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This Week in MLS – March 7, 2017

This Week in MLS – March 7, 2017
  • Expansion clubs Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United square off in the Twin Cities
  • Portland Timbers cohesive attacking unit looks to continue hot start against new-look Galaxy squad
  • MLS-led United States Under-20 team captures CONCACAF U-20 championship for first time
  • 2017 MLS club roster compositions now available on MLSsoccer.com 
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 2 Game Previews
 
Expansion clubs Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United square off in the Twin Cities
On the heels of a historic first week of action that saw more than 55,000 fans witness Atlanta United’s welcome to MLS – the weekend's fourth-largest soccer crowd worldwide – and more than 25,500 fans in Orlando celebrate the opening of Major League Soccer’s 16th soccer stadium, Minnesota United FC gets ready to make club history with the team’s inaugural MLS match at home in the Twin Cities.
 
Alongside more than 30,000 passionate fans expected in attendance, including the club’s largest and oldest supporters group, the Dark Clouds, Minnesota United FC will host fellow 2017 expansion club Atlanta United at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes).
 
MNUFC supporters, at home and those that traveled to Portland, were treated to the club’s inaugural MLS goal last week at Providence Park as fan favorite Christian Ramirez sent a shot from the top of the box into the bottom right corner.   Ramirez currently holds three league competition scoring records for the Loons from its NASL days: goals per game (3 goals, July 2, 2016), goals per season (20 in 2014) and career goals as a Loon (51 goals, 2014-present) and will be looking to continue that scoring domination as the team continues its first MLS season this weekend.
 
Atlanta United’s attack looks to be equally energized under the direction of young DPs Miguel Almirón, Hector Villalba and Josef Martinez. The trio danced their way through traffic in Atlanta on Sunday night while Yamil Asad wrote his name in the history books with Atlanta United’s inaugural goal.
 
With playing styles in as much contrast as their climates Minnesota and Atlanta both found the back of the net in Week One but both teams remain in the hunt for a win on Sunday.
 
Portland Timbers cohesive attacking unit looks to continue hot start against new-look Galaxy squad
No team scored more goals in the opening week of the season than the Portland Timbers, as the team matched its highest single game scoring total ever and largest margin of victory at Providence Park in franchise history with a 5-1 defeat of Minnesota United FC. With numerous offseason additions to an attack that ranked third in the Western Conference with 48 goals scored last season, the Timbers look to possess one of the more dangerous and exciting offensive teams in the league. Portland’s experienced attack will look to lift the team to ts first road victory since 2015 when it takes on the LA Galaxy on Sunday, March 12 at StubHub Center (7 p.m. ET, FS1/FOX Deportes).
 
One of the highly discussed MVP candidates in 2016, Argentine midfielder Diego Valeri has already developed a great chemistry with his fellow countryman and offseason Designated Player signing Sebastian Blanco, as the two combined on a beautiful goal in last week’s victory, the first of two on the night for Valeri. The duo grew up together in Argentine Primera Division club Lanus’s academy system and now look to wreak havoc in a Timbers attack that features U.S. Men’s National Team star Darlington Nagbe, Costa Rican National Team member David Guzman, Colombian National Team player Diego Chara, and Nigerian Fanendo Adi, who ranks fifth in MLS with 32 goals over the past two regular seasons. 
 
The Galaxy possess a dangerous attacking option of its own in Mexican National Team star Giovani dos Santos, who was one of only two players last season to produce double digit goal and assist totals. Belgium National Team defender Jelle Van Damme, who finished second in voting for the 2016 MLS Defender of the Year award, will be tasked with shutting down Portland’s attack that looked so deadly in the opening week of the season. 
 
MLS-led United States Under-20 team captures CONCACAF U-20 championship for first time
For the first time ever, the United States captured the CONCACAF U-20 Championship with a victory over Honduras in penalty kicks this weekend, securing a bid to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea this May and June. Amongst the 20-man roster to make it to Costa Rica, 11 players currently suit up for Major League Soccer clubs including 19-year-old Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown, who was awarded the Golden Ball, given to the best player of the tournament. Real Salt Lake led all MLS clubs with four players on the championship winning side, including forward Brooks Lennon, whose four goals led the United States and ranked tied for second amongst all players. A talented group of MLS youngsters are sure to star once again for the United States in this summer’s Under-20 World Cup.
 
2017 MLS club roster compositions now available on MLSsoccer.com 
Major League Soccer club roster compositions are now available on MLSsoccer.com, showcasing how all 22 club rosters are built for the 2017 season. This additional roster information includes where players sit on the roster (i.e. Senior, Supplemental or Reserve roster), specific player designations (i.e. International, Designated Player, Homegrown Player) and current roster status (availability for gameday selection). The roster composition for each club will only reflect players that have all necessary documents (ITCs, Visas, federation registration) into the League Office in order to be officially added to a team’s roster and be made available for MLS game selection. Club roster compositions will remain up-to-date throughout the 2017 MLS season.   
 
2017 club roster compositions can be found at http://www.mlssoccer.com/rosters/2017.
 
For any media inquiries regarding club roster compositions, please contact Jane.Sexton@MLSsoccer.com .
 
Sweet Tweets
David Villa (@Guaje7Villa): We stay positive, see you Sunday at Yankee stadium for the next challenge   @NYCFC @NYCFCEspanol https://twitter.com/Guaje7Villa/status/838756390701318146
 
Charlie Davies (@CharlieDavies9): We will take a point on the road to a good Vancouver side. Now we get to play in front of our fans next Saturday vs Toronto! #DOOP #MLS
 
Jonathan Lewis (@Jon_lewis710): Great to accomplish history with US U20s. Happy to have been apart of this team for qualifying. Time to head back to NYC. @ussoccer_ynt
 
Javier Morales (@javi_mo11): Congratulations to my young friends @justen_glad @dannyacosta117 and Bofito!! On the @CONCACAF championship! 
 
Yamil Asad (@YamilAsad11): Simply thanks to all the fans at @ATLUTD . The tournament is long. Thank you very much for the first golden stake! THANKS ATLANTA !!
 
Week 2 Game Previews
Saturday, March 11
Real Salt Lake at Chicago Fire, 2 p.m. ET
  • Nick Rimando saved an MLS-record 21st penalty kick in his league career as Real open with a scoreless draw with Toronto FC.
  • David Accam hit for a late equalizer to give the Fire a 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew SC in their season opener.
 
Orlando City SC at New England Revolution, 2 p.m. ET
  • Cyle Larin hit for the game-winner as Orlando City SC opened an MLS season with a victory for the first time in their 1-0 win against New York City FC, inaugurating their new Orlando City Stadium.
  • The Revolution kicked off their new season with a 1-0 defeat at the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon.
 
Colorado Rapids at New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m. ET (UniMás)
  • Dominique Badji scored the game’s lone goal as the Rapids opened with a victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Red Bulls opened a season with a victory for the first time since 2011, getting two goals over the final quarter-hour for a 2-1 win at Atlanta United, spoiling the expansion’s team inaugural match.
 
Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union, 4:30 p.m. ET (TSN 1/4/5)
  • Toronto FC started their new season with a point on the road, in their goalless draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Union also claimed a point away from home to kick off the new season, in their scoreless draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday evening at BC Place.
 
Seattle Sounders FC at Montreal Impact, 7 p.m. ET
  • Clint Dempsey scored on his return to action, his first MLS goal since last August, but Sounders FC started defense of their MLS Cup title with a 2-1 loss at the Houston Dynamo.
  • The Impact fell 1-0 in their season opener against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.
 
Columbus Crew SC at Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Ethan Finlay netted Crew SC’s first goal of 2017, his side reaching a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire in their season opener Saturday afternoon.
  • Erick Torres scored his first-ever MLS goal for Houston and Romell Quioto netted on his MLS debut as the Dynamo opened their new season with a 2-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening.
 
FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City, 9 p.m. ET
  • FC Dallas set an all-time MLS record with a sixth consecutive victory to open the season, Maxi Urruti and Kellyn Acosta scoring in a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon at StubHub Center.
  • Sporting started their season with a point on the road, reaching a goalless draw at D.C. United on Saturday evening.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes, 10 p.m. ET (TSN 1/3)
  • Whitecaps FC followed advancement to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals at midweek with a draw in their MLS season opener, a goalless draw with Philadelphia Union at BC Place.
  • Anibal Godoy netted the first goal of the season for the Quakes, which they made stand up in a 1-0 win against the Montréal Impact in their season opener Saturday at Avaya Stadium.
 
Sunday, March 12
D.C. United at New York City FC, 2 p.m. ET
  • D.C. United kicked off the final season at RFK Stadium, reaching a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City in their season opener Saturday evening.
  • New York City FC suffered a defeat to start a season for the first time in their MLS history, dropping a 1-0 decision at Orlando City SC.
 
Atlanta United at Minnesota United FC, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Yamil Asad scored the first goal in Atlanta United club history, but the New York Red Bulls hit back for two late goals for a 2-1 victory before 55,297 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
  • Minnesota United FC suffered the heaviest defeat ever by an MLS expansion team in its first game, a 5-1 loss at the Portland Timbers on Friday evening at Providence Park.
 
Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy, 7 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Fanendo Adi scored a pair of goals again – his 12th two-goal game in his MLS career – as the Timbers equaled their MLS club record with five goals in a 5-1 season-opening win against expansion outfit Minnesota United FC.
  • The Galaxy started their season with a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas at StubHub Center, Giovani dos Santos scoring the home side’s only goal from the penalty spot.