PSV Eindhoven v AZ Alkmaar - Eredivisie

Jozy Altidore rebounds in a big way for AZ Alkmaar

Leave a comment

Good news all the way around for U.S. international Jozy Altidore, whose side finished the Dutch Eredivisie season on the rise Sunday with a 1-0 win – a triumph tied to some far-reaching implications.

AZ’s 1-0 win Sunday over Groningen is important because:

Altidore is OK, after all: The U.S. striker took a big spill last week, banging his head into a hard structure along the sideline. He reported feeling “out of it” for a few seconds but never lost consciousness, and was eventually diagnosed with nothing more than a back bruise. So his start in Sunday’s match says good things.

He assisted in the important game-winner: Altidore’s entry pass helped arrange Erik Falkenburg’s goal, so he can feel good about his part in the big day.

This means extra rest for the striker: This might be the most important element in the big picture. AZ’s win, combined with a loss Sunday by Heerenveen, gives Altidore’s club fourth place in the final Dutch Eredivisie table.

In this case, there’s a big difference between fourth and fifth.

At No. 4, AZ gets a berth in next year’s Europa League qualifying (in August). A loss Sunday would have given Heerenveen that No. 4 spot – and that would mean extra games in the Netherlands, which would have been extra work (and possibly even a delay) before Altidore reports to the U.S. national team camp set to begin next week in Orlando.

The United States’ summer schedule begins May 26 in Jacksonville against Scotland.

This means extra opportunity for Altidore and AZ: Assuming he stays (and there’s no reason at the moment to believe he will not), Altidore and AZ get a shot  at Europa League play. That’s big stuff for a small Dutch club like this one – one that’s been built wisely by former U.S. international Earnie Stewart, by the way.

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy

Robbie Keane
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): The Los Angeles Galaxy became the second team in the Western Conference to clinch a berth in the playoffs following a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders. A terrible mistake from Seattle defender Zach Scott led to an easy goal for Robbie Keane, and it looked like that would be the winner until deep into stoppage time. In the 93rd minute, Chad Barrett got his knee on a corner kick to save a draw for Seattle, although the point was enough for LA. The Galaxy join FC Dallas as the two Western Conference teams headed to the postseason.

[ RELATED: Who will take over as Liverpool manager? ]

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Robbie Keane capitalizes on Seattle’s mistake — Zach Scott misplayed a ball across the Sounders’ back line, as Robbie Keane intercepted the pass and finished one of the easiest goals he’s going to score. A true striker’s goal, Keane doesn’t miss ones like this.

64′ — Steven Gerrard denied by the woodwork — Los Angeles nearly made it 2-0 right after the hour mark, but Steven Gerrard was just inches off. Gerrard rose up to meet a corner kick from Juninho, but his header took a deflection and hit the crossbar before being cleared out of the box by Seattle.

90’+3′ — Chad Barrett finds a late, late equalizer — Just when it looked like LA was going to leave Seattle with a win, Chad Barrett stole a point for the Sounders. Marco Pappa whipped in a corner kick to the near post, which was flicked on by Brad Evans. Barrett surged into the box and got a knee on the ball as the match ended in a draw.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Steven Gerrard

Goalscorers: Keane (36′), Barrett (90’+3′)

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)