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This Week in MLS - June 12, 2012

Battle for “El Capitán” this Saturday on ESPN2
Just one game this regular season can determine who takes home “El Capitán”.
The 19th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon is awarded to the winner of the season series (including playoff matches) between Texas rivals the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas. This year, unless the teams meet at the MLS Cup Final, the squads are facing a one-game, winner-takes-all showdown.
The Houston Dynamo (4-4-4) and FC Dallas (3-8-4) faceoff in the Texas Derby this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2/Deportes from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
FC Dallas has only won once in Houston across 11 meetings in all competitions and will be facing a Dynamo squad that is undefeated (2-0-1) in their new home.
Houston earned rights to possess the cannon in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2011 while FC Dallas took it home in 2008 and 2010. FC Dallas is 3-8-7 all-time versus the Dynamo.
2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Voting Update
Fan voting for the First XI players to be named MLS All-Stars launched Friday. After four days of voting, Nick Rimando, Aurelien Collin, David Beckham and Chris Wondolowski lead at their respective positions. CLICK HERE TO VOTE. Twitter voting will occur June 21-22. Online and text voting concludes July 2 at 5 p.m. p.m. ET.
Leaders in Fan Voting (as of June 11, 2012):
Top 5 Goalkeepers
Nick Rimando (RSL)
Dan Kennedy (CHV)
Jimmy Nielsen (SKC)
Kevin Hartman (DAL)
Donovan Ricketts (MTL)
Top 7 Defenders
Aurélien Collin (SKC)
Jamison Olave (RSL)
Jay DeMerit (VAN)
Geoff Cameron (HOU)
Nat Borchers (RSL)
Jeff Parke (SEA)
Young-Pyo Lee (VAN)
Top 7 Midfielders
David Beckham (LA)
Dwayne De Rosario (DC)
Landon Donovan (LA)
Kyle Beckerman (RSL)
Brek Shea (DAL)
Graham Zusi (SKC)
Osvaldo Alonso (SEA)
Top 5 Forwards
Chris Wondolowski (SJ)
Thierry Henry (NY)
Fredy Montero (SEA)
Kenny Cooper (NY)
Kei Kamara (SKC)
Top 10 in Text Voting
Chris Wondolowski (SJ)
Jimmy Nielsen (SKC)
Eric Brunner (POR)
Nat Borchers (RSL)
Davy Arnaud (MTL)
Steven Beitashour (SJ)
Kei Kamara (SKC)
George John (FCD)
Joe Cannon (VAN)
Aurelien Collin (SKC)
Apply Now for Media Credentials
  • 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game(deadline July 9): CLICK HERE
Note: A limited number of parking passes are available on a first come, first served basis for those media members who complete their applications early.
  • 2012 Herbalife World Football Challenge(deadline July 10): CLICK HERE
MLS Week 15 - National Broadcasts
Saturday, June 16: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m. ET (Galavision)
Saturday, June 16: Montreal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN2/RDS)
Saturday, June 16: Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes)
Sunday, June 17: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, 5 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Check it Out
Columbus Crew: Crew Day
NY Red Bulls: Dax's Video Diary
June Humanitarian of the Month:Houston Dynamo’s Geoff Cameron
Houston Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron has had a lot of work on his plate since being called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team and preparing for World Cup Qualifying however, this hasn’t kept Cameron and Dynamo Charities from raising $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). CLICK HEREto read more.
MLS Week 15 Previews
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
Saturday, June 16
Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m. (Galavision)
  • Manageable Minus Mwanga: Since the Union selected Danny Mwanga as the first pick in their Major League Soccer existence, the club has gone 15-25-20 in matches in which he appeared. The forward, who was traded to the Timbers on June 6, has not scored in a MLS match since June 25, 2011 (23 appearances).
  • Turning Tables:Last season, D.C. United won nine matches- through 15 this season the Black and Red have already won eight, putting them on pace to win double their 2011 total. Comparably, the Philadelphia Union have struggled in 2012 with only two wins in 11 matches; if that pace holds, Philadelphia’s wins will amount to just barely half of their 2011 total (11).
  • Stretch Mark: United won its third consecutive match May 26 vs. New England, a 3-2 victory at RFK Stadium. It’s the club’s longest winning streak since winning four in a row, June 7-29, 2008.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m.
  • No Slowing Down:Thirty-seven year old Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon has five shutouts in his first 11 games of 2012, putting him on pace to best his career-high 10 shutouts in his 2004 campaign with the Colorado Rapids.
  • Wild Finish: The last time these two sides met, much more was at stake besides position in the Western Conference pecking order. Colorado came from behind on the last day of the regular season to defeat the Caps 2-1 on October 22, 2011 to earn home-field advantage in the Wild Card Playoffs. 
Montreal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. (TSN2/RDS)
  • Go East Young Men: In their inaugural existence, the Impact are 1-4-1 against the Western Conference. Conversely, Seattle is 4-1-1 against the East this season and has yet to lose a match on the road.
  • Renaissance Man: After scoring four goals in the first two games of the season, David Estrada hit the back of the net for the first time since March 23 with the equalizer in Sounders FC’s 1-1 draw at Chivas USA on May 26.
  • Error Tight:Seattle Sounders FC are the only MLS club who have not allowed double-digit goals against this season.
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2/Deportes)
  • CONCACAF-Concentrated:Despite a roster with only 30% of its players hailing from countries outside the United States, Houston has five players representing four different CONCACAF countries in World Cup Qualifying: Geoff Cameron (United States), Oscar Boniek Garcia (eligible for selection after June 27) (Honduras), Andre Hainault (Canada), Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica), and Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica).
  • Derby Dominance: The Dynamo own an 8-3-7 all-time record against their cross-state rivals and can boast two MLS Cup titles to Dallas’ zero. FC Dallas has won once all-time in Houston in 11 meetings in all competitions, a 1-0 victory at Robertson Stadium on May 5, 2010.
  • Young Usage:The Houston Dynamo’s first-round SuperDraft selection, Colin Rolfe (18th overall), has yet to make his MLS debut. Meanwhile, FC Dallas’ pick in Matt Hedges (11th) has made four starts, nine appearances, and tallied two goals for the Hoops. 
New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Commanding Crew: The Crew have taken seven of the last ten decisions (with one draw) in this matchup between two of MLS’ founding franchises. New England hasn’t recorded a home win in the series since October 14, 2006.
  • Left Out:New England Revolution and the Columbus Crew are two of only four MLS clubs that did not see any of their players called up to a senior team for international friendlies or World Cup Qualifying matches.
  • Foxboro Fortress:The Revolution are 4-1-1 at Gillette Stadium this year, and have the good fortune of playing four of the next five games at home.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto FC, 8:30 p.m. ET (MLS Direct Kick Package)
  • No Beginner’s Luck: After serving as Director of Player Development for Toronto, Paul Mariner will be making his MLS head coaching debut. TFC’s seventh manager in the club’s six seasons, Mariner will be looking to improve upon the 1-4-1 record Toronto coaches have in their debut.
  • GK Extremes:Kansas City keeper Jimmy Nielsen has the lowest goals against average (GAA) of backstoppers in the league (10 game minimum) with 0.83, while Toronto’s Milos Kocic tops the same list with a 2.10 GAA.
  • Comback Kid: Danny Koevermans has scored in back-to-back games for TFC, coming off the bench in both occasions. The forward missed the previous three matches due to a groin injury.
Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET (MLS Direct Kick Package)
  • Breakout Needed: Chivas USA is the only club in MLS that has not had a player score more than two goals this season. Juan Pablo Angel and Jose Correa have both scored twice for the Goats, while five others have a single goal in their scoring column.
  • King of the Champions:RSL is one of the league’s five representatives in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League which begins on July 31. Of these clubs (LA, Seattle, Houston, and Toronto being the others), Real is having the best 2012 thus far with a Western Conference-leading 9-3-2 mark.
  • House Warming: In their last match against Seattle Sounders FC on May 26, Juan Agudelo scored his first goal for Chivas USA since his trade from the New York Red Bulls.
Sunday, June 17
Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, 5 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
  • Just Hot Enough: Unbeaten since the end of April, New York owns the hottest 6-game streak in Major League Soccer (5-0-1). However, after blowing opponents out in the beginning of the season, the Red Bulls’ last five wins were decided by a single goal apiece.
  • King Kenny: Currently tied for first in the Golden Boot standings, Kenny Cooper has scored in the Red Bulls’ last four games. It his second four-game scoring streak of the season, netting six goals from March 25-April 14.
  • Duo Disparities:The Fire’s top two scorers this season, Dominic Oduro and Marco Pappa, have only combined for seven goals, while their counterparts at the Red Bulls, Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry, have a whopping 20 goals between them, making them the most productive partners in all of MLS.
LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. ET (MLS Direct Kick Package)
  • Joyless June: Although only in their second MLS season, June did not treat the Timbers kindly in 2011. Portland posted a 0-3-1 record for the month last year, being outscored by opponents 9-3.
  • Galactic Disturbance: The Galaxy are in danger of becoming the first defending MLS Cup Champions to miss the following season’s playoffs since the 2005-06 LA Galaxy, and only the third all-time (D.C. United, 1999-00). That year, Los Angeles finished fifth place in the Western Conference with an 11-15-6 record, 5 points out of a playoff spot.
  • Ireland’s Call:Galaxy forward and Irish national, Robbie Keane, will be the only MLS representative at UEFA Euro 2012; it is Ireland’s first appearance in a major tournament since the 2002 World Cup.
“I don’t have a career without Sigi Schmid. I would have never been a soccer player if he didn’t show up on a Saturday morning in Simi Valley in 1986 and sit in a lawn chair and watch me play.”
--Cal FC head coach and former MLS All-Star Eric Wynalda on the Seattle FC Sounders manager giving him his first big break
“Wherever I go, I usually score goals. Obviously, you’re playing against much better teams. They’re physically tougher, they’re stronger, they’re quicker. But you keep going at it ... and eventually your level is going to rise and you get even better.”
--Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Darren Mattocks, to the Vancouver Sun, after scoring twice in the 3-1 win vs. Houston on Sunday
“The buck stops with me, so I’m responsible. My job is to put the right people in place; I don’t coach, I don’t play, I don’t do any of that stuff. Give them the resources and let them do their thing and we turned the keys over to Aron and this group of people and it hasn’t been working. Part of my job is also to hold people accountable and 44 games, 7 wins that’s just not good enough.”
--Tom Anselmi, vice president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, after Aron Winter was relieved of his duties as head coach and technical director of Toronto FC
 “I don’t have any quantitative data … but my gosh, it can’t really be any worse than this, can it?  How do you field a team if it gets much worse than this? The staff is not the issue. Sometimes it’s just the nature of the game.”
-- Columbus GM Mark McCullers, to The Columbus Dispatch, on the Crew’s rash of injuries this season
"For me personally it seems like a new beginning. I remember being here in high school, watching the Timbers play. For me, after spending two years in Philadelphia, it's almost like a fresh start and I'm very excited about it."
-- Danny Mwanga, after his trade from Philadelphia Union to the Portland Timbers for fellow striker Jorge Perlaza.
"It is certainly going to be a special occasion to play for your country, but to lead your country in a major championship is something that I don't think any player will ever forget.”
--Robbie Keane before Ireland’s opening Euro 2012 match against Croatia
“Every morning when I wake up, I call him or send him a text. I just say, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ He’s doing chemo now, so Thursdays are rough days — because those are the days he gets treatments.”
--MLS June Humanitarian of the Month and Houston defender Geoff Cameron about his friend Tim DaPonte, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January 2011
Sweet Tweets
@JohnMolinaro– June 10
Wow. Aron Winter just called me at home. Apologized for Friday and wanted to say a proper good bye to me. Unbelievable classy. #TFC
@NickRimando– June 10
US Troops greeting us on Arrival. #USMNT#WCQ
@marco_aquila– June 10
Buffon's special message for the fans of Vancouver  #italianday#eastvan#vancouver
@SoonySaad– June 11
@Ddwyer14walks into practice with this funny looking cape. #EURO2012#AllezLesBlues
@FCDallas– June 8
May's Fan Photo of the Month winner will melt even the iciest of hearts
@keikamaraJune 11
Just got to Togo. Got the skins to keep the legs healthy durin this west African tour.
@PumaNielsen1– June 9
Congrats to the Danish National team with the win. Didn't see that coming. Keep up the good work, boys. #DanishDynamite