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This Week in MLS – September 11, 2012

Seattle Strike Force Set for Saturday Cascadia Showdown on NBC
If recent patterns hold, Sounders FC’s steady goal-scoring stream will continue on Saturday against the Portland Timbers at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
 
In seven of the last nine league matches, Seattle has scored two goals or greater, including 6-2 and 4-0 results in August.  
 
The club’s recent success directly correlates to the on-form play of forwards Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero, who have combined for 13 goals and three assists in the last nine matches. This season, Sounders FC are 9-3-3 when either player scores.
 
With 13 strikes in 2012, Johnson has already set a club MLS record, and his nine header goals are a 2012 MLS-best.
 
While the Timbers sit in last place in the West, the team holds the 2012 Cascadia Cup advantage, making a Sounders FC win a significant roadblock to Portland’s Pacific Northwest progress.
 
Playoff Race: Updated Scenarios
Last weekend San Jose Earthquakes became the first club to clinch a spot in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs. With 53 points, San Jose leads the Supporters’ Shield race.
 
Seattle Sounders FC, the club who guaranteed the Quakes’ playoff position with a 2-1 win against Chivas USA last Saturday, can clinch a spot with a win over Portland and a Chivas loss against San Jose this Saturday.
 
Two clubs, Toronto FC and New England Revolution, are in danger of becoming the first teams to be mathematically eliminated from 2012 postseason contention.
 
Seattle Sounders FC will clinch a playoff spot IF
·         Seattle Sounders FC WIN against Portland Timbers on Saturday AND
·         San Jose Earthquakes WIN against Chivas. on Saturday
 
Toronto FC will be eliminated from playoff contention IF
·         Toronto FC LOSE or TIE against Chicago Fire on Wednesday OR
·         Toronto FC LOSE or TIE against Philadelphia Union on Saturday OR
·         Columbus Crew WIN or TIE against New York Red Bulls on Saturday OR
·         D.C. United WIN against New England Revolution on Saturday
 
New England Revolution will be eliminated from playoff contention IF:
·         New England Revolution LOSE to D.C. United on Saturday OR
·         New England Revolution TIE with D.C. United on Saturday AND
o    Chicago Fire WIN or TIE against Toronto FC on Wednesday AND
o    Columbus Crew WIN against New York Red Bulls on Saturday
 
Top-Selling adidas MLS Player Jerseys in 2012
 
MLS today unveiled a list of the top selling adidas MLS player jerseys sold via MLSgear.com, MLSgearCanada.ca and MLS club websites for the period spanning March 10 – September 10, 2012.
 
adidas is the official athletic sponsor and product supplier for MLS. In July 2012, adidas and Major League Soccer announced that MLS will integrate the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide in 2013, marking the world’s first “smart league.” 
 
1.     David Beckham                                     LA Galaxy
2.     Thierry Henry                                         New York Red Bulls
3.     Landon Donovan                                   LA Galaxy
4.     Fredy Montero                                       Seattle Sounders FC
5.     Dwayne De Rosario                              D.C. United
6.     Chris Wondolowski                                San Jose Earthquakes
7.     Tim Cahill                                              New York Red Bulls
8.     Robbie Keane                                       LA Galaxy
9.     Mauro Rosales                                      Seattle Sounders FC
10.  Brian Ching                                           Houston Dynamo
11.  Darlington Nagbe                                  Portland Timbers
12.  Chris Pontius                                        D.C. United
13.  Osvaldo Alonso                                    Seattle Sounders FC
14.  Young-Pyo Lee                                     Vancouver Whitecaps FC
15.  Kris Boyd                                              Portland Timbers
16.  Barry Robson                                        Vancouver Whitecaps FC
17.  Eddie Gaven                                         Columbus Crew
18.  Brad Davis                                            Houston Dynamo
19.  Roger Torres                                         Philadelphia Union
20.  Freddy Adu                                           Philadelphia Union
21.  Kei Kamara                                           Sporting Kansas City
22.  Kyle Beckerman                                    Real Salt Lake
23.  Mike Magee                                          LA Galaxy
24.  Saer Sene                                             New England Revolution
25.  Arne Friedrich                                        Chicago Fire
 
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Continues
With the inclusion of Dan Keat (LA Galaxy) and Oswaldo Minda (Chivas USA) into New Zealand’s and Ecuador’s national team rosters, respectively, a total of 47 MLS players were called up for 17 different countries’ 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
 
To view the full country-by-country breakdown, click here.
 
Last Friday, Canada defeated Panama 1-0 at BMO Field off of a Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United) goal. Meanwhile, three MLS Hondurans, Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Victor Bernárdez (San Jose Earthquakes) and Marvin Chávez (San Jose Earthquakes), scored to lead Los Catrachos to a 3-0 victory over Cuba.
 
Clint Dempsey’s goal in the 1st minute of the United States’ September 7 match against Jamaica was not enough, as the Americans fell to the Reggae Boyz 2-1 in Kingston. The Stars-and-Stripes look for redemption tonight on home soil at Columbus Crew Stadium.
 
Tuesday, September 11
New Zealand vs. Soloman Islands, 3:35 a.m. ET
Jordan vs. Australia, 12:00 p.m. ET
Turkey vs. Estonia, 2:00 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Sweden vs. Kazakhstan, 2:30 p.m. ET
Switzerland vs. Albania, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Italy vs. Malta, 2:45 p.m. ET
Scotland vs. Macedonia, 3:00 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Chile vs. Colombia, 3:30 p.m. ET
Uruguay vs. Ecuador, 5 :30 p.m. ET
United States vs. Jamaica, 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Guyana vs. El Salvador, 8:00 p.m. ET
Mexico vs. Costa Rica, 9:00 p.m. ET
Panama vs. Canada, 9:05 p.m. ET (Sportsnet)
Honduras vs. Cuba, 9:30 p.m. ET
 
MLSsoccer.com Unveils Its “24 Under 24” for 2012
The editors of MLSsoccer.com have begun to publish their annual “24 Under 24” list of top young players in MLS. To see the first five names, as well as the 2010 and 2011 lists, CLICK HERE.
 
In conjunction with this editorial feature, MLSgear.com is offering $24 off on jerseys of those who make the list – look for the promotion on each player’s page.
 
MLS Week 28 National Broadcasts
 
Wednesday, September 12
Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 7:00 p.m. ET (TSN2/RDS2)
 
Friday, September 14
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 11:00 p.m. ET (Univision Deportes)
 
Saturday, September 15
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 1:00 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS)
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
 
AT&T MLS Goal of the Week (Week 27) – CLICK HEREto vote
·         Nick LaBrocca (CHV)
·         Jaime Castrillion (COL)
·         Eddie Johnson (SEA)
 
Check it Out
Chivas USA: Health Spark
Columbus Crew: Crew Corner
 
MLS Week 28 Previews
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
 
Wednesday, September 12
Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 7:00 p.m. (TSN2/RDS2)
·         Nyarko’s Knack for Net: Patrick Nyarko’s first goal since June 17 gave the Fire a 3-1 win against Houston on Sept. 2, their fourth victory in their last five games.
·         Seeing Red: Toronto FC saw their winless streak extended to seven games in their last match, a 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 1.
·         Halftime Hoops:Chicago have allowed nine goals in the 15 minutes before halftime, tied for the most in the League, while Toronto have allowed nine in the fifteen minutes after halftime, which is the most of any team.
 
Friday, September 14
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
·         Paolo’s Patterns: Paulo Nagamura scored his first goal with Sporting Kansas City, then set up Oriol Rosell’s game-winner, his first goal with the club. It was the third time in his eight-year MLS career Nagamura has scored a goal and assisted on another in the same game.
·         Back on Track: A Colin Clark penalty kick in stoppage time gave the Dynamo a 1-0 win last week vs. Real Salt Lake, snapping their four-game winless run and keeping them unbeaten in MLS play at BBVA Compass Stadium.
 
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 11:00 p.m. (Univision Deportes Network)
·         Free-Wheeling Becks: David Beckham scored his seventh goal of the season in the Galaxy’s 2-0 win Sept. 1 vs. Vancouver. Beckham scored 11 goals total in league play in his first five MLS campaigns. Four of his goals this season have come directly from free kicks.
·         Nice to See You Again:With their 3-0 win over Portland on September 5, the Rapids scored three goals for the first time in over two months, having last done so on June 30, also against Portland.
·         Rapidly Improving: The Rapids put an end to a four-game winless skid last Wednesday in a 3-0 home win vs. Portland. Jaime Castrillón scored his team-leading seventh goal, and also added an assist.
 
Saturday, September 15
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 1:00 p.m. (TSN/RDS)
·         Victories Elusive: The Union saw their winless streak stretched to six games in their last match, a scoreless draw with New England on Sept. 2.
·         Taking Their Time: Toronto FC have scored the opening goal on only seven occasions this year, the fewest in MLS.
 
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 3:30 p.m. (NBC)
·         Emerald City Pioneer: Eddie Johnson’s brace on Saturday brought his goals-scored total to 13 for Seattle, setting a single-season franchise record in the process.
·         Cascadia Chronicles: Portland’s June 24 win was the first for the Timbers in three all-time meetings with Sounders FC in MLS. The rivalry between the cities in soccer began in 1975; overall, the clubs have met 77 times in official competitions, Seattle winning 40 times, Portland winning 28, and 9 draws.
 
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew, 7:00 p.m.
·         Crew’s Compilation: The Crew saw their four-game winning streak – the club’s longest in two years – put to an end in a 2-0 loss at New England last Wednesday.
·         Goals Go Through Higuaín: Despite playing only six games this season, Columbus’ Federico Higuaín has six assists, twice as many as any other teammate.
 
D.C. United vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
·         Club and Country: Two players from these clubs scored goals for their national sides over the weekend. United’s Dwayne De Rosario scored for Canada in a 1-0 victory over Panama, while the Revs’ Jerry Bengtson notched the opener for Honduras in a 3-0 win against Cuba. Two other MLSers, Victor Bernárdez and Marvin Chávez, also struck net for Honduras.
·         Revs Ready to Roll: The Revolution put an end to their club-record 10-game winless skid in a 2-0 win vs. Columbus last Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.
 
Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact, 8:30 p.m.
·         Montreal Meet-Cute: The teams are meeting for the second time. They opened the season against each, reaching a 1-1 draw March 17 at Olympic Stadium in Montréal before a crowd of 58,912.
·         Attacking Alex: Making his 10th appearance for the Fire, Designated Player Alex opened his MLS goalscoring account in the 3-1 win vs. Houston on Sept. 2, capping the 3-1 victory.
·         On a Roll: Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio has the longest active goal-scoring streak in MLS, having found the back of the net in three straight games.
 
FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8:30 p.m.
·         No Strangers: This matchup pits FC Dallas’ American international Brek Shea against Vancouver’s Jamaican internationals Darren Mattocks and Dane Richards for the third time in less than 10 days, after their respective countries played twice in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
·         Vulnerable Vancouver: Whitecaps FC have lost four games in a row after their 2-0 defeat at the LA Galaxy on Sept. 2. It matches the club’s longest losing streak in its two MLS seasons
 
Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.
·         Playoff-Bound: Over the weekend, the Quakes became the first team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs after Chivas USA lost 2-1 at Seattle. San Jose leads the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield by three points ahead of Sporting KC.
·         Corrales Corralling in Goals: The league’s last player standing who participated in the inaugural season of MLS – San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales – recorded three assists in a game for the first time in his career Aug. 25 vs. Colorado. Last weekend he had his first career two-goal game in the win vs. Chivas, both directly from free kicks.
·         A Fraction of the Fun: Chivas USA have scored eight goals at home, less than half of San Jose’s 20 on the road.
 
Quotables
 
“There’s something very different about MLS, and that’s the supporters’ culture. The other leagues don’t have that, so that’s a leverage point and that’s really what we focused on here.”
-- Sporting Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman, to Sporting News, on competing with other sports
 
“Am I in a slump? We’ve won three of our last four games. It’s hard to be in a slump when you’re winning.”
-- San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski, who leads the MLS Golden Boot standings with 18 goals, having scored one in his last seven games
 
“Maybe if I fly with a private jet, it’s better. But with economy class, it’s difficult. After 15 hours, I cannot walk.”
-- D.C. United midfielder Branko Boskovic, to The Washington Examiner, saying he will not play any World Cup qualification matches with Montenegro until after the MLS season is over
 
“This one was a little bit out of the blue. We were contacted by his representation, and any time you get a chance to look at a player of Eidur's quality... you jump at it."
-- Seattle General Manager Adrian Hanauer, to The Seattle Times, on bringing Eidur Gudjohnsen in for a tryout
 
“I grew up playing soccer. I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like to train with a pro team, so it was an incredible experience. I was definitely nervous just trying to make sure I didn’t embarrass myself.”
-- Vancouver Canucks center Manny Malhotra, to The Vancouver Sun, on practicing for a day with Vancouver Whitecaps FC
 
Sweet Tweets
 
@FranklinMissy – September 5
With my best friends and my new jersey at the Colorado Rapids game!! http://instagr.am/p/PNukSBQyap/
 
@Tim_Cahill– September 7
Arrived in Jordan yesterday and preparing for a big world cup qualifier. #AustraliavsJordan
 
@dwaynederosario – September 8
Nice seeing the #canwnt out last night. A lot of support to these women. Always representing & all sweethearts pic.twitter.com/GCBBLvJQ
 
@thomasfloyd10September 6
Included in our #Redskins preview section is Chris Pontius' advice to RG3: "Whatever you do, beat the Cowboys." #DCU
 
@eddie_johnson7– September 8
Appreciate all the love from the fans...but this is a team sport. Without the help of my amazing teammates the goals wouldn't be possible.
 
@asnyassi16(Sanna Nyassi) – September 9
This is my to do list http://pic.twitter.com/4XjhjtWe
 
@NickRimando– September 10
Time for school...  http://instagr.am/p/PZkGY3qY9l/