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This Week in MLS – March 14, 2017

This Week in MLS – March 14, 2017
  • CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal Action Includes Vancouver on the road and FC Dallas vs. Dallas Native Omar Gonzalez
  • Young North American stars elevating clubs in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League Play
  • MLS Matchday Live show available every Sunday on MLS Facebook page
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 3 Game Previews
 
CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal Action Includes Vancouver on the road and FC Dallas vs. Dallas Native Omar Gonzalez
This week sees the return of Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League play as, for the first time in five years, two MLS clubs will feature in the semifinal round in FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Only two MLS clubs, Montreal Impact (2014-2015 tournament) and Real Salt Lake (2010-11 tournament) have advanced to the Finals under the current format, playing for the opportunity to represent CONCACAF at the FIFA Club World Cup.
 
Vancouver is in Mexico to face Tigres UANL at Estadio Universitario on Tuesday, March 14 (10 p.m. ET, TSN, Galavisión, CONCACAF Facebook) with the talents of 16-year-old homegrown sensation Alphonso Davies and newly inked Designated Player Fredy Montero leading the way. Considered a top club in Mexico, Tigres advanced to the Champions League finals in the 2015-2016 edition of the tournament, falling to champion Club America. Tigres is riding a 4-1 aggregate victory over Pumas UNAM in the quarterfinals, and features French striker Andre Pierre Gignac, who led all of Liga MX with 13 goals in 2016. The return leg of the series will be played on April 5 at BC Place.
 
When the 2016 Supporters’ Shield winner FC Dallas host Liga MX’s 2016 Clausura Champions CF Pachuca on Wednesday, March 15 (8 p.m. ET, UDN, CONCACAF Facebook), it could come down to two U.S. Men’s National Team players meeting toe-to-toe at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas homegrown and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta will be the man to watch after an impressive two-goal performance in the quarterfinals helped lead Dallas past Arabe Unido 5-2 on aggregate.  Waiting for Acosta and FC Dallas will be the familiar face of USMNT defender and four-time MLS Best XI defender Omar Gonzalez, a Dallas native, who remains the stronghold on Pachuca’s backline that has so far allowed the fewest goals (7) in Liga MX. The return leg of the series will be played on April 4 at Estadio Hidalgo.
 
Young North American stars elevating clubs in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League Play
Two of the most promising talents in MLS are already paying dividends for their respective teams in the early weeks of the season, as FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta and Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Alphonso Davies take center stage in CONCACAF Champions League play this week.
 
After signing a Homegrown Player contract in 2012, the 21-year-old Acosta is already in his fifth year with Dallas and looks to be taking a larger role in his team’s attack this season. Acosta propelled Dallas to a quarterfinal victory with a brace against Panamanian club Arabe Unido in February before scoring a game-winning goal one week later in Dallas’s opening-week 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy. After receiving his first call up to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team last year, Acosta registered four caps in 2016 while his continued strong run of form could see him selected into upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifying and 2017 Gold Cup rosters.
 
Davies burst onto the scene last season for Vancouver, and the 16-year-old midfielder has already dazzled in 2017, helping Whitecaps FC to advance past the New York Red Bulls in Champions League quarterfinal action with a tremendous goal earlier this month. Despite his young age, Davies has represented Canada at the Under-20 level and played a full 90 minutes in Vancouver’s opening week play. This week, Davis could receive his first taste of a Canadian rival in MLS play, as Vancouver hosts Toronto FC at BC Place on Saturday in the team’s only matchup of the season to play out on Canadian National Broadcast station CTV (4 p.m. ET).
 
MLS Matchday Live show available every Sunday on MLS Facebook page
MLS Matchday Live is back for 2017, and it’s bringing all the highlights and storylines from around the League straight to fans every Sunday. The interactive show is hosted by ExtraTime Radio personality Andrew Wiebe, and features live look-ins from around the U.S. and Canada, real-time comments from fans, viewer polls and commentary from around MLS. MLS Matchday Live will air at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 19  on the MLS Facebook page, leading into kickoff for Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls (7 p.m. ET, FS1).
 
Sweet Tweets
David Villa (@Guaje7Villa): The happiness of the goals...   @NYCFC @NYCFCEspanol
 
Kevin Venegas (@KVenegas22): Seeing the fans show up today in the snow and stand cheer like that   regardless of the score line makes me proud to be a part of this team
 
Shkelzen Gashi (@s_gashi11): What an amazing support in New York . Thank you all for your coming!  #Faleminderit #Gashi #SG11 #Jeminje 
 
Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11): Big congrats to Luis. Fantastic achievement.
 
Yamil Asad (@YamilAsad11): First victory. Let's go atlanta!!  Primera victoria. Vamos Atlanta!!  @ATLUTD
 
Week 3 Game Previews
Saturday, March 18
Montreal Impact at New York City FC, 2 p.m.
  • Ignacio Piatti scored one goal and set up another, but the Impact were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Seattle on Saturday, still looking for their first win of the season.
  • David Villa scored two goals – the 11th multiple-goal game in his three MLS seasons – and Maximiliano Moralez scored one and set up two others as NYCFC won their first of the year, 4-0 vs. D.C. United.
 
Toronto FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4 p.m. (CTV / TSN1)
  • TFC reach a second draw in as many games in a 2-2 tie with Philadelphia Union on Saturday, and could without Sebastian Giovinco through injury.
  • Whitecaps FC are still looking for their first MLS win after the San Jose Earthquakes overcome a 2-goal deficit for a 3-2 win.
 
Chicago Fire at Atlanta United, 4 p.m. (UniMás, Univision Deportes Facebook)
  • The Fire get goals from Nemanja Nikolic and Arturo Alvarez in recording their first win of 2017, a 2-0 victory against Real Salt Lake in their Toyota Park debut.
  • Josef Martinez scores a hat trick and Miguel Almíron scored twice as Atlanta United set a record for MLS expansion teams in a 6-1 win at Minnesota United FC on Sunday.
 
Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United, 7 p.m.
  • Crew SC go down to their first defeat of 2017 in a 3-1 loss at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening.
  • D.C. United are still looking for their first win and first goal of the new season, losing for the first time in a 4-0 reversal at New York City FC on Sunday.
 
Philadelphia Union at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Union get goals from Jay Simpson and C.J. Sapong as they reach a second draw in as many games, a 2-2 result with Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • Orlando City SC return to action after their match Saturday at the New England Revolution was postponed due to weather conditions.
 
New England Revolution at FC Dallas, 8 p.m.
  • The Revolution hit the road again for their second match after their scheduled home opener with Orlando City SC on Saturday was postponed due to weather conditions.
  • FC Dallas make their Toyota Stadium debut after coming away from a two-game road swing to start the season with four points, following a scoreless draw at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
 
San Jose Earthquakes at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
  • Chris Wondolowski scores a goal and adds as assist as the Quakes overcome an early two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, their second consecutive win to start the season.
  • Sporting Kansas City reach a second successive scoreless draw to open the season in their home opener with FC Dallas on Saturday.
 
Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.
  • Minnesota United set a record for expansion teams in MLS, having conceded 11 goals in their first two games following a 6-1 loss to Atlanta United in their home debut Sunday afternoon.
  • The Rapids fall to an own goal in a 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, their first defeat of the season.
 
LA Galaxy at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.
  • The Galaxy have started a season with back-to-back home defeats for the first time in club history after their 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at StubHub Center.
  • Real are still looking for their first goal of the season, suffering their first loss of the new campaign in a 2-0 defeat at the Chicago Fire on Sunday.
 
Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.
  • Erick Torres and Romell Quioto each score for a second consecutive game as the Dynamo win their second match on the trot, a 3-1 win against Columbus Crew SC on Saturday evening.
  • Diego Chara nets his first goal of the season as the Timbers make it two wins from two games to start the season, defeating the LA Galaxy 1-0 at StubHub Center on Sunday.
 
Sunday, March 19
New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders FC, 7 p.m. (FS1)
  • The Red Bulls win their second game to open the new year, the game’s only tally coming through an own goal in a defeat of the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
  • Sounders FC are still looking for a first win in defense of their MLS Cup title, but Will Bruin scores deep into stoppage time to cap a two-goal comeback and secure a 2-2 draw at the Montréal Impact.