Drilling down on: at San Jose 5, D.C. United 3

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Man of the Match: With goals Nos. 9 and 10, Chris Wondolowski reassumed Major League Soccer’s goal leadership. That’s through just nine games, barely over a quarter of the way through 2012, and that’s quite a strike rate. His second Wednesday was a clean finish on a header; nine of 19 this year for the Western leaders came off a ‘Quakes noggin.

Packaged for take-away: 

  • Steven Lenhart had a pair as well, Wednesday, adding up to five this year. That matches last year’s goal total and leaves the curly-headed one just a goal shy of a career high (6 goals in 27 matches for Columbus in 2010.)
  • Credit both coaches and clubs for leaning into the goal-scoring efforts; no cagey, tactical chess match for this one. Both clubs poured on the attack and the result was a highlight reel disguised as a soccer game … and it was a hoot.
  • Like a few other matches this year, Marvin Chavez won’t show up on the score sheet as much as some others, but his contributions were immense, easily Man of the Match-stuff as well. Even though he plays out wide in San Jose’s midfield, the speedy right-sided man finds a way to insert himself busily into so darn many offensive sequences. His active work on defense is every bit as important.
  • Perfect “for instance:” Chavez won’t get an official assist for the ‘Quakes’ fifth Wednsday, but it was pretty much his goal. Chavez created just enough space for himself to squeeze off a well-aimed left-footed shot, which careened down off the crossbar and bounced in off Lenhart, who got credit for the goal.
  • Ben Olsen had hoped to solve his team’s back line injury crisis by moving Perry Kitchen (with plenty of experience in the rear guard) back into central defense.  But the bottom line, it seems, is that D.C. United’s defense this year will not be the same when center back Emiliano Dudar isn’t around. They were certainly in over their heads in this one.
  • Marcelo Saragosa replaced Kitchen as holding midfielder, but the veteran Brazilian doesn’t have Kitchen’s range or distribution ability.
  • Speaking of midfield distribution, does anyone remember a better passer or possession specialist at Buck Shaw than Tressor Moreno? Perhaps it was Geovanni during his rather short 2010 stay?
  • A 35th-minute shot-save combo was as good as any you’ll see in MLS this year. Dwayne De Rosario’s wonderful bicycle kick was heading into goal — but Jon Busch pulled off something special with his one-handed, acrobatic stop. Good stuff, all the way around.
  • De Rosario did push one past Busch, scoring a beauty on a night full of them in MLS. That was No. 95, so D.C.’s brilliant playmaker is five goals away from becoming Major League Soccer’s newest member of the 100-career goal club.

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

Hong Hae-in/Yonhap via AP
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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.