NYCFC Primed for Top-Three East Sides in Race for Conference Crown, Home-Field Advantage - This Week in MLS
September 24, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release
Top Things to Know in MLS This Week:
The goals keep coming: The race to the Golden Boot presented by Audi is still gaining steam with three games remaining for leaders Carlos Vela (LAFC), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) and Josef Martinez (Atlanta United), who each tucked away another goal last weekend.
Rank Player Goals
1 Carlos Vela (LAFC) 29
2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) 27
3 Josef Martinez (Atlanta United) 26
Breaking the stalemates: It's coming down to the wire for the final spots in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. Here are all nine tiebreakers in the MLS Competition Guidelines.
MLS additions to CCL field this week: The Concacaf Champions League picture becomes clearer after Wednesday's Canadian Championship Leg 2 rewards a berth to another MLS club. LAFC - standing one win away from claiming the Supporters' Shield - could be among the next.
*2020 CCL Qualification Parameters
Lamar Hunt U. S. Open Cup winner (Atlanta United, Aug. 27)
Canadian Championship winner (TBD on Sept. 25)
Supporters' Shield winner (TBD by Oct. 6)
MLS Cup winner (TBD on Nov. 10)
Moralez chasing Valderrama's record: New York City FC's Maxi Moralez, with his 19 assists in 2019, now ranks among the top three single-single performers in that category next to Sacha Kljestan (20 assists, 2016) and Carlos Valderrama (26, 2000).
High status means high stakes for NYCFC
Sitting confidently atop the Eastern Conference standings, New York City FC are riding high on an eight-game unbeaten streak, with two tough opponents on the horizon and no room for error or deceleration during these final two weeks of the regular season.
Their valor will be put to the test this Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, while hosting No. 2 Atlanta United - the only team since Aug. 11 to score two opposing goals and hand the Eastern Conference leaders a loss. However, the reassurance of a 10-5-1 home record and the potential injury omission of Atlanta's Josef Martinez could have NYCFC well-equipped to maintain Eastern Conference supremacy.
Domènec Torrent's side will play their remaining two matches on the road - first at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 29 against No. 7 New England Revolution, who are fighting to stay above the playoff line before finishing out Decision Day presented by AT&T on Oct. 6 against No. 3 Philadelphia Union and their equally intimidating 10-win home record.
With no cakewalk in sight, can NYCFC close out the regular season with their highest finish yet.
No room for error: Impact battle for Canadian Championship, final East spot in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs
Over the next two weeks, the Montreal Impact are in must-win mode as the club battles for the Canadian Championship crown and the final Eastern Conference spot in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Three-time Canadian Championship winner Montreal has the slight upper hand against seven-time winner Toronto FC heading into Leg 2 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, OneSoccer.ca). The Impact earned a 1-0 victory in Leg 1 last week, with the one-goal advantage and the potential away goals tiebreaker serving as valuable benefits going into BMO Field.
The victor qualifies for the 2020 Concacaf Champions League, where Toronto was a finalist in 2018 and Montreal made the CCL Final in 2015.
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The Impact don't have any wiggle room in the tense race for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs as only one postseason spot remains in the East. Two victories in the Impact's final two regular season matches would give them 43 points for the season, which at the moment would overtake the New England Revolution (41) and Chicago Fire (38) heading into Week 30.
Can Montreal find some late-season magic to garner a Canadian Championship trophy and jump up a couple spots in the East, or will the resurgent Revolution or the Fire snag that coveted postseason berth?
Arena has Revolution on brink of postseason berth
Following the hiring of Bruce Arena as head coach, the New England Revolution are on the brink of completing an incredible midseason turnaround, but first must face a trio of challenging opponents that stand in the way of clinching a spot in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. Since Arena's hire on May 14, the Revolution have suffered only two losses and surged from last place in the Eastern Conference to prime playoff positioning. The final three games of the regular season will determine the Revolution's postseason hopes as only three points separate the club from the eighth-place Chicago Fire.
New England's final push to the playoffs will see the team travel to face the Portland Timbers on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+), host Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+) and conclude the regular season with a crucial road match at defending MLS Cup champions Atlanta United on MLS Decision Day presented by AT&T (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+).
Fueling New England's resurgence under Arena has been the dangerous attacking duo of midfielder Carles Gil and forward Gustavo Bou. Gil, signed from Spain's Deportivo La Coruña as a Designated Player in January, has nine goals and 14 assists this season, the latter ranking fourth in MLS. Bou, meanwhile, arrived to the Revolution as the most expensive transfer in club history from Liga MX side Club Tijuana, and has rewarded New England's investment with seven goals in 11 matches played. New England's playoff chances could come down to that duo's ability to outscore three potential playoff teams over the final two weeks of the season.
FS1 doubleheader to feature rising intraconference intensity
FS1 and FOX Deportes will showcase the urgency and star power of the second-to-last week of the regular season during a Sunday doubleheader on Sept. 29, with major implications on the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Beginning at 5 p.m. ET, home-field advantage will be at stake when a pair of I-95 rivals meet in a decisive Eastern Conference matchup featuring Wayne Rooney and No. 4 D.C. United against the No. 5 New York Red Bulls and Daniel Royer. Then at 7:30 p.m. ET, the action continues in the Western Conference with leading scorer Carlos Vela and the top-ranked Los Angeles Football Club on the road at No. 3 Minnesota United FC.
With only two weeks remaining, Sunday's MLS intraconference matchups will feature every game in the Eastern Conference kicking off at 5 p.m. ET before all games in the Western Conference follow at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Canadian Championship - Leg 2
Wednesday, Sept. 25
- Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m., OneSoccer.ca (MTL leads 1-0 on aggregate)
MLS Regular Season Schedule: Week 30
Wednesday, Sept. 25
- New York City FC vs. Atlanta United, 7 p.m., TSN5
- Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m.
- Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m.
- Los Angeles Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo, 10:30 p.m.
- Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution, 10:30 p.m.
- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union, 11 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 29
- Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC, 5 p.m., TSN4
- FC Cincinnati vs. Orlando City SC, 5 p.m.
- Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m.
- Montreal Impact vs. Atlanta United, 5 p.m., TSN5, TVA Sports
- New England Revolution vs. New York City FC, 5 p.m.
- New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m., FS1, FOX Deportes
- Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
- LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m., TSN4
- Minnesota United FC vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 7:30 p.m., FS1, FOX Deportes
- Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m.
- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.
MLS Regular Season: Week 30 Notes
Wednesday, Sept. 25 New York City FC vs. Atlanta United, 7 p.m. ET (TSN5)
NYCFC extended their undefeated streak to eight games, reaching a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Valentin Castellanos gave NYCFC the lead with the earliest goal in club history, after 39 seconds.
Atlanta United won for a second consecutive game, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Pity Martínez capped the win with his fourth goal of the season, after Emerson Hyndman netted his first MLS goal.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Josef Martínez netted goals on either side of halftime, leading Atlanta United to a 2-1 win on Aug. 11 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta United have gained results in four of the five league meetings between the teams; the clubs played to a pair of draws in their two regular-season matchups a year ago. NYCFC's lone win in the series came in the first meeting between the teams, a 3-1 win on May 7, 2017, at Yankee Stadium.
The teams then met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last year, with Atlanta United advancing 4-1 on aggregate, winning the first leg 1-0 in the Bronx before taking the home leg by a 3-1 scoreline.
Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota United gained a second successive result, playing to a scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sporting Kansas City saw their slide reach three games, falling 3-2 to the Colorado Rapids at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday evening. Gerso Fernandes netted his second goal of the season to give SKC an early lead.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Erik Hurtado netted the game's only goal two minutes from time, giving Sporting the victory on Aug. 22 at Children's Mercy Park. Sporting have a six-game undefeated streak alive in the league series; the teams have met seven times in the regular season, and Sporting have won four - all coming at Children's Mercy Park.
The teams have played to draws in the past two matchups in Minnesota, including a 1-1 deadlock last May 20 at TCF Bank Stadium in the only encounter there a year ago. MNUFC won the first matchup between the clubs, a 2-0 victory on May 7, 2017, in Minneapolis.
The teams have also met twice in three years in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with Minnesota United this year taking a 4-1 win on June 12 at Allianz Field. Sporting won by a 4-0 decision in a fourth-round match in 2017.
Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. ET
Real concluded their two-game road swing with a result, reaching a goalless draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Galaxy recorded a second consecutive victory, defeating the Montréal Impact 2-1 at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday evening. Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted his 27th goal of the season, remaining two goals behind Carlos Vela of LAFC for the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ibrahimovic scored the game-winner in the 78th minute, leading the Galaxy to a 2-1 win on April 28 at Dignity Health Sports Park, a second consecutive home win in the series.
Real have won by 6-2 scorelines in each of the last two seasons, including that result last Sept. 1 in the last meeting at Rio Tinto Stadium, in the process becoming the first team in league history to score at least six goals in back-to-back games. The Galaxy last won at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 18, 2017, snapping a Real five-game home undefeated streak in the series, their first win in Sandy since April 27, 2013.
The teams also met five times in eight seasons in the MLS Cup Playoffs, last in the Knockout Round in 2016. The Galaxy have won on three occasions, RSL won via penalty shootout when the clubs met in the 2009 MLS Cup, and also in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2013.
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo, 10:30 p.m. ET
LAFC reached a third consecutive draw, playing to a 1-1 result with Toronto FC at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening. Carlos Vela netted his 29th goal of the season with a late penalty kick, maintaining his lead in the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi.
The Dynamo gained a second win in the last three matches, gaining a late 2-1 win against Orlando City SC at BBVA Stadium on Saturday evening. Christian Ramirez set up the first goal then netted the game-winner, his seventh of the season.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Adama Diomande scored goals on either side of the halftime break and Diego Rossi added one late, as LAFC took a 3-1 win on July 12 at BBVA Stadium.
The teams met twice a year ago, in LAFC's inaugural season. LAFC took a 4-2 win in the last meeting, Oct. 12 at Banc of California Stadium; the teams reached a 2-2 draw at BBVA Stadium on July 3.
The teams also met in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup a year ago, the Dynamo advancing to the final following a penalty shootout after the teams played to a 3-3 draw over 120 minutes.
Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution, 10:30 p.m. ET
The Timbers put an end to a two-game losing slide, reaching a goalless draw with Minnesota United FC at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Revolution played to a second consecutive draw, playing to a scoreless result with Real Salt Lake at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
The teams have played to three consecutive 1-1 draws in the series, including that result last Sept. 1 at Gillette Stadium, a second 1-1 draw in a row in Foxborough, Mass. The Revolution have never lost to the Timbers at Gillette Stadium in five meetings all-time, their lone win in the series coming there in 2012.
The Timbers have a six-game undefeated streak alive in the all-time series, with five draws. The Timbers' last win came on June 6, 2015, a 2-0 victory in Portland; the teams reached a 1-1 draw on April 2, 2017, in the last meeting at Providence Park. The Revolution goal in their last visit was the club's first ever in Portland in four visits all-time, after 354 minutes of play.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union, 11 p.m. ET
The Quakes saw their skid reach three games, falling 3-1 to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Union had their three-game undefeated streak put to an end, falling 2-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Sunday evening.
The teams have played to draws each of the past three seasons, including a 1-1 draw last April 7 at Talen Energy Stadium, a second draw in a row in Chester.
The Union have come away with points on their past two visits to San Jose, last in a 2-2 draw Aug. 19, 2017, winning there in 2015. The Union have a five-game undefeated streak alive in the series, over the last five years, with two wins and three draws in that time. The last Quakes win came on Sept. 8, 2013, a 1-0 win at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Sunday, Sept. 29
Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC, 5 p.m. ET (TSN4)
The Fire extended their undefeated run to three games with a second draw in that time, playing to a scoreless draw with FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on Saturday evening.
Toronto FC extended their undefeated run in league play to eight matches, playing to a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening. Tsubasa Endoh scored for a second consecutive game for the TFC goal.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. CJ Sapong and Nemanja Nikolic netted goals for the Fire, but they were answered by goals from TFC's Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw on April 6 at BMO Field.
TFC now has a 10-game undefeated streak alive in the series (8-0-2), dating back to Sept. 26, 2015. The Fire's last victory in the series came on April 4, 2015, a 3-2 win in Bridgeview, Ill., which capped a 12-game Fire undefeated streak in the series (6-0-6), dating back to 2010.
TFC has won the past three meetings in Bridgeview, its only wins ever there, including a 2-1 win last July 21 on the last visit. The Fire had come away with five wins and five draws in the first 10 meetings all-time in Bridgeview. TFC is undefeated in the past nine encounters at BMO Field.
FC Cincinnati vs. Orlando City SC, 5 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati gained a result for a second consecutive game, playing to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire at Nippert Stadium on Saturday evening.
Orlando City SC saw their two-game run of draws put to an end, falling 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Stadium on Saturday evening. Dom Dwyer scored for a second consecutive game, now with seven goals on the season.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Nani and Tesho Akindele each scored two goals as Orlando City SC cruised to a 5-1 win on May 19 at Exploria Stadium, the first meeting ever between the clubs.
Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. ET
Crew SC extended their undefeated run to four games in their last match, reaching a 1-1 result with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on Saturday afternoon. Gyasi Zardes scored his 13th goal of the season, netting a penalty kick.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. David Accam scored a pair of goals then set up a third by Ilsinho, leading his former club in the Union to a 3-0 win against his future club in Crew SC at Talen Energy Stadium on March 23. There has a been a shutout in each of the past six meetings between the teams.
Crew SC are undefeated in the last three meetings between the teams at Mapfre Stadium, including a 1-0 win and a goalless draw in the two matchups there a year ago. The Union are undefeated in the last four meetings in Chester.
Montreal Impact vs. Atlanta United FC, 5 p.m. ET (TSN5, TVA Sports)
The Impact saw their league slide hit three games in their last MLS match, falling to a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday evening. Lassi Lappalainen scored his fifth goal in nine games since his arrival in MLS.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Justin Meram scored a pair of goals, one in each half, as Atlanta United took a 2-1 win on June 29 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta United have won the last four meetings in the series, including a 2-1 win last July 28 at Stade Saputo in the last encounter in Montréal, thanks to a brace from Josef Martínez. The Impact's lone win vs. ATLUTD came in the first meeting ever, a 2-1 win on April 15, 2017, at Stade Saputo.
New England Revolution vs. New York City FC, 5 p.m. ET
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jesús Medina scored a pair of goals, the game-winner coming on a penalty kick six minutes into second-half stoppage time, leading NYCFC to a 2-1 win on Sept. 7 at Yankee Stadium.
The win ended a three-game Revolution undefeated streak in the series. The Revs are undefeated over the past three meetings in Foxborough, including a 2-2 draw there last March 24 in the last meeting at Gillette Stadium. NYCFC has won four of the seven meetings all-time in the Bronx.
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes)
The Red Bulls are guaranteed of a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for a 10th consecutive year, following their 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday evening. Daniel Royer scored for a second consecutive game, reaching 11 goals for the season.
D.C. United clinched a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, winning for a third consecutive game in a 2-0 defeat of Seattle Sounders FC at Audi Field on Sunday evening. Lucas Rodríguez scored his sixth goal of the season to send United on their way.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Kaku scored early and Daniel Royer converted a second-half penalty kick, giving the Red Bulls a 2-1 win Aug. 21 at Audi Field.
The Red Bulls have an nine-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with United's last win overall coming on May 13, 2016, at RFK Stadium. The Red Bulls have a nine-game undefeated streak going in regular season matches at Red Bull Arena, having won five of the past seven meetings in Harrison, N.J., including a 1-0 win last year on Aug. 26 in the lone meeting there. United's last win at the Red Bulls came in 2011.
The teams have met 94 times in all competitions over the years - the most of any two clubs in MLS history. New York has won 35 and United have won 43, including a 7-4-2 record in the postseason. They play for the Atlantic Cup, awarded to the winner of the season series by supporters' groups from both clubs.
Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Rapids remained alive in dramatic fashion, coming back from two goals down for a 3-2 win against Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday evening, their fourth win in five games. Kei Kamara netted his 12th goal of the season to start the comeback, reaching the 12-goal mark for a fifth consecutive MLS season.
FC Dallas gained a draw for a second consecutive game, playing to a 1-1 result with New York City FC at Toyota Stadium on Sunday evening. Zdenek Ondrasek scored his fifth goal of the season, all coming over the last six matches.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Michael Barrios scored in the first half then Ryan Hollingshead netted the game-winner eight minutes from time, leading FC Dallas to a 2-1 win on March 23 at Toyota Stadium.
The Rapids won the last meeting between the teams at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, a 2-1 victory in the season finale last year on Decision Day (Oct. 28). It was their first home win in the series since 2013, a five-game home winless run; the teams had reached four consecutive 1-1 draws in Commerce City, Colo.
FC Dallas have now won the three meetings at Toyota Stadium, ending a three-game winless streak in the series in Frisco. The Rapids' last win there came in 2016.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. ET
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jeremy Ebobisse leveled terms in the 83rd minute, then Brian Fernandez scored the game-winner in stoppage time, giving the Timbers a 2-1 win on Sept. 7 at Providence Park. It was their first home win in the series since 2016.
Sporting won the last meeting at Children's Mercy Park, a 3-0 victory last Aug. 18. The Timbers' lone win in Kansas City came on April 27, 2013, a 3-2 victory; Sporting are 2-0-2 in the last four home meetings in the series.
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN4)
Whitecaps FC gained a second result in a row in their last match, playing to a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC at BC Place on Saturday afternoon. Fredy Montero scored his eighth goal of the season, scoring for a second game in a row.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up one goal, then scored the second, both eight minutes apart midway through the second half, leading the Galaxy to a 2-0 win on April 5 at BC Place.
The Galaxy have won the last two meetings between the teams, ending a four-game Whitecaps FC undefeated streak in the series (since July 4, 2016 in Carson). The Galaxy won the last matchup at Dignity Health Sports Park, a 3-0 win last Sept. 29. The win in the first meeting was also the Galaxy's first at BC Place since April 12, 2014, ending a five-game Whitecaps FC undefeated streak on their home ground in the series.
There has been a shutout in 12 of the past 14 meetings between the teams, dating back to 2013, including three scoreless draws.
Minnesota United FC vs. Los Angeles Football Club, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes)
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Mason Toye netted goals four minutes apart midway through the first half, leading Minnesota United to a 2-0 win on Sept. 1 at Banc of California Stadium.
The teams split their first two meetings in LAFC's inaugural season a year ago. LAFC won 2-0 on May 9 at Banc of California Stadium, then Minnesota United FC returned the favor with a 5-1 victory on July 22 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m. ET
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Albert Rusnák gave RSL the lead before halftime, but Mauro Manotas hit for the equalizer midway through the second half, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw in their 2019 season opener March 2 at BBVA Stadium.
Real have a four-game undefeated streak alive in the series. They won both meetings a season ago, both by 2-1 scorelines, including last May 30 in the last matchup at Rio Tinto Stadium. The two RSL wins last year ended a four-game Dynamo undefeated streak in the series.
Real have won three of the last six meetings in Houston, their first wins ever there, also gaining a draw; RSL suffered eight defeats and one draw in its first nine road games against the Dynamo.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sounders FC saw their two-game undefeated run come to an end, falling 2-0 to D.C. United at Audi Field on Sunday evening.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Shea Salinas scored goals on either side of halftime, but Kelvin Leerdam and Harry Shipp responded with goals two minutes apart midway through the second period, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw April 24 at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC have an eight-game undefeated streak alive in the overall series. They claimed a 1-0 win last July 25 in the last meeting at Avaya Stadium, their first in northern California since 2010. Sounders FC have come away with points on each of their four visits to Avaya Stadium (three draws and a victory).
The draw in the first meeting ended a three-game Sounders FC winning streak at CenturyLink Field. The Seattle home win in 2016 to start the streak put an end to a five-game Quakes undefeated streak in the league series.
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