Olympic soccer

ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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Big Important Story of the Day: U.S. Soccer officials have been quite superstitious about it, and sometimes even a little uppity in their reminders: “It’s not an Olympic Team! We don’t have an Olympic team, because we haven’t qualified for the Olympics, see? It’s an under-23 team.”  OK, well, the U.S. under-23 team begins its quest to become a official U.S. Olympic team tonight in Nashville. (And if you’re going, you might bring an umbrella.)

(Other) Big Important Story of the Day: Reinforcements arrive as the ProSoccerTalk staff doubles in size! Details ahead. (And there’s even more coming as we fatten up this skinny puppy of a blog.)

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Desmond Armstrong

Twitter dab: From Brek Shea (@BrekShea), who clearly is finding ways to break the tension before tonight’s Olympic qualifier opening match: “I love the price is right. @DrewFromTV kills it!”

Ahead on the blog today*: Olympic upsets can and do happen; A fan’s view of the Red Bulls season to date, and; some of Arlo White’s crafty work ahead of tomorrow night’s MLS match in Seattle.

What we should all be watching:  As noted, CONCACAF group play begins in Nashville. As for finding it on your TV … good luck with all that. (More later today on how to do it.)

PST background noise while blogging today: MLS Extra Time radio. I hear Jonah “Enchilada” Freedman will be on this one. Dude knows his stuff, and he can put away some Tex-Mex! Believe me.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.