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80 MLS Stars Set for National Team Action - this Week in MLS

March 19, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

Week 4 Notes

Top 5 Things to Watch this Week:

1. 80 MLS stars set for National Team action: Eighty MLS players have been called to represent 32 countries this FIFA window, with the 15 for the U.S. Men's National team and 11 for Canada featuring nine MLS academy products between the nations.

2. Goals Galore: A record 47 goals marks the most-ever goals in a round of games, as the current goals-per-game average through the first three weeks of 2019 sits at 3.2 this season.

3. Seattle's best start in a decade: Known for midseason turnarounds, Seattle Sounders FC have posted their best start since 2009, and are the only team thus far to open the season with three straight wins. With 10 goals and a strong start, Seattle is positioning quite favorably early on for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.

4. U.S. U20s stacked with MLS talent: Featuring 10 current MLS players and 14 MLS academy products, the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team heads into final World Cup prep with matches against France on March 22 and Japan on March 25.

5. Academy products shining at home and abroad: A season-high 40 academy products saw MLS first-team minutes in league play last weekend, while abroad Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy) scored his first Bayern Munich goal and Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy) went the full 90 for Red Bull Leipzig.

Seattle's Jordan Morris comes back stronger than ever

A year after his season-ending ACL injury, Homegrown striker Jordan Morris is having an explosive return to Seattle Sounders FC. The 24-year-old with three goals and an assist in his first three MLS games has earned his way back onto the U.S. Men's National Team, and he is building a strong case for MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

He returns to the U.S. MNT for the first time since January Camp 2018, but he's no stranger to starring roles for both club and country. Morris has positioned Seattle atop the current MLS standings, and he was a key contributor toward its 2016 MLS Cup-winning campaign. With 25 caps and five goals for country, he put away this 89th-minute game-winner in the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup final, and just might have the chance to revive those heroics during the tournament this year.

Morris and the U.S. MNT host Ecuador at Orlando City Stadium on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2, UniMás, UDN) before taking on Chile at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on March 26 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2, UniMás, UDN).

80 MLS players called by 32 countries for national team duty

While rosters are still being rounded out, 80 MLS players thus far have been called into national team duty by 32 different countries for the March FIFA International Window.

The United States leads the charge with 15 current MLS players for its friendlies against Ecuador (March 21) and Chile (March 26) this month. Among the U.S. contingent are 10 MLS academy products, comprising over 40 percent of the roster, including the return of Jordan Morris from injury. Ecuador (Carlos Gruezo, Romario Ibarra, Jhegson Mendez), and Chile (Diego Rubio) both showcase players familiar with the U.S. roster through their MLS connection as well.

Seven CONMEBOL nations called up 15 players during the window, including the first ever active MLS player called to Argentina in Atlanta United's Pity Martinez.

Davies, Aaronson among three academy products to score first goals in respective league play

Philadelphia Union 18-year-old forward Brenden Aaronson and 19-year-old Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola both scored their first career goals in a week that saw MLS academy products register weekly season highs in minutes, goals and assists. Joining the fray was Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris, who is now tied for the MLS lead with three goals scored this season.

MLS academy products who have since transferred abroad have continued to showcase the talents developed in North America, with 18-year-old Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy) scoring his first Bundesliga goal to become the youngest Bayern Munich scorer in 20 years. Also in Germany, Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy) continued to shine with a 90-minute performance, helping RB Leipzig best Weston McKennie (FC Dallas Academy) and FC Schalke 04.

MLS Academy Product

Weekly Stats

*MLS play only

Players Goals Assists Minutes

Week 1 37 3 4 2,398

Week 2 34 2 1 2,059

Week 3 40 7 4 2,722

TFC's Akinola tallies, then joins MLS-heavy U-20 World Cup warmup camp

Tab Ramos has named the 20 players that will join him for a final U.S. U-20 camp prior to May's 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. MLS Academy Products make up 70 percent of the group with 10 players currently representing 10 different MLS clubs. The MLS-heavy squad heads to Spain for camp and two friendlies against France (March 22) and Japan (March 25).

Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola enters camp in strong form after scoring his first MLS goal on Sunday. The goal just adds to an illustrious start to his career which includes Best XI honors at the Concacaf U-20 Championship in November, earned for his seven goals in the tournament.

Additional players that look to have a strong shot at making the U.S. FIFA U-20 World Cup roster but were not included in the warmup camp include fellow 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship winners in FC Dallas midfielders Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania, and Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie, with the latter two players also named Best XI in that tournament.

MLS Academy Products (14): 70% of U.S. U-20 roster

Ayo Akinola, F (Toronto FC Academy / Toronto FC)

Andrew Carleton, M (Atlanta United Academy / Atlanta United)

C.J. Dos Santos, GK (Philadelphia Union Academy / Benfica)

Chris Durkin, M (D.C. United Academy / D.C. United)

Chris Gloster, D (New York Red Bulls Academy / Hannover 96)

Aboubacar Keita, D (Columbus Crew SC Academy / Columbus Crew SC)

Jaylin Lindsey, D (Sporting Kansas City Academy / Sporting Kansas City)

Ulysses Llanez, F (LA Galaxy Academy / Unattached)

Alex Mendez, M (LA Galaxy Academy / SC Freiburg)

Trey Muse, GK (Seattle Sounders FC Academy / Seattle Sounders FC)

Matthew Real, D (Philadelphia Union Academy / Philadelphia Union)

Justin Rennicks, F (New England Revolution Academy / New England Revolution)

Chris Richards, D (FC Dallas Academy / Bayern Munich)

Sebastian Soto, F (Real Salt Lake Academy / Hannover 96)

MLS Regular Season Schedule: Week 4

(Times ET)

Saturday, March 23

- FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids, 5:30 p.m., UniMas, Twitter

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

- Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.

- Los Angeles Football Club vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 24

- New England Revolution vs. FC Cincinnati, 4 p.m.

International

(Times ET)

Thursday, March 21

- U.S. Men's National Team vs. Ecuador, 8 p.m., ESPN2, UniMas, UDN

Sunday, March 24

- Canada vs. French Guiana, 6 p.m.


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Major League Soccer Stories from March 19, 2019


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