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This Week in MLS – August 28, 2012

San Jose’s triple scoring threat highlighted on NBC Sports Network this Sunday
San Jose Earthquakes’ powerful three-pronged attack of Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon, and Steven Lenhart looks to continue their dominance against Chivas USA on Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
 
Wondolowski, Gordon, and Lenhart are the top scoring trio in MLS, with 37 league goals between them, and each reached this height after being traded to San Jose by other MLS clubs.
 
In 2012, Gordon has already exceeded his cumulative goals total from the last three league seasons which included ten goals spread across four different clubs.  Of his 33 career MLS goals, 11 have come in 17 games played (eight starts) this season.
 
Lenhart, a 2011 off-season acquisition from the Columbus Crew, has surpassed career bests this year in single-season goals and shots on target.
 
With eight games left to play, Wondolowski, the 2010 Golden Boot winner, is threatening the MLS single-season scoring record of 27 goals set by Roy Lassiter in the league’s inaugural 1996 season. Through 24 games played, Wondolowski has notched 18 goals, including a hat trick on July 14 against Real Salt Lake.
 
Coming off a 4-1 win over Colorado last week, San Jose will be looking to pick up three points on Sunday as they lead the race for the Supporters’ Shield. 
 
MLS in the CONCACAF Champions League: Group Play Fixtures
 
Four MLS clubs will play their respective second group stage matches this week in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL). Two teams, Seattle Sounders FC and the Houston Dynamo, will travel to Central America to compete against CCL opponents.
 
The LA Galaxy and Sounders FC own first place outright in their respective groups, while Toronto FC and the Dynamo would both be atop their groups’ leaderboards if not for goal differential.
 
Herculean effort needed
Coming off a 5-1 opening game win against C.D. Águila of El Salvador on Aug. 1, Toronto FC tonight take on last year’s CCL runners-up, Club Santos Laguna of Mexico. The Toronto defense will be looking to stop a Santos attack that includes U.S. National Team forward Herculez Gomez. The fixture will be a rematch of the 2011-12 CCL semifinal clash at BMO Field during which the teams played to a tense 1-1 draw. Santos Laguna eventually won 7-3 on aggregate to earn a spot in the CCL Final.
 
Galaxy hitting benchmarks
The LA Galaxy’s 5-2 rout of Isidro Metapán of El Salvador on Aug. 23 included a David Beckham strike that marked the 1,000th CCL goal in competition history.
 
Another Galaxy player, Sean Franklin, scored another CCL milestone goal, strike number 500, on August 4, 2010 against the Puerto Rico Islanders who happen to be the Galaxy’s opponent on Wednesday. Eight days before Franklin’s historic goal, however, this same Puerto Rican side humbled the Galaxy 4-1 at home in LA.
 
Seattle head South
Seattle will again meet Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago again this Thursday after beating them 3-1 on Aug. 2. Thursday’s match will be played in T&T at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, San Fernando, Trinidad.
 
While Caledonia is a CCL newcomer this year, Sounders FC have made two previous CCL appearances; their 2011-12 campaign saw the side reach the quarterfinals and become only the second American club to win in Mexico.
 
Designated homecoming
Also on Thursday, the Houston Dynamo will face off against summer Designated Player signing Óscar Boniek Garcia’s former club, C.D. Olimpia of Honduras at Estadio Tiburcio Carías Andino. During Garcia’s tenure with the Honduran side, the club reached the 2010-11 CCL quarterfinals and captured the 2011-12 Honduran League Apertura and Clausura championships.
 
CONCACAF Champions League Schedule
Tuesday, August 28
Toronto FC vs. Club Santos Laguna, 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer, UDN)
 
Wednesday, August 29
LA Galaxy vs. Puerto Rico Islanders, 10:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer)
 
Thursday, August 30
Caledonia AIA vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer, UDN)
C.D. Olimpia vs. Houston Dynamo, 10:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer, UDN)
 
MLS Week 26 National Broadcasts
Friday, August 31: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
 
Saturday, September 1: LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 10:00 p.m. ET (TSN2/RDS2)
 
Sunday, September 2: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA, 9:00 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
 
AT&T MLS Goal of the Week (Week 25) – CLICK HEREto vote
·         Jairo Arrieta (CLB)
·         Marco Di Vaio (MTL)
·         Federico Higuain (CLB)
·         Fredy Montero (SEA)
·         Simon Dawkins (SJ)
 
Check it Out
Chicago Fire: White Party
Columbus Crew: White Kit Troubles
FC Dallas: Deep Thoughts with George John: Silly Bands and Chewing Gum
New York Red Bulls: Street Soccer USA on Keel Cam
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Portland Stroll
 
MLS Week 26 Previews
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
 
Wednesday, August 29
D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:00 p.m. (Galavision)
  • Glorious, Victorious: No team in MLS history has won against another club as often as D.C. has defeated New York (31 victories all-time).
  • Seeking 100: After experiencing a nine-game goal-scoring drought, Dwayne De Rosario netted his 99th MLS goal in United’s 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire on August 22.
  • Location Matters: The Red Bulls are winless in their last seven away games; they are still unbeaten this season at Red Bull Arena.
  • Rubber Match: The teams are meeting for a third time this season. On April 14, a hat trick from Chris Pontius and a Nick DeLeon strike led to a 4-1 United victory at RFK Stadium. On June 24, Pontius scored twice again, but Brandon Barklage netted twice against his former club and Jan Gunnar Solli added the winner as the Red Bulls took a 3-2 home victory.
 
New England Revolution vs. Chivas USA, 8:00 p.m.
  • Unbalanced: Chivas USA have won the last five meetings between the teams, dating back to the 2009 season. The Revolution had not scored vs. Chivas in four games, before the 3-2 loss in the second meeting last Aug. 6 at Gillette Stadium.
  • Goading the Goats: Chivas USA have scored one goal or fewer in 20 of their 23 MLS games this season.
  • Losing Streak: The Revolution are now winless in eight consecutive games after their 4-3 loss in Columbus last weekend, one shy of the club record set four times previously, including last May 21-July 17.
  • Goals Galore: Chivas USA allowed a club-record six goals in their loss to Seattle Sounders FC last weekend. Chivas had allowed five goals on four previous occasions.
 
Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew, 8:00 p.m.
  • A Motley Crew: Twenty players from Columbus have tallied a goal or an assist this season, most in MLS.
  • Gaven Glory: The Crew are 23-1-7 (.855 winning percentage) in the last 31 games that Eddie Gaven has struck the back of the net, a stretch that began in July 2006.
  • Hot Start: Since coming to Major League Soccer, Columbus’ Designated Player Federico Higuaín has three goals and two assists in three appearances.
  • Fighting Back: After Crew wins in the first three meetings all-time between the clubs, the Union have won the last two.
 
Friday, August 31
Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
  • On a Roll: Darlington Nagbe scored for the third consecutive game over the weekend, netting the opener vs. Vancouver. The goals are his first since scoring three in the opening four games of the season.
  • Spot-Less: The Timbers are the only team in MLS who have yet to be awarded a penalty kick this season.
  • Rapid Decline: Colorado has conceded two goals or more in seven of their last nine league matches.
  • Colorado Cakewalk: The Rapids have won all three meetings between the clubs, scoring seven goals while allowing only one.
Saturday, September 1
Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m.
  • Expansion Exception: With 42 strikes in MLS 2012, Montreal has already broken the MLS goals record set by an expansion team in the new expansion era (since 2005); Portland struck the back of the net 40 times in 2011.
  • Oh, Canada: In the Impact’s August 25 victory over D.C. United, the club became the first MLS side north of the border to reach 12 wins in a season.
  • No Introduction Needed: The Impact have won five consecutive games, the longest winning streak for an expansion team since the end of the shootout era. The Chicago Fire won 11 consecutive games in their expansion season of 1998 (the final seven in regulation time).
  • Back at it: The teams are meeting for the third time. Goals from Milovan Mirosevic and Olman Vargas led the Crew to a 2-0 victory in their first meeting ever, March 24 at Crew Stadium. Mirosevic scored again when the clubs met July 8 at Stade Saputo, but goals from Zarek Valentin and Patrice Bernier gave the Impact a 2-1 come-from-behind win.
 
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
  • Close Calls: Fifteen of the Revolution’s 25 league matches have been decided by one goal or fewer
  • Rematch: The teams are meeting for the second time this year. Jack McInerney’s goal in the 90th minute, after Philadelphia’s Freddy Adu and New England’s Saer Sene traded goals, gave Union a 2-1 win at PPL Park.
  • Dominance: The Union have never lost to the Revolution. The first meeting victory this year was Philadelphia’s third in five games vs. New England; the teams have played to two draws.
  • Club and Country: Jerry Bengtson scored his second goal in Major League Soccer – his first since returning from the Olympic Games – in New England’s 4-3 loss in Columbus. While with the Honduran Olympic team in England, Bengtson scored three goals.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto FC, 8:30 p.m.
  • Sporting Quartet: The club is 17-1-6 when Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Aurélien Collin and Seth Sinovic start in the Sporting Kansas City backline together.
  • Sharing is Caring: Graham Zusi recorded his fourth assist over the last five games (and third consecutive game), setting up Kamara’s goal. Zusi is now second in MLS with 12 assists, one behind Seattle’s Mauro Rosales.
  • Ups and Downs: Toronto FC saw their winless run reach six games in the 1-1 draw at Houston, the second game in a three-game spell away from BMO Field.
  • Setting the Pace: Kei Kamara scored his third goal in the last five games, giving him 10 for the season, in Sporting’s 1-1 draw with New York. The 10 goals matched his career single-season high set in 2009; Kamara has 29 goals over the last three seasons.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. D.C. United, 9:00 p.m.
  • Clean Claret-and-Cobalt: Nick Rimando recorded shutout number 60 in a Real Salt Lake uniform in the club’s 0-0 draw with the Philadelphia Union on August 24.
  • RFK Record: United’s 12-game home unbeaten stretch is the second-longest streak of its kind in club history.
  • Temporary Relief: D.C. United defeated Real Salt Lake 4-1 last Sept. 24 at RFK Stadium, their first win against RSL since 2008. RSL had won two of the five matches in between, with three draws.
  • Travel Woes: United saw their road losing streak extended to five games in the defeat at Montréal last weekend, the longest since a club-record 12-game losing slide over the end of the 2001 season and start of 2002.
 
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:00 p.m. (TSN2/RDS2)
  • Brazilian Brilliance: Juninho scored his third goal in the last three games in leading the Galaxy to a 2-0 win Sunday against FC Dallas, their ninth win in 14 games since mid-June.
  • Visiting Vulnerability: Whitecaps FC’s five-game road losing stretch is tied for the second-longest active away losing streak in MLS.
  • Cali Confidence: The clubs are meeting for the third time this season. Mike Magee, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan all scored as the Galaxy rolled to a 3-0 win June 23 at The Home Depot Center. Then on July 18 at BC Place, late goals from LA’s David Beckham and José Villarreal canceled out tallies from Gershon Koffie and Barry Robson as the teams reached a 2-2 draw.
  • Slight Respite: The Galaxy had won the first three meetings between the teams in dominant fashion, outscoring Whitecaps FC 10-0, before the draw last month.
 
Sunday, September 2
Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m. (Galavision)
  • Finding the Net: Will Bruin scored for the first time since July 15 in the Dynamo’s 1-1 draw with Toronto FC, which kept them unbeaten in MLS play in their new home (8-0-5). Bruin has 11 goals this season, in a tie for fourth in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • Flaming Out: The Fire’s 4-2 loss to D.C. United on August 22 was the first time all season that the club had given up more than two goals in a match.
  • Not Enough: Making his third consecutive start, the Fire’s Sherjill MacDonald added his second assist (to go with a goal) in the Fire’s 4-2 loss at D.C. United in their last match, which snapped a three-game winning run.
  • Even Stevens: The teams have played to two draws already this season, extending the streak to four consecutive draws in their all-time series.
 
FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:00 p.m.
  • Monumental Montero: In his 100th MLS start on August 25, Fredy Montero recorded his first hat trick in the league.
  • Goal-Oriented: Since 2009, no team has a better playoff push record (July 1-end of the season) than Seattle Sounders FC (31-11-11, a winning percentage of .689).
  • Visiting Vigor: Sounders FC’s 6-2 win over Chivas USA on August 25 marked the first time that the club had ever scored five or more goals on the road in MLS.
  • Spreading the Wealth: Mauro Rosales set an MLS career-best with three assists in the win vs. Chivas – setting up all three of Montero’s goals. With the performance, Rosales moved into the lead in the MLS assist race with 13 for the season.
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA, 9:00 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
  • All for One: The Earthquakes have 57 assists in MLS 2012, the best mark in the league and eight better than their closest competitor, the LA Galaxy.
  • Gordon’s Gains: With a brace in San Jose’s 4-1 defeat of the Colorado Rapids on August 25, Alan Gordon has already bested his cumulative goals total from his last three MLS campaigns.
  • Making an Impact: Simon Dawkins collected the first two-goal game of his MLS career in the win against Colorado. He has four goals in the last seven games.
  • Taking his Opportunity: Chivas USA’s Tristan Bowen collected his second assist in as many games in the 6-2 loss to Seattle last weekend, his first two appearances for the club this season.
 
Quotables
 
"I don't want any golden shovels [at groundbreaking]. I want everyone from Lew Wolff to the guys in sect. 109 there."
-- San Jose Earthquakes President David Kaval on the organization’s plan to set a Guinness World Record for participatory groundbreaking on October 21
 
"He always tells me my natural position is right back. But nobody listens to Brandon [McDonald]."
-- Andy Najar on feedback he receives from teammate Brandon McDonald when he plays defense
 
“At one point, I thought they were celebrating that I got the red card, but then I clapped my hands over my head again and I saw the crowd go even crazier.”
-- Roger Espinoza, to The Kansas City Star, about the moment he realized an Olympic crowd was giving him a standing ovation
 
“I want to live this. I want the guys to live this. I want losses to hurt. I want practices to sting. I want wins to feel good. I want all those things for the guys. That’s why there’s emotion in this game, because the more emotional you are at the right time it can really help you.”
-- New England Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps, to The Boston Globe, on the passion he exudes in his coaching
 
“I've never seen a season like this where one team has had so many penalty kicks. As long as we're winning, I'm happy.”
-- Montréal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier after he converted his team’s ninth penalty kick this season – tying the all-time MLS record – in its 3-0 win vs. D.C. United
 
“The key is to go over the wall because once the kick goes over the wall, you have a better chance to score.”
-- Columbus Crew Designated Player Federico Higuaín after scoring two goals directly from free kicks in the 4-3 win against New England
 
“The Cascadia Cup is extremely important to our fan base and extremely important to our organization. The players understand that and they get the rivalries.”
-- Portland Timbers head coach Gavin Wilkinson after his team snapped an eight-game winless streak in a 2-1 win against Vancouver. In their two seasons in MLS, Whitecaps FC have yet to win a Cascadia Cup game against Portland or Seattle
 
“When you give up six goals, and six goals at home, it's certainly not what you're looking for.”
-- Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser after his team’s 6-2 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at The Home Depot Center
 
“Our house. In the middle of L.A. Our house!”
-- Sung by the Seattle Sounders FC supporters in attendance for their team’s 6-2 win at Chivas USA
 
Sweet Tweets
 
‏@will_kuhns – August 25
@SJEarthquakes plan to set world record for participatory groundbreaking on Oct. 21. 6,000 blue shovels on order...
 
@Tim_Cahill  (Tim Cahill) – August 23
Check out the #FIFA13 ANZ pack with me in my @NewYorkRedBulls kit! In stores Sept 27 #FIFA13AU @EA_Australia pic.twitter.com/flTNeS1O
 
‏@RobbHeineman – August 22
My wife had tennis plans tonight so the Cup and I are having dinner at #jjs @SportingKC http://via.me/-4bzvocg
 
@mbretosESPN – August 26
The way he has been playing, not only does @SJEarthquakes Alan Gordon deserve shot w/ national team. I think he could be effective in spots
 
‏@chrisbirchall7  (Chris Birchall) – August 23
Little man reppin @ColumbusCrew , I said Ashley I will get you a jersey, he said no Daddy this is my jersey! Oh ok son! pic.twitter.com/lF7oB658
 
@DaxMcCarty11 (Dax McCarty) – August 22
"@KZONE1988: Enjoyin' @clade5's tweets. He must be getting tips from @DaxMcCarty11." He is my protege.
 
@GrantWahl – August 24
ThierryHenry will miss KC game due to birth of his son. Congratulations to TH.
 
@D6MERIT  (Jay DeMerit) – August 25
This is Steven the captain of the #handbags.. They taught me a new chant. Our fans seriously are the best. http://instagr.am/p/OyA_-JyYT5/
 
@AlexiLalas – August 26
My hotel lobby in KC. If they ever remake the film Iceman ('84) this is the place to do it. Look it up kids. pic.twitter.com/vGtAIGpP
 
‏@Goleador17  (Fredy Montero) – August 26
@yorda_suave: Shout out to @Goleador17 for that hat trick yesterday congrats papo”/ thanks bro