Drilling down on: at D.C. United 1, Montreal 1

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Man of the Match: Bernardo Corradi’s big effort helped set the pace for Montreal, as the busy Impact forward had the will near goal to help his club collect its first road Major League Soccer road points. The former Italian international won headers early, nearly scored on a hard near post run and then found the goal on a cross to the back post. Just after the important strike, he nicely set up Collen Warner, who missed just to the right.

Packaged for take-away:

  • Lots of hot-button talk about United Designated Player Branko Boskovic in 3 .. 2 … 1 …
  • It would be easy to say Maicon Santos’ introduction in the 61st minute changed things for D.C. United’s rudderless attack; his will and energy certainly helped add some pep. But it was so much more than that. When Santos came on he partnered with Chris Pontius at forward while Dwayne De Rosario dropped into the midfield in place of the drifting and ineffective Boskovic. That was the change that mattered even more.
  • De Rosario’s willingness to insert himself sharply into attacking positions created the chaos in Montreal’s defense that opened scoring chances that just weren’t there before.
  • Consider that D.C. United didn’t even have a shot on goal until Santos’ 65th minute effort. A few minutes later, the home team was on the board.
  • Further, Boskovic’s movement is so sluggish and undefined, he’s often crowding the midfield. Once he left and De Rosario took the central midfield position next to Perry Kitchen, Kitchen’s distribution from the holding areas became less cluttered, more purposeful.
  • Bottom line here, I am trying really, really hard to see what Boskovic is adding to this team. I could go on and on about what the man doesn’t do; I just don’t see what his base contribution might be. We are seven weeks into the MLS season. He should be fit. He should be making a difference.
  • So, totaling up the DP tally around RFK: They have three of them. De Rosario has yet to score, but he’s doing fine, making things happen. Boskovic just made his second start, and manager Ben Olsen needs to think long and hard about whether a third is best for the team. Hamdi Salihi, the team’s third DP, didn’t play at all Wednesday. Any way you slice it, there’s a whole bunch there to sort out — especially with players like Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon and Andy Najar looking hungry and up for the job. They just need a playmaker around them who is more involved.
  • Early for Montreal, Sanna Nyassi looked like the most dangerous man, troubling United left back Daniel Woolard. Later, Lamar Neagle came in for the tiring Nyassi, and he added some punch to Montreal’s attack.
  • Justin Mapp had two glistening opportunities for the Impact but failed to turn either into something on goal, mostly because he didn’t have confidence in his right foot. One was a pass that needed to be better for Davey Arnaud, and one was a shot he passed up from point blank range. It’s OK to be better with one foot, but at this point in his career he needs to be competent enough with either at the moment of truth.

Alexis Sanchez says he “expected better” from himself at Manchester United

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Alexis Sanchez isn’t happy with his performance so far at Manchester United.

The Chilean superstar has scored just one goal for the Red Devils in 10 appearances since joining from Arsenal, and the club has lost three of those games and has been knocked out of the Champions League by Sevilla.

Speaking with Chilean media on national team duty in Sweden, Sanchez said he expects more of himself and that he’s so far let himself down. “As I am self-demanding, I expected something better,” Sanchez said. “After my arrival at United, it was hard to change everything very quickly. I even hesitated to come here [to join the national team].”

Chile missed out on World Cup qualification, and has friendlies with Sweden and Denmark scheduled over the next week. With so little at stake, Sanchez was poised to take time off from the national team, but says he was convinced by Manchester City goalkeeper and Chilean captain Claudio Bravo to stick it out.

“The change of club was something that was very abrupt – it was the first time I’ve changed clubs in January – but many things have happened in my life that are difficult,” Sanchez said. “I had asked permission to miss these games, but then I thought better and spoke with Claudio and told him that we should all be united.”

Once the international break is over, Manchester United resumes Premier League play against Swansea at the end of March before an April 7th derby meeting with Manchester City.

James Collins injured in West Ham friendly

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West Ham defender James Collins hobbled off the field in the 29th minute of the Hammers’ friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge on Wednesday, a big blow to the club’s already paper-thin back line.

With the league on an international break, West Ham agreed to play a friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge to help raise money for National League club that could be in serious financial trouble. However, it could be detrimental to the short-term future of the Hammers, who are hoping to stave off relegation, sitting just two points above the drop.

The 34-year-old defender has missed significant time this season due to injury, with an ankle injury keeping Collins out for nearly three months in 2017. West Ham has lost just four of the 12 Premier League matches Collins has appeared in this season, with three clean sheets. However, two of those have come in the club’s last three games, thrashed by a combined 7-1 scoreline between 90 minutes against Liverpool and Burnley.

The injury comes at the worst possible time, with West Ham set to play Southampton in a critical relegation matchup between teams in the in 17th and 18th in the Premier League table. The Hammers are already without defender Winston Reid who remains out for the season with a knee injury, while the club sold center-back Jose Fonte to Chinese club Dalian Yifang F.C. in late February.

West Ham was hoping to do its part to help save the London club. Former director Glyn Hopkin abruptly resigned and pulled all financial backing in early February, leaving the club fearing for its immediate future. They reportedly need $353,000 just to stay afloat the rest of the season, even with zero club debt.

Men In Blazers podcast: Mohamed Salah continues to shine

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Rog and Davo marvel at Mo Salah’s four goal, one dime haul in Liverpool’s 5-0 beatdown of Watford, analyze Jose Mourinho’s recent rants about football heritage at Manchester United, and recap Rog’s family trip to Stoke vs. Everton.

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1912 FA Cup winner’s medal stolen

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A 106-year-old footballing relic has been snatched from a house in England.

The home of the 82-year-old grandson of former Barnsley player Philip Bratley was burglarized last weekend according to the BBC and other reports, and among the items stolen was an “invaluable” FA Cup winner’s medal from 1912.

That year, Barnsley defeated West Bromwich Albion in the finals of the 41st FA Cup, with Bratley scoring the winning goal in the semifinal replay over Swindon Town. He went on to make over 100 appearances for Barnsley between 1910 and 1014 before moving transferring to Liverpool, where he spent one season before he left during the first World War.

“This item is of great sentimental value to the family and belonged to the 82-year-old victim’s grandfather who, at the time, played for Barnsley,” the South Yorkshire police said. “The family is extremely upset that this, along with many of their belongings, have been stolen. If you have any information please get in touch so we can try and reunite this invaluable item with its rightful owner.”

Barnsley has offered to assist the South Yorkshire police in their search for the stolen artifact, as those with any information are encouraged to contact either entity to share what they may know.