MLS News and Notes – Week 14

In our weekly MLS news and notes, Portland christens its renovated Providence Park, and the LA Galaxy and Atlanta United are reaching for the top of the table.

For the first time since last season, the Portland Timbers played a home match. Having to play their first 12 matches on the road, the Timbers managed to go 4-6-2 during that stretch. Portland opened up their newly renovated Providence Park against the best team in MLS, Los Angeles FC. In front of another incredible crowd, the Timbers were engaged in a battle with LAFC before falling 3-2 in their home opener. Carlos Vela once again scored, this time after a gift pass from Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. Vela slotted home his 16th goal of the season and LAFC was off and running.

With LAFC running roughshot through the league, their crosstown rivals LA Galaxy have jumped into second place, looking to make a run. The Galaxy had an interesting week. They went on the road and knocked off Sporting Kansas City 2-0 midweek. Goals from Favio Alvarez — his first MLS goal — and Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped lead the way for the Galaxy.

The Galaxy ended the weekend facing their former manager, Bruce Arena. Arena joined the New England Revolution a couple of weeks ago, and his first match as Revs manager was set to be against his former club. The Revs made his return a memorable one, gaining a solid 3-1 victory over the Galaxy. Cristian Penilla and Teal Bunbury scored for the Revs, but it was an amazing bicycle kick goal from Ibrahimovic that stole the headlines. The 37-year-old Ibrahimovic continues to amaze people with the goals he scores.

Don’t look now, but defending MLS Cup champions Atlanta United are making a run. The Five Stripes sit just two points back from the top spot in the East. Atlanta United had won five straight before dropping their last two matches heading into this week. The Five Stripes got things going midweek with a solid 3-0 win against Minnesota United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martinez scored two late goals in extra time to power the champs to victory.

Martinez was in the goal scoring mood again on Saturday when he scored both Atlanta goals before halftime, helping Atlanta United roll to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire. After a slow start to the season, where some people were calling for the firing of coach Frank De Boer, Atlanta United is on a roll and moving into contention for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

It was announced this week that a new tournament is forming between the top leagues in North America. Starting in July, the Leagues Cup will take place between MLS and Liga MX clubs. With the support of Concacaf, four Liga MX clubs and four MLS clubs will battle it out in the Leagues Cup. Representing MLS will be the Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. Their opponents from Liga MX are all Mexican giants — Club America, Cruz Azul, Tigres UANL and Club Tijuana. The quarterfinal round will take place on July 23-24 at the home of the MLS clubs.

The matchups are as follows:

Houston Dynamo vs. Club America
Real Salt Lake vs. Tigres UANL
Chicago Fire vs. Cruz Azul
LA Galaxy vs. Club Tijuana

While there are only four teams from each league participating in this inaugural edition, the potential is there to expand the tournament to include more clubs from each league.

In Poland, the United States will face France in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Last week, the United States knocked off Qatar 1-0 in a somewhat surprising result. It was expected that the United States would roll over Qatar but the match was not as easy as anticipated. It was a goal from Timothy Weah that was enough to get the job done for the United States, setting up a match against a loaded France squad. Coming into the U-20 World Cup, France was looked at as one of the contenders to hoist the trophy. This is not an ideal scenario for the United States, who hasn’t seemed to have played its best soccer so far.

Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.

Upcoming schedule


United States U-20 vs. France U-20 – 11:30 a.m. (FIFA Under 20 World Cup)(FS2)


USMNT vs. Jamaica – 7 p.m. (International Friendly) (FS1)
Montreal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders – 7:30 p.m.


New York City FC vs. FC Cincinnati – 7 p.m.


Toronto FC vs. Sporting Kansas City – 7 p.m.


San Jose Quakes vs. FC Dallas – 3:30 p.m. (Univision)
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls – 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United – 9 p.m.


USMNT vs. Venezuela – 2 p.m. (International Friendly) (Fox)

As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when they head to the Big Apple to face NYCFC at Yankee Stadium, looking to get out of the basement of the Eastern Conference.

@iamchrisasbrock for @CincySoccerTalk

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