Major League Soccer

The Pitch (Matchdays 18): Top Things to Watch in MLS this Week

June 6, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

Stars Jockeying for All-Star Positioning at Season's Midpoint

After Matchday 18 this weekend, 24 of the 29 MLS teams will have reached 17 games played -the midway point of their regular seasons.

At the halfway point, teams and players not only are jockeying for playoff positioning, but players are also stating their case for a position on the MLS All-Star Roster.

The MLS All-Stars will face renowned Premier League club Arsenal FC in the 2023 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday, July 19, at Audi Field, home of D.C. United.

Among the players looking to punch a ticket to D.C. is Golden Boot presented by Audi co-leader Dénis Bouanga of LAFC. Bouanga will look to build off his MLS-best 10 goals in 12 games to start the 2023 season as the club returns to league play following a run to the Concacaf Champions League final.

Another pair of players looking to make their All-Star debuts are St. Louis CITY SC midfielder Eduard Löwen and Philadelphia Union forward Julián Carranza. Löwen has scored in three consecutive matches for the expansion side that sits atop the Western Conference with 29 points and leads the league with a 2.13 goals per game average. Of the league's steadiest presences since the start of the 2022 season, Carranza has six goals in his last six matches and has twice been named MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire in the last three weeks (Matchdays 15 and 17).

Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei continues to make his case for the second All-Star appearance of his storied MLS career, as he leads the league with nine clean sheets and, last week, became the third 'keeper in MLS history to reach 100 career regular-season shutouts.

Fans can vote for the MLS All-Star roster at or on the MLS App through 11:59 p.m. PT on Wednesday, June 14.

MLS Teams Return to Cup Competition Action

Eight MLS teams will see midweek action this Tuesday, June 6 and Wednesday, June 7 ahead of a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal that features six MLS clubs and the Canadian Championship Final between Vancouver Whitecaps FC and CF Montréal.

FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami CF will face USL Championship opposition in the Open Cup quarterfinals. With a win, the pair would be two games away from claiming their first-ever trophy since entering MLS in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Additionally, an Open Cup victory for either of these two teams would also guarantee the clubs a first appearance in the 2024 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.

In MLS head-to-heads, Chicago Fire FC host Houston Dynamo FC while the LA Galaxy travel to Real Salt Lake for quarterfinal battles. It's been five years since the Dynamo last lifted the Open Cup, but the Fire will look to take full advantage of being at home to move a step closer toward ending their 17-year trophy drought. The Galaxy last lifted a trophy at 2014 MLS Cup while Salt Lake's trophy drought stretches back to 2009 MLS Cup, and a win for either side moves them a step closer toward new silverware in their trophy cabinet.

The Whitecaps and Montréal will face off on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET, FS2) in a Canadian Championship final that features the winners of the 2022 and 2021 editions of the tournament, respectively. The battle of reigning champions will not only determine this season's king of Canada, but it will also secure a return to intercontinental action with place a place in the first round of the Concacaf Champions League also on the line.

FC Dallas and St. Louis CITY SC to Resume Suspended Match

The FC Dallas and St. Louis CITY SC match that was suspended due to inclement weather on May 6 will recommence this Wednesday, June 7 (8:30 pm. ET, MLS Season Pass) in the 51st minute with an 0-0 score.

Players and substitutes from the initial match will be available on the pitch, except for starting players removed due to injury, illness, unavailability, or a sporting decision and the Goalkeeper Exception.

Further information on the recommencement of matches can be found here at the MLS Match Delay, Postponement, Cancellation and Forfeiture Policy.

Colorado Rapids 2 Sets New MLS NEXT Pro Unbeaten Streak Record

Colorado Rapids 2 set the record in MLS NEXT Pro for longest unbeaten streak - 11 matches - in dramatic fashion Sunday night.

With history on the line and Rapids 2 down a goal (2-1), midfielder Daouda Amadou scored his first goal of the season, coming in stoppage time (95') to force a draw and break the previous record for longest unbeaten streak (10, Toronto FC II and Houston Dynamo 2, 2022).

Amadou's equalizer off a corner kick from Dillon Serna eventually led to Rapids 2 besting Earthquakes II in the shootout, 4-2, to gain the extra point. Watch Highlights

Rapids 2 (8-0-3, 29 points) remains the only team in MLS NEXT Pro with an unbeaten record. The club leads the league in points and sits atop the Western Conference. Colorado will look to continue its winning ways this Sunday, June 11, when Rapids 2 plays at LAFC2 (MLS Season Pass, 7:30pm ET).

By The Numbers

Below is a sampling of notable stats and figures entering Matchday 18.

1: Since returning from a knee injury on May 27, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel continues to make an impact in net, allowing just one goal on 17 shots in the last three matches. The offseason acquisition from Internacional (Brazil) made his biggest contribution of the season on Matchday 17, saving Rapids midfielder Connor Ronan's penalty kick in the 70th minute. to preserve a point on the road.

2: On Saturday (June 10), LAFC will play in their first of two matches against Houston Dynamo FC in a four-day span (June 14). It will also mark the first meeting between Mexico National Team legends Héctor Herrera and Carlos Vela in MLS play. The last time the duo played against each other was in the 2019 MLS All-Star Game when the MLS All-Stars took on Atlético Madrid at Exploria Stadium.

8: D.C. United have been steadily climbing up the Eastern Conference standings and currently sit in sixth place with 23 points (6-6-5). Forward Christian Benteke has led the goal-scoring efforts for the club, scoring eight times this season. Among all second-year MLS players, Benteke's eight goals trail only LAFC's Dénis Bouanga, who leads MLS with 10.

10: Atop the Supporters' Shield standings, FC Cincinnati has been on a historic pace in 2023 with a league-record 39 points from the first 16 games, excluding the expansion era. The Blue and Orange have been sensational in one-goal games, with a perfect 10-0-0 record. For context, no other MLS team has more than nine overall victories this year.

39.5%: After a 3-0 win on Matchday 17, Orlando City SC have now taken an MLS-best 14 points from road matches this season (4-1-2). Not only has Orlando earned results away from home, but they have also impressed when doing so. The Lions have led for a league-high 39.5% of all away minutes and only trailed in 13.8% this season.

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