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01 June 12:59 pm

D.C. United– 25 pts. | 1-0 loss at Portland Timbers FC, 2-1 win vs. Philadelphia Union, this week: vs. Chicago Fire, vs. Toronto FC

After a 1-0 loss to Portland on Wednesday, D.C. United bounced back strong and snapped a three-game winless streak in a come-from-behind victory against the Philadelphia Union. An early goal from the Union’s Sebastian Le Toux was matched by D.C.’s 85th minute penalty kick from Chris Rolfe. This sealed a United victory at RFK Stadium and extended its lead in the Eastern Conference to four points.

New England Revolution – 21 pts. | 2-2 draw vs. LA Galaxy, this week: at Portland Timbers FC

In a rematch of last season’s MLS Cup Final, the New England Revolution came out of a hard-fought match with two goals and one point as they tied the LA Galaxy 2-2 in a rain-soaked match at Gillette Stadium. An offensive first half left the match tied at two goals apiece at the half, only to stay that way when the final whistle blew. Despite holding on to the majority of the possession in the second half, New England couldn’t find the back of the net for a third time.

New York Red Bulls – 17 pts. | 2-1 loss at Seattle Sounders FC, this week: at Houston Dynamo

Heartbreak struck the New York Red Bulls this weekend after a stoppage-time goal from Seattle’s Chad Barrett that sealed the deal for a 2-1 Sounders' victory. The Red Bulls started off strong with a goal in the 36th minute, as a free kick deflection gave New York's Lloyd Sam an easy sitter to finish in front of the net. But Seattle stood defiant, scoring two goals in the final 22 minutes to steal the win and take over the top spot in the Western Conference.

Toronto FC – 16 pts. | 3-1 win vs. San Jose Earthquakes, this week: at D.C. United

Toronto FC leaps into a tie for fourth place in the East thanks to a team effort offensively. Though trailing San Jose in possession and passing statistics, Toronto connected well as a team with three goals scored by three different players. Toronto extended its home win streak to two games.

Columbus Crew SC – 16 pts. | 2-2 draw at Orlando City SC, this week: at Philadelphia Union, vs. Montreal Impact

Despite conceding a late-game goal, the Black & Gold can hold their heads high after their 2-2 draw at Orlando. Tony Tchani gave the visiting squad the early go-ahead goal thanks to a cross from Hector Jimenez. It gave Tchani the opportunity to capitalize on a header from eight yards out, and that he did. After a far-post penalty shot from Kaká, the Lions leveled the match at 1-1 and resumed to play up a man. Columbus, meanwhile, held well defensively and managed to retake the lead. A counterattacking cross from Waylon Francis found the head of Kei Kamara for his 10th goal of the season. In the end, Columbus fared well despite playing down a man. A powerful low-bearing strike from Pedro Ribeiro evened the match and sent Columbus home with a hard-earned road point.

Chicago Fire – 14 pts. | 3-0 win vs. Montreal Impact, this week: at D.C. United, vs. Orlando City SC

The Chicago Fire ended a four-match winless streak over a Montreal Impact squad that played with only 10 men for a majority of the match. With possession (64.8%), shots on target (11), and crossing opportunities (22) all favoring Chicago, it would have been disappointing for the hometown team not to have reached a winning result. Despite a rain-soaked pitch, the Fire’s high-paced offense remained intact. Goals from defender Jeff Larentowicz, midfielder Harrison Shipp and forward Kennedy Igboananike continues Chicago’s potent offensive play, having scored five goals in the club’s last two matches.

Orlando City SC – 14 pts. | 2-2 draw vs. Columbus Crew SC, this week: at Chicago Fire

An 89th minute goal from Orlando City’s Pedro Ribeiro salvaged a point for the home team. A successful penalty kick from Kaká, his fourth of the season, left the game at a 1-1 tie until Kei Kamara’s 61st minute header gave the visiting squad the lead. After struggling to conjure up any threatening offensive opportunities, Ribeiro-turned-savior provided the missing link, blasting a low driven ball past Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark for Orlando City’s game-tying goal.

Philadelphia Union – 12 pts. | 2-1 loss at D.C. United, this week: vs. Columbus Crew SC, vs. NYC FC

The Union witnessed their two-game win streak snapped at the hands of an 85th minute penalty kick, completing a come-from-behind victory for D.C. United. Philadelphia trailed significantly in possession (39.6%) and rarely were the first to fifty-fifty balls, trailing in duels won 41-53. But the road team held it together defensively in the final third until a mishandled cross in the Union’s own box resulted in a hand ball being called. A successful penalty kick from United’s Chris Rolfe translated to D.C.’s game-winning goal.

Montreal Impact – 8 pts. | 3-0 loss at Chicago Fire, this week: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, at Columbus Crew SC

Though only having played eight regular season games this season, after a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire, Montreal sits in the bottom of the East. After a second yellow card was shown to midfielder Marco Donadel, Montreal became the fifth team to play down a man against the Chicago Fire this season. In the end, Chicago’s speed gave them the possession advantage (64.8%) and the hometown team outshot Montreal by a tally of 20-3, with zero shots on target for Montreal.

NYC FC – 8 pts. | 1-1 vs. Houston Dynamo, this week: at Philadelphia Union

After trading first-half goals, New York City FC and Houston Dynamo played to a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium. For New York it was a David Villa penalty kick in first half stoppage-time that kept the home team afloat. However, New York City remains winless in its last 11 games, sitting tied for last in the East with only eight points in 13 regular season games played.

29 May 5:48 pm
Ben Swanson makes his Crew SC debut against Valencia CF Wednesday night.
 
 
“I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life. Being able to step out there and put on the first team jersey for the first time, against a club like Valencia, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”
 
Seventeen-year-old Ben Swanson said this after his Crew SC debut.
 
He and three others dawned the Black & Gold on the pitch for the first time Wednesday night against renowned La Liga premier club, Valencia CF.
 
“Yeah, it was really exciting,” Swanson said. “I knew Gregg [Berhalter] said earlier in the week that everyone was getting 45 [minutes of playing time]. So I kind of prepared during the week knowing that I was going to play. Throughout school today, I couldn’t really focus, I was just kind of excited just to be on the field and play against a top club like Valencia. I had my friends and family [at the stadium], it was incredible.”
 
Berhalter recognized Swanson’s enthusiasm and was pleased overall with his performance.
 
“He was certainly excited,” Berhalter said. “Part of his job is to calm his nerves a little, be able to perform and I think he did that well. You didn’t really see the nerves and of course there were times when he made mistakes. But, overall the willingness for him to get on the ball and to want to make passes, that’s what I’m most proud of. It’s not easy for a 17-year-old to do that and he didn’t show any fear. I think that’s a good step.”
 
But Swanson wasn’t the only player to make his Crew SC debut. As we continue to build depth, Sergio Campbell, Kalen Ryden and Brad Stuver also earned the opportunity to play.
 
“We wanted to give everyone game-time and we wanted to mix the lineups up a little bit, so it was challenging,” Berhalter said. “Piecing it together wasn’t easy but I think both groups did okay.”
 
Not only did the international friendly provide a good opportunity for the coach to try different lineups, he was also able fully assess his roster.
 
“Playing against them, to give our guys that experience was great at this moment because we’re going to need everyone in the season,” said Berhalter. “You get to evaluate guys and see what they’re up to and check their form. Overall, I think it was a good exercise.”
 
Someone who earned a positive response from his debut was goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
 
“I think he’s made a lot of progress,” said Berhalter. “I think if you look how comfortable he was with his feet, playing out of the back under some pressure, that was really good to see. And then coming up with some big saves, that’s what we ask our goalies to do. Steve [Clark] has been doing it all year, or since he’s been here. It’s great to see Brad step up and have a good performance.”
 
Surprisingly, he notched a shot following a Crew SC corner in stoppage time.
 
“I guess that’s the good thing about friendlies,” said Stuver. “You can pretty much do whatever you want, nothing will go wrong. I looked over at the bench and Gregg [Berhalter] just kind of nodded his head and I was like ‘okay, so I’m going to make a 120 yard sprint’ and luckily the ball fell to my foot. I’m really, really sad it didn’t go in.”
 
Even more impressive was his performance between the posts. It certainly didn’t look like his first Crew SC game, as he made multiple remarkable saves.
 
“Every big save like that, it’s definitely a confidence booster,” said Stuver. “Getting the first one, definitely was able to build off that, definitely get the confidence up. I had great guys in front of me that made the saves a little bit easier for me.”
 
Stuver credits his teammates for his feat, but Berhalter confirmed the keeper was solid regardless.
 
“He was good,” said Berhalter. “He saved the one-on-one with [Alvaro] Negredo and had a couple other saves. He was good and it’s nice to see. Obviously, he hasn’t been playing that much and it’s been difficult for him at times, but it’s great to see when a player gets an opportunity that he takes advantage of it.”
 
Stuver said the same of Swanson’s first appearance.
 
“Ben Swanson looked good,” said Stuver. “He was playing the Tony Tchani role with [Mohammed Saeid] coming in playing his normal role and I think Ben did really well. I think he has been working a lot on his fitness and 45 minutes in a game scenario is definitely going to help his fitness out, but I thought his touches were good and I thought he bodied the bigger guys pretty well. He was able to use his body to shield the guys off and be able to turn there in the midfield. I thought he did really well.”
 
Getting positive feedback from his teammates and coaches was a bonus for Ben Swanson. This wasn’t just any match for the rookie midfielder, after all.
 
“It was a sweet experience,” Swanson said. “I walked in the locker room and I saw my jersey for the first time. And to be able to put it on, and to be able to step out in front of my friends and family and fans, and play against a top club like Valencia—it was a dream come true.”
 
 
 
 
28 May 4:39 pm
Brian McBride fights off San Jose's defensive efforts in 1996.

 
We’re going on a road trip this weekend to face first-year club, Orlando City. Although we’re over a thousand miles away from central Florida and sit two spots ahead of the Lions in the Eastern Conference standings, our clubs share common ground. We can relate to experiencing recent changes and our beginnings are congruent.
 
Established as the first MLS Club in 1994, we kicked off our inaugural season less than two years later against D.C. United. At Ohio Stadium, Brian McBride scored a brace to lead our club to a 4-0 victory.
 
That same year, USA Today voted our club’s supporters the “best fans in the League.” Not long after, the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS was constructed.
 
Today, supporters fill the stands at MAPFRE Stadium to cheer on our beloved team built on a pioneering vision mixed with tradition.
 
Launching an MLS team takes time and devotion—a feat our next opponent has recently conquered.
 
After Phil Rawlins moved the Austin Aztex organization in 2010 and proved central Florida’s market could support Major League Soccer, Flávio Augusto da Silva, invested in the club and became majority owner.
 
Orlando City Soccer Club developed the blueprint for a new stadium downtown, and a few years later, ideas became a reality. Commencing its inaugural season with a record of 3-5-4, we compare the Lions to our club’s first 12 games.
 
The records may look different, but notice that four of our losses were results of shootouts. Had today’s League rules been consistent with those in 1996, we would’ve had the exact same record.
 
The 21st MLS franchise will host the League’s first franchise for the first time in history this Saturday.

 

       CREW SC

1996: 3-9 (4 Losses in Shoot Outs)

 

Date

Opponent

Result

Score

4/13

D.C.

W

4-0

4/20

TAMPA BAY

L

2-1

4/27

at New York

W

2-0

5/2

at Kansas City

L

6-4

5/5

at Dallas

L (SO)

1-0 (3-1)

5/11

NEW ENGLAND

W

3-2

5/15

at D.C.

L

5-2

5/19

COLORADO

L

4-2

5/26

at Los Angeles

L

3-2

6/1

at San Jose

L (SO)

3-2 (2-1)

6/8

KANSAS CITY

L (SO)

4-3 (4-1)

6/19

COLORADO

L (SO)

3-2 (4-1)

 

       ORLANDO CITY SC

2015: 3-5-4

 

Date

Opponent

Result

Score

3/8

NEW YORK CITY

D

1-1

3/13

at Houston

W

1-0

3/21

VANCOUVER

L

1-0

3/28

at Montreal

D

2-2

4/3

D.C.

L

1-0

4/12

at Portland

W

2-0

4/18

at Columbus

L

3-0

4/26

TORONTO

L

2-0

5/8

NEW ENGLAND

D

2-2

5/13

at D.C.

L

2-1

5/17

LOS ANGELES

W

4-0

5/24

at San Jose

D

1-1

 

Mutual opponents: 

New York: CCSC 1-0, OCSC 0-0-1

D.C. (twice): CCSC 1-1, OCSC 0-2

New England: CCSC 1-0, OCSC 0-1

Los Angeles: CCSC 1-0, OCSC 1-0

San Jose: CCSC 0-1, OCSC 0-0-1

 

Mutual opponents records: CCSC: 4-2, OCSC 1-3-2

 

Goals for and goals against totals:

CCSC: 27 GF, 33 GA

OCSC: 14 GF, 15 GA

26 May 2:58 pm

By: David Cath

When Columbus Crew SC hosts La Liga’s Valencia CF this Wednesday as part of the LFP World Challenge, the Black & Gold will be going toe-to-toe with a 2015-16 UEFA Champions League Playoff Stage entrant that fields two players from this season's “La Liga Team of the Season.” Only FC Barcelona and Real Madrid fielded more. Needless to say, it’s going to be a fun match to watch.

In case you’re not up-to-date on your Valencia knowledge, we’ve done the work for you. Here’s a list of players to watch for when one of La Liga’s best comes to town.

Forward Francisco “Paco” Alcacer

At only 21 years old, the Spanish striker has already cemented himself as one of the League’s top goal scorers. In La Liga play, Alcacer scored 10 goals and dished out five assists in 25 appearances for the fourth-ranked club.

Though Alcacer’s professional career is just blooming, his international accolades are already starting to mount. In May 2010, Alcacer led Spain to the UEFA Under-17 European Championship match where he earned top-scorer honors with six goals throughout the tournament. In June 2011, the striker led his home country to an Under-19 European Championship title thanks to his three-goal performance. Alcacer continued his goal scoring run into the 2012 Under-19 European Championship match, scoring two goals and leading Spain to another trophy ceremony.

Midfielder Dani Parejo

A product of Real Madrid’s development academy, Parejo earned his stripes elsewhere. After his stint as a youth member for one of Spain’s perennial powerhouses, Parejo transferred to Queens Park Rangers in 2008, then to Getafe in 2009, where the Madrid-native played until his signing with Valencia in 2011.

Parejo is a central midfielder who combines defensive substance with keen offensive vision, rightly earning him top goal-scoring honors for Valencia (11) and a spot on UEFA’s “Best Eleven Players of La Liga in 2014-15.” For a team that is aggressive and prefers to attack through the middle, Parejo is a valuable asset to Valencia’s style of play and a fun player to watch for any soccer fan.

Defender Nicolás Otamendi

As one of the best center backs in the world, it’s a no-brainer as to UEFA named Otamendi as one of La Liga’s “Best Eleven Players for the 2014-15 season.” For a defender, the 27-year-old is known for his positioning and great anticipation, and with six goals on the season, the Argentine international has the gift of quality touch with the ball at his feet.

Defender Jose Gaya

Jose Guya is the definition of a homegrown jewel. The attacking fullback for Valencia has been with the club since the beginning, playing in its development academies, and he has sprouted into one of the club’s most promising young players.

Guya’s 2015 campaign served as a showcase for the young defender’s potential and his play did not go unnoticed, as Guya was recently chosen in the “Once de Oro” in Futbol Draft 2015, which names the best Spanish players born after January 1, 1994. Guya’s specific recognition comes in the form as the best young left back in 2015.

Forward Alvaro Negredo Sanchez

As the second-most expensive transfer in club history, Alvaro Negredo tallied five goals in 33 appearances this season. On loan from Manchester City FC, although his offensive capabilities haven’t been on display as much this year, Negredo’s knack for finding the back of the net has earned him a spot as a full member of the Spanish National Team, with which he won the 2012 European Championship.