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This Week in MLS – September 23, 2013

This Week in MLS – September 23, 2013
 
·         Giants Collide on Soccer Sunday
·         Updated Map: MLS Players by Birthplace
·         AT&T Goal of the Week
·         Check It Out    
·         Quotables & Sweet Tweets
·         Playoff Scenarios
·         Week 31 Game Previews
 
 
Giants Collide on Soccer Sunday
 
A gigantic encounter between Supporters’ Shield frontrunners – both with a chance to clinch a playoff berth – will captivate ESPN viewers Sunday at 9 p.m. ET when the League-leading New York Red Bulls travel to face Seattle Sounders FC. But the nationally-televised Soccer Sunday action begins on NBC at 3:30 p.m. ET, when the Portland Timbers will host the LA Galaxy with just one point separating them in the Western Conference standings. In the nightcap Sunday at 11 p.m. ET on UniMas, San Jose travel to Chivas USA in a critical match for the Quakes as they try to climb their way back into a playoff spot.
 
The Red Bulls (51 points) and Sounders (50 points) head into the final month of the regular season on top of the Eastern and Western Conference standings. The two clubs are fighting to secure the League’s best record and home field advantage in the postseason. The Red Bulls have won four straight matches while the Sounders are unbeaten in their last six. Both teams are seeking their first Supporters’ Shield, as well as their first MLS Cup. A win by either side, combined with favorable results in other matches (see scenarios below), would secure the first spot in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
In the matinee at raucous JELD-WEN Field, the Timbers seek three points toward earning their first postseason appearance since joining MLS in 2011, while the star-studded Galaxy aim to leap over Portland into third place in the West.
 
 
MLS Players by Birthplace
 
By places of birth, Major League Soccer continues to fields the most diverse group of athletes among the top five team sports leagues in the United States, with 62 different countries represented as of September 23. See the chart below for a related comparison of domestic leagues.
 
To see a world map of MLS Players by Birthplace, and a list of those born abroad, CLICK HERE.
 
League (year)
Total # of Players
Players Born Abroad
(% born outside U.S.A. & Canada)
Countries Represented
(incl. U.S.A. & Canada)
MLS (2013)
549
226 (41.2%)
62
NBA (2012-2013)
444
85 (19.1%)
39
NHL (2012-2013)
826
201 (24.3%)
20
MLB (2013)
1052
279 (26.5%)
21
NFL (2013)
1847
44 (2.4%)
26
Courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
 
*Leagues in season include all players on current rosters.
*Leagues out of season include players on rosters when the season ended.
 
 
Week 31 National Broadcasts
 
Friday, September 27
Sporting Kansa City vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
 
Saturday, September 28
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 1:00 p.m. ET (TSN, RDS2)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:00 p.m. ET (TSN2, RDS2)
 
Sunday, September 29
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 9:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 11:00 p.m. ET (UniMas)
 
 
AT&T Goal of the Week (Week 30) – CLICK HEREto vote
·         Diego Valeri (POR)Chip from outside the box
·         Camilo Sanvezzo (VAN)Upper 90 blast from outside the box
·         C.J. Sapong (KC)Diving header
·         Dominic Oduro (CLB)Strike to the side net
·         Juninho (LA)Free kick
 
 
Check It Out
 
Chicago Fire: Soccer and Style
Colorado Rapids: Soccer Tennis: The Final
Columbus Crew: Casting with the Crew
New York Red Bulls: Camp Shriver Visit
 
 
Quotables
 
“At the end of the day when you want to win an MLS Cup it’s beneficial to have that experience… What else he will bring is that shot from distance; and that’s something if we implement that I think we’re coming at everybody from all angles. … It will be great in the locker room: He brings good banter; he’s a great guy.”
Seattle Sounders FC Brad Evans on veteran midfielder Adam Moffat
 
"We’ve done this in the past, a near-sellout or sellout…I think it’s a pretty clear indicator of where we are in our sport and where we are with the support in this community. I think all of us feel extremely proud and extremely pleased with that support."
Real Salt Lake Coach Jason Kreis on the atmosphere and fan support at Rio Tinto Stadium
 
"It's always best to rely on yourself and not depend on other results…to have our destiny in our own hands, that's the way we wanted it at this point of the season."
Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts on his team holding their own playoff destiny
 
“Every week is going to feel like it’s the biggest game of the season…we’re trying to position ourselves for a home seed. We have to play well, and we have to make sure we don’t give anything away.”
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler on the importance of each game heading toward the playoffs
 
“I think we’re in a spot right now where we’ve built a good base as a team…we know what we want to do defensively — keep teams to as few chances as possible — and with the quality we have up front, we’re going to get a goal.”
Seattle Sounders FC defender Zach Scott on his teammates creating scoring opportunities
 
 
Sweet Tweets
 
@DaxMcCarty11– September 23 – Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls
 
‏@NickRimando– September 23 – Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake
 
‏@aberr22– September 20 – Austin Berry, Chicago Fire
If you wanna look like @HunterJumper_here's your breakfast #bodybyjumperpic.twitter.com/ZZXCTVIcfz
 
@AtibaHarris– September 19 – Atiba Harris, Colorado Rapids
Happy Independence Day to my beautiful St.Kitts and Nevis!!! pic.twitter.com/sLHjHf07K1
 
@2Fast2Farrell– September 19 – Andrew Farrell, New England Revolution
The reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go,… http://instagram.com/p/edCOgTxHKC/
 
@Withrow26– September 19 – Daniel Withrow, Columbus Crew
The old 9th green at 9 trick with Lampson...works every time hahah http://instagram.com/p/ec7YpgJRRh/
 
 
Playoff Scenarios
 
New York Red Bulls will clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF
·         New York Red Bulls win vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday AND
EITHER
·         Philadelphia Union tie or lose vs. Sporting Kansas City on Friday OR
·         Chicago Fire tie or lose vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
OR
·         New York Red Bulls tie vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday AND
EITHER
·         Philadelphia Union lose vs. Sporting Kansas City on Friday OR
·         Chicago Fire lose vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
 
Seattle Sounders FC will clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF
·         Seattle Sounders FC win vs. New York Red Bulls on Sunday AND
·         FC Dallas lose vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday AND
·         San Jose Earthquakes lose vs. Chivas USA on Sunday
 
D.C. United, Toronto FC and Chivas USA have been eliminated.
 
 
MLS Week 31 Previews
 
Friday, September 27
Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
·         C.J. Sapong scored his first career two-goal game in MLS to lead Sporting KC back to a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at Toronto FC. Sapong has scored each of SKC’s last three goals, all on headers from crosses.
·         Union return to action after a week off, their last match a 1-0 home loss to the Houston Dynamo. Union haven’t scored a goal since Aug. 25, now a club-record 310 minutes since their last marker.
·         The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Graham Zusi scored one goal and set up two others as Sporting Kansas City took a 3-1 win at PPL Park in the season opener on March 2.
·         The win in the first meeting was the first ever by a road team in the series. Sporting have won two of the three meetings all-time between the teams in Kansas City, with one draw, including a 2-1 win last year.
 
Saturday, September 28
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 1 p.m. (TSN, RDS)
·         The teams are meeting for the third time this season. A goal from Robert Earnshaw and an own goal led Toronto FC to a 2-1 victory June 15 at RFK Stadium, TFC’s first vs. D.C. United since Oct. 23, 2010. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in Washington on Aug. 24.
·         United have won on their last four visits to BMO Field. In eight games all-time in Toronto, D.C. has won six.
·         Toronto FC have gone eight games since their last league win, following their 2-1 home loss to Sporting KC on Saturday.
·         United have gone seven games since their last league win, after their 2-1 loss at the New England Revolution on Saturday.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. (TSN2, RDS2)
·         Camilo Sanvezzo returned to his goal-scoring form, scoring a pair of goals vs. Montréal on Saturday in Whitecaps FC’s 3-0 road win, his first goals since Aug. 10. Sanvezzo is now tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 16 goals, with 14 goals over his last 18 MLS games; it was his fourth two-goal game of the season, now tied for the league lead in multi-goal games.
·         Javier Morales scored his eighth goal of the season as Real lost for a second consecutive match, a 2-1 home loss to San Jose on Saturday evening. Morales has three goals and three assists over the last six matches.
·         The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Luis Gil and Javier Morales scored second-half goals to lead Real to a 2-0 win May 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The teams first reached a 1-1 draw April 13 at BC Place, as Vancouver’s Camilo Sanvezzo and RSL’s Olmes García each scored.
·         Whitecaps FC are unbeaten at home vs. RSL, with wins in their first two meetings at BC Place before the draw earlier this season. Real are unbeaten vs. Vancouver at Rio Tinto Stadium, with three wins in four all-time meetings there.
 
New England Revolution vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m.
·         The Dynamo tied their club record with five goals in their 5-1 victory Saturday vs. Chivas USA at BBVA Compass Stadium. They had previous scored five goals in the first game in club history, a 5-2 win vs. Colorado on April 2, 2006.
·         Diego Fagundez netted his fourth goal in the last five games to lead the Revolution to a 2-1 come-from-behind home win vs. D.C. United on Saturday. Fagundez is the first teenager in MLS history to score 10 or more goals in a single season; he now 11 on the campaign.
·         The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Adam Moffat scored a pair of goals – both on long-range bombs – to lead Houston to a 2-1 victory July 13 at Gillette Stadium. Diego Fagundez and Juan Agudelo scored goals in a 2-0 New England victory on May 18 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
·         The Revolution have won on five of their last seven visits to Houston. New England last defeated Houston at Gillette Stadium in 2010.
 
Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact, 8:30 p.m.
·         The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Joel Lindpere and Dilly Duka scored early as the Fire held on for a 2-1 win Aug. 10 at Toyota Park; Andres Romero and Marco Di Vaio scored second-half goals to lead the Impact to a 2-0 victory April 27 at Stade Saputo.
·         The Fire have won both meetings all-time at Toyota Park.
·         The Fire had their road winless streak extended to four games in their 3-0 loss at Columbus on Saturday. The Fire are undefeated in their last five games at Toyota Park. Three of the Fire’s final four games are on the road, following the meeting with Montréal this weekend.
·         The Impact have lost back-to-back games at Stade Saputo for the first time this season, following a five-game home undefeated run, after their 3-0 loss to Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. The trip to Chicago begins a stretch of four road games out of the final six to conclude the regular season.
 
Sunday, September 29
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 3:30 p.m. (NBC)
·         Diego Valeri has netted the last three goals the Portland Timbers have scored, over the last three games, after hitting for the only goal in the victory against the Colorado Rapids on Friday evening.
·         The LA Galaxy saw their league winless streak extended to three games – matching the longest of the MLS season for the defending champions – following their 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at StubHub Center.
·         The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Andrew Jean-Baptiste scored deep into second-half stoppage time to give the Timbers a 2-1 victory July 13 at Jeld-Wen Field. The teams reached a scoreless draw June 19 at StubHub Center.
·         The win in the last meeting was just the second for Portland in seven meetings all-time between the teams. The Galaxy are 3-0-1 all-time in the series in Carson, having outscored the Timbers 7-1.
 
FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew, 8:30 p.m.
·         Dominic Oduro scored his 11th goal of the season – his second in as many games – and Federico Higuaín added his 10th, as the Crew defeated the Chicago Fire 3-0 on Saturday. The Crew are the only team in MLS this season with two players with 10 or more goals.
·         FC Dallas have lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season, following their 1-0 defeat at New York on Sunday afternoon. FCD has won twice in its last 16 league games, since the start of June.
·         FC Dallas last won at Crew Stadium in 2007. The Crew have won four of the five league meetings since at home with FCD, with one draw, including a 2-1 win on May 12 of last season in the only meeting between the teams.
·         The Crew haven’t won in Frisco on their last three visits, since 2008. FCD has won twice, with one draw.
 
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
·         It’s the second time in three years the conference leaders have met this late in the season. The LA Galaxy defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 at Crew Stadium on Sept. 24, 2011 in a top-of-the-table clash.
·         Sounders FC saw their winning run put to an end, but still extended their undefeated streak to six games in the 1-1 draw at the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening, keeping them atop the Western Conference and MLS overall table.
·         Eddie Johnson scored his first goal in four games, netting the Seattle goal vs. LA. Each of his last three goals have come on headers set up by a deadball service from Mauro Rosales, last netting the only goal in wins vs. Portland and Columbus on Aug. 25 and 31.
·         The Red Bulls won their fourth consecutive match – matching their four-game run from earlier this year, from April 20-May 8 – in their 1-0 home win vs. FC Dallas on Sunday. The club record winning streak is five games, set four times previously, including last season.
·         The teams have split their meetings over the last three seasons. Both teams won on the road in 2010, then held serve with home victories the next year. Last season, the clubs played to a 2-2 draw July 15 at Red Bull Arena.
 
Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 11 p.m. (UniMas)
·         Steven Lenhart scored the fifth multiple-goal game of his MLS career, netting both tallies in San Jose’s 2-1 win at Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening.
·         Chivas USA suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in the 5-1 loss at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday. It was a little more than a year after the biggest loss in club history, a 6-2 loss at Seattle last Aug. 25.
·         The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Chris Wondolowski netted twice in a 2-0 San Jose victory on Aug. 3 at Buck Shaw Stadium; a late Cordell Cato goal pulled the Earthquakes back into a 2-2 draw, April 27 in Carson.
·         The Quakes have won the last four meetings between the teams, including winning the final two meetings between the teams last season, winning 4-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium (Sept. 2) and 2-0 in Carson (Sept. 15).