Revolution in their 21-year history. in a home game
  • Crew SC saw their winless streak extended to 10 matches – their longest since the club-record 13-game winless run in 2006 – despite coming back for a dramatic 3-3 draw with New York City FC on Saturday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Lee Nguyen scored early and Kei Kamara scored late – against his former club – as the Revolution claimed a 3-1 win July 9 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Revolution have a three-game undefeated streak alive in Foxborough, Crew SC’s last win there coming July 26, 2014. Crew SC have won the last two league meetings in Columbus, though the Revolution won the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series in 2014, as well as both matches in Columbus during the 2013 regular season.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Sporting KC put an end to a three-game losing streak on the road, but still saw their winless streak on their travels extended to 11 games, reaching a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. Dom Dwyer scored a pair of goals, his fourth two-goal game of the season, now with 12 goals for the league campaign, sitting in a tie for fifth in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Whitecaps FC had their losing slide extended to three games and their overall winless run now at five matches, after their 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday evening at BC Place. Nicolas Mezquida scored the first league goal for the ‘Caps since July 16, snapping their goalless drought at 407 minutes, longest in MLS this season.
  • The teams are meeting for the third 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; the teams reached a 1-1 draw April 27 at BC Place, as Vancouver’s Christian Bolaños and SKC’s Diego Rubio traded first-half goals.
  • Sporting have a four-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with three wins in that span. SKC have never lost to Whitecaps FC at home, winning all four meetings there lifetime. The lone Whitecaps FC victory in nine meetings all-time came in 2014, a 2-0 win at BC Place.
 
Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City SC, 9 p.m. ET
  • Shkelzen Gashi scored his second goal in the last three matches as the Rapids made it 17 results from their 18 league games, playing to a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at StubHub Center.
  • Cyle Larin scored his 12th goal of the season – sitting in a tie for fifth in the MLS Golden Boot standings – with his fourth goal over the last five matches as Orlando City played to a third consecutive draw on the road, in their 2-2 result with the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park.
  • The teams met once last year in Orlando City’s inaugural MLS season. Cyle Larin and Kaká scored three minutes apart in the second half as Orlando City took a 2-0 win June 24 in Orlando.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, 10 p.m. ET
  • Joao Plata scored his seventh goal of the season, now with two goals and three assists over the last five matches, but Real suffered a second consecutive defeat on their travels in a 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
  • FC Dallas extended their club-record home undefeated streak to 18 matches – now tied for the sixth-longest in MLS history – reaching a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Kellyn Acosta and Fabian Castillo scored on either side of halftime as FC Dallas took a 2-0 victory June 25 at Toyota Stadium.
  • FCD has come away with points on four of their last five trips to Rio Tinto Stadium, with a win and two draws, dating back to 2012. RSL is now 1-12-2 at FC Dallas all-time in league games between the clubs; FCD has also won a home game in the MLS Cup Playoffs (in 2010) and a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal (in 2011).
 
Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Ignacio Piatti scored his 13th goal of the season – good for fourth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings – but the Impact had their three-game undefeated streak put to an end in a 3-1 defeat at the New York Red Blls on Saturday evening.
  • The Fire made it six consecutive home matches without a loss, though their overall winless run was extended to five games, as Razvan Cocis scored a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw with Orlando City SC on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ignacio Piatti scored the game-winner in second-half stoppage time with a stunning goal, giving the Impact a 2-1 win April 16 at Stade Saputo.
  • The Impact have won the last three meetings in the series, and have won the last four matches in the series in Montréal.
  • The visiting team has never won in the series. The Fire won last May 30 in the only meeting at Toyota Park, their first home win vs. the Impact since 2013.
 
Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. ET
  • Union matched the largest of margin of victory in the club’s history, equaling their season-high with four goals in their 4-0 defeat of the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. Chris Pontius scored a goal and added an assist, now with 10 goals for the season, four of those coming in the last five matches.
  • Toronto FC saw their four-game winning streak come to an end but still extended their overall undefeated streak as Jozy Altidore scored his third goal over the last four matches, leaving his club in a 1-1 with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium in a weather-delayed match.
  • The teams met three times a year ago, and Toronto FC won all three, including the last two both at BMO Field. Sebastian Giovinco scored in each game in the series, with three goals and one assist in the three meetings.
  • Before the last year’s season series sweep, TFC’s last win vs. Philadelphia came May 26, 2012, when they won 1-0 at BMO Field. Union had won four of the seven meetings in between, with three draws, a three-game winning streak in the series snapped in the first meeting last year.
 
Sunday, August 21
D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • United put an end to a six-game winless slide, moving back into a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and the final playoff position, following their 2-0 win against the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a pair of goals – his league-leading fifth multiple-goal game of the season – and is now second in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 14 goals for the season, as the Red Bulls extended their current undefeated run to seven games in league play following their 3-1 win against the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Alvaro Saborío and Patrick Nyarko each scored a goal and assisted on the other’s goal in a 2-0 United win May 13 at RFK Stadium, snapping a four-game winless streak in the series.
  • United have a four-game undefeated streak in the series alive at RFK Stadium, with three wins in that span. The Red Bulls have a six-game undefeated streak going in regular season matches at Red Bull Arena, with four consecutive wins, including 2-0 victories in both meetings in Harrison last year, on March 22 and Aug. 30.
     
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers, 9:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Nicolas Lodeiro scored his first MLS goal while adding his third assist, and Jordan Morris scored the eighth of his rookie season, as Sounders FC won for a second consecutive match, still undefeated since Brian Schmetzer took over as interim head coach following their 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
  • The Timbers suffered a fourth consecutive shutout on their travels, suffering a third loss in their last four matches overall following their 2-0 defeat at D.C. United on Saturday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, in the first game of a home-and-home series over the next two weeks. Diego Valeri scored a pair of goals and Fanendo Adi also tallied, as the Timbers took a 3-1 win July 17 at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers have never won in Seattle in MLS regular season play, Sounders FC now with a 4-0-2 league record in games at CenturyLink Field. But the Timbers did win there in the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2013.
  • The Timbers have won the last two meetings in Portland, including a 4-1 win June 28, 2015 at Providence Park – the three-goal victory equaling Portland’s largest margin of victory against the Sounders since a 3-0 win on June 11, 1977, at Civic Stadium.