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This Week In MLS - October 23, 2012

This Week in MLS – October 23, 2012
·         Saturday on NBC: New York Red Bulls look to avoid Knockout Round
·         Five MLS Clubs Get Set for CONCACAF Champions League Matches
·         AT&T Goal of the Week (Week 33)
·         Week 34 Match Previews
·         Quotables & Sweet Tweets
Saturday on NBC: New York Red Bulls look to avoid Knockout Round
The playoff teams are set… but the seeding is not.
While Vancouver Whitecaps FC and LA Galaxy are set to play in the Western Conference Knockout Match, four teams in the East will be battling this week to steer clear of the fourth and fifth seeds. Only Sporting Kansas City, with 60 points, are clear of Knockout Round contention.
New York holds a key to their playoff seeding destiny.  With a win against Philadelphia Union on Saturday (NBC, 1:30 p.m. ET) New York can all but guarantee a bye during the Eastern Conference Knockout Round.
With a loss or tie, they are guaranteed to play in the one-off, win-or-go home match. Even more concerning for New York, a loss could drop the team into fifth place and force them onto the road for the Eastern Conference Knockout Match.
Red Bulls rival Philadelphia Union, who have been eliminated from playoff contention, likely would relish the opportunity to take one final jab at New York in 2012, live on national television. 
The competition will be steep for the Red Bulls who will face a Union side that won two of their last three games with Jack McInerney leading the charge.
The 20-year-old set a franchise record last weekend by scoring at least one goal in four consecutive games, topping former Union favorites Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux’s stretch of three consecutive matches.
Eastern Conference Seeding Possibilities
Sporting Kansas Citycan finish: East 1, East 2
D.C. Unitedcan finish: East 1, East 2, East 3, East 4
Chicago Firecan finish: East 2, East 3, East 4, East 5
New York Red Bullscan finish: East 3, East 4, East 5
Houston Dynamo can finish: East 3, East 4, East 5
Five MLS Clubs Get Set for CONCACAF Champions League Matches
With the last week of the regular season games looming, five MLS teams have to switch gears and prepare for CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) play this week. The MLS clubs will play over the next three days as they try to advance to the CCL quarterfinals.
Houston Dynamo needs a win or a draw against Olimpia at BBVA Compass Stadium to advance; Real Salt Lake needs a decisive win against Herediano at Rio Tinto Stadium to claim a spot in the quarterfinals (CLICK HERE for CCL standings).
Below is the complete list of CCL games this week:
Tuesday, October 23
Houston Dynamo vs. Olimpia, 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer)
Real Salt Lake vs. Herediano, 10:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer)
Wednesday, October 24
Santos Laguna vs. Toronto FC, 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer /Sportsnet)
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Marathon, 10:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer)
Thursday, October 25
Metapan vs. LA Galaxy, 10:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer)
MLS Week 34 National Broadcasts
Wednesday, October 24
Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union. 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Saturday. October 27
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 1:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network/TSN2)
AT&T MLS Goal of the Week (Week 30) – to vote CLICK HERE
·         Diego Fagundez (NE)
·         Boniek Garcia (HOU)
·         Jack Jewsbury (POR)
·         Marvin Chavez (SJ)
·         Mauro Rosales (SEA)
Check It Out
Philadelphia Union: FIFA Tournament
San Jose Earthquakes: New Stadium Groundbreaking
MLS Week 34 Previews
(Home team listed first; all time Eastern)
Wednesday, October 24
Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30 p.m. (NBC SN)
·         Seeking Revenge:The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Union handed Sporting their heaviest defeat of the season in a 4-0 win June 23 at PPL Park, as Jack McInerney scored a pair of goals.
·         A Philly First:It was the first victory in the all-time series for Philadelphia, following three consecutive draws. Kansas City recorded a 2-0 win against Union on June 10, 2010 in their first meeting ever.
·         Jack Attack: Jack McInerney set a Union club record by scoring in a fourth consecutive match in the 3-1 loss at Houston last weekend.
·         KC Keepers:Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his 15th shutout of the season in the goalless draw at New York on Saturday – one shy of the all-time MLS record set by Kansas City’s Tony Meola in 2000.
Saturday, October 27
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 1:30 p.m. (NBC)
·         Rambunctious Rivalry: The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Kenny Cooper’s late goal capped a wild win for the Red Bulls in their first meeting this season, a 3-2 victory May 13 at PPL Park, then Cooper scored twice for a 2-0 New York win July 21 at Red Bull Arena.
·         Backe is Back:Hans Backe became the first head coach to lead New York to three consecutive playoff appearances, the Red Bulls clinching their place following their scoreless draw vs. Sporting KC last weekend.
·         Goal drought: The Red Bulls have been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution, 2 p.m.
·         Going for Three:The teams are meeting for the third time this year, and the Impact have won both previous encounters. Goals from Patrice Bernier and Sanna Nyassi overcame a thunderbolt from New England’s Lee Nguyen to give the Impact a 2-1 victory July 18 at Stade Saputo, then Nyassi scored the game’s lone goal for a Montréal win Aug. 12 at Gillette Stadium.
·         Hairwareness: Sporting a pink Mohawk haircut, Diego Fagundez scored his second goal of the season – his first since June 30 – to lead the Revolution to a 1-0 win against Chicago. He then lifted his shirt to display a special birthday message to his mother, a part of the crowd of 25,534 on hand at Gillette Stadium.
·         Searching for a Win: While the Impact have gone winless in five consecutive games, they have reached a draw in three in a row after their 0-0 result with Toronto FC on Saturday.
Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m. (NBC SN)
·         Red Hot: United extended their undefeated streak to six games and clinched a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007 with their 3-2 win against Columbus at RFK Stadium.
·         Destiny Without De Ro:The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Dwayne De Rosario scored a goal and set up another as United rolled to a 4-2 win Aug. 22 at RFK Stadium.
·         Home Field Disadvantage:It was D.C. United’s first win against Chicago since Aug. 29, 2009, a 1-0 win at Toyota Park. But the Fire haven’t defeated United at home since a 1-0 win in 2006.
Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 6:30 p.m. (NBC SN)
·         Mwanga’s Magic:The teams are meeting for the third time this year. Goals from Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury sent the Timbers on their way to a 2-1 win July 3 at Jeld-Wen Field, then Chris Wondolowski scored twice, including the equalizer in stoppage-time, offsetting two Mwanga goals, to pull the Earthquakes back into a 2-2 draw Sept. 22 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
·         Cascadia Champs:The Timbers not only claimed the Cascadia Cup with their 1-0 win at Vancouver, they also avoided becoming the fifth team in MLS history to go an entire season without winning on the road.
·         Brink of History:Scoring his eighth goal over the last six matches, Chris Wondolowski moved to within one goal of Roy Lassiter’s all-time record Sunday with his 26th in the Earthquakes’ 2-2 home draw with the LA Galaxy.
·         Chavez Shines:For a second consecutive match, Marvín Chavez both scored a goal and added an assist, playing a part in both Quakes goals against LA.
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9 p.m.
·         Series Split:The teams are meeting for a third time season, after playing twice in the span of two weeks at midseason. RSL took a 2-1 decision on July 27 at Rio Tinto Stadium on a pair of goals by Alvaro Saborío, then Camilo and Dane Richards scored twice in short order for a 2-1 Whitecaps FC victory, Aug. 11 at BC Place.
·         Travelling Troubles:The home team has won each of the four meetings thus far in the series.
·         Backing In: Thanks to a victory by arch-rival Seattle on Sunday evening against FC Dallas, Whitecaps FC clinched an MLS Cup Playoffs spot in their second season – the first Canadian team to earn a postseason berth.
·         Dynamic Duo:Real return to action after a weekend off, their last match a scoreless draw at Seattle on Oct. 17. Of the last six goals RSL has scored, three each have come from their strike pair of Alvaro Sabório and Fabian Espíndola.
Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo, 9 p.m.
·         Houston’s Rough Waters:The Rapids have a five-game undefeated streak alive against Houston. Since a 1-0 Dynamo win April 19, 2009 at Robertson Stadium, Colorado has won three of the five meetings, with two draws.
·         Long Awaited Debut:Making his first-ever MLS start – in his fourth year in the league – Rapids goalkeeper Steward Ceus earned the shutout in his club’s 2-0 win at Chivas USA on Sunday.
·         A Place to Call Home:The Dynamo completed their first regular season in their new stadium with an unbeaten home record of 11-0-6, becoming the fourth team in MLS history (and third in as many seasons) to go undefeated over an entire home campaign.
Sunday, October 28
Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC, 4 p.m. (TSN2/RDS2)
·         Crew in Control:The teams are meeting for the third time this season after the Crew won the first two. Bernardo Anor’s goal gave the Crew a 1-0 victory March 31 at BMO Field, then Eddie Gaven and Federico Higuaín scored to lead the Crew to an emotional 2-1 victory Aug. 22 at Crew Stadium.
·         Toronto’s Troubles:In 15 all-time meetings between the teams, Toronto FC have won just once -- a 4-2 win last Sept. 10 at Columbus Crew Stadium, snapping a 12-game winless run vs. Columbus.
·         End of an Era:The Crew saw their string of four consecutive years reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs – tied for the longest in club history – come to an end with their 3-2 loss at D.C. United. Jairo Arrieta scored his fourth goal over the last four games in the loss.
·         Turmoil in Toronto:Toronto FC equaled their club-record winless streak of 13 games – set earlier this season – in their scoreless draw with Montréal at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.
FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, 7 p.m. (Galavision)
·         Breaking the Deadlock:The teams are meeting for the third time this season, the second of two encounters in the final three weeks of the season. They played to a scoreless draw June 23 in Frisco, then traded goals in a 1-1 draw Oct. 7 at The Home Depot Center.
·         Dallas Dominant:FC Dallas have not lost to Chivas USA since the 2009 season, now unbeaten in the last six meetings.
·         Goal Gap:Chivas USA saw their club-record winless streak extended to 13 games in their 2-0 loss to Colorado on Sunday, their sixth shutout in seven games.
·         In Good Form:While FC Dallas were eliminated from playoff contention in their 3-1 loss at Seattle, Blas Pérez scored his fourth goal in the last three games. Since returning to the lineup following a three-month absence, Pérez has four goals and an assist in five games.
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m. (ESPN/Deportes)
·         Galaxy Goalless:The teams are meeting for the third time this year, and Sounders FC won both previous matches at home in impressive fashion. Sounders FC took a 2-0 win May 2 behind goals from Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero, then Montero and Johnson scored again as Seattle rolled to a 4-0 win Aug. 5.
·         Turning the Tide: The first victory this season was Seattle’s first vs. the Galaxy since the 2009 season. The Galaxy had won five MLS meetings in a row, including both legs of a Western Conference Semifinal Series in 2010, before the teams played to a scoreless draw last July 4 in Carson.
·         Just Short:Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning allowed his first goal in 370 minutes – nine minutes shy of the club record and the sixth-longest streak in MLS this season – in the 3-1 win against FC Dallas on Sunday evening.
·         Buddle Returns:Edson Buddle made his first start since May 26, because of knee surgery, and scored his first goal of the season in the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw at San Jose.
“It was like the old days. I don’t like to bring up the old days very often, but the feeling in that building felt like the good old days, and I would like to keep that around.”
-- D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, after his club clinched its first appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2007 with a 3-2 win against Columbus at a sold-out RFK Stadium
“This is not American football. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you lose your quarterback so your team falls off.’ There are 11 players. It’s not play calling. It’s all improv. They say soccer players are the most intelligent athletes. It’s not like the other sports where one player can impact the whole team like that.”
-Julius James, speaking to the loss of Dwayne De Rosario and how the team can still play well
“From an embracing standpoint, I don’t think there’s any better region to bring a soccer team.”
-Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan, on trying to convince the New England Revolution to relocate.
“We’re gonna be the underdogs for sure and we know that. A lot of times the team that’s the underdog and maybe the team that scrapes its way into the playoffs is a team that can be dangerous and a team that is hard to play against.”
-- Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie on securing the club’s first playoff berth in its second MLS season
“It seems like every time I’m in goal, I’m giving up a goal of the week. Credit to Jewsbury, it was a great strike.” Brad Knighton, on Jack Jewsbury’s game-winning goal.
“I don’t think too much about the record, but it was special to see Roy [Lassiter] in attendance to show his support. It's an honor for me to be within one goal of sharing this record with him. My mind frame going into Portland will remain the same, which is to perform my best for my team and work for a win.”
-- San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski after scoring his 26th goal, one shy of the all-time MLS record set by Lassiter in 1996
“We didn’t want to go down in history as one of the teams in MLS that hadn’t gotten a road win all year so we accomplished that. But first and foremost we wanted to win the Cascadia Cup – that means a lot not only for us but for our fans and the organization and to get that here in front of our fans that traveled to watch the game.”
-- Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury after his club won the Cascadia Cup with a 1-0 win at Vancouver, its first away win this season
“You see the difference when he’s playing in the back? He calms everybody down. That’s quality.”
-- Thierry Henry to the New York Daily Newson teammate Rafa Márquez, who returned to the New York Red Bulls lineup for the scoreless draw with Sporting KC on Saturday
“You put your heart and soul into a full year, and it’s definitely depressing to not come away with a playoff appearance and carry on the tradition.”
-- Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, to The Columbus Dispatch, after the Crew were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2007
Sweet Tweets:
@eddie_johnson7– October 17, 2012
Thank you salt lake!!!!
@keikamara– October 18, 2012
Just realize @justinbieber is coming to KC next week. #IMustBeTherenow need to look for a cool outfit. Any ideas.
@BryanGaul23– October 18, 2012
At the clinic I was dribbling full speed and beat some 6 year olds and one kid did not have it and just hacked me and I fell on my face...
@PumaNielsen1– October 18, 2012
I'm not selfish - I'm shellfish!
@darlingtonnagbe– October 18, 2012
Our pumpkins are done! @FeliciaHoutz
@D6MERIT– October 19, 2012
@EthanWhite15– October 20, 2012
Unbelievable game and atmosphere tonight. Playoffs!!! Thanks again to all the fans. You've been amazing this season. #dcu #vamosunited
@ChrisPontius13– October 21, 2012
Coming up on 10k followers. Gonna do a jersey give away when I get there!
@zkscott– October 21, 2012
Typical game day routine...Daddy villain at the supergirl