Weekly Preview-MLS Week 8, USL Week 5

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All four Texas Men’s Professional Teams are in action this weekend.  San Antonio FC is the only team to travel, heading to Vancouver for the first of three in the Pacific Northwest.  The Game of Week in Texas, and probably in all of MLS, will be FC Dallas hosting Sporting KC….the hottest team in the league right now.

Major League Soccer Week 8:

Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes 

BBVA Compass Stadium-Houston-3:00 p.m., Saturday April 22, 2017

  • San Jose and Houston will always be tied together because of the relocation of the earlier version of the Earthquakes to Houston in 2005. Additionally, founding Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear, a  true legend in Houston,  is now back at San Jose for his third season as their coach.  Three of Kinnear’s assistants also coached with the Dynamo.
  • Houston and San Jose have played eight times in Houston.  The Dynamo have won 5 of the these matches (5-2-1).
  • Chris Wondolowski continues to have a remarkable career since leaving the Dynamo. His 123 all-time MLS goals put him within striking distance of a number of goal-scoring MLS records, including most game-winners and road goals.
  • The Earthquakes played to a 0-0 draw in New England Wednesday night to earn their first road point of the season.  The Revolution had the better of the play, but Wondolowski missed a golden opportunity to score in a hilarious (not to him I suspect) bungled attempt.  San Jose, who have not won in five games, now sit in 5th place with 9 points, one behind the Dynamo.

  • The Dynamo injury situation is better this week as three injured defenders have all taken a step forward to their return.  Agus, who has not played this year, has been upgraded to doubtful, AJ DeLaGarza is listed as questionable and Leonardo is now probable.  Based on comments in the press this week, Leonardo is more likely to play than AJ.  If DeLaGarza is unable to go, I hope Kevin Garcia, a real defender, replaces him in the lineup instead of Boniek Garcia.
  • The Earthquakes are one of the handful of teams the Dynamo will face three times in the regular season.  San Jose returns to Houston in August (lucky them) and the Dynamo will play in Avaya Stadium in mid-September.

FC Dallas (FCD) vs. Sporting Kansas City (SKC)

Toyota Stadium-Dallas-7:00 p.m.,  Saturday April 22, 2017

  • As two of the original MLS franchises (under different names earlier in their histories) FCD and SKC have played each other evenly over 55 matches. SKC holds a slight lead in the all-time series (23-21-11).  As would be expected, FCD has the upper hand at home (13-9-5).  SKC has played Dallas tough in Dallas recently though, earning two draws in the last four matches played at Toyota Field. Midfielder Benny Feilhaber has been particularly difficult to handle for Dallas.  He has scored 4 goals in 9 games against FCD, the most against any team in MLS.
  • Neither team has lost this year.  SKC is currently in second place in the Western Conference on 12 points, one ahead of FCD who have played one fewer game.
  • Kansas City has only conceded two goals and 51 shots this year, both league leading totals.  Not surprisingly, one reason for the stingy record is because they have had the luxury of playing with the same back six (goalie, defenders and holding midfielder) all six games this season.
  • SKC comes to Dallas riding high after an eye-opening shutout victory in Portland last week.  Three SKC players: goalkeeper Tim Melia, defender Ike Opara and midfielder Ilie Sanchez, were named to the MLS Team of the Week. Dom Dwyer, who recently became a U.S. Citizen, leads the team with 2 goals (scored in the last two games) in 2017.
  • This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams.  FCD traveled to KC in week 2 and came away with a 0-0 draw.  That game could only be described as ugly.  FCD rested a number of starters in anticipation of Champions League play and disrupted the game as much as humanly possible.  FCD will return to Kansas for a third regular season match later in August.  Given the talent and fast start of these two sides, it is not unreasonable to expect playoff meetings also.

United Soccer League Week 5:

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. San Antonio FC (SAFC)

Thunderbird Stadium, Vancouver, B.C. Canada -5:00 p.m. CDT, Saturday April 22, 2017

  • SAFC currently sits in first place in the Western Conference with 10 points (3-0-1). Vancouver is in sixth place on 7 points (2-1-2).  Vancouver is on a two game winning streak, having defeated Cascadia rivals Seattle and Portland.
  • SAFC won the only previous meeting between the two clubs…2-0 in San Antonio last July.  The return leg of the 2017 series will be played in San Antonio on August 23.
  • Billy Forbes, with a goal and an assist Saturday night, was named to the USL Team of the Week.  Matt Cardone and Cesar Elizondo joined Forbes on the “bench”.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps 2 divide their matches between two home stadiums.  This will be the first game to be played at Thunderbird Stadium, which is approximately 7 miles west of the center of the city on the University of British Columbia campus. The other stadium is in Langley, a suburb about 30 miles southeast from the center of Vancouver.
  • Thomas Sanner, who is only one of a handful of players from the United States on the Whitecaps 2 official roster, leads the team with two goals, including the game winner last week against Portland Timbers 2 (T2). Goalkeeper Sean Melvin was named to the USL Team of the Week after making five saves in the same T2 match.
  • SAFC’s Kris Tyrpak has been a problem for Vancouver in his USL career. He has three regular season goals and also scored twice against Whitecaps 2 in last seasons Western Conference Finals…knocking Vancouver out of the playoffs.

Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC

H-E-B Park-Edinburg-7:30 p.m., Saturday April 22, 2017

  • Tulsa, who were off last week, sit in 13th place with 3 points (1-2-0).  Their only victory came against RGV FC (1-0) in Week 2. Tulsa unfortunately had to forfeit another earlier victory, because of use of an ineligible player. RGV FC, on the heals of two consecutive wins, is now in 7th place on 6 points.
  • Memo Rodriquez, who scored twice in the Colorado Springs victory a week ago Wednesday was named to the USL Team of the Week.
  • This will be the final game of the regular season series between the Roughnecks and RGVFC.
  • Tulsa defender Bradley Bourgeois, a Houston Dynamo Academy graduate who played for the Toros last season, will miss the match with a foot injury.
  • Nicholas Murray wrote a piece this week about how nicely veteran Argentinian midfielder Juan Caffa and U.S. youth-international Colin Fernandez (on loan from MLS-side Chicago Fire) are combining in the center-midfield for Tulsa.  The article (link below) highlighted the distribution and touch map for these two against RGV FC a couple of weeks ago. Fernandez returns after spending time with the U.S. U-20’s in London, so the Toros center-midfielders, Charlie Ward and Eric Bird, will have their hands full this weekend.
  • Ward is a true iron-man.  He has played the full 90 minutes in 34 consecutive regular season matches.

http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/783100?referrer_id=

  • Ward is a true iron-man.  He has played the full 90 minutes in 34 consecutive regular season matches.

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