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MLS Talent Shines in International Competition - This Week in MLS

March 26, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

MLS Talent Shines as International Competitions Continues

As the March FIFA dates come to a close today, eyes will be transfixed on meaningful matchups and international friendlies alike before a full weekend of MLS action.

Last week, 39 MLS players were called up to international action with 23 of those players contributing in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. That number eclipses the 17 players from Mexico's top flight Liga MX who saw action in World Cup Qualifiers.

The primary window for MLS clubs to acquire players under contract in other countries is halfway over (Feb. 12 - May 6). Dynamic international talent continues to improve MLS rosters.

Tomorrow MLS Communications will distribute and post on the Press Box an updated world player map graphic, based on birthplace, showing more than 60 countries represented.

LA Galaxy to be honored by President Obama Today

The LA Galaxy will visit the White House this afternoon (Tuesday, March 26) with President Obama honoring the two-time defending MLS Cup champions in a special ceremony that begins at 1:35 p.m. ET.

The President's remarks honoring both the Galaxy, and the Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles Kings, who will join the Galaxy at the White House today, will be streamed live at www.lagalaxy.com and ESPN3.com.

After the ceremony, the teams will host a Let's Move! clinic on the South Lawn of the White House for youth sport participants from across the country. The clinic is supported by MLS WORKS, MLS's community outreach initiative that promotes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, and the Kings Care Foundation, the club's community outreach initiative that is focused on providing and enhancing educational, recreational, and health-related programs for the youth of Los Angeles.

Donovan Returns to Training

After taking a leave of absence with the club following the MLS Cup Final on December 1, LA Galaxy and U.S. Men's National Team star Landon Donovan will return to training with the club this week. Donovan will join the team for today's White House visit and will be available to the media via conference call later in the week.

Week 5 National Broadcasts

**all times Eastern

Saturday, March 30

2:00 p.m. - Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy (TSN/RDS)

3:30 p.m. - New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union (NBC SN)

6:00 p.m. - Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers (Univision Deportes)

Quotables

"The best thing about this is we can only go up. We know what we did wrong and it's easily correctable."

Patrick Nyarko on the Chicago Fire's winless streak

"When you see a goal like that today, that's a highlight film"

FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman on Castillo's 15-yard shot in game against Real Salt Lake

"This was the place we found out about Kirk (Urso's death last season), so it was pretty emotional. I thought about that (Friday) and I knew that my first goal was going to be for him. ... It definitely goes to him"

Columbus Crew's Ben Speas dedicating his goal to the late Kirk Urso

"Our home is our fortress, so we always have a little bit of an extra lift, kind of like a 12th man"

Houston Dynamo striker Giles Barnes on their undefeated streak at home

"It would have been magic -- I touched the ball and I looked and saw that it was close and I was like: 'Ahhhh.' That would have been a plus in the game and I think I would have had a heart attack."

Montreal Impact's Karl Ouimette on what it would have been like if his close header had gone in during debut at home

"It's definitely honor and a blessing to be Seattle's first homegrown player, I'm glad I have that opportunity and I'm hoping I can create footsteps for other academy players in the years ahead to come to the first team and do well. The upcoming Concacaf Champions League semifinal games are huge for us. This is definitely important not just for us but for American soccer."

Seattle Sounders FC defender DeAndre Yedlin on being Seattle's first homegrown player

"Winning your games at home is crucial and we know that at each of these stadiums we will get amazing support from the fans," U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "There are so many great facilities in this country and to be able to play in this many soccer-specific stadiums in MLS cities shows how far this sport has come."

USMNT coach Juergen Klinsmann on playing World Cup qualifiers in the US

"The first one is we get a lot more fans now. I think the people are more involved with soccer. The talent is impressive. What it was in '96, when I started, and now to see a lot of players going to Europe. I think it's fantastic. One of the other changes: A lot of teams now have their own stadiums. And that's great. That means that the league is doing well, the league is growing. And that's good to see."

San Jose Earthquakes' Ramiro Corrales, the last remaining player who participated in MLS's inaugural 1996 season, on what has changed over the years

"Hosting USA-Mexico at Crew Stadium puts the U.S. in the best possible position for a home field advantage against its biggest rival"

Columbus Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers on Tuesday's World Cup qualifier between the US and Mexico

"Yeah, I was happy we didn't get hit. A couple of whistlers that you heard that would have been real painful but we managed to escape pain-free."

Toronto FC midfielder Jeremy Hall on being a bare-bottomed shooting target at a TFC training session

"I was sitting on the sideline picking daisies or something," he recalls. "I just jumped in between the goal to see what I could do just for a bit of a laugh."

Portland Timbers back-up goalkeeper Jake Gleeson on how he first started playing soccer in his early teens

"Here, it's very nice. The players here are good and the players who come in (from other countries) are good and I enjoy being here."

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Aminu Abdallah on not having to deal with racism in Vancouver

"Put the same results I had in L.A. out on the field here for Salt Lake, and try to win them over that way, just be a good player for them, and be a role model for the kids."

Real Salt Lake back-up goalkeeper Josh Saunders on playing for his new team

"It's what's going to get us the win," he said after practice Tuesday. "This is a professional environment, it's not about massaging egos or anything like that. My door's always open. As I said it's about getting three points and if people are more interested in worrying about their own spot than Toronto getting three points, this is probably not the place to be."

Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelson on his guiding philosophy

"I said all preseason with this group, everyone is so new so it is important that we get off on the right foot and build team chemistry together on the field, and that's what we are doing. I'm proud of all the guys. It's not easy to come in this environment and win."

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy on using this game as positive building-block for the rest of the season

Sweet Tweets

@Rafizzy07 - March 26

Busy and exciting day today..visiting the White House with the @LAKings and topping it off with USA vs Mexico qualifier tonight!

@MarceloSarvas - March 26

We finally found Landon Donavan!!! Welcome #testaoooo!! And freezing day in DC! @juninho19la... http://instagram.com/p/XUjd79ppBV/

@MattKassel - March 25

This is what the games about..check out @SonsofBen movie trailer #pumped #youbetterbethere New York vs Philly http://youtu.be/XOcGY4ije8w #doop

@SHAQALDINHO - March 25

Happy to join @torontofc thanks to all who have supported me and for all the kind words today. Time to go to work

@omaresalgado - March 25

Good group for U-20 world cup. France, Spain, USA and african team. Great challenge #groupofdeath

@divaio9 - March 25

Another great weekend here in Montreal...fourth consecutive win, first place in league and my second goal of season!! I'm so happy!!

@ebushel1 - March 24

Another successful weekend for the Impact. Developing a winning mentality around here. On to KC next!

@natborchers - March 24

Proud of our effort last night.Thought we worked really hard despite the loss.Thanks #RSL fans for the away support.See you at the RioT Sat!

@Rafizzy07 - March 23

3pts tonight! Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting!Your love is definitely felt! Next stop The White House!

@KevinEHartman - March 21

So excited to be joining @NewYorkRedBulls I look forward to the support from the fans and to meeting my teammates. pic.twitter.com/dGZVs5yLob

@Tim_Cahill - March 21

Join newyorkredbulls mls and @MLSWORKS - Take a Stand for Soccer and Take the Pledge #DontCrosstheLine.

‏@gzusi - March 21

Another qualifier in Kansas City!!! Never a doubt in my mind. #soccertown #bestfans

@Capitancarloc - March 20

Had a great time with @SteveNash & the @SteveNashFdn family. Lets see what a GK & a point guard can do together on a pitch...COME SUPPORT!

MLS Week 5 Previews

(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)

Saturday, March 30

Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy, 2 p.m. (TSN, RDS)

- On fire: Mike Magee scored his fourth goal of the new season, a penalty kick to give the Galaxy their 1-0 win against Colorado on Saturday. Magee now sits alone atop the MLS Golden Boot standings.

- Lone scorer: Robert Earnshaw has scored all three of Toronto FC's goals this season, netting their only tally of their last match, the 2-1 loss in Montréal on March 16.

- Long history: Toronto FC have not defeated the LA Galaxy in league play since 2008, when they swept the season series. But the teams met in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals a year ago, TFC winning the series with a 2-1 win in Carson, following a 2-2 draw in Toronto.

- End of the drought: When the Galaxy defeated TFC 4-2 last Sept. 22 at The Home Depot Center, it was the first time since 2009 a team had won in the regular season series. They had played to four consecutive draws in between.

New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union, 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

- Undefeated: Union return to action following a weekend off from league play, winning for a second consecutive match last time out in a 1-0 home win against New England.

- Confidence builder: On their weekend away from league play, Union faced Mexico's Pumas UNAM in a friendly at PPL Park, Michael Farfan scoring the game's lone goal in a victory for the MLS side.

- NY winless: The Red Bulls have started a season winless in their first four games for the first time since 2009, when they opened the campaign 0-2-2. Their longest winless stretch to begin a season came in 2006, when they started 0-1-5.

- One-sided: The Red Bulls have won the last four meetings between the clubs, including a clean sweep of the three meetings a season ago. New York hasn't allowed a goal to Philadelphia in 224 minutes.

New England Revolution vs. FC Dallas, 4 p.m.

- Back in form: Making his first start since May 12, 2012 - and his first appearance since donating bone marrow last fall - FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz recorded the second shutout of his career in the 2-0 win vs. Real Salt Lake.

- Tough draw: The Revolution opened their Gillette Stadium slate with a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, ending a streak of six consecutive victories in home openers.

- Home advantage: FC Dallas last won at Gillette Stadium in 2003, a 2-1 victory. The Revolution have won seven of the last eight meetings in Foxborough, with one draw.

- Away from home: FC Dallas won the only meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 win in Frisco, their second consecutive 1-0 home win vs. New England.

Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 6 p.m.

- Home advantage: The Rapids have won all three meetings with Portland at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, including a pair of 3-0 decisions last season. Portland's only win in the all-time series came last Aug. 31, a 1-0 home victory.

- Rough start: The Rapids have matched their worst start in club history with three losses and a draw in their first four matches, equaling the 2001 and 2003 seasons. In 2003, they started the season winless in six matches (0-5-1).

- Well rested: The Timbers return to action following a weekend off, their last match the dramatic 1-1 draw in Seattle as Rodney Wallace scored the equalizer in stoppage time.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact, 8:30 p.m.

- Perfect start: The Montréal Impact became the seventh team in MLS history to start a season 4-0-0 with their 1-0 win vs. New York. Four have been in the last four seasons (LA Galaxy, 2010; Real Salt Lake, 2011; Sporting KC, 2012), while the other three were all in the league's first three seasons (LA, 1996, '98; D.C. United, 1997).

- Rare feat: Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum is the second coach to take over an MLS team and record at least four victories in a row. Tom Fitzgerald took charge of the Columbus Crew midway through the 1996 season, and led the club to eight consecutive victories. The record for wins at the start of an MLS career is Lothar Osiander, who saw the LA Galaxy win their first 12 games in club history in the league's inaugural season.

- Scoreless: Sporting KC have played to back-to-back scoreless draws following their goalless result in New England. They have not allowed a goal now in the last 249 minutes; they have not scored in 193 minutes, since a 2-1 loss in Toronto on March 9.

- Away wins: The teams split their season series in Montréal's inaugural season. Each team won on the other's home ground - the Impact winning 2-0 on May 5 in Kansas City, and Sporting winning July 4 in Québec - before they reached a scoreless draw in the third match.

Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8:30 p.m.

- Looking to make history: Following their come-from-behind 2-1 win against Vancouver, the Dynamo are one result away from equaling the league's all-time regular-season home unbeaten streak of 34 games, set by Real Salt Lake from 2009-11.

- Watch out: After tying the record for most goals in a single season a year ago with 27, Chris Wondolowski scored his second of the season to give the Earthquakes a 1-0 home win against Seattle last Saturday.

- Dynamo Dominance: The Dynamo have won the last two meetings between the teams, including the only encounter a season ago, a 1-0 victory at AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 17.

- Turf war: The two teams have shared a pitched rivalry since the Earthquakes returned to the league in 2008, after the Dynamo moved to Houston from San Jose in 2006. They had split their season series in each of the first four years after the Quakes' return before last year.

Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m.

- Poor start: With just one point through three matches following their 1-0 loss at San Jose, Sounders FC have matched the poorest start since the club's MLS inception in 2009.

- International set-backs: Real Salt Lake saw their all-time winless streak in Texas continue in a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas on Saturday, as they were missing 11 players to international duty and injury. RSL is now 0-19-3 all-time on the road against Dallas and Houston.

- Low-scoring: The teams met in the Western Conference Quarterfinals a season ago, Sounders FC advancing 1-0 on aggregate with the only scored by Mario Martínez in the second leg at CenturyLink Field.

- Goalkeeper duel: The last seven meetings between the teams in league and playoff competition have all ended in a shutout - both legs of playoff series in 2011 and 2012, and all three league meetings a season ago. The last two regular season matches were both scoreless draws.

Chivas USA vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m.

- All clear: After seeing his suspension overturned from a red card received in the LA Galaxy match, Chivas USA defender Joaquín Velázquez scored the game-winning goal in the 4-1 win vs. Chicago on Sunday, his first in MLS.

- Danger from afar: Darren Mattocks scored his first goal of the season for Whitecaps FC, a stunning long-range strike in the 2-1 loss in Houston. Of the eight goals the 2012 No. 2 overall draft pick has scored in his MLS career, six have come away from Vancouver.

- History on their side: Whitecaps FC have never lost to Chivas USA in their short MLS history. Vancouver has won three of the five matches - including two games a year ago - with a pair of draws.

- Shutout: Whitecaps FC have not conceded a goal to Chivas USA in 304 minutes. They have kept a clean sheet in four of their five all-time games against the rojiblancos.

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