Drilling down on: at New York 1, New England 0

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Man of the Match: Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty responded when his team absolutely needed a couple of men to do so. He was a force in midfield, performing the screening role (in place of Rafa Marquez) about as flawlessly as anyone could. McCarty tackled clinically, interrupted passing lanes, kept the ball moving quickly and guided possession out of the back with clear-headed distribution.

Packaged for take-away:

  • Other weighty performances in the 1-0 win Saturday from a Red Bulls side that definitely needed them: goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who stamped his first career shutout, and right center back Markus Holgersson. This was easily Holgersson’s best match as he, for one, seemed to take last week’s defensive disaster personally.
  • It was a shooting gallery early, in and around Thierry Henry’s 7th minute goal. Kenny Cooper saw his deflected shot not miss narrowly. A few minutes later Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis did well to get one hand on Cooper’s knuckling drive. McCarty hit the post. Holgersson went just wide with a header. Even rookie Conor Lade crushed a long-range volley that had Reis worried momentarily.
  • Henry’s 23rd minute hamstring injury changed the game. And how. The Red Bulls, already up against it defensively, had little interest in attacking from there, beyond the counter attack. More on that later.
  • New York’s patchwork back line had a grand total of 12 MLS starts among the foursome.
  • One debuting professional, left center back Tyler Ruthven, may have been fortunate not to be sent off for his early foul on the breaking Jose Moreno.
  • Besides that controversial sequence, Moreno didn’t do much in his second start at striker for the Revs.
  • Revolution manager Jay Heaps wants to make midfielder Stephen McCarthy a center back; that’s where the second-year man has been playing lately. And McCarthy may indeed be a quality defender one day – but there will surely be growing pains along the way. McCarthy doesn’t yet possess the defender’s instincts, positional awareness or sense of anticipation. He got into trouble a couple of times Saturday, including on Henry’s early goal.
  • Revs striker Saer Sene made things happen when he got his big body turned and went motoring into the box. But the Revolution forward sure spends a lot of time moving back toward the midfield trying to link the play. Long story short, he needs to be closer to goal as much as possible.
  • Knowing that New York was sure to defend and counter after Henry’s injury, Heaps introduced Benny Feilhaber at halftime. The recently injured Revolution midfielder was effective in spurts, but far from his best. His weak, uncontested header late in the contest from 8 yards will be especially hard to watch when the team reviews video.
  • Red Bulls midfielder Victor Palsson clearly is not a wide midfielder. Asked to play out there as part of the personnel scramble, his crossing was atrocious. Again, in fairness, that’s not his spot.
  • Give us a nudge when the old Joel Lindpere finally shows up. (That said, Lindpere did a lot of important, defensive dirty work late Saturday.)

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

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Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

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Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.

Everton loses Coleman to leg break on Ireland duty

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A horror tackle from Wales’ Neil Taylor snapped Seamus Coleman‘s leg in gruesome fashion on Friday.

Taylor was given a red card, and Coleman was stretched off the pitch in the 0-0 draw.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed what was apparent from the match replay: the Everton man has a broken ankle.

“It’s a bad break. He’s a fantastic player and character. It’s a major blow for the lad, his club and us.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world – I haven’t seen it. He’s gone to hospital. I saw his reaction immediately and it didn’t look good. He was holding is leg up and it didn’t look good.

This is not only awful for the player, but causes stress as Everton mounts its assault on the Top Six. The right back has also manned right mid for Ronald Koeman this season, and has four goals and four assists in 26 Premier League matches.

Mason Holgate, Muhamed Besic, and Phil Jagielka have played some right back for Everton, while Ramiro Funes Mori has deputized at left back.

Emotional McClean speaks after honoring deceased teammate (video)

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After wearing the No. 5 to honor of his recently deceased teammate, James McClean met with the media following Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

McClean played with Ryan McBride at Derry City, and left Ireland camp to attend funeral services after McBride died following a match last weekend. McClean was also mourning the death of friend and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness.

Throw in a gruesome injury to teammate Seamus Coleman and, in McClean’s words, “I’ve had better weeks”.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

McClean, 27, spoke with evident emotion following a Man of the Match turn in Ireland’s draw (video below).

“It was a really tough week. The lads here have been great. They rallied around me. The manager was first class as well. He let me go up to Derry there on Tuesday and say my goodbyes. It’s been a tough week with Seamus injury as well. It’d been nice if we had have got a win and ended on a positive note, but it wasn’t to be.

“(McBride and McGuinness) were going through my thoughts today. I wanted to put in a performance that would make them proud. In the national anthem and the moment’s applause, holding my wee girl, it was emotional but I tried to put that in the right way into my performance. Hopefully tonight I’ve done the lads proud.”