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This Week in MLS – September 20, 2011

This Week in MLS – September 20, 2011

  • Stars bid for Budweiser Golden Boot scoring title
  • CONCACAF Champions League: Matchday 3 ahead
  • Quotables and Sweet Tweets
  • According to Elias: Crew fall into rare tie after taking lead
  • Week 28 match previews
 
Week 28 match schedule
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
Wednesday, September 21
           D.C. United vs. Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m.
            New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m.
            Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.
Friday, September 23
            Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 24
           FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m. (Galavision)
            Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m.
            D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m.
            New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
            Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m.
            Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m. (TSN)
            Chivas USA vs. Toronto FC, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 25
           Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 4 p.m.
 
Stars bid for Budweiser Golden Boot scoring title
 
Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan are tied for first place in what might be the most newsworthy scoring title hunt in League history. The leader board is rife with well-known names, and just three goals separate the top nine scorers in MLS. In the final five weeks, which player will grab the coveted Budweiser Golden Boot? The award goes to the player with the most goals at the end of the regular season. As in FIFA competitions, the first tiebreaker is assists, followed by fewest minutes played, if necessary.
 
Last year, San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski scored all 10 of his team’s goals in the final eight games of the season to vault over LA’s Edson Buddle and win the Golden Boot while lifting the Earthquakes into the playoffs. This year, “Wondo” trails the leaders by just two goals with six games left.
 
D.C. United’s Charlie Davies and Dwayne De Rosario have an advantage in that their club has eight games remaining, two more than that of any other player in the current top 10. Donovan’s Galaxy have just five games left and already qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs. Below is a statistical breakdown:
 
Rank
Player
Club
GP
GR
G
A
G/90min
SHTS
SOG
SC%
GWG
PKG/A
HmG
RdG
1
Thierry Henry
NY
21
6
12
4
0.58
53
24
22.6
3
0/1
7
5
2
Landon Donovan
LA
21
5
12
3
0.60
37
21
32.4
4
4/4
8
4
3
Andres Mendoza
CLB
24
5
11
2
0.62
55
27
20.0
4
5/5
10
1
4
Charlie Davies
DC
21
8
11
1
0.75
31
17
35.5
3
4/5
5
6
5
Chris Wondolowski
SJ
24
6
10
3
0.42
81
36
12.3
3
0/1
5
5
6
Brek Shea
DAL
27
5
10
3
0.38
67
21
14.9
5
0/0
5
5
7
Dominic Oduro
CHI
28
6
10
2
0.42
63
29
15.9
3
0/0
5
5
8
Eric Hassli
VAN
21
6
10
1
0.55
65
26
15.4
0
3/4
6
4
9
Dwayne De Rosario
DC
26
8
9
10
0.37
82
31
11.0
2
3/3
4
5
Note:Eight players tied with eight goals apiece
 
KEY:GP – games played; GR – games remaining; G – goals; A – assists; G/90min – goals per 90 minutes; SHTS – shots; SOG – shots on goal; SC% scoring percentage (goals/shots) x100; GWG – game winning goals; PKG/A – penalty kick goals/attempts; HmG – home goals; RdG – road goals.
 
CONCACAF Champions League: Matchday 3 ahead
 
The fourth matchday of the CONCACAF Champions League is set for this week, with Seattle Sounders FC and FC Dallas holding the opportunity to advance to the knockout stage.
 
Sounders FC made it a perfect 3-for-3 in Group D with a 2-1 defeat of CS Herediano last week in Costa Rica; they meet again Tuesday at CenturyLink Field. FC Dallas could also qualify for the final eight; they top Group C with seven points after a 2-2 draw with Panama’s Tauro FC last week. FCD plays host to Mexico’s Pumas on Wednesday.
 
Toronto FC sit third in Group C after their 4-0 loss at Pumas last week; they meet Tauro at home on Tuesday. The Colorado Rapids are also in third place, in Group B, after their 3-0 loss to Mexico’s Santos Laguna last week at home. The Rapids remain at home Wednesday against group last-place side Real España of Honduras.
 
This week’s CCL schedule (all games broadcast on FOX Soccer; home teams listed first; times ET):
Tuesday, September 20
           Toronto FC vs. Tauro FC (Panamá), 8 p.m.
           Seattle Sounders FC vs. CS Herediano (Costa Rica), 10 p.m.
Wednesday, September 21
           FC Dallas vs. Pumas UNAM (Mexico), 8 p.m.
           Colorado Rapids vs. Real CD España (Honduras), 10 p.m.
           LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica) vs. LA Galaxy, 10 p.m.
 
Quotables
"I told Patrick today if we have a breakaway and you don't pass me the ball, I'm going to hit you. I think he remembered that."
-- Chicago Fire striker Dominic Oduro, after converting a Patrick Nyarko pass for his 10th goal
 
"Seeing Oduro score that goal, it almost pulled me out of the grave. I was really down on myself."
-- Fire defender Cory Gibbs, who was sent off in the first half of Chicago’s 3-2 win vs. Chivas USA
 
“I don’t think, until this year when I met Will, I’ve ever been excited to see a guy dance like a bear. Every time I see it I’m pretty happy.”
-- Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall after rookie Will Bruin’s goal gave his team a 2-1 win vs. San Jose
 
“I wanted to be here for the opportunity to honor Bobby, a great MLS player with a good soccer future in front of him. I think Bobby really represented all that is great about soccer in America.”
-- MLS Commissioner Don Garber, at Pizza Hut Park for a pregame tribute to the late Bobby Rhine
 
“It was a tough two months and I think we broke the curse. We were waiting for a while. These guys fully deserve to get those three points.”
-- Philadelphia Union team manager Peter Nowak after his team snapped a long winless streak vs. Columbus
 
“Two great crosses and two good finishes. As easy as that.”
-- Toronto FC striker Danny Koevermans after scoring twice in a 2-1 win against Colorado
 
Sweet Tweets
 
@SportingKC - September 15
SEE: 1st EVER #SKCmixtape. @BigAfrika88performing #HopeSoloHopeSolo for...@HopeSolo. h/t to @mikeymomoney24 the beat. http://t.co/SB5Ccy7p
 
@JenChang88– September 15
SI.com video interview with @D6MERIT- talks MLS, USMNT World Cup qualifying and about Rise & Shine: bit.ly/qG7NNV
 
@Dae32 - September 15 (Dasan Robinson)
(On the day he was traded from Toronto to Los Angeles)
I really like In 'n' out burgers...
 
@thehp3– September 15 (Heath Pearce)
My sister @singlindsaycharacter on glee has been released. amazing. Oh and did I say she's my sister #pearcesballhard hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/glee…
 
@DaxMcCarty11– September 16
Dallas bound. 1st time going back n a while, excited. Not 2 sure what the visitors lockerroom looks like, maybe @thehp3could enlighten me..
 
@TheEllenShow– September 16 (Ellen DeGeneres)
If you were in Target and a guy who looked like David Beckham sprayed you with cologne, I apologize.
 
According to the Elias Sports Bureau: Crew fall into rare tie after taking lead
 
Last week, Columbus conceded a late goal and settled for a 2–2 draw with Houston. It marked the first time this season that the Crew dropped points from a winning position, ending a remarkable run of 12 straight regular-season wins in matches in which they held a lead at any point, dating back to last October.
 
No MLS team has ever finished a season without dropping a point from a winning position. The record for fewest points dropped is two, by the Red Bulls in 2010. Only one other team advanced as far into a season as Columbus did before failing to see a lead through to victory. The Crew dropped those points in their 28th game; the LA Galaxy didn’t drop points from a winning position until game No. 29.
 
Week 28 match previews: Sept. 21-25, 2011 (all times ET)
Wednesday, September 21
D.C. United vs. Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m.
·         Juan Pablo Angel’s goal for Chivas USA last weekend snapped the club’s 334-minute scoreless drought.
·         Angel became the fifth player in MLS history – and the second this season – to score a goal and an own goal in the same contest. Josh Gardner did for Columbus vs. Seattle, Aug. 27.
·         United will be looking to play their first game at RFK Stadium since Aug. 13. In four consecutive road games (forced in part by Hurricane Irene), United went 1-1-2.
·         The clubs met 11 days prior to this match when Chris Pontius set up all three of Charlie Davies’ goals and United rolled to a 3-0 victory at The Home Depot Center.
 
New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m.
·         The Red Bulls put an end to their eight-game winless streak with the victory at FC Dallas. It was their first win since defeating Toronto FC 5-0 on July 6 at Red Bull Arena.
·         Luke Rodgers returned to the starting lineup after seven games out of the first team and scored the lone goal vs. FCD, his first goal since that July 6 win against Toronto.
·         Real Salt Lake have won four games in a row, matching their longest winning streak of the season, when they won the first four league games on the year.
·         In the first meeting this season, Nat Borchers, Luis Gil and Kyle Beckerman all scored as Real eased to a 3-0 victory, Aug. 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
 
Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.
·         The Timbers have now won four consecutive games at Jeld-Wen Field after the 3-0 win vs. New England last Friday. Portland won its first five home games as a member of MLS this season.
·         The Timbers are riding a club-record 271-minute shutout streak, recording shutouts in three consecutive games. Troy Perkins tied his career-high with his eighth shutout this season in the New England game.
·         For a third time this season, the Earthquakes lost after scoring first in the 2-1 loss at Houston over the weekend; the three losses are tied with Sporting KC for most in the league after scoring the opening goal.
·         In the first meeting between the teams, Kenny Cooper put Portland ahead in the first half but Alan Gordon equalized in the second as they settled for a 1-1 draw, Aug. 6 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
 
Friday, September 23
Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30 p.m. (FOX Soccer/Deportes)
·         Sebastien Le Toux scored his sixth goal in the last six games to lead Union to a 1-0 win Saturday against Columbus. Philadelphia has scored nine goals in that time.
·         The win put an end to an eight-game winless streak for Union, their first victory since defeating New England 3-0 on July 17.
·         In their first road game since mid-July, Sporting Kansas City were blanked 1-0 by Real Salt Lake. The last time they had been shutout came in the first meeting this season when Philadelphia, when the teams played to a scoreless draw June 22 at PPL Park.
·         Union rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath has now recorded shutouts in back-to-back games, after allowing four goals in his first professional start, Sept. 7 vs. New England.
 
Saturday, September 24
FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m. (Telefutura)
·         FC Dallas lost by shutout in back-to-back games now for the second time this season (also falling to San Jose and Columbus, March 26 and April 1). Before this season, the last time FCD lost in back-to-back shutouts happened in 2007 in defeats by Houston and D.C. United (Aug. 19 and Sept. 1).
·         It’s the next-to-last road game for the Dynamo, who are still winless this season away from Robertson Stadium (0-6-9). Just three teams have finished a season winless on the road: the LA Galaxy in 2003 (0-9-6), Real Salt Lake in 2005 (0-14-2) and New York in 2009 (0-13-2).
·         In his second appearance after missing six games following knee surgery, Dynamo striker Will Bruin regained the goalscoring lead among rookies with his fifth goal this season, the winner in the 2-1 win vs. San Jose, now one goal ahead of Sporting Kansas City’s C.J. Sapong.
·         In the first meeting this season on May 28, Houston’s Colin Clark scored the tying goal three minutes from the end as the Dynamo twice came back from a goal down before the teams ended in a 2-2 draw.
 
Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m.
·         Mike Magee scored two goals vs. Vancouver in last weekend’s 3-0 win, his first two-goal game since scoring twice for the MetroStars on Sept. 17, 2005 in a wild 5-4 win against New England.
·         Josh Saunders returned to goal for the Galaxy in the Vancouver, and recorded his sixth shutout in league play. Donovan Ricketts has seven in MLS this season; LA’s 13 shutouts are tied with Real Salt Lake for the league lead.
·         The Crew have suffered three losses in their current four-game winless run, but still are atop the Eastern Conference by one point ahead of Sporting KC with five games remaining.
·         In the first meeting this season, Sean Franklin scored the game’s lone only goal to lead the Galaxy to victory, July 20 at The Home Depot Center.
 
D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m.
·         After missing the midweek game through suspension, Kyle Beckerman will be available for RSL. The team captain has a career-high nine assists this year after setting up the lone goal in the weekend win vs. Sporting KC.
·         After the Real Salt Lake, United face three consecutive road games – that after playing four games in a row away from RFK Stadium due in part to the postponement of the Portland match. United end the regular season with three consecutive home games.
·         Real Salt Lake have never won at RFK Stadium. United have won three of the six meetings all-time on East Capitol Street; their last two encounters in the nation’s capital have resulted in scoreless draws.
·         In the first meeting this season, RSL’s Fabian Espindola and D.C.’s Charlie Davies each scored penalty kicks as the teams ended in a 1-1 draw on June 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
 
New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
·         This match is crucial to the MLS Cup Playoffs race for both teams. They begin the week tied for the final wild card spot, and after a tie in their first meeting, a victory by either team would provide the edge in the head-to-head tiebreaker.
·         Portland hopes to become just the third (out of nine) MLS expansion team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs in its first season. Chicago did it in 1998 and Seattle did it in 2009.
·         Making his first professional start as a forward, rookie Darlington Nagbe, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s SuperDraft, scored his second goal of the year (his first coming July 2) in the 3-0 win against New England.
·         In the first meeting between the clubs, Dwayne De Rosario scored deep into second-half stoppage time to cap a late Red Bulls comeback as the clubs finished in a wild 3-3 draw, June 19 at Jeld-Wen Field.
 
Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m.
·         The Rapids have lost three games in a row, matching their season-high (also: April 8-22, shutout losses to FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Seattle).
·         The game is the first of three consecutive games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, after losing all three games on a three-game road swing to Chicago, LA and Toronto. But the Rapids have won five games both at home and on the road.
·         Sanna Nyassi scored his fifth goal in his last eight games, all since moving into a forward role, in the 2-1 loss at Toronto FC.
·         In the first meeting this season, goals from Caleb Folan and Jeff Larentowicz completed a comeback after an early Joey Gjertsen goal as the Rapids won 2-1, Aug. 13 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m. (TSN)
·         This is the final MLS game scheduled for Empire Field, which has been Whitecaps FC’s home since the start of their inaugural season. Next week’s game vs. Portland will be the first in the newly renovated BC Place in downtown Vancouver.
·         Joe Cannon became the 16th player in league history – and just the second goalkeeper – to reach 300 appearances in the loss to LA.
·         In the first meeting this season, Eric Hassli scored twice for Vancouver – including one of the goals of the season – but Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso scored late three minutes apart to leave the teams in a 2-2 deadlock on June 11 in Seattle.
·         After the loss in LA, Whitecaps FC have one away game remaining: Oct. 15 at FC Dallas. Vancouver is still winless away from home (0-11-5); just three teams in MLS history have finished the season without a road victory.
 
Chivas USA vs. Toronto FC, 10:30 p.m.
·         Toronto FC appear to have found their form, but perhaps too late to qualify for the postseason. Instead, the Reds will try to earn points at Chivas USA for the first time in club history (0-4-0) and severely dent the hosts’ playoff efforts.
·         Danny Koevermans has six goals in his last seven league games after recording his first two-goal game in MLS in the 2-1 win against Colorado last weekend.
·         Chivas USA will not have to travel away from The Home Depot Center again in the regular season beginning with the visit by Toronto FC. They will have one “road” game remaining in their final four – the Oct. 16 match against the LA Galaxy in Carson, which is a Galaxy home game.
·         In the first meeting this season, Alejandro Moreno put Chivas ahead after two minutes but Alan Gordon equalized before halftime, the teams sharing the points in a 1-1 draw, April 2 at BMO Field.
 
Sunday, September 25
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 4 p.m.
·         With both clubs’ playoff chances hanging by a thread, a draw won’t help either one. These rivals have met eight times in the playoffs; this year one could effectively eliminate the other from contention for the playoffs.
·         Dominic Oduro’s game-winner in the 3-2 win against Chivas USA on Saturday was his 10th league goal of the season. He’s the first Fire player to hit double-digits in goals since Damani Ralph scored 11 in 2004.
·         The Revolution saw their four-game unbeaten streak come to an end in the 3-0 loss at Portland, the first time they were shut out since a 3-0 home loss to Philadelphia, July 17.
·         In the first meeting this season, Chicago’s Dominic Oduro and New England’s Rajko Lekic scored on either side of halftime as the teams ended in a 1-1 draw, June 18 at Gillette Stadium.