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This Week in MLS – September 4, 2012

Playoff Hopes on the Line as Rapids hosts Timbers on NBC Sports Network Wednesday
The Colorado Rapids are out for revenge against the Portland Timbers tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Network after losing 1-0 to the Rose City club on August 31.
The Timbers and the Rapids sit at eighth and ninth place, respectively, in the Western Conference, making all three points a necessity in the push to the playoffs. Current fifth place club, Whitecaps FC, have 37 points from 28 games, while Portland has 27 from 26 played and Colorado 26 from 27.
The Rapids are looking to make the playoffs for the third straight season, having reached the quarterfinals in 2011 after winning the MLS Cup in 2010. The Timbers look to reach the post-season in 2012 after finishing in sixth place in their inaugural MLS campaign last year.
The matchup between the two last Friday night was decided by a goal from Bright Dike, his second of the season.  Portland has lost only once in its last five games, while Colorado has collected just one point from its last four.
45 Players Called Up to 15 National Teams for 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Ahead of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches this week, 45 MLS players were called up to 15 different national teams.
Canada and Jamaica both boast nine MLSers to their respective sides while Honduras’ squad contains six MLS players and the United States’ roster includes five players from the league.
New York Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill (Australia) received his first international call-up since signing with the club on July 26.
Click hereto view a full country-by-country breakdown of MLS players selected to 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying rosters.
Friday, September 7
Kazakhstan vs. Ireland, 12:00 p.m. ET
Estonia vs. Romania, 2:00 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Malta vs. Armenia, 2:00 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Albania vs. Cyprus, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Cuba vs. Honduras, 3:00 p.m. ET
Colombia vs. Uruguay, 4:30 p.m. ET
Canada vs. Panama, 7:45 p.m. ET (Sportsnet)
Jamaica vs. United States, 8:00 p.m. ET (beIN SPORT)
El Salvador vs. Guyana, 9:30 p.m. ET
Costa Rica vs. Mexico, 10:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, September 8
Scotland vs. Serbia, 10:00 a.m. ET
Tuesday, September 11
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
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/ESPN3)
Honduras vs. Cuba, 9:30 p.m. ET
MLS Week 27 National Broadcasts
Wednesday, September 5: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 9:00 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
AT&T MLS Goal of the Week (Week 26) – CLICK HEREto vote
·         Dwayne De Rosario (DC)
·         Juninho (LA)
·         Wilman Conde (NY)
·         David Beckham (LA)
·         Ramiro Corrales (SJ)
Check it Out
Chivas USA: ChivaFighter
Philadelphia Union: Meet Chandler Hoffman
Portland Timbers: Rose City 'Til I Die
San Jose Earthquakes: Brent Burns visits training
MLS Week 27 Previews
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
Wednesday, September 5
New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew, 8:00 p.m.
·         Unbalanced: Columbus is undefeated against New England since 2009, going 5-0-2 with a 15-8 goal advantage.
·         Chances Galore: New England has the second most shots on goal this year, with 148. San Jose leads the league with 150.
·         Starting Strong: New England has the most goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this year, having scored 10. No other team has more than eight.
  • On a Roll: Federico Higuaín has recorded two assists in each of the last two games for the Crew. In his first five games in Major League Soccer, Higuaín has three goals and six assists, and has been involved in at least one goal in each contest.
Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 9:00 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
·         ‘Bright’ Spot: The teams are meeting in the back end of a home-and-home series over less than a week. Bright Dike’s goal was the difference as the Timbers won 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field on Friday, their first victory in the all-time series.
·         Physical Play:Portland’s Diego Chara has committed 59 fouls in 23 games, the most in MLS.
·         Fitness Problems: Portland has allowed 11 goals in the final 15 minutes of games, compared to only one in the opening quarter-hour. The 10-goal difference is the second biggest in the League, behind the Montreal Impact’s 11 (15 and four).
·         Away Aspirations: The Timbers will go to Colorado looking for their first road win of the season, the only team in MLS yet to win on the road this season. Four teams in MLS history have gone winless on the road over a single season, last Vancouver in 2011.
Thursday, September 6
Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m.
·         Youth Shines Through: Of all players with 11 or more goals, Houston’s Will Bruin is the youngest at age 22. No one else is younger than 24.
·         Until the Final Whistle: With 14 goals in the final 15 minutes of games, Houston has the second most in MLS in that category, trailing only San Jose’s 18.
·         Lone-Star Woes: Real still have yet to ever win in the state of Texas. All-time combined vs. Houston and Dallas, over all competitions, Real are 0-17-3 in the Lone Star State.
·         Our House: While the Dynamo are winless in four consecutive games, their current 21-game home unbeaten streak is third-longest in MLS league play, now one game behind the Columbus Crew’s streak set June 28, 2008-Aug. 26, 2009. The MLS record is 29 home games unbeaten, held by Real Salt Lake..
Saturday, September 8
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, 4:00 p.m.
·         Pass it Around:Seattle’s Mauro Rosales leads MLS with 13 assists in 22 games, five of which have provided the game-winner, tied for most in the League with Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi.
·         No Comebacks Allowed: Seattle has a .929 winning percentage (12-0-2) when scoring the first goal, the second best mark in MLS behind the Chicago Fire’s .944 (8-0-1).
·         Goat Greatness: Sounders FC are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Chivas USA, since Chivas won the first two meetings ever between the clubs in 2009 
“Jay DeMerit, he’ll shoulder charge Becks and then pick up the check.”
-- Stephen Bailey, organizer of Vancouver Whitecaps FC supporter group “The Handbags,” to The Province, on skipper Jay DeMerit picking up their tab after the club’s 2-1 loss against Portland
“Soccer is so much art, and art is impossible to measure, like music or dance or paintings. The beauty of our sport is that there are so many creative, imaginative and skillful moments, and you’ll never be able to truly quantify that.”
-- Philadelphia Union Head Coach John Hackworth, to, on the artful element of the beautiful game
“I guess I’ll break my nose any day to get a goal.”
-- Columbus Crew forward Justin Meram, to The Columbus Dispatch, on putting his body on the line for his team
“I like to call Carlyle [Mitchell] a Rolls Royce because he’s so smooth at central fullback.”
-- Former Whitecaps FC player Carl Valentine, to the Vernon Morning Star, on Vancouver defender Carlyle Mitchell’s style of play
"When you look after yourself and you take care of yourself, it's not a problem. I feel fine. I feel great."
-- LA Galaxy DP David Beckham, to the Los Angeles Times, on retirement not being in his immediate future
“Peter [Vermes] will scream at me, but sometimes I tell him to do it a lot more, because he brings the best out of me.”
-- Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara, to The Kansas City Star, on how his coach keeps him motivated
“I'm running out of ways to say, 'How the heck can you give up four goals?’ We need to fix everything. The big thing is converting chances.”
-- Chivas USA defender Danny Califf, after the club’s 4-0 loss at San Jose, their third game in the last five where they’ve allowed four goals or more
“If you asked me before the start of the season I'm not sure we could do that.”
-- San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop after the 4-0 win vs. San Jose, giving the Quakes 57 goals this year, the most in a season in club history
Sweet Tweets
@Alex_Caulfield– August 30
Hey, @dwaynederosario. Congrats on scoring 100 goals. Found this courtesy of @MLS, glad to see things haven't changed!
@CarliLloyd– August 29
YES I did! "@DjFlowe: .@CarliLloyd did you enjoy your first #Doop? See what I mean now!"
@joshuamayers– September 2
It was about 16 months ago when MLS saw devastating injuries to Steve Zakuani, David Ferreira & Javier Morales. Great to see them all back.
@GrantWahl– August 31
Stepping aside from Transfer Day briefly, my column on MLS Everyman-turned-goal-machine Alan Gordon
@NickRimando– September 1
Hanging with uncle Benny. Benny's namesake. Family now enemies later.
@JimmyConrad_com– August 30
Clint Mathis Twitter Update: Says he has no interest, then pauses, looks at my phone, and asks, "What's 'RT' mean?" #MakingProgress
@frankstranzl– September 1
Best yoga instructor ever: @ChrisWondo
@DaxMcCarty11(Dax McCarty) – August 31
Labor Day weekend. Miami. @HeathGPearce and Jonny B tagging along. I guess @EricAvila12 can come too. Hes small, doesnt take up much space.
@keikamara – September 1
Hehe Big Smile (literally)☺ RT @RobbHeineman: Happy bday ansukei.... @keikamara love you like a little Heineman
@sethmeyers21 (Seth Meyers) – September 1
Congrats to @Clint_Dempsey on his move to Spurs.
@GilesBarnesReal (Giles Barnes) – August  30
Thanks to everyone involved @HoustonDynamo. Fans, staff and players… Glad to be here :-)