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This Week in MLS – March 20, 2012

Five More Hit Home
Five more clubs (all from the Eastern Conference) will celebrate their 2012 home openers during this week of MLS play.  Those clubs are: Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, and Toronto FC. Just the Houston Dynamo will remain without a home match as they continue their seven-game road swing before the May 12 opening of BBVA Compass Stadium.
Around the League, clubs have scored 25 goals in front of their home crowds, allowing just 15, in 17 total games.  All five clubs getting ready for their 2012 home debuts this week are still in the hunt for their first win of the season and will be looking to capitalize on that home field advantage.
Seattle’s David Estrada voted MLS Player of the Week
With the first hat trick of the 2012 season, good for a 3-1 win, Seattle Sounders FC striker David Estrada was voted the MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters for Week Two of the season. For more, CLICK HERE.
2012 AT&T Goal of the Week(click to vote)
Check it Out
Sporting Kansas City: C.J. Sapong Pranked Again
National Broadcasts – Week 3
Friday, March 23
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
Saturday, March 24
Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 1 p.m. (TSN/RDS)
Sunday, March 25
New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. (ESPN/Deportes)
Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. (Galavision)
MLS Week 3 Previews
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
Friday, March 23
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
  • Hats Off to Estrada:Seattle’s David Estrada scored the season’s first hat trick, leading Sounders FC to a 3-1 win against Toronto FC. Estrada, who has taken over a starting spot after rising from a selection in the 2010 SuperDraft, has scored four of Seattle’s five goals in official competitions this year.
  • Clean on the Go:Of the five teams that have opened seasons with extended road swings while awaiting a new stadium, the Dynamo are the first not to allow a goal in their first two games. In the 34 games those teams played (Columbus, 1999; LA, 2003; Chicago, 2006; Sporting KC, 2011), the travelers kept a total of just four clean sheets combined. The Daynamo are one of three teams which have not allowed a goal yet this season (also: Sporting KC and Vancouver).
Saturday, March 24
Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 1 p.m. (TSN/RDS)
  • Wondo remains One Shy:Chris Wondolowski saw his goal-scoring streak snapped at six games – one shy of the MLS record – in the Earthquakes’ 1-0 loss to Houston at AT&T Park.
  • Frings on the Fringe:Ahead of next week’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinals vs. Santos Laguna, TFC suffered a potentially devastating blow when former German international Torsten Frings was forced out of the 3-1 loss in Seattle with a first-half injury.
  • Winless at BMO vs. Quakes:Toronto FC are winless against the Earthquakes at home at BMO Field. The teams have played to three draws in Toronto, including a 1-1 tie last season; the Quakes won a 3-2 decision in 2010.
New England Revolution vs. Portland Timbers, 4 p.m.
  • Nagbe Notches his First of 2012:Scorer of last year’s MLS Goal of the Year, Darlington Nagbe scored his first goal of the season in the 1-1 draw vs. FC Dallas. Nagbe, the No. 2 selection in the 2011 SuperDraft, scored two goals in his rookie season.
  • Rough Road:The Revolution will be happy to return to Gillette Stadium for their home opener. The 3-0 loss at Sporting KC extended their road winless streak to nine games, dating back to last July, two games shy of the club record.
Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact, 4 p.m.
  • Hesmer Available?:After suffering an ankle injury in preseason, Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer could be ready to return. He played the full 90 minutes in one of Columbus’s two matches against college competition in their weekend off.
  • Captain Arnaud Comes through:Impact captain Davy Arnaud scored the first goal in the club’s MLS history, in the 1-1 draw vs. Chicago. The game was played before a Montréal record crowd of 58,912 at Olympic Stadium.
  • So close from so long: The Impact were millimeters away from winning their home opener – but Josh Gardner’s last-gasp long-range strike crashed off the goalpost.
Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30 p.m.
  • Jumping for [Pa]Joy:Offseason signing Lionard Pajoy opened his account for Philadelphia, scoring his first MLS goal in the loss to Colorado.
  • Inter Milan Product:With Sean Johnson called into the U.S. team for Olympic qualifying, 23-year-old Inter Milan product Paolo Tornaghi was given the start in goal for the Fire in their season opener in Montreal.
  • Former Teammates Faceoff:Union Manager Peter Nowak and Fire head coach Frank Klopas both played for the 1998 Chicago Fire squad that won MLS Cup in their inaugural season. They played together with the Fire for two years (1998, 1999).
Real Salt Lake vs. Chivas USA, 9 p.m.
  • Fabulous Fabian:Fabian Espíndola has scored goals in each of RSL’s two victories, defeating both the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls to kick off the season.
  • Perfect in Home Openers:Real have never lost a home opener in club history, now 4-0-4 all-time after the 2-0 win against New York.
  • JPA Injury:Juan Pablo Ángel was out injured as Chivas USA suffered a second consecutive 1-0 defeat at home to open the season, falling to Vancouver.
  • Five Alive: Real Salt Lake have a five-game unbeaten streak alive vs. Chivas USA. Since a 1-0 Chivas victory in Carson on May 9, 2009, RSL has four of the five meetings since (with one draw), including a pair of 1-0 victories last season.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. D.C. United, 10 p.m.
  • DeMerit First leads to VWFC First:U.S. international Jay DeMerit scored his first goal in MLS as Vancouver won its first MLS road game, defeating Chivas USA 1-0 at The Home Depot Center.
  • Shouting about Shutouts:Whitecaps FC have recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since coming into MLS last year.
  • Olympic Omissions:United will be missing three key youngsters – 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar (Honduras), midfielder Perry Kitchen and goalkeeper Bill Hamid (both USA), all of whom are playing in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Sunday, March 25
New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. (ESPN/Deportes)
  • Rafa Returns:Designated Player Rafael Marquez is eligible for selection this weekend after serving a two-game suspension to start the season. Since joining the team in August 2010, Marquez has started 29 games, scoring one goal while adding six assists.
  • Two-Game Streak – Twice:After going their first 15 seasons without winning their first two games, the Rapids have now done it back-to-back seasons, following the 2-1 win at Philadelphia. In 2011, Colorado won its first three in a row.
  • Tony’s got the touch:Colorado’s Tony Cascio became the first rookie to score in 2012, netting the eventual game-winner in Philadelphia. Cascio was the 14th selection overall in this year’s SuperDraft, out of the University of Connecticut.
  • Alright in the Arena:Since moving to Red Bull Arena, New York has not lost at home to Colorado, winning both league meetings in Harrison, as well as a U.S. Open Cup play-in match. That ended a three-game Rapids winning streak at New York, all at Giants Stadium from 2007-09.
Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. (Galavision)
  • Sophomore Streak:The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year, C.J. Sapong has started off his sophomore campaign with goals in each of SKC’s opening two games. Sapong scored five goals in his rookie season.
  • Blas of Glory:After setting up both FC Dallas goals in his first MLS game, Panamanian international Blas Pérez scored his first league goal in FCD’s 1-1 tie Saturday with the Portland Timbers.
  • Homegrown Debut:It took nearly three years, but FCD Homegrown Player Bryan Leyva finally made his first MLS start Saturday vs. Portland. Since signing with the club Sept. 20, 2009, Leyva had made one league appearance – a 13-minute shift on May 20, 2010 vs. LA.
“It was unbelievable. They say there is going to be 50,000 or 60,000, but until you’re out there, you’re in it and you can’t hear each other, you don’t realize how special it was. It was a special day for the club, I think one that everyone in the city will remember.”
-- Montreal Impact captain Davy Arnaud, after the club’s first home MLS match, which drew 58,912 to Olympic Stadium
"It's incredible to have the whole stadium chant my name."
-- Seattle Sounders FC forward David Estrada after scoring a hat trick in the 3-1 win vs. Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field.
"We made the decision on the bench to bring him in, and thankfully he came in and scored a goal and made us look like geniuses."
-- Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer on the decision to bring Darlington Nagbe on at halftime. Nagbe scored the equalizer in the 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
“I think it’s a stepping stone for our confidence, you can see even tonight on the road we looked almost like a different team than last week at home. I think it’s really just about creating that belief and that takes time and I think it is coming.”
-- Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon after the club’s first-ever road victory in MLS, a 1-0 win at Chivas USA.
“Sometimes that touch comes, sometimes it doesn’t. Last game, we had one shot on goal, and we scored it. This game, we made them make five saves, a couple others we didn’t hit on frame, and you lose 1-0. It’s a funny game like that.”
-- San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski, after his team out-shot the Houston Dynamo 22-8 yet lost 1-0.
Sweet Tweets
@kylejmccarthy– March 12
And that's what Kris Boyd can do. Clever little run, deft header into the back of the net. Good service from Alhassan, too. #RCTID
@PeterHirdt  – March 17
Paolo Tornaghi, via Inter youth academy, starts for @ChicagoFire—1st Italian-born GK in MLS since legendary Walter Zenga (1997-99) #cf97
@shinguardian– March 17
Fitting that the gentlemanly veteran Davy Arnaud cracks the MLS record books with the 1st Montreal goal. Appropriate.
@LukeWileman  - March 17
An ugly but important win for the Whitecaps at Chivas. 2 wins to start the season and no goals conceded so far #MLS
@mlstalk– March 18
FT: PHI 1-2 COL. The Union start the post-LeToux Era 0-2. Much better today, but Rapids hit them on the break twice. Wasted possession.


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