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August 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Major League Soccer releases weekly preview and notes

Revolution look to add SuperLiga honor Wednesday

The New England Revolution will look to become the first team to win SuperLiga twice, when they face Monarcas Morelia of Mexico at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday in the SuperLiga final. The Revolution are the only MLS team to have won SuperLiga, defeating the Houston Dynamo on penalty kicks in 2008. The teams met during group play, with the Revolution taking a 1-0 victory.

The game will be broadcast live on TeleFutura beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET.

U.S. Open Cup semifinals Wednesday

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to all-MLS final four, with the two finalists to be determined in Wednesday semifinals.

D.C. United will play host to the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium, four days before the clubs also meet in a key league game. United are two-time Open Cup winners (1996, 2008), while the Crew won in 2002. United lost in the final a year ago.

In the other semifinal, Seattle Sounders FC — who defeated D.C. United in the final to win last year’s edition — host Chivas USA. Chivas USA are in the Open Cup semifinals for the first time.

Should D.C. United win, they will host the Open Cup final on Oct. 6. If Columbus wins, the Crew will travel to either Chivas USA (Oct. 12) or Seattle (Oct. 5) for the championship match.

22 MLS Players on international duty this week

Twenty-two players representing 11 different countries will be on international duty this weekend and early next week for the official FIFA international fixture date. Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore has called in six MLS players for friendlies against Costa Rica and Peru, while Canada head coach has called in four players for games against Peru and Honduras – and no players are away with the U.S. national team, which has no match scheduled.

MLS Week 22 rewind

Dramatic winners were scored in Seattle, where MLS Player of the Week Fredy Montero’s second goal gave Sounders FC a 2-1 win against Chicago, and in New England, where a late Justin Mapp strike gave Philadelphia Union a 2-1 win against a 10-man Revolution. FC Dallas set an MLS record, extending their road unbeaten streak to 10 games in a scoreless tie at Columbus. Thierry Henry scored his first MLS goal as the New York Red Bulls kept touch with a 2-0 win against San Jose. The Kansas City Wizards also stayed hot and continued to pull back the LA Galaxy with a 2-0 win. For all the highlights of Week 22, click here.

Supporters’ Shield race tightens

Just six points separate the five teams chasing after the Supporters’ Shield after Week 22 of the Major League Soccer season. The LA Galaxy still lead with 43 points after their home loss, but Columbus (41) and Real Salt Lake (40) are both within striking distance, as are the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas, both with 37.

The top two teams in each conference will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs and gain the top two seeds in each. The next four teams in the overall standings, regardless of conference, will receive wildcard berths.

MLS quotables

“It’s so much easier — all I have to do is sit in the blocks like Usain Bolt because I know they’ll find me.”

— New York Red Bulls winger Dane Richards after his first MLS goal this season

“He makes his (MLS) debut, it’s his first game for us, he keeps a clean sheet and there is a very good chance he will have his first child in the week. He has a right to celebrate tonight for sure.”

— Colorado Rapids coach Gary Smith on goalkeeper Ian Joyce

“We know we are good enough to win every game we play. We are one of the best in the league now, and we are actually kind of disappointed we didn’t get three points.”

— FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea, after the scoreless draw at Columbus

“Today, the boys became men, and it looks like we got our mojo back,”

— Philadelphia Union team manager Peter Nowak, after the late 2-1 win at New England

Previewing Week 23: September 4-5, 2010 (all times PT)

Saturday, September 4

Kansas City Wizards at Philadelphia Union, 12:30 p.m.

  • Philadelphia Union snapped a six-game winless streak with their 2-1 win at New England on Saturday. It was the second road victory in the club’s history, the first coming in a 3-2 win at Houston on May 29.
  • Justin Mapp’s goal three minutes deep into stoppage time was the third game-winning goal scored after the 90th minute by Philadelphia this season. Danny Mwanga scored the game winner against Houston on May 29 in the 93rd minute, while Sebastian Le Toux converted a penalty five minutes into stoppage time for a 2-1 win vs. Toronto FC on July 17. The Union have five goals after the 90th minute, by far most in MLS.
  • The Union will host Mexico’s Chivas de Guadalajara this Wednesday, September 1, for a friendly at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
  • The win against the LA Galaxy gave the Wizards back-to-back league wins for the first time this season since winning their first two games of the season, March 27 and April 10.

LA Galaxy at Chicago Fire, 1 p.m. (TeleFutura)

  • The LA Galaxy have lost back-to-back league games for the first time this season and were shut out in consecutive MLS games for the second time this year. They were also held scoreless in each game on either side of the World Cup break.
  • After recording three assists in his previous two matches, Freddie Ljungberg was held off the scoresheet Saturday in his first meeting against his former club. The teams meet once more in the regular season: Sept. 25 at Toyota Park.
  • John Thorrington scored on a penalty kick Saturday as he made his 2010 debut for the Fire after missing the first two-thirds of the season with a quadriceps injury.
  • The teams meet for the second time in less than a month, after the Fire came away with a 3-2 win at The Home Depot Center on Aug. 1.

Columbus Crew at D.C. United, 4:30 p.m. (FSC / FSE)

  • The teams will be meeting Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal at RFK Stadium, four days before the regularly scheduled league game.
  • Sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference but still with a chance to bring home a trophy, United interim head coach Ben Olsen opted to rest many of his regular starters in the 1-0 loss Sunday night at Chivas USA.
  • D.C. United was shut out for the 14th time this season, one shy of the all-time MLS record. Toronto FC was shut out 15 times in 2007, matched last year by the New York Red Bulls.
  • The Crew suffered through a tough week last week, losing 1-0 at Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League when a potential equalizer was waved off, as well as playing to a scoreless draw with FC Dallas.

Seattle Sounders FC at New England Revolution, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

  • Fredy Montero pulled into third place in the MLS Budweiser Golden Boot standings with his two goals vs. Chicago, now with 10 this season. Montero has seven goals and six assists in his last 11 games, playing a part in all but three of Sounders FC’s goals since June 5.
  • Kasey Keller saw his shutout streak end at 379 minutes in the 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire, the fourth-longest run in MLS this season.
  • Sounders FC are unbeaten in seven league games, having won three in a row at Qwest Field.
  • The Revolution have matched their longest losing streak of the season, equaling the three losses – all by shutout – from June 5-July 2.
  • Bobby Shuttleworth made his third MLS appearance and second league start in the loss in Philadelphia, playing between the posts in place of the injured Matt Reis.

Toronto FC at FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

  • FC Dallas set an MLS record with the scoreless draw at Columbus, now 10 games without a loss away from Pizza Hut Park. FCD surpassed the mark set by Chicago (9/8/2007 – 5/25/2008) and Columbus (7/10-10/16/2004).
  • FC Dallas is currently on a 12-game undefeated streak. Only six teams in MLS history have strung together a longer undefeated streak: D.C. United was undefeated in 13 games in 2007 and the MLS record is 19 which was set by the Crew from July 2004-April 2005.
  • After losing for the first time at BMO Field in more than a year in league play, Toronto FC played to their fourth scoreless draw at home this year, in the tie with Real Salt Lake.
  • Toronto FC will be without three players – midfielders Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman, and defender Nana Attakora – called into the Canadian national team.
  • Toronto FC has just one win on the road, tied for fewest in MLS with three other teams. “It comes down to how many players we’ll have,” said Preki. “Some are going, but none are coming. We only have one win on the road. We need points, so we’ll have to start winning some time.”

New York Red Bulls at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

  • Real Salt Lake host New York in a rematch of the 2008 Western Conference Championship with a chance to equal the MLS record for the longest home undefeated streak, held by the Columbus Crew. RSL last lost at Rio Tinto Stadium in league play last May 16, a 2-0 loss to Kansas City.
  • Thierry Henry scored his first MLS goal as a member of the New York Red Bulls, sealing the victory against San Jose at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls will be without four starters for the game at RSL to international duty — midfielders Rafael Marquez (Mexico) and Dane Richards (Jamaica), goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul (Senegal) and defender Roy Miller (Costa Rica). They could have been without a fifth, but Joel Lindpere turned down the invitation from Estonia.
  • Real Salt Lake will be without two internationals on their own: Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) and Will Johnson (Canada).
  • Real have reeled off another six-game unbeaten streak in league play, after going 10 games without a loss earlier this year.

Chivas USA at Colorado Rapids, 6 p.m.

  • Despite his wife due to give birth at any moment, Ian Joyce started in goal for Colorado in his MLS debut and recorded a 3-0 shutout against Houston. Matt Pickens, who had started all 20 previous league games, was out with back spasms.
  • Colorado scored more than one goal in a game for the first time in more than two months, since a 2-2 draw in the first meeting with Houston, June 26 at Robertson Stadium.
  • Chivas USA started a stretch of five home games out of seven with the 1-0 win against D.C. United, a win that pulled them within seven points of the final wild card berth.
  • After giving young players such as rookies Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin starts throughout the year, Chivas USA coach Martin Vasquez started a veteran midfield of Jonathan Bornstein, Marcelo Saragosa, Paulo Nagamura and Rodolfo Espinoza. “If you look at our group tonight, we have experience,” Vasquez said. “It’s going to be important in these games.”

Sunday, September 5

San Jose Earthquakes at Houston Dynamo, 5:30 p.m.

  • The Dynamo went to Colorado with a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since June 10-13, 2009 – but came away with a 3-0 defeat. It’s been 42 league and playoff games since Houston won back-to-back.
  • The Dynamo were shut out for the fifth time in their last seven games, since July 10, in Colorado. But they have scored six goals in that time – a 2-2 tie with New York and a 4-3 win against Chicago.
  • The Earthquakes saw their string of four consecutive 1-0 games – and back-to-back 1-0 wins – come to an end in the loss at New York, which started a two-game road swing.
  • The two clubs that share a common past and have already developed a fierce rivalry are meeting for the first time this season. They also meet Oct. 16 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

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