Drilling down on: at Columbus 2, Houston 2

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Man of the Match: This was a breakout for Eddie Gaven. Playing along the left, he was alive all night as Columbus’ best midfielder. And his lash from about 25 yards for Columbus’ second goal left Houston ‘keeper Tally Hall with absolutely no chance.

Packaged for take-away:

  • This was a classic example of how one goal changes the game. First half: Not a bunch going on as two sides focused on tidy defensive organization and on being physical more or less snuffed out any attacking dynamic. There were a couple of half chances on restarts and a couple of breakouts, but some shoddy service and a few half chances was more or less the extent of the attacking.
  • After the first goal (in the 59th minute) this was a pretty entertaining match, with lots going on around both goal mouths.
  • Following another poor match last week, Crew coach Robert Warzycha changed out almost have his starters (5 of 11).
  • Emelio Renteria was very busy, always available as a highly stationed striker.  His crosses or his choices weren’t always the best, but he did make everyone along the Dynamo back line work until he got pooped himself and left in the 67th.
  • Josh Williams took over for struggling youngster Eric Gehrig as Chad Marshall’s central defensive partner. Williams got physically overmatched at times, so he’ll need to better pick his spots on when to challenge and when to hold position. Otherwise: not bad.
  • It was a tough match to officiate involving two physical teams; that said, referee Chris Penso needed to deal with the rough stuff with a little more authority. Sometimes it’s not about issuing cards, but about setting a tone by talking to players and letting them know what will and won’t be tolerated.
  • Geoff Cameron didn’t have his best match, but Bobby Boswell was at the top of his game, almost always in the right spots in this one.
  • Eight points from a possible 15 on the road so far from Houston? Yeah, they’ll take that.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter
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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.