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This Week in MLS – June 20, 2016

This Week in MLS – June 20, 2016
  • Battle for California comes down to Heineken Rivalry Edición Especial
  • Can history repeat itself? MLS stars look to shock Argentina once again in Copa America
  • MLS to complement Copa America Centenario finale in action-packed week of soccer
  • Toronto and Vancouver one step closer to CONCACAF Champions League berth
  • Update: 2016 All-Star Fan XI voting
  • Week 15 AT&T Goal of the Week voting now open
  • Check It Out, Quotables, Sweet Tweets
  • Week 16 Game Previews
 
Battle for California comes down to Heineken Rivalry Edición Especial
The battle for state bragging rights comes down to the third and final matchup of the California Clásico between the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy on Saturday, June 25 in a Heineken Rivalry Edición Especial broadcast nationally on Univision (10 p.m. ET). With an expected crowd of over 50,000 fans in attendance at Stanford Stadium, the two teams look to add another chapter to the fierce rivalry as LA can capture its third cup in four seasons after previously defeating and drawing San Jose in two meetings earlier this season.
 
The Galaxy bring the glitz and glam of LA north to Stanford Stadium in some of its internationally renowned stars like Giovani dos Santos, who is one of two players league-wide to rank in the top 10 in both goals scored and assists, English icons Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole, and two-time FIFA World Cup veteran Nigel de Jong.
 
San Jose will field a gritty squad that is undefeated at home this season and welcomes back a contingent of players away on international duty. Copa America Centenario participants and Panamanians Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero will add a dangerous element to the Earthquakes’ attack with Quintero assisting on Panama’s first ever goal in Copa America play. Also rejoining the squad is defender Kip Colvey who captured an OFC Nations Cup with his native New Zealand, qualifying for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in the process.
 
One of the most storied rivalries in MLS, the California Clásico has become synonymous with dramatic finishes as the Earthquakes have a penchant for delivering some of its Goonie Magic. In 2012, the Quakes staged a 4-3 comeback victory, despite goals from Galaxy superstars David Beckham and Landon Donovan, and the following year a 10-man San Jose squad used a pair of stoppage time goals to stun LA 3-2 in one of the most thrilling comebacks. In 2015, the Quakes erased an early deficit to win 3-1 in one of the most dominant performances from the hosts.
 
So who will take California in 2016? There’s only one way to find out. 
 
Can history repeat itself? MLS stars look to shock Argentina once again in Copa America
Led by Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey and a crew of MLS standouts, the U.S. Men’s National Team has made a historic run to the Copa America Centenario semifinals where it will take on heavyweight Argentina on Tuesday, June 21 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX (9 p.m. ET, FS1/Univision/UDN).
 
Dempsey, who returns to his home state of Texas, is firing on all cylinders with three goals and three assists which rank third (tied with Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and Brazil’s Coutinho) and first in Copa America play, respectively. MLS players have been vital to the U.S.’s success, contributing six of the seven U.S. goals scored in the tournament (Dempsey, 3; Jermaine Jones, 1; Graham Zusi, 1; Gyasi Zardes, 1), and providing five assists* (Dempsey, 3; Jones, 1; Zardes, 1). MLS players have been involved in every goal scored by the U.S. in Copa America play.
 
*No assist on Dempsey penalty kick goal or Zusi goal vs. Costa Rica
 
The U.S. will look to repeat a bit of history vs. Argentina on Tuesday night in Houston. 21 years ago, the Stars-and-Stripes stunned the soccer world with a 3-0 win over Argentina that fueled their historic run to the semifinals of the 1995 Copa America. Every player that featured in the fateful match against Argentina went on to play in MLS during their professional careers, including MLS greats Kasey Keller, Alexi Lalas, Tab Ramos, Cobi Jones, Eric Wynalda, and current club technical staff members Earnie Stewart (Philadelphia Union) and Claudio Reyna (NYCFC). 
 
U.S. 1995 Copa America lineup vs. Argentina:
Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC, 2009-11); Alexi Lalas (New England Revolution, 1995-96; MetroStars, 1998; Kansas City Wizards, 1999; LA Galaxy, 2001-03), Marcelo Balboa (MetroStars, 2002), Paul Caligiuri (Columbus Crew SC, 1996; LA Galaxy, 1997-2001); Cobi Jones (LA Galaxy, 1996-2007), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United, 2003-04), Thomas Dooley (Columbus Crew SC, 1997-2000; MetroStars, 2000), John Harkes (D.C. United, 1996-98; New England Revolution, 1999-2001; Columbus Crew SC, 2001-02), Frank Klopas (Kansas City Wizards, 1996-97; Chicago Fire, 1998-99); Joe-Max Moore (New England Revolution, 1996-99, 2003-04), Eric Wynalda (San Jose Clash, 1996-99; New England Revolution, 2000-01; Chicago Fire, 2001).
 
Substitutes: Mike Burns (New England Revolution, 1996-2000; San Jose Earthquakes, 2000; Kansas City Wizards, 2001-02), Tab Ramos (MetroStars, 1996-2002).
                                                                                                
MLS to complement Copa America Centenario finale in action-packed week of soccer
In addition to Heineken Rivalry Edición Especial, MLS action will preview Copa America Centenario play on Sunday, June 26 when the Portland Timbers host Houston Dynamo at Providence Park (6 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes). The match will serve as an appetizer for the Copa America Centenario final at 8 p.m. on FS1. In their first meeting of the season, Portland and Houston both enter the match in fine form, with Portland sporting a four-match unbeaten streak nearly equaled by Houston’s three-match unbeaten mark. The much improved Dynamo will have its hands full, however, with Timbers forward and Nigerian international Fanendo Adi, who now sits second in the Golden Boot race with nine goals after nutmegging Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando last week.
 
In another highly anticipated nationally televised match, New York City FC will make its first ever trip to CenturyLink Field to take on Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, June 25 (5 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes). NYCFC forward David Villa currently leads the Golden Boot race with 11 goals scored this season after a beautiful sequence with rookie Jack Harrison in a match that featured additional goals from Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, as all three Designated Players got on the board in the same match for the first time in team history – just the second time this season a club’s three Designated Players scored in the same match (Previous: LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution on May 8).
 
Toronto and Vancouver one step closer to CONCACAF Champions League berth
Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC only have each other standing in the way of securing a 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League berth, as the teams square off in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final on Tuesday at BMO Field (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN, MLS LIVE). The clubs haven’t met in the Canadian Championship since 2012, when Toronto took home the crown for the fourth consecutive year – also defeating Vancouver in each of those finals (2009-2012). Whitecaps FC will be full of confidence, however, as the club enters this year’s final as reigning champs of the ACC and coming off a wild 4-3 win in their most recent encounter with Toronto at BMO Field on May 14. The heated rivalry was on fully display in a match that featured braces from Vancouver speedster Kekuta Manneh (watch goals) and reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner Sebastian Giovinco (watch goals), and a stunning game-winner from Pedro Morales (watch goal).   
 
Update: 2016 All-Star Fan XI voting
Only two weeks remain for fans to vote their favorite MLS players to the All-Star Fan XI and on their way to San Jose. Fans can continue to vote via online ballot and/or the AT&T/EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge through July 4 at 3 p.m. ET. The MLS All-Stars will face Arsenal FC on July 28 at Avaya Stadium in the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
 
Ten players – one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and two forwards – with the highest combined votes will be named to the All-Star Fan XI. The 11th player – a forward – will be determined by the AT&T/EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge.
 
Below are the players that currently lead in All-Star Fan XI voting:
 
All-Star Fan XI Leaders
as of June 20, 2016
 
GOALKEEPERS
Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Joe Bendik (Orlando City SC)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
 
DEFENDERS
Brek Shea (Orlando City SC)
Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact)
Ashley Cole (LA Galaxy)
Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
 
MIDFIELDERS
Kaka (Orlando City SC)
Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
 
FORWARDS
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact)
David Villa (New York City FC)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union)
 
MLS Goal of the Week voting now open (Week 15) – CLICK HERE to vote
  •          Julio Baptista (ORL) Volleys home powerful shot in stoppage time
  •          London Woodberry (NE) Rises up and heads home a free kick for early lead
  •          David Villa (NYC) Finishes with shot near post off a slick backheel pass from Jack Harrison
  •          Drew Moor (TFC) Diving header past goalkeeper for game-winning goal
  •          Nicolas Mezquida (VAN) Bends in beautiful free kick near post to draw the match even
  •          Fanendo Adi (POR) Overpowers a defender before nutmegging goalkeeper Nick Rimando
  •          Andrea Pirlo (NYC) Sends a beautiful bending free kick bender over the wall for first MLS goal
  •          Mike Grella (NYRB) Intercepts a back pass and chips goalkeeper Stefan Frei
 
Check It Out
 
Quotables
“I always believe sports has the ability to do more than just be the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It really can raise the hopes and dreams of people in our communities. To see it here tonight … It's emotional. It kind of brings a tear to your eyes. It's important for all of us to recognize the world is going to be a much better place if we're more focused on love and less focused on hate. We all are part of a league that is based on diversity and inclusiveness and hope.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Orlando City SC’s tribute to the victims in Orlando tragedy
 
“Clint is special. He showed that tonight. He showed that the last couple weeks and he’s showed that throughout his entire career. … This performance from him tonight was unbelievable, in front of his home crowd. He’s special.”
U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Clint Dempsey’s performance at Copa America Centenario
 
“Father’s Day tomorrow. I’ve only been a father for about two-and-a-half weeks now, so it will be fun to call my father, let him know how much he means to me and then to hold my little boy for a little bit as well.”
Toronto FC defender Drew Moor on what it meant to score the game winning goal on Father’s Day weekend, his first as a new father
 
“There’s a long way to go, and there’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of areas we need to improve, but the one thing that has stayed true the first day of preseason to today is, those guys have the type of character, mentality, to do something special this year.”
Colorado Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni on his team’s ability to  pull out late match victories
 
“We’re putting ourselves closer to Philly, and that’s important. We go on a road trip now where we’ve got four games between two competitions on the road. It’s going to be tough, but we have a good mentality and a shutout streak going, so we hope to keep that alive.”
New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan on the team’s rise up the standings and close proximity to leader Philadelphia Union
 
Sweet Tweets
Seb Hines (‏@seb_38): Thank you to the city of Orlando last night. You have shown true resilience during a very difficult time. #OrlandoUnited  #OneOrlando
 
Charlie Davies (@CharlieDavies9): My first Father's Day! So thankful for these little angels! #DaviesBabies #twins #FathersDay #MLSdad
 
Matt Lampson (@lampstrong): The expression on his face is why I love hosting cancer survivors and patients to every game. Comparing port scars with survivor Brayden after the game vs @coloradorapids. #suckitcancer #lampstrong #surviveandthrive #cf97 #iamstrong #cancersurvivor @chicagofire @mlsworks
 
Tim Howard (@TimHowardGK): When in Houston... #isiphotos
 
Amadou Dia (@amadou_it11): This man is by the far the coolest person I've ever met. It was a pleasure meeting you Paul Rudd & thank you for being one of our biggest fans and for all the support!! #Sportingkc
 
Week 16 Game Previews
Wednesday, June 22
Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 7 p.m. ET
  • Union saw their eight-game undefeated streak – matching the club’s all-time record – come to an end in their 3-2 defeat by New York City FC on Saturday afternoon. It was their first since April 16/
  • Fire Homegrown Player Joey Calistri scored his first professional goal, but his team saw their MLS-record road winless streak extended to 31 games – dating back to July 2014 – in the 2-1 loss at the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Kennedy Igboananike scored the game’s lone goal six minutes into the second half to give the Fire a 1-0 win April 2 at Toyota Park.
  • The Fire have not lost to Union over seven consecutive meetings in MLS play, with three wins and four draws since the last Philadelphia victory in the series, May 18, 2013 in Chester.
  • The Fire have won the last two meetings at Toyota Park, their first wins at home vs. Union since 2012; Philadelphia had won two of the four Bridgeview meetings in between, with two draws. The Fire have come away with points on their last three trips to Chester, with draws in the last two meetings there.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls, 10 p.m. ET
  • Real played their first home game in league play since April 30 over the weekend, reaching a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real are still undefeated at home for the season, the draw coming after victories in each of their first four league games in Sandy.
  • The Red Bulls recorded a fourth consecutive victory – all by shutout – in their 2-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls have not allowed a goal in 407 minutes, the third-longest shutout streak in club history.
  • The Red Bulls have a three-game undefeated streak alive in the series, having won the last two meetings at Red Bull Arena, including a 1-0 win last June 24 in the only meeting between the teams.
  • The Red Bulls have never won in league play at Salt Lake. Real have won four of the nine regular season meetings all-time in Utah, with five draws. But the Red Bulls did claim the Western Conference Championship in 2008, a 1-0 victory in Sandy.
 
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • The Galaxy had their winless streak extended to five games with a second consecutive offensive shutout, falling 1-0 at Toronto FC on Saturday evening. It’s the first time the Galaxy have been blanked in back-to-back games this season.
  • The Rapids extended their undefeated streak to a club-record 10 matches, dating back to April 13, with a seventh victory in that time, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-1 on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Marco Pappa scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute; both of his goals have been game-winners coming in the 89th minute or later.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Marco Pappa scored the game’s lone goal five minutes into second-half stoppage time to give the Rapids the victory March 12 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Rapids win ended a four-game Galaxy undefeated streak alive in the series. It also ended a two-game Galaxy winning streak in Commerce City.
  • The last Rapids win at StubHub Center came in 2013. The Galaxy won 6-0 there in 2014 – the largest-ever victory in the all-time series; the teams reached a 1-1 draw last May 2 in the only Carson meeting.
 
Saturday, June 25
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York City FC, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Sounders FC concluded their three-game Eastern swing with a second defeat in that time, falling 2-0 at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening. It was their fourth defeat in their last five matches, three coming by shutout.
  • All of NYCFC’s Designated Players – Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo – netted goals as NYCFC won at Yankee Stadium for the first time since April 30 in a 3-2 victory against Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon. For Pirlo, his goal – from a majestic free kick – was the first of his MLS career; Villa now leads the MLS Golden Boot standings with 11 goals.
  • The teams met once a year ago in NYCFC’s inaugural season, Sounders FC claiming a 3-1 victory May 3 at Yankee Stadium.
 
Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7 p.m. ET
  • Roland Alberg scored his first MLS goal, but Union had their string of three consecutive draws away from Talen Energy Stadium put to an end in their 3-2 loss at New York City FC on Saturday afternoon.
  • Whitecaps FC had their winless streak extended to three matches, their seven-game undefeated run at BC Place put to an end in a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon.
  • Whitecaps FC won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-0 win at BC Place, their first victory in the series since 2011. Union won once in the three meetings in between, with two draws.
  • The last two meetings in Chester have ended in draws, including a 3-3 result in 2014 in the last game there. Union won 1-0 at home in the first meeting ever between the teams in 2011.
 
D.C. United vs. New England Revolution, 7 p.m. ET
  • United were shut out at the attacking end for a second consecutive game and a fourth time in six contests, reaching a scoreless draw at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening. It was their third defensive shutout over that span.
  • The Revolution have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, also winning on their travels for a first time this season in a 2-1 victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon.
  • The teams are playing for the third time this season. Lamar Neagle, Luciano Acosta and Alvaro Saborío all scored to lead United to a 3-0 win Aprill 23 at RFK Stadium; they reached a scoreless draw March 12 at Gillette Stadium.
  • United have won the last three league meetings between the teams at RFK Stadium. The Revolution have a five-game undefeated streak alive at home in the series in league play (2-0-3). United’s last win in Foxborough came in 2012.
  • The teams also met last year in the MLS Cup Playoffs, United taking a 2-1 win at RFK Stadium in the Knockout Round. United have won three of the four series all-time between the teams in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Crew SC extended their home undefeated run to six games, but had their overall winless streak stretched to two games, following their scoreless draw with the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening in Columbus.
  • Mike Grella netted the second two-goal game of his MLS career, scoring both goals as the Red Bulls defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls had outscored their opponents 13-0 over the previous four games after that victory.
  • The teams met in a thrilling Eastern Conference Championship a year ago, Crew SC winning the first leg 2-0 at home, then holding the Red Bulls to a 1-0 win in the return match at Red Bull Arena to advance to MLS Cup.
  • The Red Bulls won the lone league meeting between the teams at Red Bull Arena last year, a 2-1 win on Oct. 3, their first home win in the series since 2012. The teams split the two regular season meetings in Columbus, each winning by a 2-1 scoreline; the Red Bulls have taken points on five of their last seven visits to Columbus, dating back to 2011, with two victories there in that time.
 
Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The Impact weren’t able to build upon a first win in seven games, but still came away with a point in a scoreless draw at Columbus Crew SC on Saturday evening.
  • Sporting KC put an end to a three-game winless slide, winning for the second time since April 9, defeating FC Dallas on Sunday evening at Children’s Mercy Park. Benny Feilhaber scored one goal and set up the other.
  • Sporting have won the last four meetings between the teams, over the last two seasons. Sporting took the lone meeting a year ago, a 2-1 win July 18 in Kansas City. Sporting won all three meetings in 2014, when both clubs were part of the Eastern Conference, including both meetings that year at Stade Saputo. SKC has won three of the five games all-time in the series in Montréal.
  • The last victories in the series by the Impact both came in 2013, winning once at each ground.
 
Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Orlando City reached their third consecutive draw – all by 2-2 scorelines – in their result with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Camping World Stadium. Julio Baptista scored a goal for a second consecutive match, coming in stoppage time, as both teams netted goals after the 90th minute.
  • Toronto FC put an end to their four-game winless run ended a streak of back-to-back shutouts as Drew Moor scored the game’s only goal for a victory against the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at BMO Field.
  • Toronto FC won all three meetings between the clubs in Orlando City’s inaugural season in MLS, outscoring OCSC 11-1. TFC won both meetings at BMO Field, three weeks apart, a 4-1 win Aug. 5 and a 5-0 win Aug. 22.
  • TFC won the lone meeting between the teams in Orlando, a 2-0 win on April 26 in the first meeting ever between the clubs.
 
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m. ET
  • FC Dallas lost for the first time since May 7, but have now gone three games in a row without a win, following their 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday evening.
  • Juan Manuel Martinez and Yura Movsisyan each scored for RSL in their 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening, each netting goals for a second successive game and their third goals over the last four matches.
  • FC Dallas won both meetings between the teams a year ago, a 1-0 win Aug. 29 in Frisco, and a 2-0 win Oct. 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium. FCD has come away with points on four of their last five trips to Sandy, with a win and two draws, dating back to 2012.
  • RSL is now 1-11-2 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).
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy, 10 p.m. ET (UNI)
  • The Quakes snapped a string of back-to-back attacking shutouts, but still had their winless run extended to four games with a third draw in that time, reaching a 2-2 result at Orlando City SC on Saturday evening. Shea Salinas set up one goal and scored the other, the equalizer coming with almost the final kick of the game deep in stoppage time.
  • The teams are meeting for a third time this season, the first two both at StubHub Center. Gyasi Zardes scored a pair of goals to lead the Galaxy to a 3-1 win March 19; the teams reached a 1-1 draw May 22.
  • The Quakes won both home meetings between the teams last season, including a 1-0 win Aug. 28 at Avaya Stadium in the first match played there between the clubs. The Galaxy have won just once in the last 12 regular season meetings in northern California, across four stadiums – a 1-0 victory June 28, 2014 at Stanford Stadium. The Quakes finished undefeated against the Galaxy in league play at their former Buck Shaw Stadium home, with two wins and three draws in five matches there.
  • The Quakes haven’t won in Carson since the 2012 season, a 3-2 win on May 23. Since then, the Galaxy have won three of the six league meetings at StubHub Center, with three draws. A year ago, the Galaxy claimed a 5-2 win June 17 at StubHub Center – the most goals scored in a league game in the 20 seasons of the rivalry.
 
Sunday, June 26
Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Fanendo Adi scored his ninth goal of the season – now in second place in the MLS Golden Boot Standings – as the Timbers reached a 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening.
  • The Dynamo reached a third consecutive draw since Wade Barrett has taken the coaching reins, playing to a scoreless result with D.C. United on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • The teams evenly split their three meetings a year ago. The Dynamo won 3-1 on May 16 at BBVA Compass Stadium and the Timbers won 2-0 on June 20 at Providence Park; the teams also reached a 2-2 draw, Aug. 21 in Portland.
  • The Timbers have won twice in eight meetings all-time in the series, winning two of the last three meetings at Providence Park. The Dynamo have won two of the four meetings all-time in Houston, with two draws.