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July 31, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Major League Soccer releases weekly preview and notes

D.C. United captures SUM U-17 Cup in PKs

D.C. United goalkeeper Dakota Niedermeier was the hero for the United academy squad in the 2010 SUM U-17 Cup. United claimed their second consecutive and third overall title with a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Real Salt Lake. Niedermeier made three brilliant saves during regulation, which finished 0-0, and then saved an astonishing five penalty kicks in the shootout.

Tournament awards were handed out on Saturday at the AT&T MLS All-Star Game with the Golden Ball Most Valuable Player award going to D.C. United forward Yaw Amankwa and the Golden Gloves Most Valuable Goalkeeper award going to Houston’s Fernando Pina, who played 225 minutes without allowing a goal. Houston forward Tamay Sanchez scored four goals and won the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top goal scorer. .

For more on the SUM U-17 Cup Final, click here.

MLS Week 17 rewind

The Columbus Crew extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference, rolling to a 3-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo. Real Salt Lake continued their home unbeaten streak, despite being pulled back into a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA. The San Jose Earthquakes twice held leads, but the LA Galaxy twice came back for a 2-2 draw. Seattle Sounders FC won a second game in a row, knocking off the Colorado Rapids. For all the highlights of Week 16, click here.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC win expansion priority coin flip

Vancouver Whitecaps FC won the coin flip at halftime of the AT&T All-Star Game that will give the club their choice of the first pick in the 2011 Expansion Draft, MLS SuperDraft, and other player acquisition mechanisms.

On August 11, Whitecaps FC must choose first priority in one of the following mechanisms, then alternating choices with fellow 2011 expansion club Portland Timbers, through the priority list:

1. First pick in the Expansion Draft

2. First pick in the MLS SuperDraft

3. USL Player Priority on opening of signing period

4. Allocation Ranking

5. Designated Player Ranking

6. Discovery Ranking

7. Lottery Ranking

8. Waiver/Re-entry Draft Ranking

Toronto, Seattle win in CONCACAF Champions League

Two MLS teams got their CONCACAF Champions League campaigns off on the right foot with victories in the first legs of their preliminary round series. Behind a goal from Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC opened with a 1-0 win against CD Motagua of Honduras, and Seattle Sounders FC, with a goal by Fredy Montero, posted a 1-0 win against AD Isidro Metapan of El Salvador. The LA Galaxy began their series with a 4-1 loss to Puerto Rico Islanders of the USSF D-2 Pro League.

All three MLS teams go on the road next week for the second legs, with the winners advancing to the group stage.

MLS quotables

“It was quite an experience riding in with the fans. But for me, it was the quickest way to come to the game.”

— Thierry Henry, after riding the PATH train to Red Bull Arena for his first game with the New York Red Bulls

“If we went over to Manchester United in our preseason and they were in midseason, I think you see a different kind of result. But anytime you can beat this type of competition, it helps the league.”

— Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad to the Kansas City Star

“I don’t think we necessarily came into this game to try to steal a result as much as we wanted to give all players an opportunity to play against Manchester United and try to put on a good game.”

— LA Galaxy and MLS All-Star head coach Bruce Arena

Previewing Week 18: July 31-August 1, 2010 (all times PT)

Saturday, July 31

New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union, 12:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* The Revolution return to league play for the first time in three weeks. Their last MLS game was a 2-0 victory against the LA Galaxy – which launched an unbeaten run through SuperLiga group play.

* Philadelphia Union return to league play after a 1-0 loss to Manchester United last Saturday at PPL Park, a result the expansion club says will help it down the road.

* Marko Perovic has scored goals in three of the last four games for the Revolution – including the lone goal in two of the Revolution’s three SuperLiga victories. The Revs won all three games by 1-0 scorelines; they have not allowed a goal in 365 minutes in all competitions, since the final goal of a 5-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on July 2.

FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids, 1 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* FC Dallas will be visiting Colorado in a huge match in the Western Conference standings, with the teams separated by three points. “This is a really important game because Colorado just lost on the road and they’re behind us, so it’s a six-point swing,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman.

* FCD has five wins and four draws in the last 10 games after coming back for a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC last Saturday.

* Milton Rodriguez scored his first goal for FC Dallas, heading home a corner kick in his second MLS game.

New York Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* Thierry Henry is expected to make his MLS debut for the New York Red Bulls. Henry scored in his first appearance for New York, in a friendly against Tottenham Hotspur.

* The Dynamo are coming off a second consecutive shutout which extended their winless run to seven games, a crushing 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew.

* The teams are meeting for the second time this season, the Red Bulls claiming a 2-1 win June 2 at Red Bull Arena on Juan Pablo Angel’s last-minute goal.

Toronto FC at Kansas City Wizards, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* The Wizards are still basking in their victory last weekend against Manchester United, a 2-1 victory behind goals from Kei Kamara and Davy Arnaud. The Wizards were down a man for 51 minutes.

* Toronto FC have scored one goal in each of their last five games. They followed a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in league play last weekend with a 1-0 victory against Motagua of Honduras in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League series.

* The teams played to a scoreless draw in their first meeting, June 5 at BMO Field.

D.C. United at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* While D.C. United’s last league game, a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy, extended their winless streak to five games, they are coming off a 4-0 victory against England’s Portsmouth FC last weekend at RFK Stadium.

* Real Salt Lake remained undefeated on the year at Rio Tinto Stadium despite being hauled back into a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA last weekend. RSL now has a 19-game home undefeated streak, three shy of the MLS record.

* United and Real played to a scoreless draw June 5 at RFK Stadium, three days after United won a U.S. Open Cup play-in match between the clubs. United reached the semifinals with a win last week against USL-2 Harrisburg City Islanders.

* After winning on their first trip to Salt Lake, D.C. United haven’t won there since, outscored 10-3 in their last three games at RSL.

* United’s U-17 team just defeated that of RSL in the SUM U-17 Cup final in Houston Thursday.

Seattle Sounders FC at San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* Blaise Nkufo made his first appearance in the 2-1 win against Colorado, and the biggest beneficiary could be strike partner Fredy Montero, who played a part in both goals. Montero has a goal or an assist in each of the last seven league games, with three goals and five assists in that time.

* San Jose have a win and three draws in their last four games after gaining a point in a 2-2 tie with the LA Galaxy on July 22.

* The Earthquakes won the first meeting between the teams, 1-0 on May 22, behind an 84th-minute goal by Chris Wondolowski.

Columbus Crew at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* The Crew’s Leandre Griffit scored within two minutes of coming on in his MLS debut against Houston, equaling the MLS record set four times previously.

* Rookie Shaun Francis made the start for Columbus at left back, the first rookie to start a game for Columbus since Alex Grendi started the second game of last season.

* Chivas USA have rebounded from their six-game league losing streak with a win and two draws after the 1-1 tie with Real Salt Lake.

* The Crew won the first meeting between the teams, a dramatic 1-0 victory on May 15 settled with a last-minute penalty kick by Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Sunday, August 1

Chicago Fire at LA Galaxy, 4:30 p.m. (FSC / FSE)

* The game will be the first in MLS play in nearly a month for the Fire, their last league contest a 1-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake on July 8.

* The Fire are expected to give Nery Castillo his first appearance. The Mexican international was signed as a Designated Player with the opening of the secondary transfer window.

* Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said goalkeeper Sean Johnson could be given the start this weekend. Andrew Dykstra – who made his MLS debut in the season opener – has started every MLS game this season for Chicago.

* After allowing just 10 goals in their first 18 league games, the Galaxy lost 4-1 to USSF D-II Puerto Rico Islanders on Tuesday in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round series.

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