- Audi Field spotlights continued wave of venues built for soccer
- Rooney among newcomers as Secondary Transfer Window opens
- World Cup Final to prep MLS ‘Battle of the Golden Boots’
- LAFC-Timbers touts World Cup returnees, All-Star-studded lineups
- MLS Week 20: Match Notes
Audi Field spotlights continued wave of venues built for soccer
One of the most storied clubs in MLS history begins a new era when D.C. United open Audi Field on Saturday to host Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8 p.m. ET / TSN) in a sparkling 20,000-seat, $ 500 million soccer-specific venue located in a booming sports and entertainment district within the nation’s capital. The inauguration of Audi Field reinforces a shared commitment among MLS clubs to make significant investments in world-class facilities, while serving as a prelude to a number of venues built with soccer in mind that will open their doors over the next several seasons.
England National Team icon Wayne Rooney will make his anticipated debut at Audi Field on Saturday.
Future MLS stadiums:
Minnesota United FC is expected to open Allianz Field in March of 2019, in times for the club’s third MLS campaign. The 19,400-seat, $ 200 million privately-funded venue in Saint Paul, Minn., features enhancements such as façade lighting under the mesh screen for dramatic color changing effects.
The league’s expansion organizations have also mapped out their long-term future homes. Nashville will construct a $ 275 million venue on the historic Nashville Fairgrounds, located just south of downtown. FC Cincinnati, which was officially announced as a 2019 expansion club in late May, will invest $ 200 million toward the construction of a 21,000-seat stadium located in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood, with an anticipated opening for 2021.
This past weekend, the Miami ownership group of David Beckham and specifically Jorge Mas released renderings of a privately-funded soccer complex called Miami Freedom Park, which would replace a city-owned golf course near Miami International Airport, house a 25,000-seat stadium and feature 600,000 square feet of entertainment, restaurant and retail space. Miami ownership is unveiling the detailed proposal before the Miami City Commission on Thursday.
MLS VENUES BUILT FOR SOCCER (2018-beyond)
Los Angeles Football Club
Banc of California Stadium (22,000)
April 29, 2018
Audi Field (20,000)
July 14, 2018
Minnesota United FC
Allianz Field (19,400)
Nashville Fairgrounds (30,000)
FC Cincinnati (expansion)
Cincinnati’s West End (21,000)
Miami Freedom Park (25,000)
Rooney among newcomers set to make debut as Secondary Transfer Window opens
With the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window on Tuesday, July 10, clubs across the league will receive a boost as impact new signings will be eligible to make their MLS debut. The high-profile signings will look to make a strong impression, following in the footsteps of standout 2017 Secondary Transfer Window signings, including a trio of 2018 FIFA World Cup participants in LA Galaxy’s Jonathan dos Santos (Mexico), Orlando City SC’s Yoshimar Yotún (Peru), and New York Red Bulls’ Fidel Escobar (Panama). Among the stars set to make debuts this weekend are England’s all-time leading goalscorer, a 2018 World Cup participant for Peru, and a young midfielder that helped his club to a UEFA Champions League berth in 2018.
Wayne Rooney will be eligible to make his highly anticipated D.C. United debut against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday when the club opens play at brand-new Audi Field (8 p.m. TSN1 / ESPN+). The all-time leading scorer in both Manchester United and England National Team history will take the pitch hoping to build upon last season’s campaign with Everton where he scored 10 goals in the campaign.
Playing with Yotún on Peru’s 2018 World Cup squad, Raúl Ruidíaz could make his Seattle Sounders FC debut against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FOX / FOX Sports Go / FOX Deportes / TSN4). The two-time reigning Liga MX scoring champion while with Morelia will look to give a boost to Seattle’s offense, but will face Supporters’ Shield leading Atlanta United, which could see Eric Remedi make his debut. The 23-year-old midfielder joins Atlanta after four seasons playing for Argentina Primera Division club Banfield.
Rounding out the newcomer debuts to look out for this week is Los Angeles Football Club’s 21-year-old Designated Player André Horta. After a deal was announced earlier this season, the midfielder joins LAFC after a transfer from Portuguese giant Benfica, where he helped the club to a UEFA Champions League berth in 2018. Horta will make his debut on LAFC’s side against the Portland Timbers on Sunday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN / Watch ESPN / ESPN Deportes / TSN2).
World Cup Final to prep MLS ‘Battle of the Golden Boots’
Immediately following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, an MLS scoring showdown will bring fireworks to the Dirty South this Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FOX), when Atlanta United and league-leading goalscorer Josef Martinez host Seattle Sounders FC and their debut of newly acquired, reigning Liga MX scoring champion Raúl Ruidíaz.
Front and center in this East-versus-West matchup will be Atlanta’s Martinez, the 25-year-old Venezuelan international, who currently remains in strong command of the Golden Boot Race. Martinez has become a goalscoring powerhouse with 18 finishes in his last 20 regular season games – a feat accomplished only three times in MLS history with Martinez accounting for two of those occurrences. On pace to potentially reach the MLS single-season record of 28 goals this campaign, Martinez adds fuel to this fire with more goals scored this season than Seattle’s combined 15-goal tally this year.
Sounders FC are known for late surges in the past two seasons, and 27-year-old Raúl Ruidíaz could be the answer to spark that Western Conference turnaround. The Peru National Team player is fresh off FIFA World Cup action, and has recorded a combined 40 Liga MX goals in his past two full seasons with his former Morelia side.
Will Ruidíaz right Seattle’s ship, or will Martinez’s magic continue to command the show?
LAFC-Timbers touts World Cup returnees, All-Star-studded lineups
The Los Angeles Football Club host the Portland Timbers on Sunday in a heavy-weight Western Conference clash at Banc of California Stadium (6 p.m. ET / ESPN, TSN). LAFC and Portland were two of the best-represented MLS clubs at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the expansion LAFC side touting a league-high three players and the Timbers with two.
As of this past weekend, both teams are at full strength again as LAFC and Portland sit second and fifth, respectively, in the West standings.
Coming in as a second-half sub against Orlando on Saturday, Mexico National Team star Carlos Vela has returned to LAFC following an incredibly successful World Cup in which he created 12 goalscoring chances in four games. Vela, Costa Rica’s Marco Ureña and Egypt’s Omar Gaber make up the World Cup contingent, along with defender and MLS All-Star Fan XI selection Laurent Ciman.
Portland, led by World Cup midfielders Andy Polo of Peru and David Guzman of Costa Rica, is one of the hottest clubs in MLS with an 11-game unbeaten streak (8-0-3) in league play. Diego Valeri, the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP and 2018 MLS All-Star Fan XI selection, continues to propel the Timbers’ offense with two assists during Saturday’s 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Valeri is now tied for fourth in MLS with eight assists this season.
MLS Week 20: Match Notes
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact, 7 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, TSN, ESPN+)
- NYCFC remained undefeated on their home ground this season, defeating the New York Red Bulls 1-0 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening. The win also extended NYCFC’s overall home undefeated streak to 11 games in league play dating back to last Sept. 23, tying the club record set June 18, 2016-April 1, 2017.
- The Impact extended their winning streak to four games – one game shy of the club’s MLS record – with a 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids at Stade Saputo on Saturday evening.
- Saphir Taïder scored both goals in the Impact victory, his first multiple-goal game in MLS. Ignacio Piatti added an assist, which was his fourth consecutive game with a goal and/or an assist, with four goals and one assist in that span.
- NYCFC have not lost to the Impact in two seasons, now with a four-game undefeated streak alive in the series.
- But the Impact have taken points on each of their past three trips to Yankee Stadium, reaching 1-1 draws each of the last two years, and Montréal taking a 3-2 win there on Aug. 1, 2015, for its only win in seven meetings all-time.
- NYCFC have won all three meetings lifetime at Stade Saputo, once in each of the club’s three MLS seasons, including a 1-0 win last Sept. 27 in the last meeting between the teams.
Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- The Fire saw their five-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 2-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on Saturday evening. Nemanja Nikolic scored for a second consecutive game, his eighth goal of the season.
- The Union suffered a second consecutive loss and a fourth defeat in the past five matches, falling 2-0 to Atlanta United at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening.
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Borek Dockal scored one goal and set up two others as the Union took a 3-1 win on May 30 at Talen Energy Stadium.
- The Union have won the past three meetings in Chester; the home team has won each of the last six matches in the series. The Union’s home win in 2016 snapped a seven-game winless streak overall in the league series.
- The Fire have won the past four meetings at Toyota Park, their first wins at home against the Union since 2012. Philadelphia had won two of the four Bridgeview meetings in between, with two draws.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- Crew SC suffered a third loss in their past four games, falling 4-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Saturday evening. The four goals allowed were a season-high this year, the most since a 5-0 loss to Toronto FC last May 26.
- The teams have evenly split their league series over the three seasons NYCFC have been in the league, each winning twice, with three draws.
- The teams have split their two meetings at Yankee Stadium, each winning once. They met last year at Citi Field in Queens in NYCFC’s home fixture, reaching a 2-2 draw.
- NYCFC claimed a 3-2 win last year at Mapfre Stadium, their first league win there in four visits; Crew SC won once, in 2016.
- The teams also met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals a year ago, with Crew SC taking the series 4-3 on aggregate, winning the first leg at home 4-1, before NYCFC took the return match 2-0 in the Bronx.
New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- The Red Bulls saw their three-game winning streak and four-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 1-0 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening. The game was the head coaching debut for Chris Armas, who took over for Jesse Marsch.
- Sporting put an end to a two-game losing run but still saw their winless run extended, reaching a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday evening. SKC stretched their home undefeated streak to nine games, after losing the season opener this year.
- Sporting have won the past two meetings between the teams, over the last two seasons, taking a 2-0 win on May 3, 2017, at Children’s Mercy Park in the last matchup.
- Last year’s win ended a five-game winless streak for Sporting in the series on their home ground, their first win in Kansas City since 2011.
- Sporting have come away with points on four of their past five visits to Red Bull Arena since 2012, winning three, including a 2-0 victory in the last encounter at Red Bull Arena, in 2016.
Montreal Impact vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, ESPN+)
- The Quakes had their three-game streak of draws put to an end, their overall winless run now at nine matches following a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday evening. The nine-game winless run is the longest since the club-record 16-game winless streak in 2014-15.
- The Impact and goalkeeper Evan Bush had their shutout streak put to an end after 420 minutes during the win vs. Colorado on Saturday, the club’s record in its MLS history.
- The Earthquakes won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 victory in the season opener at Avaya Stadium, their first victory in six meetings all-time between the clubs.
- The Impact were undefeated vs. the Earthquakes in the first five league meetings. The Impact have won all three meetings all-time at Stade Saputo; the teams had played to two draws in two encounters in San Jose.
New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- The Revolution extended their undefeated streak to seven games, reaching a goalless draw with Seattle Sounders FC at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
- The Galaxy stretched their undefeated streak to four games with a second win in that time, rolling to a 4-0 win against Columbus Crew SC at StubHub Center.
- Zlatan Ibrahimović scored for a fourth consecutive match, with six goals in that span, now with 11 goals in 14 appearances in his MLS career. Ibrahimović is tied for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, seven goals behind leader Josef Martínez (Atlanta United).
- The Revolution are undefeated in the last three meetings between the teams at Gillette Stadium, claiming a 4-3 win last July 22 in the only encounter – the fourth time in the last five matchups the winning team has hit for four goals or more.
- The Galaxy won 4-2 in the last meeting at StubHub Center, on May 8, 2016, their second consecutive win at home in the league series. The Revs last won in Carson in 2012, the last victory by the road team in the series.
- The teams have also met three times in the MLS Cup final, with the Galaxy winning all three, all in extra time (2002 at Gillette Stadium; 2005 in Frisco, Texas; 2014 at StubHub Center).
D.C. United vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
- D.C. United open Audi Field in the midst of a five-game winless streak, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy in their last match, July 4 at StubHub Center. Darren Mattocks scored for a second consecutive game, his sixth goal in the last eight games.
- Whitecaps FC put an end to a two-game losing and goalless run, defeating the Chicago Fire 3-2 at BC Place on Saturday evening.
- Kei Kamara scored two goals, his second multiple-goal game in his last four matches, now with 106 goals for his MLS league career, taking over sole possession of seventh place of the all-time list.
- D.C. United have won the last three meetings, claiming a 1-0 win last May 27 at BC Place in the last matchup between the teams.
- Whitecaps FC’s last victory in the series came June 29, 2013, a 1-0 win at RFK Stadium, their only win in three meetings played there. D.C. United took the other two both by 4-0 scorelines.
- D.C. United have won the last two meetings at BC Place, and have taken points on their last four trips to British Columbia. The lone home win for Whitecaps FC in the series came in 2011.
FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- FC Dallas had a two-game winning run put to an end, falling 2-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.
- Aleksandar Katai saw his streak of eight consecutive games with a goal and/or an assist put to an end in the Fire’s 3-2 loss to Vancouver, three games shy of the MLS record set on three separate occasions, last in 1998.
- The Fire won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 2-1 victory on May 25 at Toyota Park, their fifth win in the last six meetings.
- FC Dallas won the previous meeting between the teams, in 2016, claiming the Brimstone Cup for the first time – awarded by the two supporters’ clubs of the two teams so named when it matched the Fire and the Burn. FCD had won the season series between the clubs every year from 2001-11.
- The Fire have won the past four meetings at Toyota Park. The FC Dallas win in Frisco in 2016 was their first home victory in the series since 2010.
Minnesota United FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- MNUFC suffered their fourth loss in the last five games, falling 3-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening.
- RSL won a second match in a row and extended their home undefeated streak to nine matches, defeating FC Dallas 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.
- The match saw 11 Homegrown Players (out of 28 total players who appeared) – six for Real Salt Lake and five for FC Dallas – the most in a single game in MLS history.
- The teams met twice in Minnesota United’s inaugural MLS campaign, each winning on their home ground. MNUFC took the first meeting, a 4-2 win on April 1 at TCF Bank Stadium; Real returned the favor with a 1-0 victory on June 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)
- Orlando City suffered their ninth consecutive defeat, falling 4-1 to the Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening. The losing streak is tied for fourth-longest in MLS history, the longest since Toronto FC lost nine in a row in 2012.
- Toronto FC put an end to a three-game losing streak put still saw their winless run extended to five games, reaching a 2-2 draw with Sporting KC on Saturday evening.
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ryan Telfer scored his first MLS goal, an 87th-minute game-winner, to give Toronto FC a 2-1 win on May 18 at BMO Field.
- TFC have a three-game winning streak and five-game undefeated streak alive in the series between the clubs, winning seven of the nine meetings all-time, with one draw.
- TFC have won on their last two visits to Orlando, and in three of four meetings there all-time. OCSC’s lone home win in the series was their only win ever against Toronto FC, a 3-2 victory on June 25, 2016.
- TFC have won four of the five meetings all-time at BMO Field, without defeat; Orlando City’s lone result in Toronto came in a goalless draw on Sept. 28, 2016.
Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- The Rapids suffered a second consecutive defeat, falling 2-1 to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo on Saturday evening.
- The Dynamo put an end to a brief two-game winless run, defeating Minnesota United FC 3-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening. Philippe Senderos scored a pair of goals, his second and third goals in the last two games.
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Tomás Martínez and Mauro Manotas scored goals six minutes apart in the first half at the Dynamo eased to a 2-0 win on June 9.
- The Dynamo win was their first in the series since 2015, ending a four-game Rapids undefeated streak in the series, and just their second vs. Colorado since 2009, the Rapids going 8-1-6 in the series since a 1-0 Dynamo win at Robertson Stadium on April 19 of that year.
- The Dynamo haven’t won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since 2008; the Rapids are now undefeated in their past seven home meetings with Houston (5-0-2). The Dynamo win in the first meeting this year ended a two-game Rapids winning streak at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 2 p.m. ET (FOX, FOX Deportes, TSN)
- Atlanta United won for a fourth time in the past seven games, defeating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening.
- Josef Martínez scored for a third consecutive game, now with 18 goals for the season, leading the MLS Golden Boot standings race by seven goals. Martínez has scored 18 goals in 20 games this season, the second-most goals in 20 games in MLS history, one behind his total of last season.
- Sounders FC stretched their undefeated streak to three games with a second consecutive draw, reaching a goalless result with the New England Revolution on Saturday evening.
- The teams met once in Atlanta United’s inaugural season, playing to a goalless draw March 31 at CenturyLink Field.
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Portland Timbers, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN, TSN)
- LAFC extended their undefeated streak to five games with a fourth win in that time, defeating Orlando City 4-1 at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday evening. LAFC are still undefeated at home in their inaugural season (5-0-3).
- Adama Diomande scored a pair of goals, now with nine goals in seven appearances in his MLS career. Diomande has scored multiple goals in three of those games.
- The Timbers won a second consecutive game in extending their undefeated streak to 11 games, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at Providence Park on Saturday evening. The streak is the second-longest in the club’s MLS history (15 games, March 16-June 23, 2013).
- Samuel Armenteros scored a pair of goals for the Timbers, now with three goals in the last two games. Armenteros has scored six goals in MLS, all in the last seven games.
- The teams are meeting for the second time ever. Cristhian Paredes scored the opener, then set up the winner from Armenteros, leading the Timbers to a 2-1 victory on May 19 at Providence Park, putting an end to a six-game LAFC undefeated streak.