Man of the Match: New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara is moving up the list on my ballot for Rookie of the Year – perhaps already in the pole position. Once again Sunday he came through in the clutch with a big save at the end. It’s not just his shot-stopping, but it’s the overall management in the box, his sure hands and good choices on when to stand his ground or when to go get the ball. Other than one bobble in heavy traffic, Meara did everything right in this one.
Packaged for take-away:
- The Red Bulls have four consecutive wins for the first time in nine years, and now sit atop the Eastern Conference after Sunday’s win at PPL Park.
- I’m going to coin new term: The Marquez Conundrum ®. Because Rafa Marquez really is an asset on attack, but a complete defensive liability. Two Marquez passes led to goals for New York, including a sublime, perfectly weighted doozy into Kenny Cooper for the game-winner.
- Cooper has nine goals, or one more than he had last year for Portland
- Philadelphia defender Sheanon Williams is doing OK as fill-in at center back for Danny Califf, but he got crossed up on the game-winner, letting Cooper get into a dangerous gap. (Williams is usually Philly’s starting right back.)
- Marquez was back in the lineup after four matches away. He took Dax McCarty’s holding midfield role; McCarty moved higher up the field, still stationed centrally but playing alongside Mehdi Ballouchy in the Red Bulls’ 4-1-4-1.
- I’ve already had my say about Freddy Adu and his unwise choices.
- As an addendum, no matter what you thought of Jorge Gonzalez’s choice to book Adu in that situation, here’s what the young Union attacker needs to do there: Just play! Don’t dive. Don’t fall. Don’t drag your foot and look for a call. Just try to score.
- It really was a shame, too. Because Adu had been so dangerous in this one, probably playing his best match of 2012. Playing on the right but tucking inside as a playmaker, Adu was creating with his passes, off the dribble and through crisp set-piece delivery.
- Union striker Lionard Pajoy has been a disappointment so far, if we’re being honest. But perhaps he’s the latest example that some players just need 10 or games to get things sorted out in MLS. Because he was quite bright in this one.
- Whatever was missing from Joel Lindpere’s game (or in his personal life) earlier this year, the man has clearly found it.
- At least twice, Philadelphia striker Danny Mwanga passed up opportunities to attack defenders. He hasn’t scored since last summer. Add it all up, the 2010 No. 1 draft pick just isn’t a confidence striker at the moment. Strikers who are feeling it and believing in themselves look for chances to take on defenders in 1-on-1 situations, sometimes even attacking guys along the back line when they probably should pass. Mwanga needs to call FedEx and order up a big shipment of “confidence.”
- Meanwhile, Juan Agudelo’s 30-plus minutes off the bench for New York? Yep, not bad at all. He found good spots, kept possession well, worked well and used some athletic ability to point a couple of shots at target. All in all, that might be enough to convince Jurgen Klinsmann to bring Agudelo into the 29-man camp for a closer look-see, at least.
John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.
That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.
Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.
The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.
Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.
Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.
[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]
The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.
The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.
Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.
According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.
The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”
[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]
“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”
Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.
The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.
This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.
The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.
But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.
[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]
And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.
Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.
Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:
“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.
“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”