Orlando City SC made several splashes prior to its maiden MLS season, signing Brazilian legend Kaká, luring U.S. international Brek Shea back from the English Premier League, and inking Carlos Rivas and Bryan Róchez to Designated Player contracts. But, if the last two weeks are any indication, the club’s best move was selecting Canadian international Cyle Larin with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Larin, who has five goals in the Lions’ last two games, will look to stay hot when Orlando (7-9-6) visits his hometown club Toronto FC (8-8-4) on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET (TSN, RDS2). With a brace in Saturday’s 5-2 win versus Columbus, the UConn alumnus secured his 11th goal and tied former Chicago Fire forward Damani Ralph for the single-season rookie goals record (WATCH HERE). With 12 games remaining on Orlando’s docket, Larin is on pace to shatter—and possibly double--Ralph’s mark. The imposing, 6’2” striker from Brampton, Ontario is not only making a firm
Portland Timbers host in-form Chicago Fire on Viernes de Fútbol
The Chicago Fire (6-11-4) travel to Providence Park to face off against the Portland Timbers (9-8-6) on this week’s edition of Viernes de Fútbol 11 p.m. ET on Friday (UniMás).The Chicago Fire enter the match on a two-game unbeaten run and having ended FC Dallas’ five-game winning streak in their 2-0 victory at home Sunday night. The Fire will hopefully have newly acquired Designated Player Gilberto available for selection Friday night. Gilberto, formerly of Toronto FC, played on loan at Brazilian club Vasco da Gama last season where he helped them win the state championship. The Portland Timbers also have a newly acquired Designated Player who will be making his home debut. Lucas Melano joined the Timbers from Argentinian club Lanús on July 17th and the speedy forward is expected to create problems for opposing defenses alongside fellow countryman Diego Valeri. The Fire will be hoping to build off of their win and move up the Eastern Conference standings, while the Timbers will try and keep up the pressure in the Western Conference playoff race.
Giovani dos Santos arrives in LA ahead of Galaxy’s showdown with Seattle Sounders FC
It’s that time of year. After a middling start to the season, LA Galaxy has flipped the switch and won five of its last seven. The arrivals of English icon Steven Gerrard and youngster Sebastian Lletget, have more than compensated for the offseason departures of Marcelo Sarvas and Landon Donovan. Now, enter Giovani dos Santos. The 26-year-old Mexican star was mobbed by fans when he arrived at LAX on Sunday (WATCH HERE), and he could be available for selection when the Galaxy (10-7-7) welcome Seattle Sounders FC (10-11-2) to the StubHub Center on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN2). The midfielder’s resume includes stints with Barcelona, Tottenham, and Villarreal, in addition to 90 caps and 17 goals with the Mexican National Team. With Gyasi Zardes, Omar Gonzalez, and Alan Gordon returning from Gold Cup duty, LA boasts one of the most intimidating lineups in MLS history. Seattle heads to LA looking to snap a four-game losing skid and climb back up the Western Conference table. Though Obafemi Martins remains sidelined by a groin injury, Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans returned to the lineup in Saturday’s loss to Vancouver. Seattle has a three-point cushion on the sixth seed in the West, but could leapfrog both Portland and Sporting Kansas City with a road win on Sunday.
Red Bulls host Lampard, Pirlo, Villa & Co. in final regular season derby matchup
New York City FC (6-10-6) make the trip across the Hudson River to Red Bull Arena to take on New York Red Bulls (9-6-5) to cap off Week 23 on MLS Soccer Sunday at 7 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes, TSN2). This is the third matchup this season between the two local rivals with the Red Bulls coming out victorious in the two previous meetings, but the teams have a revamped rosters. NYCFC welcome Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Andoni Iraola, Angelino and Jefferson Mena to the fold while the Red Bulls have added former Manchester City and England International Shaun Wright-Phillips to help bolster their rosters and make a second-half push for a playoff spot. The Red Bulls are among the hottest teams in MLS having won three straight matches and going 5-1-0 in their past six games. NYCFC’s David Villa has been scorching hot of late notching seven goals and an assist in his past five games, and also finding himself on the score sheet (watch his goal HERE) at the AT&T MLS All-Star Game in the All-Star’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. The atmosphere at Red Bull Arena will be intense as New York City will try and get their first victory over their crosstown rivals, while the Red Bulls will go for the season sweep in the last regular season meeting between the two clubs.