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19 MLS Players Head to Russia in Search of National Glory at 2018 FIFA World Cup - this Week in MLS

June 4, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

With Russia-bound teams submitting their final 23-man squads today, 19 MLS players representing six countries across four different confederations will officially participate in the world's largest sporting event when suiting up at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In total, players from 11 different MLS clubs will head to Russia, with the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) leading the pack with three representatives. Costa Rica and Panama led all countries with six current MLS players, while Mexico follows with three representatives looking to lift their country to glory.

Of the 19 World Cup-bound players, three have previous World Cup experience (Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela with Mexico, and Marco Ureña with Costa Rica). The 19 players also includes four Designated Players and an additional six players acquired using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Others helped their countries make emotional returns to the World Cup after decades out of the tournament including Yoshimar Yotún (Peru) and Omar Gaber (Egypt).

An additional 14 players who previously played in MLS are also heading to the World Cup, including Tim Cahill (Australia), former Homegrown Player Carlos Salcedo (Mexico), Blerim Džemaili (Switzerland), and Johan Venegas (Costa Rica) who is currently on loan to Saprissa from Minnesota United FC.

The number of MLS participants could grow depending on the injury situation on Belgium's backline. Laurent Ciman (LAFC) is traveling with the national team as the 24th player and would participate in his second consecutive World Cup by replacing Vincent Kompany should the Manchester City defender not be able to return from injury ahead of the tournament kickoff. Ciman's inclusion would bring the number of countries represented by MLS players to seven, breaking the mark of six set at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Future MLS side FC Cincinnati looks to repeat U.S. Open Cup success, starting Wednesday

One week after thousands of FC Cincinnati fans celebrated the awarding of an MLS expansion team, the club gets set for Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round play against Minnesota United as current MLS clubs join the competition Tuesday and Wednesday. (Watch via U.S. Soccer's U.S. Open Cup home)

Cincinnati, currently competing in the USL, was the Cinderella Story of the 2017 tournament as they made an unexpected run to the semifinals in front of massive crowds. While averaging more than 21,000 for league play in 2017, FCC saw their fans galvanize around the U.S. Open Cup, packing Nippert Stadium with an electrifying 33,250 spectators for their semifinal match.

"The fans were, I think, one of the best [fan bases] we've ever dealt with that had a serious passion for the team," New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. "They had a major respect for the opponent. I'm from the Midwest and I think that might be partly a Midwest trait."

While the team ultimately fell to the New York Red Bulls, 3-2, the fans left a lasting impression on MLS executives.

"The rise of Cincinnati as a passionate soccer market in recent years, coinciding with the city's growing economy and reputation as a top destination for young professionals makes it an ideal city for our growing league," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "We congratulate Carl Lindner and his partners, and also the soccer fans of Cincinnati, who have passionately supported FC Cincinnati in the USL."

This will be FC Cincinnati's final run in the tournament as a USL club as the team steps up to MLS next season.

Atlanta's Martinez paving historic goal-scoring path at record pace

Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez, 25, might be one of the best MLS goal scorers of all-time as he continues to illustrate the impact that young South Americans are making in MLS.

The Venezuelan international last week reached a record-tying fifth career hat trick, and at record pace. Martinez accomplished his five hat tricks in just 34 games - the length of a single MLS regular season - compared to the 55 games it took Stern John (1998-99) and 124 games it to Diego Serna (1998-2005).

On the road at New York City FC on Saturday, Martinez will go toe-to-toe with Villa in his first chance to break the all-time record (12:30 p.m. ET / ESPN+)

Martinez is one of five MLS players to record three hat tricks in a single season, and his 0.91 goals-per-game average with 31 finishes recorded in his first two MLS seasons is the best mark in league history among players with a minimum of 20 career goals scored.

Martinez leads the 2018 MLS Golden Boot race with 12 goals, ahead of Bradley Wright-Phillips (9) of the New York Red Bulls and 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP David Villa (8).

Spearheading the league's best offense with 30 team goals this season, Atlanta will certainly create a bevy of scoring chances for Martinez to add to his record-breaking accomplishments.

MLS Regular Season - Week 15

(Times ET)

Friday, June 8

- Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. (TSN, ESPN+)

Saturday, June 9

- New York City FC vs. Atlanta United, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

- Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls, 5 p.m. (ESPN)

- Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Orlando City SC, 7 p.m. (TSN, ESPN+)

- FC Dallas vs. Montreal Impact, 8 p.m. (TVA Sports, ESPN+)

- Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

- Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. (ESPN+)

- Seattle Sounders FC vs. D.C. United, 10 p.m. (ESPN+)

- LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

- Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+) U.S. Open Cup - Fourth Round

(Times ET)

Tuesday, June 5

- Philadelphia Union vs. Richmond Kickers, 7 p.m.

- D.C. United vs. North Carolina FC, 7 p.m.

- Louisville City FC vs. New England Revolution, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 6

- Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire, 7 p.m.

- Atlanta United vs. Charleston Battery, 7:30 p.m.

- FC Cincinnati vs. Minnesota United FC, 7:30 p.m.

- Miami United vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.

- New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

- Houston Dynamo vs. NTX Rayados, 8:30 p.m.

- Nashville SC vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m.

- San Antonio FC vs. FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

- Los Angeles Football Club vs. Fresno FC, 10 p.m.

- Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10 p.m.

- LA Galaxy vs. Golden State Force, 10:30 p.m.

- Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.

- Sacramento Republic FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 11 p.m. International Games

(Times ET)

Saturday, June 9

- France vs. U.S. Men's National Team, 3 p.m. (ESPN, UniMas, UDN)

MLS Week 15: Match Notes

Friday, June 8, 2018

Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)

Toronto FC gained a point on the road for the first time this season, taking a 3-0 lead before ending in a 3-3 draw with Columbus Crew SC at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening. Sebastian Giovinco scored from a free kick - the 14th in his four MLS seasons, the most of any player in the league - and added an assist; it was the 13th time in MLS history a team overcame a three-goal deficit to gain a result.

The Union had their four-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 3-1 to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday evening.

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Giovinco scored a goal and added an assist, and Victor Vazquez and Jay Chapman also scored, as TFC cruised to a 3-0 win May 4 at BMO Field.

Toronto FC has an eight-game undefeated streak alive in the league series, over the past four seasons. The Union have not defeated TFC since a 2-1 win on Sept. 6, 2014 at BMO Field, which came three days after a 1-0 Union win at Talen Energy Stadium. The teams also met in the Knockout Round in the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, TFC claiming a 3-1 win at BMO Field.

Giovinco has scored in seven of the last nine meetings between the teams (league and MLS Cup), with seven goals and three assists in that span.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

New York City FC vs. Atlanta United, 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

NYCFC remained perfect on their home ground this season, winning for a sixth time in six starts with a 3-0 victory against Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi netted a pair of goals, now with seven for the season.

Atlanta United snapped a brief two-game winless run, rolling to a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday evening.

Josef Martínez scored the fifth hat trick of his MLS league career, tying him for the all-time league record (with Stern John and Diego Serna). Martínez's five hat tricks have come in just 34 games in his two MLS seasons. Martínez also moved into the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 12 goals for the year.

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. David Villa scored a goal and assisted on another for NYCFC, answering Atlanta United goals from Greg Garza and Chris McCann, as the teams finished in a pulsating 2-2 draw April 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The teams split their two encounters last season in Atlanta United's inaugural MLS campaign, each winning by a 3-1 scoreline on their home ground, three weeks apart. NYCFC took their victory May 7 at Yankee Stadium, before Atlanta United won May 28 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Crew SC extended their undefeated streak to eight games in dramatic fashion, coming back from three goals down to claim a 3-3 draw with Toronto FC at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening. It was the 13th time in MLS history a team came back from a three-goal deficit to get a result, the second time this season.

The TFC opening goal put an end to the Crew SC shutout streak after 512 minutes, the eighth-longest such run in MLS history.

The Red Bulls have gone a season-long two games without a victory, their five-game undefeated streak coming to an end following a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his ninth goal of the season, tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot standings.

The teams split their two meetings a year ago, each winning on their home ground. The Red Bulls eased to a 2-0 win on April 22 at Red Bull Arena, but Crew SC claimed a 3-2 win on Sept. 23 at Mapfre Stadium.

Crew SC have won two of the last three meetings at Mapfre Stadium, with one draw - but the Red Bulls have taken points on six of their past nine visits to Columbus, dating back to 2011.

The Red Bulls have won the past three league meetings between the teams at Red Bull Arena, the first home wins for the Red Bulls in the series since 2012.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Orlando City SC, 7 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)

Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated streak to five games following four consecutive draws, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Friday evening. Cristian Techera scored his fourth goal over the last two matches.

Orlando City SC suffered their club-record fourth consecutive defeat, falling 3-0 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening.

Whitecaps FC have never lost to Orlando City in their MLS history. The 'Caps won the only meeting a year ago, a 2-1 victory Aug. 26 at Orlando City Stadium, their second win in two visits to Orlando (also winning in the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 1-0 triumph March 21, 2015).

The teams reached a 2-2 draw in their only meeting at BC Place, July 16, 2016.

FC Dallas vs. Montreal Impact, 8 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, ESPN+)

FC Dallas won a third consecutive game and extended their undefeated streak to six games, defeating Los Angeles FC 2-1 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Impact put an end to their four-game losing run, defeating the Houston Dynamo by the game's only goal at Stade Saputo on Saturday evening. Jeisson Vargas scored the Impact goal, putting an end to their scoreless streak after a club-record 426 minutes, the club's first goal since May 5.

FC Dallas have won the last two meetings between the teams, including a 2-1 victory last July 22 at Stade Saputo in their only matchup. The Impact have won once in six meetings all-time - a 2-1 win in 2015 in Montréal.

FCD has won all three encounters at Toyota Stadium, including a 2-0 win in the last match in Frisco, March 19, 2016.

Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Fire won for a second time in three games, gaining a 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Park on Saturday evening. Alan Gordon scored for a third consecutive match, equaling the longest goalscoring streak of his MLS career (achieved twice previously - in 2012).

The Revolution extended their undefeated streak to three games following a pair of draws, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. Teal Bunbury scored for a third consecutive game, now with eight goals on the season.

The Fire won all three meetings between the teams a season ago, scoring nine goals in the process, having now won the last four matches in the series. The Fire won both contests at Toyota Park, a 3-0 win on April 15 and a 4-1 win on Aug. 5; they also took a 2-1 victory at Gillette Stadium on June 17.

The Fire now have a seven-game undefeated streak alive in the series at Toyota Park, winning the last four. The Revolution have won just twice all-time at Toyota Park - a 2-1 win in 2006, then a 1-0 victory March 9, 2013.

The Fire victory in the last meeting in Foxborough ended a four-game Revolution winning streak in league play between the teams at Gillette Stadium. When the Fire had last won there on July 12, 2014, it was their first victory at New England since 2010.

Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Dynamo suffered a second consecutive loss on the heels of a four-game undefeated streak, falling 1-0 to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo on Saturday evening.

The Rapids have equaled their club record following a seventh consecutive defeat, dropping a 2-1 decision to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Friday evening. The Rapids previously lost seven games in a row in 2014.

The Rapids have not lost to the Dynamo in two seasons, winning both encounters a year ago. The Rapids took a 3-1 on July 1 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, then claimed a 1-0 victory on Sept. 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Rapids have won three of the last four encounters, with one draw.

The Rapids have won the past two meetings at BBVA Compass Stadium, their first wins in Houston since 2011 (which was at Robertson Stadium). When the Dynamo won 3-2 on Sept. 26, 2015 at BBVA Compass Stadium, their last win in the series, it was their first win in league play between the club since 2009. The Rapids won five of the nine meetings in between, with four draws.

The Dynamo haven't won at Dick's Sporting Goods Park since 2008, the Rapids now undefeated in their last seven home meetings with Houston (5-0-2).

Seattle Sounders FC vs. D.C. United, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Sounders FC suffered a third consecutive loss - all by shutout - falling 2-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.

D.C. United return to action after a weekend off, now undefeated in their last two games following a 1-1 draw with Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium on May 26. Darren Mattocks scored for a second consecutive game, now with five goals on the season.

Sounders FC have won the last five meetings between the teams, and are undefeated in the last seven league encounters in the series (5-0-1). United's last win against Seattle in league play came May 4, 2011, when they claimed a 2-1 win at RFK Stadium - their only victory in six home matches vs. Seattle.

Sounders FC won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a remarkable 4-3 win when they came back from a 0-3 deficit - the first time in MLS league history a team overcame a three-goal deficit (or more) to win a game in regulation time (4,917 regular-season matches).

United's opening goal in the defeat last year was their first scored against Sounders FC since the 2011 victory, after having been shut out in six consecutive meetings between the teams, ending a 585-minute goalless streak in the series.

LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Galaxy rebounded from a first loss in three games, gaining a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon.

Real Salt Lake extended their winning streak to three games, as Luis Silva scored for a second consecutive game and rookie Corey Baird netted his fourth of the year in a 2-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.

The teams met three times a year ago, evenly splitting their series. Each team won on their own ground - the Galaxy taking a 2-1 win on March 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium, then Real rolled to a 6-2 victory July 4 at StubHub Center, each team matching records for goals scored and conceded in a match. The teams reached a 1-1 draw Sept. 30 in Carson.

The Galaxy win in the first meeting last year snapped a Real five-game undefeated streak at Rio Tinto Stadium in the series, their first win in Sandy since April 27, 2013. RSL's win at StubHub Center ended a three-game Galaxy winning streak there in league meetings.

The teams also met in the Knockout Round in the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2016, the Galaxy advancing through a 3-1 victory at StubHub Center. It was the fourth meeting between the teams over six years in the MLS Cup Playoffs, and the fifth overall. The Galaxy have won on three occasions, RSL won via penalty shootout when the clubs met in MLS Cup 2009.

Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Timbers saw their club-record winning streak put to an end after six games, but still extended their undefeated streak, gaining a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon.

Sporting stretched their undefeated streak to five games, winning for a third time in that span, defeating Minnesota United FC 4-1 at Children's Mercy Park on Sunday evening. Homegrown Player Wan Kuzain scored his first professional goal, the second-youngest player in KC club history to net a goal.

The teams met twice a season ago. Dom Dwyer scored the game's lone goal in the 53rd minute to give Sporting the victory, April 15 at Providence Park; they then reached a 1-1 draw July 1 at Children's Mercy Park.

The road team has won five of the 12 meetings all-time in the series. Each team won on their home ground in 2016, the only team home-field advantage prevailed in a season series. Sporting have come away with points on five of their seven visits to Providence Park, including four victories; the Timbers have gained points on three of their last four visits to KC (one win, two draws).

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Quakes suffered a third consecutive defeat, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday evening. Danny Hoesen scored his seventh goal of the season, his fifth goal in the last seven games.

LAFC had their winless streak stretched to four games with a second loss in that time, falling 2-1 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.

The teams are meeting for the first time this season; they have a return match set for Sept. 22 at Banc of California Stadium.

The Quakes split their inaugural meetings with expansion clubs a year ago, defeating Minnesota United FC 1-0 on April 29, but losing 4-2 to Atlanta United on July 4.

Since returning to MLS as an expansion club in 2008, the Quakes have defeated another expansion team in their first meeting just twice - a 2-1 win at Philadelphia in 2010 before last year's win in Minnesota. Overall, since their return to the league, in the 13 meetings with expansion teams in their first season, the Quakes are 3-5-5. Over the club's entire history, they are 8-5-9 when facing expansion outfits in their inaugural campaigns.


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Major League Soccer Stories from June 4, 2018


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