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U.S. Look to Advance to First Quarterfinal Since 2002 - this Week in MLS

June 30, 2014 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

The U.S. men's national team can punch their ticket to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2002 with a win against Belgium on Tuesday. The U.S. navigated their way through the "Group of Death" behind strong play from MLS players in all positions. Offensively, Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey has lived up to the captain's armband by leading the team with two goals while Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi leads the team with two assists -- one on the go-ahead goal in the win against Ghana and the other in the draw against Portugal. In midfield, Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman has been a reliable force with Toronto FC's Michael Bradley covering more ground in the group stage than any other player at the World Cup. Defensively, Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler and LA Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez have seen significant playing time in central defense while making their World Cup debuts.

If the U.S. defeat Belgium, they will join fellow CONCACAF team Costa Rica in the Quarterfinals. The Ticos continued their surprising World Cup run by defeating Greece in a penalty shootout despite playing down a man for the majority of the second half. Columbus Crew defender Giancarlo Gonzalez has played every minute so far for Costa Rica and converted a key penalty kick in Sunday's win. Costa Rica will meet European giants The Netherlands on Saturday.

National Broadcasts for World Cup & MLS

Tuesday, July 1

Belgium vs. United States, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision)

Wednesday, July 2

Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC, 8:30 p.m. ET (TSN, RDS2)

Friday, July 4

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

Saturday, July 5

Netherlands vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision)

Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m. ET (TSN2)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. ET (TSN2, RDS2)

Sunday, July 6

Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN)

Fans can vote for the All-Star First XI through Friday, July 11 at 3 p.m. ET online HERE.

One forward spot on the Fan XI will be chosen by fans via the AT&T/EA SPORTS™ "More than a Vote" Challenge. Fans vote by scoring goals in EA SPORTS FIFA 14 on the Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The forward with the most votes - one goal equals one vote - on July 11 will occupy a forward spot on the All-Star Fan XI. The following are the results as of June 27:

Top 5 Forwards

1. Obafemi Martins (SEA)

2. Eddie Johnson (DC)

3. Landon Donovan (LA)

4. Thierry Henry (NY)

5. Robbie Keane (LA)

Sweet Tweets

@Brad_Davis11 - June 26 - Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo

Round of 16 here we come! Thanks for all the support! #ilovemycountry#1Nation1Team pic.twitter.com/YN1RO4WPeO

@SoonySaad - June 26 - Soony Saad, Sporting Kansas City

Watching the fan feed from #ESPN and seeing Kansas City going absolutely nuts makes me so proud! 😎

@amobisays - June 26 - Amobi Okugo, Philadelphia Union

I hope all my brackets that I did on the World Cup never get published or released ....#someexpert

@NewYorkRedBulls - June 27 - New York Red Bulls "

For players and supporters welfare, we added some new signs at RBA. See you tonight! #RunWithUs #NoBiting #Suarez pic.twitter.com/CXbGxbG7Ej

@BenSpeas17 - June 29 - Ben Speas, Columbus Crew

Vamos Ticos!! @pipogonzalez88 @WaylonFrancis90 #PuraVida

@DaxMcCarty11 - June 29 - Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls

Greece... You just got CONCACAF'ED. Sort of. Congrats to Roy Miller and Costa Roca! #WorldCup

Quotables

"I'm extremely happy and thrilled to have been able to score that goal and I'm very happy to be able to make history in Major League Soccer. I grew up watching Cuauhtemoc play. He was one of my idols growing up and obviously being able to surpass him is something that I cannot even describe."

Chivas USA forward Erick Torres on breaking fellow countrymen Cuauhtemoc Blanco's goal-scoring record for a Mexican player in MLS

"I think the best thing, more than anything, was my decision to come to the MLS, to play internationally in my third World Cup, and the calculated decision being great domestically. The league, the club, the fans, the success we had last season now looking for more success, and on top of that, having two of the best moments in my footballing history with a goal against Chile, and one against the Netherlands. I'm proud that the MLS and New York Red Bulls have played a part in that. I know people were questioning, I left the Premier League to play in another World Cup, to be in a great league, and you look at the way the American national team's going, the amount of MLS player's playing there, it's justified for these boys and they're really flying the flag well, and hopefully they can do us proud again by going to the next level."

New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill on returning to MLS, and how it helped his World Cup play

"In football there are young players and there are old players, but ultimately it's the best that play. I worked hard and did everything I could in practice so that I could earn my spot. I made it onto the A team, started my first MLS match, so I'm really proud of what I was able to accomplish in training and that brought me here and I'm going to continue to work hard."

New York Red Bulls defender Ambroise Oyongo on getting his MLS debut

"We wanted to get a result, but, at the end of the day, we're excited to get to the knockout stage. We put in a lot of hard work and showed a lot of character even when we weren't playing well. The knockout stages anybody can go through if you bring it on that day."

Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey on advancing out of the group of death

"From the club's perspective we're very proud of them because not only have they come through the system, but more importantly they've evolved into very good international players and true professionals. It's definitely proud for all of us that have been a part of their progression, but those two guys [Matt Besler and Graham Zusi] are really good pros and that's one of the reasons why, not only are they there, but more importantly, since they've been on the field, both of them have had a true impact on the success of the team."

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes on Graham Zusi's and Matt Besler's impact with the U.S. men's national team

"Advancing out of this group is a huge accomplishment, there's a bunch of people who never thought it was possible, but we've proven them wrong. U.S. Soccer belongs on the world stage, and we can play with anyone."

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler on the U.S. men's national team being able to compete at the World Cup

Week 17 Game Previews

Wednesday, July 2

Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC, 8:30 p.m.

"¢ The Fire will play their first league game in nearly a month, since rookie Harry Shipp scored a pair of goals in their 3-2 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on June 7 at Toyota Park. The defeat extended the Fire's league winless streak to four games.

"¢ Jermain Defoe scored his fourth goal over the last three games, but Toronto FC conceded a late equalizer to leave them in a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Friday evening. Defoe is tied for fourth in the MLS Golden Boot standings with eight goals.

"¢ TFC has not defeated Chicago since a 4-1 win May 8, 2010, a span of eight games without a victory in the series.

"¢ Toronto FC have never won at Toyota Park, as the Fire have won the last three meetings in Bridgeview, including a 1-0 victory last Oct. 19. The Fire have taken points from their last four trips to BMO Field.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m.

"¢ Chivas USA striker Erick Torres became the all-time leading Mexican-born goalscorer in MLS history with a candidate for the MLS Goal of the Year, hitting for the only tally in the 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at StubHub Center.

"¢ Torres has 10 goals this season (of the 15 goals scored by Chivas USA), now third in the MLS Golden Boot standings, and 17 goals in 30 games since coming to MLS. He surpassed legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who netted 16 goals in 62 games over three MLS years.

"¢ The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Yannick DjalÃ" scored the game's only goal in the 66th minute to lead the Quakes to a victory April 26 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

"¢ The last Chivas USA victory in the series came July 6, 2011, a 2-0 win in Carson; San Jose is 5-0-2 in the all-time series since.

Friday, July 4

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m.

"¢ Bradley Wright-Phillips regained the lead in the MLS Golden Boot race with his 12th goal of the season, a stoppage-time equalizer that brought the Red Bulls back into a 2-2 draw Friday with Toronto FC. Assisting on the goal was Tim Cahill, in his first game back after playing for Australia in the FIFA World Cup.

"¢ The Houston Dynamo suffered their fifth consecutive shutout defeat - all by multiple goals - in their 3-0 loss Sunday at the Montréal Impact. The Dynamo, outscored 13-0 in league games since May 21, have now gone 479 minutes since scoring in MLS, the seventh-longest goalless streak in league history.

"¢ The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Bradley Wright-Phillips netted a hat trick to lead the Red Bulls to a 4-0 win April 23 at Red Bull Arena, the first English player in the history of Major League Soccer to hit for a triple.

"¢ The Red Bulls have won the last five league contests between the teams, outscoring the Dynamo 15-1. The Red Bulls have won on their last two visits to Houston in league play; before last season, the Dynamo were meeting 4-0-3 all-time at home vs. New York. The Red Bulls are 7-0-3 all-time at home vs. Houston.

FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union, 9 p.m.

"¢ Union made a winner of interim team manager Jim Curtin in his first game in charge, defeating the New England Revolution 3-1 on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. Curtin had replaced John Hackworth, dismissed following the 3-3 draw June 7 with Vancouver.

"¢ Sebastien Le Toux scored two goals in a game for the second consecutive match, also netting twice in the Union's 2-1 win in the U.S. Open Cup against the NASL New York Cosmos. It was the fifth multiple-goal game of Le Toux's MLS career, his first since Sept. 29, 2011, when he scored for Philadelphia vs D.C. United.

"¢ FC Dallas played to a second consecutive draw on Sunday in a scoreless result at the Columbus Crew, a match delayed a day due to weather.

"¢ FC Dallas are unbeaten all-time vs. Philadelphia, in six meetings. The teams have played to four draws, in all three meetings lifetime in Philadelphia, including a 2-2 result last June 29 in the only meeting between the teams. FCD is 2-0-1 vs. Union at home.

Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew, 9:30 p.m.

"¢ Vicente Sánchez converted a penalty kick for his first goal since May 3, his sixth of the season, capping the Rapids' 2-0 win Saturday against Vancouver. It was the league-leading seventh goal the Rapids have scored this season from a penalty kick.

"¢ The Crew played to a second consecutive scoreless draw and a third tie overall, reaching a scoreless result with FC Dallas on Sunday at Crew Stadium in a game delayed a day due to storms.

"¢ The Rapids have won the last three meetings between the clubs in league play, including a 2-0 victory last May 11 at Crew Stadium in the only encounter a year ago.

"¢ The Rapids have won the last three games in Commerce City, all by shutout. The Crew last won and scored at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in a 1-0 victory Aug. 1, 2009, now a span of 321 minutes there without a goal.

Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 10 p.m.

"¢ Real Salt Lake saw their overall league winless streak extended to five games, suffering a second consecutive loss and third since opening the season with a 12-game undefeated run, falling 1-0 to Chivas USA on Saturday evening at StubHub Center.

"¢ The Revolution suffered their third consecutive defeat - their longest losing slide of the season - in a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium.

"¢ The Revolution's last victory vs. Real Salt Lake came in 2009. In the six meetings since, RSL has won five, with one draw, including a 2-1 victory at Gillette Stadium in last year's lone match.

"¢ RSL is undefeated in its last five home games vs. New England, dating back to 2008. Real have also won on their last three trips to Gillette Stadium.

LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11 p.m.

"¢ Gyasi Zardes scored for a second consecutive game as the Galaxy extended their current league undefeated run to five games with a 1-0 win Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium.

"¢ Three days after defeating Sporting Kansas City in a U.S. Open Cup fifth-round match on the road, the Timbers lost 1-0 to SKC in their league contest Friday at Providence Park.

"¢ The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Galaxy's Robbie Keane scored in stoppage time to put the Galaxy in the lead, but Portland's Diego Valeri netted a dramatic equalizer to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw May 11 at Providence Park.

"¢ The Galaxy have never lost to the Timbers in Carson, winning the first three meetings there all-time before the teams played to a scoreless draw last June 19.

Saturday, July 5

Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m.

"¢ D.C. United lost at RFK Stadium for the first time since opening day and saw their undefeated run come to an end after three games in a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday in a clash of the two MLS conference leaders.

"¢ Toronto FC have won three consecutive league games at BMO Field, their longest home winning streak in a season since winning four in a row early in the 2010 campaign (April 15-May 22).

"¢ The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jermain Defoe scored the game's only goal on the hour mark to lead Toronto FC to victory, March 22 at BMO Field.

"¢ TFC have won the last two home games in the series, after going more than four seasons, from 2009-2013, without a home win vs. United.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m.

"¢ Sounders FC won their third consecutive game and extended their league undefeated streak to five games in a 1-0 win Saturday at D.C. United in a matchup of the two conference leaders.

"¢ Sounders FC have lost just once in their last 12 league games, dating back to April 5 - they have won nine games in that time and lead the MLS overall table with 35 points, 10 more than their nearest competitor.

"¢ Whitecaps FC were blanked at the attacking end for a second consecutive game and saw their league winless run stretched to three matches in a 2-0 loss at Colorado on Saturday evening.

"¢ The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Gonzalo Pineda converted a late penalty kick to bring Sounders FC back for a 2-2 draw, May 24 at BC Place.

Chivas USA vs. Montreal Impact, 10:30 p.m.

"¢ Jack McInerney scored a pair of goals in a game for the third time in his MLS career - including a stunning spinning, looping volley from a cross - to lead the Impact to a 3-0 win Sunday against the Houston Dynamo.

"¢ McInerney has scored five goals in the last six games for the Impact and now has seven goals for the season, coming to Montréal in an early-season trade from Philadelphia.

"¢ Chivas USA have never lost to the Impact. Chivas USA won the only meeting between the teams in Carson, a 2-1 victory in 2012; the teams reached a 1-1 draw last July 7 at Stade Saputo in the only meeting.

Sunday, July 6

Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m.

"¢ Sporting have won back-to-back games on the road by shutout, after their 1-0 win Friday at the Portland Timbers. Lawrence Olum scored the game's only goal; SKC were coming off a 2-0 win at the Montréal Impact on June 6.

* Quincy Amarikwa recorded multiple assists in a game for the first time in his MLS career in the Fire's 3-2 loss to Seattle on June 7. His three assists this season are already a single-season career-high; it's the first time since his initial MLS season of 2008 when he's had more than one assist in a season.

* Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg led MLS with his seventh shutout of the season in the 1-0 win at Portland on June 27. He also led MLS with a 0.88 goals against average, one of two league "˜keepers conceding an average of less than a goal per game (also: LA's Jaime Penedo, 0.91 GAA).

"¢ The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Mike Magee scored a pair of goals in the opening 15 minutes, both on penalty kicks, to send the Fire on their way to a 2-1 win May 18 at Toyota Park.


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Major League Soccer Stories from June 30, 2014


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.


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