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September 14, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Major League Soccer releases weekly preview and notes

MLS clubs to play 34 games in 2011

In 2011, each of the 18 MLS clubs will play 34 regular season games, beginning the weekend of March 19. The League will not take any breaks for the CONCACAF Gold Cup or other competitions. The 32-week regular season will conclude on October 22. The format of the regular season and MLS Cup Playoffs are still being reviewed, and the date of MLS Cup will be announced later. MLS clubs will announce their 2011 home openers in the near future.

Roster freeze deadline Wednesday

The MLS Roster Freeze Deadline is this Wednesday, September 15th at 5 p.m. ET. No changes may be made to a team’s roster from the Roster Freeze Deadline until the day after MLS Cup, including changes to the Disabled List.

All players listed on the Disabled List after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday will remain unavailable through MLS Cup. If a team believes its player will recover after Wednesday and would like him to be available to play in any remaining MLS Regular Season and Playoff games, he must be removed from the Disabled List prior to the deadline and any necessary moves to maintain roster compliance must be made by the deadline as well.

In the case of incoming players, if a contract has been signed by the deadline and the League is waiting for his Visa or ITC, the player must still be added to the club’s roster and any related roster moves to accommodate that player must take place before the deadline. The player will be listed as unavailable until the necessary documents are received.

Teams may still add short term replacements after the deadline in cases of extreme hardship, as determined by the League. If a team calls up a player during the MLS Playoffs and he plays in a game, he will be tied to that team for the remainder of Playoffs and MLS Cup. If a player was called up but did not play, then he is not tied to that team.

MLS Playoff race: What lies ahead?

Follow the playoff race by clicking on’s Playoff Standings page.

San Jose appears to have the most favorable remaining schedule, with eight games, four at home, against opponents with the lowest combined winning percentage (.427). Among the eight teams currently chasing playoff spots, New England may have the toughest road, with four road games and facing opponents the highest combined winning percentage (.562) of any team’s remaining schedule. Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC also face a challenge, both with four of their last six games on the road.

Defenses shine late in season

Three of the eight longest shutout streaks in MLS history have been set this season. Real Salt Lake (567 minutes, third) and the LA Galaxy (463 minutes, sixth) had streaks earlier this season – but Real Salt Lake has another one active, at 442 minutes entering their game against Chicago this weekend.

FC Dallas has gone 370 minutes without allowing a goal, just 11 minutes shy of the club record set in 2004.

Three teams are on pace to smash the league record for fewest goals allowed in a single season. The Houston Dynamo allowed 23 goals in 2007 (0.77 per game), one of just seven teams all-time to allow less than a goal per game over a season. Four teams are currently under the goal allowed-per-game mark: Real Salt Lake (0.67, 1st), FC Dallas (0.74, 2nd), Los Angeles Galaxy (0.75, 3rd), Columbus Crew (0.96, 4th).

Champions League resumes

The four MLS participants in the CONCACAF Champions League will see midweek action in Matchday 3 of the group stage.

In Group A, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC will meet on Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. RSL and TFC, along with Cruz Azul (Mexico) and Arabe Unido (Panama), are all tied with 3 points after 2 games.

In Group B, the Columbus Crew will entertain Joe Public FC of Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday at Crew Stadium. The Crew are second in the group with 3 points from 2 games, behind Mexico’s Santos Laguna (6 points).

In Group C, Seattle Sounders FC will be looking for their first point in the competition when they travel to Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica on Tuesday. Monterrey of Mexico leads the group with 6 points, ahead of Saprissa and Marathon of Honduras (3 points each).

MLS Week 24 rewind

The LA Galaxy reclaimed the top spot in the MLS overall table with a 3-1 win against the Columbus Crew in a battle of conference leaders. Real Salt Lake stayed within touching distance of the top, playing to a scoreless draw at Seattle Sounders FC. FC Dallas also maintained their record unbeaten run, ending goalless with the San Jose Earthquakes. The New York Red Bulls cooled off the Colorado Rapids with an impressive 3-1 home win, while Philadelphia Union recorded the first shutout in club history, blanking the Chicago Fire 1-0. For all the highlights of Week 24, click here.

MLS quotables

“I thought I could have played 90 minutes tonight, but after 10 minutes on the field, I felt like I was dying. But I felt good after I came through it, and I finished strong, so I was happy with that.”

— LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham, after his first MLS appearance of the season

“yes #Becks borrowed a jersey out of my closet but he didn’t ask me if he could steal my thunder. better to b copied than to copy I guess :)”

— New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman via Twitter, referring to the form-fitting jersey that David Beckham wore in Saturday’s game.

“We’ve been waiting for it all year. It’s been a long road and it feels especially sweet. I wish it could have happened sooner.”

— Philadelphia Union center back Danny Califf after the first shutout in club history

“We just have to go out to Colorado and get a result. If we lose in Colorado, then that’s our season. Everybody has to realize that.”

— New England Revolution defender Darrius Barnes, after the 2-0 loss to Chivas USA

“It’s not like going to Old Trafford and having 65,000 people screaming down your neck.”

— Colorado Rapids coach Gary Smith, before his team’s game against the New York Red Bulls

“From this point on, and probably well before we got here, this is a very difficult place now to come play a game of football. There’s a buzz around this place.”

— Smith, after Colorado’s 3-1 loss at Red Bull Arena

Previewing Week 25: September 15-19, 2010 (all times PT)

Wednesday, September 15

Philadelphia Union at San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* With Brad Knighton making his second start of the season, Philadelphia Union recorded their first shutout, blanking Chicago 1-0. Knighton’s first start lasted just 22 minutes before he was sent off, Aug. 8 vs. FC Dallas.

* Union striker Danny Mwanga had to come off early in the second half with a suspected separated shoulder. Mwanga leads all rookies this season with seven goals.

* Sebastien Le Toux scored for the second consecutive week for Philadelphia and is now third in the MLS Budweiser Golden Boot standings with 11 goals.

* The Earthquakes saw both of their Brazilians on the field together for the first time against FC Dallas when Eduardo came on for the final 20 minutes, alongside Geovanni. Eduardo made just his second league appearance and had not played since May 1 after suffering a hip injury.

Thursday, September 16

New York Red Bulls at FC Dallas, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* FC Dallas extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games with the scoreless draw in San Jose. It’s the second-longest single-season unbeaten streak in MLS history (along with San Jose in 2005 and D.C. United in 2006); the Columbus Crew went undefeated in the final 18 games of the 2004 season on their way to the MLS record of 19 regular season games without a loss.

* FC Dallas also extended their shutout streak to within 11 minutes of their club record despite missing both of their regular center backs – Ugo Ihemelu and George John, both injured. Rookie Zach Loyd and newcomer Jackson Goncalves comprised the central defense partnership.

* The Red Bulls won their eighth home game of the season, one fewer than league leaders LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.

* An ankle injury caused the second-half departure of Rafael Marquez, but “It is light,” Marquez said of the injury. “And it’s not that bad.”

Saturday, September 18

Chicago Fire at Real Salt Lake, 1 p.m. (TeleFutura)

* With a win or a draw, Real Salt Lake’s home unbeaten streak will extend to 23 games – breaking the all-time MLS record of 22 set by the Columbus Crew (2008-2009).

* The shutout against Seattle featured two players with little experience in the RSL rearguard. Kyle Reynish recorded the shutout in goal in just his second MLS start, his first professional clean sheet. Chris Schuler made the start in central defense, his MLS debut.

* For about 48 hours, anyway, RSL held the overall lead in the MLS standings – on goal differential. RSL was level with the LA Galaxy and Columbus atop the standings after the Thursday draw in Seattle, until LA’s win against Columbus to close out the weekend.

* The Fire were shut out for a second consecutive match and saw their winless streak reach five games in the loss in Philadelphia. Since a thrilling 3-2 win in L.A. in the first match after the acquisition of both Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg, the Fire have won just once in seven games.

Seattle Sounders FC at Columbus Crew, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* The Crew will face Western Conference opposition for the fifth time in six league matches when Seattle comes to town. They have won just one of those matches – a 3-1 win against Colorado – playing to a scoreless draw against FC Dallas while losing to both Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy.

* Without Swiss international striker Blaise Nkufo for a second consecutive match, Sounders FC reached a scoreless draw for the second time in four games, Thursday against RSL.

* A week after making his MLS debut, Andres Mendoza scored his first league goal, getting the late consolation tally in the loss to the Galaxy.

* The teams have another meeting on the horizon – the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which will be played Oct. 3 at Qwest Field.

Toronto FC at Houston Dynamo, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* The Dynamo return to action after an off weekend, having lost back-to-back games and with just one league win since May. The Dynamo reached the playoffs each of its first four seasons in Houston.

* Toronto FC saw their league winless streak reach six games and their goalless run hit 401 minutes in the loss to D.C. United. The scoring drought is one minute shy of this season’s longest, set by D.C. United. TFC has not scored in five games in all competitions.

* Toronto FC has never won at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have never won at BMO Field; the teams played to a 1-1 draw in Ontario on Canada Day (July 1).

New England Revolution at Colorado Rapids, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* Having their two-game string of 3-0 victories put to an end in New York, the Rapids now return home for three games out of the next four, their only game away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park a visit to Real Salt Lake.

* The Revolution kicked off their three-game road swing with the 2-0 loss at Chivas USA, which dropped them to seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

* Omar Cummings has regained his goalscoring touch, now with four goals over the last three games after scoring Colorado’s lone marker at New York. The strike pair of Cummings and Conor Casey have each contributed nine goals this season, after partnering for 24 a season ago (Casey 16, Cummings 8).

* The Revolution have not won in Colorado since June 15, 2002. The Rapids have won five of the eight home meetings since, with three draws.

D.C. United at LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. (FSC / FSE)

* Edson Buddle scored his league-leading 14th goal of the season for the Galaxy against Columbus, ending his personal goalless streak at 363 minutes – his longest of the season.

* With the Galaxy holding a three-goal lead, David Beckham made his 2010 MLS debut, coming on for the final 20 minutes. He received a yellow card after clattering into Columbus midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo.

* Julius James came back to strike against his former club, scoring the only goal in United’s win at Toronto FC, the second win in four games for United.

* D.C. United will be eliminated from postseason contention IF:

o United loses AND San Jose and Seattle both earn at least a point OR

o United ties AND San Jose and Seattle both win AND Colorado earns at least a point

Sunday, September 19

Kansas City Wizards at Chivas USA, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)

* The trip to Chivas USA will kick off a stretch of three games in seven days for the Wizards. After having last weekend off, the Wizards will play host to Houston (Wednesday) and FC Dallas (Saturday) next week.

* Justin Braun continued his goal scoring prowess for Chivas USA, moving into a tie for fifth place in the MLS Budweiser Golden Boot standings with his ninth goal of the season in the 2-0 win against New England.

* Both Braun goals were set up by Alan Gordon, making his fifth appearance for Chivas USA after moving across The Home Depot Center from the LA Galaxy. Gordon was named the MLS Player of the Week.

* The first meeting of the season between the clubs, July 10 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, was a 2-0 Chivas USA victory, their first ever in Kansas City. The Wizards have never defeated Chivas at The Home Depot Center.


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