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Atlanta vies for second trophy in two weeks, hosts Minnesota in Open Cup final - this week in MLS

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Feature
27 Aug 2019, 19:43 IST

Atlanta host Minnesota in the Open Cup final
Atlanta host Minnesota in the Open Cup final

Atlanta vies for second trophy in two weeks, hosts Minnesota in Open Cup final

Atlanta United look to add to their growing trophy case when they host Minnesota United on Tuesday in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+). The defending MLS Cup winners hoisted the second annual Campeones Cup just two weeks ago, defeating famed Liga MX side Club America on Aug. 14.

This year’s Open Cup will feature a first-time tournament winner as Minnesota will attempt to capture the organization’s first major trophy. The fellow 2017 MLS expansion sides have had different trajectories, with Atlanta United on the verge of earning a third straight postseason berth and Minnesota enjoying a breakout 2019 campaign with a club-record 12 victories and a fifth-place stance in the Western Conference.

A pair of 2019 MLS All-Stars will be in the spotlight as Minnesota defender Romain Métanire leads the Loons’ back line against the most prolific MLS goalscorer over the past three seasons in Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez.

One result is certain: a 20th consecutive MLS club will capture the championship in the USA’s longest-running domestic cup competition. So will the Five Stripes lift another trophy in front of their fan faithful at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, or will the Loons garner their first hardware and build on their breakout 2019 season?


World Cup-experienced Pavón fueling Galaxy toward postseason after August transfer

Cristian Pavón has made his presence immediately felt for the LA Galaxy after arriving via transfer earlier this month from Boca Juniors, scoring his first MLS goal and adding an assist in the club’s 3-3 draw against rival the Los Angeles Football Club on Sunday. The 23-year-old Argentina National Team midfielder brings international pedigree to LA, playing in four matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Galaxy will look toward Pavón’s playmaking ability to push for a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and a crucial home match to begin the postseason.

Pavón previously played under Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto while at Boca Juniors in Argentina and has quickly rewarded GBS’ faith in him with a productive start to his time in LA. In four matches for the Galaxy, Pavón has made it clear he will be an integral piece for the club’s MLS Cup hopes, already boosting the team with a goal and two assists in four appearances.

With Pavón and Zlatan Ibrahimović displaying a deadly chemistry in the attack on Sunday, the Western Conference has been put on notice as LA attempts to solidify its spot in the standings. The fourth-place Galaxy will next travel to third-place Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1 / FOX Deportes / FOX Sports App / TVA Sports) for a crucial match in determining the elite of the Western Conference.

 

Battle for best in the Eastern Conference

The top two teams in the too-close-to-call Eastern Conference are tied for points and will meet head-to-head this week, when No. 1 Atlanta United (15-9-3, 48 points) travel to No. 2 Philadelphia Union (14-8-6, 48 points). 

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Philadelphia is having a resurgent year, standing one win away from matching its 2018 victory total that earned the Union that coveted final seed in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Union are led offensively by German international Kacper Przybylko, who (with 12 goals) is one score away from joining the club’s top three most prolific single-season scorers. Additionally, their solid core of young difference-makers has seen Brenden AaronsonAuston Trusty and Jack Elliott each start at least 20 games in 2019.

The visiting Atlanta United will be looking to maintain their place atop the conference after overcoming six straight road losses from May 19-July 26 to pick up shutout away wins against the Portland Timbers and Orlando City SC in the month of August.

Will Philadelphia make the most of their homefield advantage, or will Atlanta United’s recent road form continue to dominate?


MLS Regular Season: Week 26 Notes

Wednesday, Aug. 28

Montreal Impact vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8 p.m. ET (TSN, TVA Sports)

  • The Impact had their winless streak stretched to four games in Wilmer Cabrera’s first game as head coach, falling 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday evening.
  • Whitecaps FC continue their two-game road swing, following a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. Maxime Crèpeau made 19 saves in the defeat, the most by a goalkeeper in a single match in MLS history (in 5,797 games all-time).
  • Whitecaps FC won the lone league meeting between the teams a year ago, a 2-1 win on March 4 at BC Place. Whitecaps FC have won the past two meetings between the teams in MLS play; the win ended a two-game undefeated streak for the Impact at BC Place.
  • Whitecaps FC have won two of the three league encounters in Montréal in MLS play, including a 2-1 win on April 29, 2017, in their last visit.
  • The teams have met four times in the Canadian Championship, including each of the past two years, both times in the semifinals. Whitecaps FC took last year’s series 2-1 on aggregate, winning 2-0 at BC Place a week after the Impact won 1-0 at Stade Saputo.

 

Saturday, Aug. 31

New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. ET

  • The Red Bulls had their two-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 2-1 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. Alex Muyl netted the Red Bulls goal, with an assist from Kaku.
  • The Rapids continue their four-game road swing still looking for a victory, following a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The Red Bulls won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 2-1 win on May 12 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The two wins came after a four-game Rapids undefeated streak in the series, dating back to 2012, when they won two games (with two draws).
  • The Rapids have never won in Harrison, N.J.; their last away win in the series came in 2009, a 3-2 victory at Giants Stadium. The Red Bulls have won three of the six meetings at home since, with three draws.
  • The Red Bulls win last year was their first in Colorado since 2007, ending a six-game Rapids home undefeated streak (with five wins).

 

Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Crew SC put an end to a four-game winless run, rolling to a 3-1 win against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on Sunday evening. Gyasi Zardes scored a pair of goals, both in the first half, now with 11 goals on the season; he has scored five goals over the last eight games.
  • The Fire weren’t able to make it four wins from five games, falling 2-1 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. Francisco Calvo netted the Fire’s lone goal, his fourth this season, third with the Fire.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Crew SC’s Romario Williams netted the equalizer at the end of the regulation 90 minutes, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw on July 17 at SeatGeek Stadium.
  • Crew SC have an eight-game home undefeated streak alive in the all-time series, with wins in the last two meetings at Mapfre Stadium, including a 3-0 win last May 12. The Fire last won in Columbus on June 22, 2013.
  • The Fire are undefeated in their last six home meetings with Crew SC, with two wins and four draws, Crew SC’s last win in Bridgeview, Ill., coming in 2015.

 

Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. ET (TVA Sports)

  • D.C. United had their losing slide extended to three games, falling 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Bojan Krkic netted his first goal for the Impact and in MLS, the only Montréal goal in their 2-1 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They reached a goalless draw on April 9 at Audi Field.
  • The Impact have a four-game undefeated streak alive in Montréal, United’s last victory there coming in 2015. The teams reached a 1-1 draw there in the last meeting in Montréal, last Aug. 4.
  • D.C. United have a win and a draw in the two meetings all-time at Audi Field. United’s 5-0 win there last Sept. 29 was the largest margin of victory by either team in the matchup, and put an end to a six-game winless streak in the series. It was D.C.’s first win vs. Montréal since Aug. 8, 2015, a 1-0 victory at Stade Saputo.

 

New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN)

  • The Revolution extended their undefeated run to three games and gained a result for the 14th time in the past 15 matches, getting a late 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. Gustavo Bou netted the game-winner four minutes from time, while Carles Gil recorded his 12th assist of the season, an eighth game in the last nine with a goal and/or an assist.
  • TFC ran its undefeated streak to three games with a first win in that span, defeating the Montréal Impact 2-1 at BMO Field. Justin Morrow netted the late game-winner for his first goal of the season.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jozy Altidore scored a late game-winner, canceling out a brace from New England’s Carles Gil, giving TFC a 3-2 win on March 17 at BMO Field.
  • TFC has won the last four meetings between the teams at BMO Field. TFC’s win there on Aug. 6, 2016, snapped an eight-game Revolution undefeated streak in the series, dating back to 2013. It was the first home win in the series for TFC since 2010, snapping a six-game winless streak (and three-game losing streak) vs. New England at BMO Field.
  • The Revolution are undefeated in the past seven meetings in Foxborough, Mass., with five wins and two draws in that time.

 

Philadelphia Union vs. Atlanta United, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • The Union won their fourth win in the last six outings, defeating D.C. United 3-1 at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening. Kacper Przybylko netted a goal, his 12th of the season, and also assisted on the other two as the Union won a third consecutive home game.
  • Atlanta United won their fourth game on the trot, defeating Orlando City SC by the game’s only goal at Exploria Stadium on Friday evening. The winning run is one game shy of the club’s MLS record, set earlier this year (from April 27-May 15).
  • Josef Martínez netted his 22nd goal of the season, his MLS-record 12th consecutive game with a goal. The streak started May 24; Martínez has 17 goals over the streak.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Union’s Brenden Aaronson and Atlanta United’s Ezequiel Barco traded second-half goals as the teams reached a 1-1 draw March 17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Atlanta United have never lost to the Union since coming into the league, with three wins and two draws in five meetings. ATLUTD had won the first two meetings in Atlanta before the draw this year.
  • ATLUTD won the last meeting at Talen Energy Stadium, a 2-0 victory last July 7; they reached a 2-2 draw there in their first-ever meeting on Aug. 26, 2017.

 

FC Dallas vs. FC Cincinnati, 8 p.m. ET

  • FC Dallas extended their home undefeated streak to eight matches, rolling to a 5-1 win against the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Stadium on Sunday evening. Zdenek Ondrasek scored a pair of goals, now with three on the season (all in the last two games), while Michael Barriosscored a goal and added an assist, his 13th for the season.
  • FC Cincinnati saw their winless slide continue, falling 3-1 to Columbus Crew SC at Nippert Stadium on Sunday evening. Kekuta Manneh scored the FCC goal, his fourth of the season.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories.

 

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. ET

  • Sporting won for a second consecutive game, defeating Minnesota United FC by the game’s lone goal at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday evening. Erik Hurtado scored the only goal, his second with SKC.
  • The Dynamo had their winless skid extended, falling 5-1 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Sunday evening. Memo Rodríguez netted his sixth goal of the season for the Dynamo tally.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. SKC’s Yohan Croizet and the Dynamo’s Alberth Elis traded goals six minutes apart midway through the second half, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw June 1 at BBVA Stadium.
  • Sporting have a four-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with two wins and two draws. The Dynamo’s last win came in 2016 in Houston.
  • Sporting won the last meeting at Children’s Mercy Park, a 3-2 win on June 23, 2018, their first at home in the series since 2011, ending a seven-game winless streak at Children’s Mercy Park (0-1-6).

 

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. New York City FC, 10 p.m. ET (TSN)

  • The teams met once a year ago, reaching a 2-2 draw on Aug. 4 at Yankee Stadium.
  • The teams have split the two encounters in Vancouver, with NYCFC winning the first meeting by a 2-1 scoreline in 2015, but Whitecaps FC taking a 3-2 win there on July 5, 2017. NYCFC had won the first meeting at Yankee Stadium, a 3-2 victory on April 30, 2016.
  • Jake Nerwinski scored his first career goal in MLS league play in his third season, netting the Whitecaps FC goal in their 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.
  • NYCFC won for a second match in a row, their fifth victory in the past seven games, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. Héber netted an audacious goal for the game-winner, his 13th of the season, while Maximiliano Moralezscored his seventh goal and added his MLS-leading 18th assist.

 

Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET

  • The Timbers suffered a second consecutive defeat, falling 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC at Providence Park on Friday evening. Diego Valeri netted the lone Timbers goal, his seventh of the season and 75th of his MLS league career.
  • Real won for a fourth time in five matches in dramatic fashion, getting two goals in stoppage time for a 2-0 win against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening. Joao Plata converted a penalty kick for his first goal of the season and Jefferson Savarinoscored very late.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Sebastian Blanco and Diego Valeri scored on either side of halftime to lead the Timbers to a 2-1 win on May 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The Timbers have won each of the past three meetings, including both matchups a year ago, the two contests coming over a three-week span at the end of the season. The Timbers cruised to a 4-1 win on Oct. 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium, then took a 3-0 win on Oct. 21 at Providence Park.
  • Real Salt Lake won both meetings in 2017, one at each ground, which put an end to an eight-game Timbers undefeated streak in the all-time league series. The last previous RSL win had come on April 19, 2014; Portland won four of the eight games in between, with four draws.

 

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Orlando City SC, 10:30 p.m. ET

  • The Quakes put an end to their four-game winless skid, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-1 at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. Chris Wondolowski scored his 11th goal of the season and the 155th of his MLS league career, and also added an assist.
  • The Quakes uncorked 45 total attempts at goal, the all-time MLS record for a single game (now in 5,797 regular games).
  • Orlando City SC had their four-game undefeated run come to an end, falling to Atlanta United by the game’s lone goal at Exploria Stadium on Friday evening.
  • Orlando City SC won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 3-2 win on April 21 in Orlando, the first victory by either side in the all-time series.
  • The teams played to draws in each of their first three meetings. They reached a 1-1 draw last at Avaya Stadium on May 17, 2017, the second 1-1 draw they have played to in San Jose (also in 2015). The teams played to a 2-2 draw in their first encounter in Orlando, June 18, 2016 at the Citrus Bowl.

 

Sunday, Sept. 1

Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 6 p.m. (FS1, FOX Deportes, TVA Sports)

  • Sounders FC put an end to a four-game winless slide in perfect fashion, defeating arch-rivals Portland Timbers 2-1 at Providence Park on Friday evening. Raúl Ruidíaz netted his 10th goal of the season, and also set up Cristian Roldan’s opener.
  • The Galaxy made it three games without defeat in a wild 3-3 draw with city rivals Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday evening.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović scored two goals – his third multiple-goal game in five matches vs. LAFC – while Cristian Pavón netted his first career goal in MLS.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, the second time in three weeks. Ibrahimović scored a pair of goals, but Sounders FC gained a late own goal to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw Aug. 17 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
  • Sounders FC claimed a 5-0 victory in the last meeting in Seattle, last Aug. 18 at CenturyLink Field, equaling the club’s record for margin of victory over its 10 MLS seasons, and the Galaxy equaling the biggest margin of defeat in their 23-year history (set twice previously). It was their first against the Galaxy at home in league play since 2014 (though Sounders FC did win twice at home in the MLS Cup Playoffs over that timeframe).
  • Sounders FC have come away with points on four of their last five trips to Carson, Calif., with two wins and two draws. The Seattle win in 2016 ended an 11-game winless streak there in league and MLS Cup play.

 

Los Angeles Football Club vs. Minnesota United FC, 10:30 p.m. ET

  • LAFC saw their long winning streak put to an end but still extended their undefeated streak to six games, coming back for a 3-3 draw with the LA Galaxy at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday evening.
  • Carlos Vela scored his 27th goal of the season, a fourth consecutive game with a goal (and an eighth game with a goal in his last nine), just the fifth player in MLS history to score as many as 27 goals in a season.
  • MNUFC saw their two-game undefeated run snapped, falling to Sporting Kansas City by the game’s only goal at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday evening.
  • 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 July 22 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
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