Impactful Moves Headline Close of Primary Transfer Window - This Week in MLS
May 7, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release
Top Things to Know about MLS This Week
1. Transfer deadline is rapidly approaching: Only hours remain for clubs to snag gamechangers abroad before the MLS Primary Transfer Window closes on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
2. Columbus Crew SC could turn the tide against LA powers: LAFC and the LA Galaxy are the two highest ranked clubs in MLS, and Crew SC have a chance to give themselves a boost when they host both sides this week.
3. Homefield advantage is best in the West: The top six teams in the Western Conference all remain unbeaten at home.
4. Golden Boot Race is heating up: LAFC's Carlos Vela chalked up 11 goals in 10 games, but he's not running away as leading scorer now that the LA Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic has nine.
Impactful moves headline close of Primary Transfer Window
Clubs across MLS made key moves to bring in young, dynamic players over the previous few months as the close of the 2019 MLS Primary Transfer Window looms tonight at 11:59 p.m. CT. Overall, 91 newcomers arriving to MLS from international leagues were signed during this window with an average age of 25.22 years old. These 91 newcomers hail from 40 different countries with over 40 percent playing for their respective national team. Of the 91 players, 12 were signed to Designated Player contracts while another 29 were acquired using Targeted Allocation Money.
Among the most anticipated names coming to the league is Portland Timbers newly announced 24-year-old forward Brian Fernández who was signed to a Designated Player contract following the largest transfer in club history. Fernández arrives in Portland on the heels of a tremendous stint with Liga MX side Necaxa, scoring 12 goals in 15 appearances during the 2019 Clausura, second most in the league.
Another impactful signing during this window includes Toronto FC 27-year-old midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo, who has a league-leading six assists to go along with four goals in a mere six appearances for the club. Equally impactful has been the arrival of Nani, who has five goals and four assists in 10 appearances for Orlando City SC. Finally, New York City FC 27-year-old midfielder Heber has his club undefeated since his arrival after pitching in two goals and two assists over six matches played.
Santos, young newcomers lift Union to their best start atop East
The Philadelphia Union (6-3-2, 20 points) are tied for their best start in club history through 11 games, matching the 2011 squad's strong opening. The Union sit at the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to several young newcomers' promising contributions.
The latest star is 24-year-old Brazilian forward Sergio Santos, who tallied his first two MLS goals in the span of five minutes during a 6-1 victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday. That attack was plenty of cushion for 22-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel, who filled in for the injured Andre Blake with three saves in just his second start.
Their efforts, combined with a rock-solid stretch from German striker Kacper Przyblyko, who also made his MLS debut earlier this year, has Philadelphia entering Week 11 tied with Toronto FC for the most goals in the East (both with 21 before Wednesday's midweek matches).
The 26-year-old Przyblyko, who has scored in three consecutive games, looks to add to that scoring streak when the Union head to Toronto on Saturday (3 p.m. ET / TSN, CTV, ESPN+).
The 2011 Union ultimately finished third in conference play, but is this year's side on its way toward a new regular season achievement?
Atlanta United continue climb from early-season cellar
The momentum is swinging in Atlanta United's favor as a team that was tied at the bottom of conference standings on April 28 has a chance to move above the playoff line just two weeks later. With three wins in the past four games, including consecutive shutouts, Atlanta United have three games in hand and could be shaping up for a steady comeback.
Their climb continues this week in back-to-back home games, with a true test against an opponent they have yet to defeat in No. 4-ranked Toronto FC on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET, TSN, FOX Sports Southeast). In four regular season meetings against TFC, Atlanta has yet to come out on top after three, 2-2 ties and the most recent 4-1 loss.
But confidence should be riding high heading into Sunday's Southern showdown on the FOX Broadcast Network (2:30 p.m. ET), when Atlanta will face Orlando City SC, host of the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. In six matches against the Lions, Atlanta has come out with dominating results, including a sweep of three wins in all meetings last season.
With an opportunity to move squarely into the mix of Eastern Conference, this week's results at home will be crucial for Atlanta United.
Busio, Álvarez guide U.S. and Mexico to perfect starts at Concacaf U-17 Championship
The United States is off to a perfect start at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship led by a strong contingent of MLS academy products that has rattled off three straight victories to top Group F in the tournament. Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio leads all Americans with three goals scored, tied for fourth most in the entire tournament. Earlier this season, Busio became the youngest player in MLS history to score in back-to-back matches and has totaled three goals across seven regular season league matches. After topping its group, the U.S. next faces Guadeloupe in the Round of 16 on Thursday in Bradenton, Fla. (6 p.m. ET).
Equally as impressive has been LA Galaxy 16-year-old midfielder Efraín Álvarez who has two goals across three Mexico victories to top group E. Mexico next faces Puerto Rico on Wednesday (6 p.m. ET).
After falling to the U.S. in their opening match of the tournament, Canada has rebounded with back-to-back victories to finish second in Group F. Led by Toronto FC academy forward Jayden Nelson's three goals, Canada next plays Curaçao in the Round of 16 on Thursday (4 p.m. ET).
The top four teams at the tournament will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup beginning in September in Brazil.
PRO pledge support during Huntington's Disease Awareness Month
Throughout the month of May, including this past weekend, the Professional Referee Organization's officials are pledging their support during Huntington's Disease Awareness Month. They are wearing blue wristbands to honor former referee Terry Vaughn in all MLS, United Soccer League and National Women's Soccer League matches to raise awareness of the work at the Huntington's Disease Society of America. Vaughn is fighting a disease that is an incurable, hereditary brain disorder, of which there is no current effective treatment.
Vaughn's refereeing career spanned 1987-2012 and included nine years on the FIFA panel and notable international tournaments including the Concacaf Champions League and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. For more about PRO's support for Huntington's Disease Awareness Month, visit ProReferees.com.
MLS Regular Season Schedule: Week 11
Wednesday, May 8
- Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m., TSN
- Columbus Crew SC vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m.
- Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m.
- New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact, 8 p.m., TVA Sports
Friday, May 10
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers, 10 p.m., TSN
Saturday, May 11
- FC Cincinnati vs. Montreal Impact, 1 p.m., TSN, TVA Sports
- FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls, 2 p.m., Univision, Twitter
- Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 3 p.m., TSN, CTV
- LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC, 4 p.m., ESPN, ESPN Deportes
- Columbus Crew SC vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 7:30 p.m.
- New England Revolution vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.
- Chicago Fire vs. Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m.
- Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m.
- Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m.
Sunday, May 12
- Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC, 2:30 p.m., FOX, FOX Deportes
- D.C. United vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m., FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN
MLS Regular Season: Week 11 Notes
Wednesday, May 8
Atlanta United FC vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. ET (TSN)
Atlanta United won for a second consecutive match, defeating Sporting Kansas City 3-0 at Children's Mercy Park on Sunday evening. Josef Martínez scored a pair of goals, his first multiple-goal game on the season, now with four goals this year.
Toronto FC rebounded for a 2-0 win against Orlando City SC at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Jonathan Osorio scored for a second consecutive game, now with two goals and an assist over his past three appearances.
Toronto FC won the final meeting between the teams last season, a 4-1 win at BMO Field on Decision Day (Oct. 28), the first win by either team in the all-time series.
The teams reached 2-2 draws in each of their first three meetings. Two of those came at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including last Aug. 4 in the other meeting between the teams.
Columbus Crew SC vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. ET
Crew SC suffered a fifth consecutive defeat, falling 3-1 to D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday evening. The five-game losing slide is one game shy of the club record set on three previous occasions, last over the end of the 1998 season and the start of 1999.
The Galaxy saw their seven-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 3-2 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Uriel Antuna each scored for a second consecutive game.
The Galaxy won the lone meeting between the teams last year, a 4-0 victory July 7 in Carson, Calif. The win extended the Galaxy's home undefeated streak in the series to seven games, dating back to 2007, with five wins and two draws in that time.
The Galaxy have not won in Columbus since 2011, though the teams have played to draws in two of the last four meetings there. Crew SC won the last meeting at Mapfre Stadium, a 3-0 win on Aug. 23, 2017.
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m. ET
The Fire came away with a first point on their three-game road swing, reaching a goalless draw with the Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening. The Fire did not score a goal on the trip, now 280 minutes since their last goal.
The Revolution went down to a 6-1 defeat by the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening, equaling the second-most goals ever allowed by the club in a single game.
The teams reached a pair of draws in their two meetings a year ago, a 1-1 draw on June 9 in Bridgeview, Ill., and a 2-2 draw Sept. 22 at Gillette Stadium.
The Fire now have a six-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with four wins and two draws over that time. The Revolution's last win vs. the Fire came July 23, 2016, a 1-0 win in Foxborough.
The Fire now have an eight-game undefeated streak alive in the series in Bridgeview, though a four-game winning streak there was ended last year. The Fire have come away with points on their last two trips to Foxborough, following a four-game Revolution winning streak in league play between the teams at Gillette Stadium.
New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact, 8 p.m. ET (TVA Sports)
The Red Bulls won consecutive games for the first time this season, coming back to defeat the LA Galaxy 3-2 at Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Impact had their two-game winning streak put to an end, suffering a 2-0 loss to New York City FC at Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon.
The teams split their two meetings a season ago, each winning on their home ground. The Red Bulls took a 3-1 win on April 14 at Red Bull Arena. Then the Impact came away with a 3-0 win on Sept. 1 at Stade Saputo.
The Red Bulls have won all nine regular season meetings at Red Bull Arena, though the Impact did win there in the 2016 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Impact have won three times in the past 13 league meetings (with two draws), dating back to 2013, winning the last three league meetings in Montréal.
Friday, May 10
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers, 10 p.m. ET (TSN)
Whitecaps FC won on the road for the first time this season, defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-2 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Friday evening. Fredy Montero netted his second goal of the season, and also added his first assist of the year.
The Timbers won their third consecutive match following a five-game losing slide, defeating Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening. Diego Valeri scored his second goal of the season; he had a goal and three assists over the three-game winning run.
The teams met twice a season ago, and Whitecaps FC won both, each by a 2-1 scoreline, first on Aug. 11 at Providence Park, then on Decision Day (Oct. 28) at BC Place. Whitecaps FC have won six times in 24 all-time MLS meetings between the teams, all coming in the past 16 meetings.
The win in the first meeting last year was the first for Whitecaps FC in Portland since June 1, 2014, a 4-3 victory, ending a six-game winless streak there. The Timbers last won in Vancouver on July 23, 2017, ending a three-game Whitecaps FC winning streak at BC Place, their first three league wins at home against the Timbers.
The teams first met on May 16, 1975, in the old North American Soccer League, with the Timbers winning 2-0 at Empire Stadium in Vancouver. The teams have met 92 times in all, across a number of competitions - the Whitecaps hold a 39-35-18 advantage in the all-time record between the clubs. The teams met twice in the NASL playoffs, in 1978 and 1980, with each team advancing on one occasion.
Saturday, May 11
FC Cincinnati vs. Montreal Impact, 1 p.m. ET (TSN; TVA Sports)
FC Cincinnati suffered a fifth consecutive loss, their winless run now at seven games overall, following a 1-0 defeat by the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. FCC now has not scored in its last 521 minutes, the seventh-longest goalless stretch in MLS history.
The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories, the first of two meetings this season. Their return match is set for Sept. 14 at Stade Saputo.
FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls, 2 p.m. ET (Univision, Twitter)
FC Dallas had their three-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening. Dominique Badji scored his first goal of the season for FCD.
The Red Bulls have a six-game undefeated streak in the series, the last FC Dallas victory coming March 11, 2012. The Red Bulls have won four of the six encounters since, with two draws, including a 3-0 win last June 23 at Red Bull Arena.
FC Dallas has not scored a goal in five of the last six meetings between the teams. Their first goal scored in the 2-2 draw on Sept. 2, 2017, the last meeting at Toyota Stadium, ended a 443-minute goalless drought vs. the Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls have won on three of their past six visits to Frisco, Texas, with two draws, in both league and MLS Cup play. FC Dallas haven't won at the Red Bulls since 2006, when they took a 2-1 victory at Giants Stadium. FCD has never won at Red Bull Arena (0-3-2).
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 3 p.m. ET (TSN, CTV)
The Union extended their undefeated streak to four games with a third win in that time, equaling the club record with a 6-1 win against the New England Revolution at Talen Energy Stadium. Kacper Przybylko scored in a third consecutive start, while the Union got four goals from their three substitutes, the third time in club history they've scored six goals in a game.
Alejandro Pozuelo recorded an assist in TFC's 2-0 win against Orlando City SC on Saturday, his sixth of the season. Pozuelo has a goal and/or an assist in five of his six games this season, now with four goals and six assists, having played a part in 10 of TFC's 15 goals while he's been in the team.
The teams are playing for the second time this season. Michael Bradley netted the first two-goal game in his MLS career, as Toronto FC got off to the best start possible with a 3-1 win on March 2 at BMO Field in the season opener for both clubs.
Toronto FC now have a four-game winning streak alive in the series. The Union's goal in the first meeting ended a 360-minute goalless streak vs. Toronto FC.
TFC's undefeated streak in the series is even longer - now five years long. The last Union victory vs. Toronto FC came on Sept. 6, 2014, a 2-0 win at BMO Field. TFC has won eight of the 10 matches since, with two draws.
LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
NYCFC extended their undefeated streak to six games with a third victory in that span, defeating the Montréal Impact 2-0 at Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon. Maximiliano Moralez scored his first goal of the season and set up the second, his fourth assist on the campaign.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his ninth goal of the season in his 10th game of the season in the Galaxy's 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls. Ibrahimovic sits in second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings after Week 10, two goals behind Carlos Vela of LAFC.
NYCFC have won each of the last three meetings between the teams, including a 2-1 win last March 11 at Yankee Stadium in the lone encounter between the clubs.
NYCFC won on their last visit to Carson, a 2-0 win on Aug. 12, 2017. The Galaxy had won the first meeting ever between the teams, a 5-1 home victory Aug. 23, 2015. NYCFC have won both meetings in the Bronx.
Columbus Crew SC vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 7:30 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Football Club saw their perfect home record for 2019 put to an end, but still remained undefeated at home following a goalless draw with the Chicago Fire at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening. LAFC have not lost now in 12 consecutive home matches in league play, dating back to last August.
Crew SC suffered a fourth consecutive road defeat in their 3-1 loss at D.C. United last weekend, three road losses shy of the club record, set in 2013.
LAFC won the lone meeting between the teams in their inaugural MLS campaign, a 2-0 victory June 23 at Banc of California Stadium.
New England Revolution vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Quakes ran their undefeated streak to four games with a second victory in that time, defeating FC Cincinnati by the game's only goal at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. Nick Lima scored his first goal of the season for the lone tally.
Juan Caicedo scored for a second consecutive game, netting the lone goal in the Revolution's 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening, now with three goals over the last two matches.
The teams have reached in each of their last three meetings, including a 2-2 result last June 13 at Avaya Stadium in the lone matchup between the teams. They had played to scoreless draws in each of their last two meetings.
The Revolution have a six-game undefeated streak alive in the series, winning three consecutive matchups before the draws over the past three seasons. The Quakes last won in the series March 10, 2012, a 1-0 win at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Chicago Fire vs. Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota United FC extended their undefeated run to three games with a second draw in that time, reaching a 1-1 result with Seattle Sounders FC at Allianz Field on Saturday evening. Ike Opara scored the MNUFC goal, his first since coming to the club over the offseason.
David Ousted was credited with four saves in recording his second shutout of the season in the Fire's goalless draw with the Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening.
Minnesota United FC have won both meetings between the teams all-time, both by 2-1 scorelines, once at each home ground. They won in 2017 in Bridgeview, Ill., before winning last year at TCF Bank Stadium.
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m. ET
The Rapids remained winless on the season, suffering a 3-2 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Friday evening in the head coaching debut of Conor Casey. Now 0-8-2 on the season, the Rapids are one game shy of the longest winless run to open a season in MLS history (set by Real Salt Lake, 0-5-6 to start in 2007).
RSL suffered a second consecutive loss following a two-game winning run, falling 2-1 to the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening. Sam Johnson scored his third goal, all coming over the last four games.
The teams met three times a season ago, and Real won twice, with the third match ending in a draw. RSL won once at each ground, a 3-0 victory on April 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium, and a 6-0 win on Aug. 25 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park - the heaviest victory in the history of the series. The teams also reached a 2-2 draw July 21 in Commerce City.
Real Salt Lake have come away with points on six of their last nine trips to Commerce City (four wins, two draws, dating back to 2013).
Real have a 16-game home undefeated streak alive vs. Colorado. Since the Rapids' last win in Utah, a 2-0 victory on April 30, 2007, at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Real have won 12 games with four draws. Colorado has never won at Rio Tinto Stadium (0-10-4 all-time in league play).
The rivals play for the Rocky Mountain Cup, a trophy awarded by the supporters' groups of both teams.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m. ET
Sounders FC reached a third consecutive draw, playing to a 1-1 result with Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday evening. Cristian Roldan scored the lone goal for Sounders FC, his second of the season.
The Dynamo won for a second match in a row and a sixth time in the last seven games, defeating FC Dallas 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening. Mauro Manotas scored both Dynamo goals, now with five goals on the season, scoring three times in the last two games.
The teams met twice a season ago and Sounders FC won both, once at each ground, the wins coming over a 2-week span. Sounders FC cruised to a 4-1 win on Oct. 8 at CenturyLink Field, then took a 3-2 win on Oct. 21 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Sounders FC have never lost to the Dynamo in Seattle. In nine league meetings all-time, Seattle has won seven, with two draws, outscoring Houston 15-3. Sounders FC also won a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at home vs. Houston; the teams played to a scoreless draw in Seattle in the 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Sounders FC win in the second meeting was their first ever in Houston in league play. In the first eight meetings there, the Dynamo won four, with four draws.
Sunday, May 12
Atlanta United FC vs. Orlando City SC, 2 p.m. ET (FOX, FOX Deportes)
Brad Guzan was credited with three saves in recording a second consecutive shutout in ATLUTD's 3-0 win at Sporting Kansas City at the weekend. Guzan has recorded three shutouts in the last four games, the club's shutout streak at 186 minutes after the weekend.
Orlando City SC saw their two-game home winning streak come to an end, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Nani saw his four-game goalscoring streak also put to an end, netting five times over the span.
Two of the newest clubs in the league have already set the South on fire with their rivalry - and it's been one completely owned by Atlanta United. In six meetings all-time, Atlanta has not lost to its neighbor to the south - including a sweep of all three meetings last season. ATLUTD won both matches by 2-1 scorelines at Orlando City Stadium, on May 13 and Aug. 24, and took a dominant 4-0 victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on June 30.
Atlanta claimed victory in the first meeting between the teams, July 21, 2017, at Orlando City Stadium, before the teams then played to two draws.
D.C. United vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN)
D.C. United alternated wins and losses for a fifth consecutive game, defeating Columbus Crew SC 3-1 at Audi Field on Saturday evening. Wayne Rooney netted his sixth goal of the year, converting a penalty kick, while Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola also scored.
Sporting KC had their winless streak extended to five games with a second defeat in that time, falling 3-0 to Atlanta United at Children's Mercy Park on Sunday evening. SKC were shut out at the attacking end for the first time in 2019.
Sporting KC won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, scoring the game's lone goal for the win March 31 at Children's Mercy Park. The win ended a six-game undefeated streak for D.C. United in the series, dating back to May 31, 2014. Sporting scored one goal over the six-game streak.
This is the first meeting between the teams at Audi Field; Sporting ended their history at RFK Stadium not having won there since 2012. United won one of the five home games vs. KC after, with four draws. United had won the last two meetings at Children's Mercy Park before SKC's win last year.
• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...
Major League Soccer Stories from May 7, 2019
- Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC - Atlanta United FC
- Atlanta United Acquires Justin Meram from Columbus Crew SC - Atlanta United FC
- Columbus Crew SC Acquires General Allocation Money and a 2020 MLS SuperDraft Pick in Trade with Atlanta United - Columbus Crew SC
- Game Preview: New England Revolution at Chicago Fire - New England Revolution
- LA Galaxy Acquire Midfielder Favio Alvarez - LA Galaxy
- Impact Faces Red Bulls in New Jersey Wednesday Night - Montreal Impact
- FC Dallas Hosts Sevilla FC in the 2019 FC Dallas Summer Classic Presented by Toyota - FC Dallas
- LAFC Forward Carlos Vela Voted MLS Player of the Month Presented by EA Sports - Los Angeles FC
- Chicago Fire Soccer Club Acquires Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm - Chicago Fire
- Los Angeles Football Club Forward Carlos Vela Voted MLS Player of the Month Presented by EA SPORTS - MLS
- Alan Koch Dismissed as FC Cincinnati's Head Coach - FC Cincinnati
- Match Preview: New York Concludes Three-Match Homestand on Wednesday - New York Red Bulls
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
- Impactful Moves Headline Close of Primary Transfer Window - This Week in MLS - MLS
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.