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.)

LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
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It seems like Major League Soccer’s latest expansion team is taking a page out of Atlanta United’s playbook in its buildup to the 2018 season.

[ MORE: NYCFC provides stadium details for Belmont proposal ]

After selecting five players in Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, Los Angeles FC announced that it will be sending two of those players to the Montreal Impact.

LA FC will be sending Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Impact.

The return? Bob Bradley and LA FC will acquire Impact center back Laurent Ciman — who has proven to be one of the best defenders in MLS since arriving in 2015.

“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” Bradley said upon acquiring Ciman. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian National Team will be invaluable as we build our club.”

With the addition of Ciman now in place, LA FC has built a strong central defensive partnership after the club also brought in former FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman in a trade on Sunday.

The expansion side already made a major splash with its first Designated Player signing this year, bringing in Mexican international Carlos Vela.

Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea: Blues bounce back on the road

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Chelsea picked up a convincing road victory on Tuesday as the Blues topped Huddersfield Town, 3-1, at the Kirklees Stadium.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final ]

The Blues came out hungry following Sunday’s defeat at West Ham, and an unlikely goalscorer gave  Conte’s group the lead.

Sloppy passing at the back saw Willian with the ball at the top of the Huddersfield area, before the Brazilian brilliantly played Tiemoué Bakayoko in on goal for his second finish of the season.

Willian — who played a key role throughout the match — extended the Chelsea advantage three minutes prior to halftime when his header snuck past Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lössl.

Chelsea was clicking on all cylinders after halftime, when Willian helped set up Pedro for his third goal of the Premier League season.

Meanwhile, Laurent Depoitre pulled a goal back late for the hosts, but it was too late to rescue a result for Huddersfield.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: Eagles storm back late, move up to 17th

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All things were pointing towards Watford’s direction on Tuesday, but a late change in fortune gave the Eagles a share of the points.

[ MORE: Burnley climbs into Premier League top four ]

A pair of late goals gave Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over Watford at Selhurst Park, and pulled Roy Hodgson’s side out of the relegation zone.

Bakary Sako and James McArthur each found the back of the net after the 87th minute to complete an important comeback for the Eagles. Now, Palace sits 17th in the PL standings on 14 points.

The big moment of the match came in the 87th minute, when Tom Cleverley was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.

Three minutes into the match, Daryl Janmaat struck for the visitors after the Dutchman headed home Richarlison‘s cross from close-range.

Burnley 1-0 Stoke City: Barnes’ late strike guides Clarets into top four

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Don’t look now, but the Clarets have climbed into the Premier League top four.

Burnley found a way Stoke City late on Tuesday, picking up a 1-0 win at the Turf Moor behind Ashley Barnes‘ late finish.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final, awaits Real Madrid or Al Jazira ]

The Clarets, who have now secured 31 points over their first 17 matches this season, leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with the victory. However, all three sides will be in action on Wednesday.

Steven Defour nearly put Burnley ahead on 69 minutes, when the front man tested Stoke keeper Jack Butland — who had to make a sprawling save to his right.

While Stoke mustered up several quality chances, it was Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s blast in the first half that nearly found the top left corner.

Next up for Burnley will be a date against Brighton on Saturday, while Stoke travels to Huddersfield the same day.