Tagged: Weekly Preview-2017

MLS Week 16 and USL Week 13 Preview

Major League Soccer (MLS):

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Dallas (FCD)

BC Place-Vancouver, B.C., Canada-9:00 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 17, 2017

Record and Standings:

Vancouver Whitecaps:  6-6-1-19 points (Tied for fifth place in the Western Conference)

FC Dallas:  6-3-5-23 points (Tied for third place in the Western Conference) 

An extra time own goal allowed FCD to beat Tulsa 2-1 and advance to the 5th round of the U.S. Open Cup, where they will host Colorado Rapids on June 28.

A Key Question:

Can FCD return to the dominating early season performance after experiencing a slump where it has only won once in the last six league matches?

https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-06-17-vancouver-whitecaps-fc-vs-fc-dallas/preview

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo

Stub Hub Center, Los Angeles, CA-10:00 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 17, 2017

Record and Standings:

LA Galaxy:  5-5-3-18 points (Eighth place in the Western Conference)  

Houston Dynamo:  7-6-2-23 points (Tied for third place in the Western Conference) 

Memo Rodriquez scored in the 109th minute to lead the Dynamo to a 3-2 U.S. Open Cup win in added extra time against North Carolina FC in Cary, NC.  The Dynamo played exclusively with a squad consisting of reserves and short-term contract players from Rio Grande Valley.  Houston will now host Sporting KC at BBVA Compass Stadium in the next round June 28.

A Key Question:

Can the Dynamo build on its first road victory and also secure its first MLS road win, against an in-form but short-handed Galaxy, in the same week?

https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-06-17-la-galaxy-vs-houston-dynamo/preview

United Soccer League (USL):

San Antonio FC (SAFC) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks

Toyota Field-San Antonio-7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17, 2017

Record and Standings:

San Antonio FC:  9-0-4-31 points (Second place in the Western Conference)

Tulsa Roughnecks:  5-6-0-15 points (Eighth place in the Western Conference)

A Key Question:

Is Cyprian Hedrick ready to step back in for the full 90 to replace suspended Steven McCarthy at center back?

http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/804606?referrer_id=2430124

Los Angeles Galaxy II (Los Dos) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (RGV FC)

H-E-B Park, Edinburg-7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 17, 2017

Record and Standings:

Rio Grande Valley FC:  5-4-2-17 points (Tied for fifth place in the Western Conference) 

LA Galaxy II:  2-8-2-8 points (Fourteenth place in the Western Conference)

A Key Question:

How many Toros players returning from their stint with the Dynamo in NC will be in the lineup tomorrow?

http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/804608?referrer_id=2430124

USL Week 12 Preview

Seattle Sounders 2 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (RGV FC)

H-E-B Park, Edinburg-7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 10, 2017

Record and Standings:

Rio Grande Valley FC:  4-4-2-14 points (Tied for Eighth place in the Western Conference)  Home: 3-2-1

Seattle Sounders 2:  5-5-2-17 points (Tied for Third in the West)  Away: 2-2-1

  • The Toros will look to rebound from the disappointing 3-2 loss to Reno 1868, a game where they lost the lead twice.  Three Dynamo rostered players (Kevin Garcia, Joe Holland and Memo Rodriquez) joined in Reno to bolster the RGV FC squad that is playing 3 games in 8 days.  RGV FC is undefeated in its last three outings at H-E-B Park.
  • Sounders 2 are coming off of an impressive 3-0 victory over LA Galaxy II last weekend.  Unfortunately for them, forward Irvin Parra who had two goals and an assist in the victory and was named the USL Player of the Week, will miss the game due to yellow card caution accumulation.

OKC Energy FC vs. San Antonio FC (SAFC)

Taft Stadium-Oklahoma City, OK-7:30 p.m. CDT-Saturday, June 10, 2017

Record and Standings:

OKC Energy FC:  4-5-1-13 points (Eleventh place in the Western Conference) Home: 4-1-0

San Antonio FC:  9-0-3-30 points (Tied for first in the West) Away: 5-0-0

  • Energy FC recorded its third win in the past four games with a 3-2 victory against Phoenix Rising FC on Tuesday night.  Unfortunately forward Wojciech Wojcik, who scored twice, including the 69th minute game winner, fractured an elbow and will be out indefinitely.  OKC will also be missing goalkeeper Cody Laurendi who is away on international duty.
  • Undefeated SAFC can set a record for consecutive USL road wins with a victory Saturday night.  Left back Greg Cochrane is serving a one game suspension after picking up a red card late in last weeks draw with Swope Park.
  • SAFC’s success has been built on the back of its team defense.  The team has only conceded four goals so far in 2017 and has now gone 555 minutes in league play without conceding a goal. SAFC also leads the league in shutouts with nine, six of them by reserve goalkeeper Diego Restrepo since replacing injured Matt Cardone in April.

MLS Preview-Week 15

There are only three matches being played in MLS this week because of the international break.  FC Dallas will play one of those three on the road against Portland Timbers Saturday night.  In addition to Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta who are away with the United States National team, FCD starters Maynor Figueroa and Tesho Akindele have also been called into national team camps and will miss Saturday’s match.  Another reason MLS has no business playing during international windows.

Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas (FCD)

Providence Park-Portland, OR-9:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 10, 2017

Record and Standings:

Portland Timbers:  6-5-3-21 points (Fourth place in the Western Conference)  

FC Dallas:  6-2-5-23 points (Tied for second place in the Western Conference)

  • Dallas has only won once in Portland, though the Timbers enter Saturday’s match on a five-game winless streak against FC Dallas (0-4-1)
  • FCD midfielder Roland Lamah was named the Alcatel MLS Player of the Week due to his first-half hat trick against Real Salt Lake.  In addition to Lamah, forward Maxi Urruti was also named to the MLS Team of the Week.
  • This is the first of two back-to-back trips to the Pacific Northwest for FCD.  After returning home for the midweek U.S. Open Cup match against Tulsa, FCD will play Vancouver Whitecaps away next weekend.
  • With international call-ups and the injury to Walker Zimmerman, Oscar Pareja will need to cobble together a make-shift back line on Saturday night. Not something you prefer to do when facing two Portland attacking talents like Diego Valeri (8 goals) and Fernando Adi (6 goals).  Portland started off the season like gangbusters, cooled off and, most recently, won their first game in six last weekend against San Jose in Portland

The game preview on mlssoccer.com is below:

https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-06-10-portland-timbers-vs-fc-dallas/preview

USL Week 11 Preview

San Antonio FC (SAFC) vs. Swope Park Rangers

Toyota Field, San Antonio-7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 3, 2017

Record and Standings:

Swope Park Rangers:  4-4-0-12 points (Tied for Eighth in Western Conference) Away: 0-3-0

San Antonio FC:  9-0-2-29 points (First in Western Conference)  Home:  4-0-2

  • Swope Park heads to San Antonio to play SAFC in the second half of the mid-season back-to-back games between the two sides.  SAFC won in Kansas City 1-0 last weekend, despite having only 23% of the possession on the night.  SAFC will be smarting from the loss in the Open Cup to Tulsa last Wednesday and will look to continue their streak of being the only remaining undefeated professional soccer team in North America.  Swope Park will certainly be more rested than the home side, because the team didn’t have an Open Cup match.   MLS owned USL teams are disqualified from this competition.
  • San Antonio now has five straight shutouts (464 minutes).  One potential complicating factor to maintaining this streak is that SAFC starting center defenders Sebastian Ibeagha and Stephen McCarthy will be suspended if they pick up another yellow card.  Both USL and MLS have a policy that results in a one-game suspension if a player earns five yellow cards in a certain period of time.  Ibeagha and McCarthy are currently on four.
  • According to the Sporting Kansas City website, the Rangers will be missing several key players. Mark Anthony Gonzalez, the team’s 2016 Offensive Player of the Year, and Sporting KC loanee Colton Storm are sidelined due to injury.  In addition, on-loan defender Erik Palmer-Brown is away at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and Kevin Oliveira is in Portugal for a training camp with the Cape Verde National Team.  SAFC will be missing players too, but good luck having the team tell us who is injured and how long they will be out.
  • Sporting Kansas City announced on Wednesday it had signed 2016 USL All-League defender Amer Didic to an MLS contract.  Didic is the third player from the Rangers to sign with SKC following Adrian Zendejas and Tyler Pasher.  Given the talent on the SKC side, all three are likely to still primarily feature in USL for the remainder of the season.

Sacramento Republic FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (RGV FC)

Papa Murphy’s Park, Sacramento, CA-10:00 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 3, 2017

Record and Standings:

Sacramento Republic:  4-5-2-14 points (Tied for Fourth place in the Western Conference) Home: 2-1-0

Rio Grande Valley FC:  4-3-1-13 points (Seventh place in the Western Conference) Away: 1-1

  • Sacramento Republic, after beating Reno 1868 2-0 on Wednesday night to advance to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup, returns to league action this weekend against Rio Grande Valley FC. Though Sacramento has played three more games than RGV FC, this will only be the fourth home game of the season for the Republic. The Toros on the other hand will only be playing their third away game.  These schedule aberrations are why it makes little sense to pay attention to the standings this early in the year in USL.
  • The Toros, who have not played since May 20, should benefit from the extra rest, but Sacramento head coach Paul Buckle was fairly giddy after Wednesday’s victory:

“We’re on a run,“ said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We moved the ball well and we snuffed out everything they had. I thought it was a totally complete performance.

  • The Toros now enter a busy stretch of games.  After the game in Sacramento, RGV FC heads to Reno to play the suddenly resurgent (at least in regular season play) 1868 squad.  After that game the team return to the Valley on June 10 to play Sounders 2, the third match in 8 days.
  • With the goal defender Kai Greene scored in the draw with LA Galaxy 2 two weeks ago, he becomes the eighth Toro to score this year.  Only Dynamo reserve Memo Rodriquez, who played one game on loan at RGV FC this year, has scored multiple goals for RGV FC this year.
  • The Monitor’s Sports Editor Greg Luca (@GregLuca)  published an informative piece on Kai Greene and his charity work recently.  Greene is a very good defender with a lot of upside in a position (right back) lacking a deep pool of talent in MLS. According to the article, he hopes to be in MLS this year and eventually play for the U.S. National Team.  He certainly doesn’t lack confidence:

“I feel like I’m the best one-on-one defender in the league, to be honest,” Greene said. “Individually, I feel like I’ll take myself 10 times out of 10 against any winger that comes at me, or any forward that comes at me.”

Here is a link to the full article:

http://www.themonitor.com/sports/article_45e5a328-3d01-11e7-9378-f72b19660db7.html

MLS Preview-Week 14 (Updated)

The Dynamo, fresh off the 5-1 thrashing of Real Salt Lake (RSL), travel to Seattle to face a Seattle Sounders team that lost a 3-0 midweek game in Columbus.  RSL stayed in Texas and now have the pleasure of facing FC Dallas, who are winless in their last four matches.

FC Dallas (FCD) vs. Real Salt Lake (RSL)

Toyota Stadium – Frisco-7:00 p.m., Saturday, June 3, 2017

Record and Standings:

FC Dallas:  5-2-5-20 points (Third place in the Western Conference)

Real Salt Lake:  4-9-2-14 points (Tied for Ninth place in the West)

  • Dallas has now gone 4 games without a victory since they defeated RSL 3-0 in Sandy, Utah on May 6th.  This game will be the last in Frisco before FCD goes out on a three game road trip.  A visit from a weakened RSL side may just be what FCD needs to break out of its slump.  In addition to the full United States National team and U-20 players missing from the Houston game, RSL will lose recently signed winger Jefferson Savarino, who has joined Venezuela for its friendly against the U.S. in Salt Lake City tomorrow night.
  • FCD learned this week that they will need to play without key central defender Walker Zimmerman for the next 4-6 weeks due to an MCL Strain suffered in the draw with the Dynamo Sunday night.  Center back is the one position on the team without significant depth and Zimmerman will be missed, especially since the other central defender, Matt Hedges, has been called into the U.S. camp also.  Head coach Oscar Pareja will be faced with some interesting lineup decisions on Saturday night.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo

Century Link Field-Seattle, WA-9:00 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 4, 2017

Record and Standings:

Seattle Sounders:  4-6-4-16 points (Tied for Seventh place in the Western Conference) Home: 3-1-2

Houston Dynamo:  7-5-2-23 points (First in the West)  Away: 0-5-1

  • The short-handed Dynamo travel to Seattle Sunday night to play the Sounders.  This game is another example of why MLS needs to figure out how to break during international breaks like the rest of the world does. DaMarcus Beasley, called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team, will miss his second consecutive match.  It will be no picnic for Seattle either, as due to call ups and an injury to former Dynamo Will Bruin, the Sounders basically have no experienced forwards on their roster.
  • Unfortunately for the Dynamo, South American qualification doesn’t resume until late summer, so Nicholas Lodiero will be present in Seattle this weekend.  Given the Dynamo’s poor road form in general and terrible all-time form in Seattle (0-5-2) specifically, this match will be a challenge regardless of who lines up on top for the Sounders.
  • Tyler Deric’s stunning save on a Kellyn Acosta free-kick last Sunday in Frisco was rightly named the MLS Save of the Week.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/06/02/houstons-tyler-deric-wins-mls-save-week-week-14

MLS Preview-Week 14

Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake (RSL)

BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Record and Standings:

Houston Dynamo:  6-5-2-20 points (Tied for second place in Western Conference)  Home:  6-0-1

Real Salt Lake:  4-8-2-14 points (Tied for tenth place in Western Conference)  Road:  1-5-1

  • The Dynamo put their undefeated home record on the line tonight in a mid-week match against Real Salt Lake, who will be playing the first of two games in Texas this week. DaMarcus Beasley, who has been called into the U.S. National team camp ahead of the friendly against Venezuela and two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, will miss this game. RSL has their own issues as U.S. National Team goalkeeper Nick Rimando and four of their young players, who are in South Korea for the U-20 World Cup, will also be missing tonight.
  • Real Salt Lake has only won two of the twelve games they have played in Houston in their short history.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo

Century Link Field-Seattle, WA-9:00 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 4, 2017

The short-handed Dynamo travel to Seattle Sunday night to play the Sounders.  This game is a poster child for why MLS needs to figure out how to not play during international breaks.  In addition to Beasley, the Dynamo will be missing four key players who have been called into camps by their Central American countries.  It will be no picnic for Seattle either, as due to call ups and an injury to former Dynamo Will Bruin, basically have no experienced forwards on their roster.  Unfortunately for the Dynamo, South American qualification doesn’t resume until late summer, so Nicholas Lodiero will be present in Seattle this weekend.  Given the Dynamo’s poor road form in general and terrible form in the Pacific Northwest specifically, this match will be a challenge regardless of who lines up on top for the Sounders.

FC Dallas (FCD) vs. Real Salt Lake

Toyota Stadium – Frisco-7:00 p.m., Saturday, June 3, 2017

FCD learned this week that they will need to play without key central defender Walker Zimmerman for the next 4-6 weeks due to an MCL Strain suffered in the draw with the Dynamo Sunday night.  Center back is the one position on the team without significant depth and Zimmerman will be missed, especially since the other central defender, Matt Hedges, has been called into the U.S. Camp also.  Head coach Oscar Pareja will be faced with some interesting decisions on Saturday night.

USL Week 10 Preview

San Antonio is the only Texas USL team in action this weekend.  Rio Grande Valley FC is on one of its very strange early season breaks, which seem to come every other week. The Toros are now off until next Saturday when they begin a two game road trip at Sacramento Republic.

Swope Park Rangers vs. San Antonio FC (SAFC)

Children’s Mercy Victory Field, Kansas City, MO-7:30 p.m. CDT,  Friday, May 26, 2017

Record and Standings:

Swope Park Rangers:  4-3-0-12 points (Tied for Seventh in Western Conference)  Home: 4-0-0

San Antonio FC:  8-0-2-26 points (First in Western Conference)  Away:  4-0-0

  • SAFC travels to Kansas City for the first of back-to-back meetings with Swope Park Rangers.  The return fixture comes a week from tomorrow in San Antonio.  Two streaks are in play tonight….Swope has won nine consecutive home games and SAFC remains the only undefeated team in USL.
  • Swope Park, who are the USL team of MLS side Sporting Kansas City, will be missing highly regarded on loan center-back Eric Palmer-Brown, who is currently in South Korea with the U.S. U-20 team playing in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.  They also will play tonight without Mark Anthony Gonzalez, the team’s 2016 Offensive Player of the Year, who is injured.  The Rangers, who were on a bye last week, lost their last game in the Valley to RGV FC 1-0….the first time they had been held scoreless all year. Kharlton Belmar, the 2015 USL Rookie of the Year who joined Swope this season, leads the team with 4 goals.
  • SAFC won two of three in their just concluded home stand, shutting out their opponents in all three matches.  Reserve goalkeeper Diego Restrepo is working on a streak of four consecutive shutouts.  AJ Ajeakwa’s game winner against Phoenix last Saturday was selected as the USL’s Fan Choice Goal of the Week, the second time an SAFC player has been selected for this honor (the other was Devin Vega in week 6). It was also announced this week that left-back Greg Cochrane was named to the USL Week 9 Team of the Week.  Tonight’s game marks the return of SAFC midfielder Kris Tyrpak, a key contributor in Swope Park’s journey to the USL Cup Final last year, to Kansas City to face his old teammates.