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This Week in MLS – July 18, 2016

This Week in MLS – July 18, 2016
  • King of New York will be crowned in derby matchup this week on FOX
  • Media Opportunity Wednesday: MLS to host Video Assistant Referee workshop at Red Bull Arena
  • Major League Soccer’s biggest rivalries play out in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals
  • Bay Area set to shine during 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Week in San Jose 
  • Dempsey, Kaká or Villa? Fans to decide 2016 MLS All-Star captain via Snapchat vote
  • Sons of Ben documentary to be available across digital and TVOD platforms
  • Week 19 AT&T Goal of the Week voting now open
  • Check It Out, Quotables, Sweet Tweets
  • Week 20 Game Previews
 
King of New York will be crowned in derby matchup this week on FOX
“We want to be ready to battle and ready to fight, to put our flag up there and always demonstrate what is the best team in New York.”
NYRB midfielder Felipe on the New York Derby
 
Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference happen to share a backyard, and when fierce rivals face off for postseason positioning, fireworks are expected. New York Red Bulls and New York City FC will compete for bragging rights in a winner take all rivalry match to determine the king of New York this Sunday at Red Bull Arena (FOX, 1 p.m. ET). A palpable intensity has continued to grown as the previous two contests this season have resulted in a win for each team: a 7-0 victory for NYRB on May 21 and a 2-0 win for NYCFC on July 3.    
 
NYCFC enters Sunday’s match atop the Eastern Conference (9-6-6, 33 points) and has earned the best road record in the league going 6-3-1 away from Yankee Stadium. NYCFC has won five of its last six matches in MLS play largely in thanks to Golden Boot leader and two-time MLS All-Star David Villa who has 13 goals this season, while 19-year-old midfielder Jack Harrison has been a revelation since his midseason debut, scoring three goals and recording two asissts in eight appearances. Midfielder Frank Lampard has impressed in his return from injury as well, scoring five goals in his last six matches. Tommy McNamara and Andrea Pirlo have also provided a helping hand, ranking third and fourth in MLS in assists this season with eight and seven, respectively.  
 
The Red Bulls counter with MLS assist leader and MLS All-Star Sacha Kljestan (10 assists), who is coming off a two-goal performance, along with forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, tied for fourth in the league with nine goals scored. Wright-Phillips in particular has shown up for the crosstown rivalry, scoring six goals and adding one assist in five career matches against NYCFC, while Kljestan has added six assists in the five contests against the crosstown rivals. As the New York Derby heads to Red Bull Arena for the first time this year, the Red Bulls boast an impressive home record going 7-2-1 in Harrison and are unbeaten in seven straight matches at Red Bull Arena.
 
Media Opportunity Wednesday: MLS to host IFAB Video Assistant Referee workshop at Red Bull Arena
The second workshop on experiments with video assistant referees (VARs) will be hosted by Major League Soccer from July 19-21 at Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls. A media opportunity is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20th and press interested in attending are asked to register by emailing media@theifab.com. The workshop at Red Bull Arena will be attended by more than 20 leagues and associations from across the globe. MLS is one of a number of competitions in six countries already confirmed to take part in the trial, while others will be joining the meeting to learn more about the VAR protocol and the practical implications before making a final decision.
 
The focus of the workshop will be on the use of Video Assistant Referees in a “live” environment. Through presentations and practical on field demonstrations by local U-18 soccer players in match settings, attendees will learn more about how the referees should communicate with each other to make decisions on the four match-changing incidents included in the experiment protocol -- goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.
 
Major League Soccer’s biggest rivalries play out in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals
Some of Major League Soccer’s biggest and most intense rivalries are set to play out in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals this Wednesday. All U.S. Open Cup action will be streamed live on U.S. Soccer’s YouTube page.
 
Another edition of the heated Texas Derby between in-state rivals Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas is set with the matchup arguably the most important between the clubs since the 2007 MLS Cup Playoffs. Stakes are high for both clubs as Houston is in search of its first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title, while Dallas – owned by Clark Hunt – hasn’t won the tournament since 1997 with runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2007. Although Houston will claim home field advantage, it will have its hands full with newly named MLS All-Star Mauro Diaz and speedster Fabian Castillo, who have been for the current Supporters’ Shield leaders (12-6-4, 40 points).
 
Two Western Conference heavyweights are set to clash again, as five-time MLS Cup winners LA Galaxy host Cascadia club Seattle Sounders FC. Memories will be fresh as they recently met in MLS action on July 9 with LA besting Seattle 1-0 behind a Robbie Keane goal at CenturyLink Field. After losing at home, Seattle will be out for a revenge in a tournament that the club has excelled in, winning the title four times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014) - tied with Chicago Fire for most by an MLS club. Wednesday’s bout will be a tough task for Seattle though as LA boasts an impressive 196-70-58 MLS record at home.
 
On the East Coast, two I-95 rivals square off as the New England Revolution host the Philadelphia Union at Jordan Field. The familiar foes have met a total of 17 times in MLS regular season action since 2010, with Philadelphia grabbing more wins with an 8-5-4 record. In a much-improved year that sees the club second in the Eastern Conference standings, the Union will look to make up for the heartbreaking penalty shootout loss suffered in the Open Cup final last year to Sporting Kansas City. Meanwhile, the Revs, who sit just above the red line in sixth-place in the Eastern Conference, are looking for its first Open Cup title since 2007.
 
The Chicago Fire – four-time U.S. Open Cup champions – will host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League in the only inter-league matchup of the quarterfinals.
 
Wednesday, July 20
7:30 p.m. ET – New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union
8:30 p.m. ET – Chicago Fire vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
8:30 p.m. ET – Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas
10:30 p.m. ET – LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC
 
Bay Area set to shine during 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Week in San Jose 
When 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Week kicks off in San Jose this Sunday, July 24, the Bay Area will be well represented with two San Jose Earthquakes named to the MLS All-Star Gameday Roster and three budding stars with Bay Area ties set to shine in the Chipotle MLS Homegorwn Game.
 
Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski will be right at home next Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/UniMás/TSN/RDS), after earning his fourth All-Star selection, tying the club record for most nominations with Landon Donovan and Jeff Agoos. Wondolowski appeared in three consecutive MLS All-Star Games from 2011-13.
 
Castro Valley native and Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham, 26, earns his first career MLS All-Star Team nod with a save percentage (74%) that ranks him fifth in his position. The team’s starter since 2015, his 60 saves ties him for sixth in MLS, and his 16 shutouts tie for second most in MLS up to this point. He also kept a clean sheet against Canada in his first cap with the U.S. Men’s National Team on Feb. 15.
 
Bay Area native Tommy Thompson will be the lone Quakes representative when the MLS side faces the Mexico Under-20 National Team in the Chipotle MLS Homegrown game on Wednesday, July 27 (6 p.m. ET). Thompson has seen action in nine games with four stars and eight shots on goal.
 
Stanford standouts Jordan Morris, who has seven goals and an assist this season, and Aaron Kovar each left the Cardinal early to sign as Homegrown Players with Seattle Sounders FC. In Kovar’s two collegiate seasons, he was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2012 and scored a goal in the 2013 NCAA tournament. The MAC Hermann trophy winner in 2015, Morris’ three-year Stanford career included 13 goals, with five scored in the NCAA Tournament, two of which were in a shutout championship game victory for the 2015 national title, the first in school history.
 
Dempsey, Kaká or Villa? Fans to decide 2016 MLS All-Star captain via Snapchat vote
For the second year in a row, MLS fans will decide who will captain the MLS All-Stars when they take on Arsenal FC in the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 28 at Avaya Stadium (4:30 p.m. PT, ESPN, UniMás, UDN, TSN, and RDS). Three MLS All-Stars, as chosen by coach Dominic Kinnear, will be available for a fan vote on Snapchat starting on Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET. Fans will have 24 hours to screenshot their vote via MLS’ Snapchat story. 
 
2016 MLS All-Star Captain Candidates: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Kaká (Orlando City SC), David Villa (New York City FC)
 
Follow ‘mls’ on Snapchat (www.snapchat.com/add/mls) for more details.
 
Sons of Ben documentary to be available across digital and TVOD platforms
The Sons of Ben documentary, which tells the story of how a rag-tag but dedicated small group of Philly area soccer fans helped land the city a Major League Soccer franchise by creating a Supporters’ Group before the team even existed, will be launch across all digital and TVOD platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, on July 22nd. The story of how this tough-around-the-edges group of superfans managed to achieve their goal in a scant 13 months is one of the most unbelievable off-the-field stories in sports, particularly MLS history. The film, which has only been available on a very limited basis, will also re-launch on DVD. Directed by Jeffrey Bell and produced by Mike Dieffenbach, Sons of Ben is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures.
 
AT&T Goal of the Week voting now open (Week 19) – CLICK HERE to vote
  •          Diego Valeri (POR) Sends incredible shot from difficult angle off far post and into the back of the net
  •          Ignacio Piatti (MTL) Powers way through two defenders to score dazzling equalizer
  •          Maximiliano Urruti (DAL) Scores on a powerful header from a marvelous Fabian Castillo rabona assist
  •          Cristian Techera (VAN) Slices shot from well outside the box into upper 90 for amazing goal
  •          Marlon Hairston (COL) Steals the pass and scores the game winner with a beautiful curling goal
  •          Connor Lade (NYRB) Rips a shot top shelf past goalkeeper Joe Bendik for his first career MLS goal
  •          Jack Harrison (NYC) Outmaneuvers a defender before sending a curling goal past goalkeeper Evan Bush
  •          Mauro Diaz (DAL) Strikes  a beautiful long range shot off far post and into the back of the net to give Dallas the lead
 
Check It Out
 
Quotables
"It was our best performance of the year. It was a complete performances and gives up a lot of mojo moving forward. It's the first time this year that we've had everybody healthy. Today, looked a little bit more like we wanted to look on both sides of the ball."
Portland Timbers coach Caleb Poter on his team’s 3-1 victory over rival Seattle Sounders FC
 
"That was the loudest I've ever heard this place. It made the fans go from mad to hopeful. You could feel the attitude of the team change after Simon's goal.Things were against us throughout the evening, but the attitude was fantastic. This is the type of game that could certainly be a turning point."
San Jose Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear on his team’s 2-1 comeback victory while playing with nine men
 
“It’s unbelievable, really. Relying on a kid with very limited professional experience to come and win games, but that’s the kind of culture we build here.”
Colorado Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni on 22-year-old Marlon Hairston’s game-winning goal
 
"It’s changed big-time ’cause now I wanna go out, have fun with my friends, but I gotta also take in that I’m playing at the MLS level and I have to represent the club.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 15-year-old rookie forward Alphonso Davies on how his life has changed amid his professional debut
 
"The first goal, it's got to come at some point. It's important to have the icebreaker. . . . You just have a different emotion. And then the second can come, the third can come."
Philadelphia Union forward Fabian Herbers on his team’s 2-2 draw after rallying from a two-goal deficit
 
Sweet Tweets
Liam Ridgewell (‏@liam_ridgewell): What a day. Boys and fans were great to get the win today. And to be name @mlsallstars is a huge honor again
 
Lee Nguyen (@LeeNguyen24): Congrats to our very own @2Fast2Farrell on being selected to @MLS #AllStar team. Gonna represent well for @NERevolution #muchdeserved
 
Kendall Waston (@kwaston88): I feel so blessed. Thank God for this opportunity.
 
Shkelzen Gashi (‏@s_gashi11): Can I get the number from security, please? @ColoradoRapids This guy does not have a ticket!  #PokemonGO #SG11  
 
Ben Zemanski (@benzemanski): No. Words. @timbersarmy #rctid
 
Week 20 Game Previews
Friday, July 22
Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 11 p.m. (UNI)
  • Real Salt Lake had their winless streak extended to five matches, with a third draw in that time, following their goalless result with the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The Earthquakes went two men down – and still claimed a 2-1 win against Toronto FC on Saturday evening at Avaya Stadium, snapping their two-game losing slide and winning for the first time since May 11 (seven games). The Quakes became the 13th team in MLS history to win a game after receiving two or more red cards, the first since 2004 to score the winning goal after playing nine men vs. 11.
  • The teams evenly split their season series a year ago. Each club won at Avaya Stadium by 1-0 scorelines; when the Quakes in the final meeting, on Sept. 27, it was their first home win vs. Real since 2012. RSL had won twice on their previous four visits to San Jose, with two draws.
  • The teams reached a 1-1 draw in their only meeting last year at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Quakes have won on two of their last five trips to Rio Tinto Stadium (with one draw).
 
Saturday, July 23
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 3:30 p.m.
  • Diego Valeri scored a pair of goals as the Timbers extended their undefeated streak to nine games with a 3-1 win against arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday afternoon at Providence Park. Valeri is now tied for fourth in the MLS Golden Boot standings, one goal behind teammate Fanendo Adi, who scored his 10th goal of the season in the contest.
  • The Galaxy won their third consecutive game – all by shutout – and extended their undefeated run to five games in league play in a 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Friday evening at StubHub Center. Steven Gerrard scored the game’s lone goal; he has a goal and three assists over the last four games.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Fanendo Adi gave the Timbers the lead early in the second half, but an own goal pulled the Galaxy level late as the teams reached a 1-1 draw April 10 at StubHub Center.
  • The Galaxy haven’t won on their last four trips to Portland, with the last two ending in draws. The only Galaxy victory all-time in Portland came July 14, 2012 – a 5-3 victory.
  • The Timbers have won once all-time in Carson, a 5-2 win last Oct. 18 in the final meeting between the teams, that win also snapping a five-game winless streak vs. the Galaxy. The Galaxy have won five of nine meetings there, with two draws.
 
Columbus Crew SC vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Ola Kamara scored his ninth goal of the season – all over the last eight matches – but Crew SC saw their winless run extended to seven games in a second consecutive draw, a 1-1 result with D.C. United on Saturday evening at Mapfre Stadium.
  • Orlando City put an end to their three-game offensive shutout streak, but still saw their winless run stretched to four games in a 2-2 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at BC Place.
  • The teams met three times in Orlando City’s inaugural MLS season, each winning once at home. Crew SC won the lone match at Mapfre Stadium, a 3-0 win April 18.
  • OCSC won 5-2 in Orlando on Aug. 1 in the final meeting between the teams; they also reached a 2-2 draw there on May 30.
 
New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Revolution snapped a two-game road losing run, despite being shut out at the attacking end for a third time in five games, reaching a scoreless result with Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The Fire fell to a club-record seventh consecutive defeat on their travels, dropping a 3-1 decision at FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. The Fire’s MLS-record road winless streak, dating back to July 2014, is now at 34 games.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Lee Nguyen scored early and Femi Hollinger-Janzen scored late as the Revolution took a 2-0 win May 14 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Revolution have won the last three meetings between the teams in Foxborough. When the Fire won there July 12, 2014, it was their first victory at New England since 2010.
  • The Fire have a four-game undefeated streak alive at Toyota Park, with a 2-2 draw there last July 25, then a 3-1 victory on Oct. 3. The Revolution have won just twice all-time at Toyota Park – a 2-1 win in 2006, then a 1-0 victory March 9, 2013.
 
Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas, 9 p.m.
  • The Rapids extended their undefeated streak to 14 games in MLS play – now matching the eighth-longest run without a loss in league history – following their 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids last lost in league play on April 9.
  • FC Dallas rebounded for their fourth victory in their last five matches, still undefeated at Toyota Stadium this season, following their 3-1 win against the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening.
  • The teams met twice last year at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and both were 1-1 draws, on April 24 and June 19. The Rapids have won just one of their last six home matches against FCD, with three draws, dating back to the 2012 season.
  • The Rapids claimed the only win in the season series last year, a 4-0 win April 10 at Toyota Stadium. It was Colorado’s first win in Frisco since 2012, and ended a three-game FCD winning streak in the series.
 
Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9:30 p.m.
  • The Dynamo were blanked at the offensive end for a second consecutive game, suffering a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Friday evening at StubHub Center.
  • Whitecaps FC ended their three-game homestand with a win and two draws, reaching a 2-2 result with Orlando City SC on Saturday evening at BC Place.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Houston’s DaMarcus Beasley scored in the first half but Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero scored after the break, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw May 28 at BC Place. Pedro Morales converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, giving Whitecaps FC a 1-0 win March 26 at BC Place.
  • The last meeting was the first time the home team did not win in the series. Whitecaps FC had won the first four meetings at BC Place; the Dynamo scored their first goal in Vancouver since 2014 in the last encounter. The ‘Caps also won the lone meeting at Empire Field.
  • The Dynamo have won both meetings all-time at BBVA Compass Stadium, including a 2-0 win last Aug. 29, in their three home wins in the all-time series.
 
Montreal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Impact lost for the first time in MLS play since May 21, a run of six games, in their 3-1 defeat by New York City FC on Sunday afternoon at Stade Saputo. Harry Shipp scored his second goal for the club, both in the last three matches.
  • Union scored twice within a minute – C.J. Sapong converting a penalty kick in the 67th minute, then Chris Pontius netting in the 68th – as they came back from two goals down to reach a 2-2 with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening at Talen Energy Stadium. It was the shortest span between goals in Union club history.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Montréal’s Didier Drogba and Philadelphia’s C.J. Sapong each scored first-half goals to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw May 14 at Stade Saputo.
  • The visiting team has won once in the all-time series – a 1-0 Union victory last Aug. 22 at Stade Saputo. The Impact had won the first four meetings between the teams at Stade Saputo before last year’s Union win.
  • Union have won two of the five matchups in Chester, with three draws, including a 2-2 result last June 27 in the only meeting there.
 
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
  • Justin Morrow scored his third goal in the last five matches, but Toronto FC saw their three-game undefeated run put to an end, suffering a 2-1 defeat to a nine-man San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Avaya Stadium.
  • D.C. United hit for a late equalizer for a second time in three matches, Fabian Espindola scored the leveler in the 89th minute for a 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew SC on Saturday evening. United had scored the tying goal in stoppage time in their 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake on July 1, which started their three-game road swing where they went 0-1-2.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Sebastian Giovinco scored after just 58 seconds, the earliest goal scored by Toronto FC in the club’s 10-year history, for a 1-0 win April 16 at BMO Field.
  • United have taken points on six of their last nine trips to BMO Field since 2010, with five victories. The TFC win in the first meeting this series ended a two-game home winless streak in the series.
  • TFC has come away with points on three of their last four trips to RFK Stadium, with a 2-1 victory last June 6 at RFK Stadium in the only meeting between the teams in Washington, D.C.
 
Sunday, July 24
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC, 1 p.m. (FOX)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Jack Harrison and David Villa scored when New York City FC took a 2-0 win July 3 at Yankee Stadium, the club’s first win ever against the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls had won each of the first four meetings, with a 14-2 goal differential in those contests.
  • The Red Bulls defeated NYCFC 7-0 on May 21 at Yankee Stadium, the victory matching the largest margin of victory in MLS history – all of which were achieved by teams playing on the road. The seven goals scored by the Red Bulls was also the most in a single game in the club’s 21-year history, tied for the second-most goals ever scored by one team in an MLS game.
  • The Red Bulls extended their undefeated run to three games, despite being hauled back into a 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union on Sunday evening at Talen Energy Stadium. The Red Bulls have one win in their last six matches, coming off a four-game winning run.
  • New York City FC made it five wins in their last six matches, Frank Lampard scoring his fifth goal in that span (and for a third game in a row) in their 3-1 win against the Montréal Impact on Sunday afternoon at Stade Saputo.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Sporting suffered a second consecutive defeat on the road – both by a 1-0 scoreline – suffering a defeat by the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Sounders FC weren’t able to build on their first win in five matches, after a 5-0 defeat of FC Dallas at midweek, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at Providence Park.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Nuno Andre Coelho scored the game’s only goal in the 73rd minute as Sporting took a 1-0 win in the season opener for both clubs, March 6 at CenturyLink Field.
  • The opening win ended a Sounders FC five-game home undefeated streak alive at home vs. Sporting, after SKC won 1-0 in Seattle in 2009, the first meeting ever between the clubs.
  • Sporting have defeated Sounders FC once all-time in six meetings in league play – a 1-0 win last June 6 at Sporting Park. Sounders FC have won four of the six MLS encounters all-time in Kansas City, with one draw.