Man of the Match: Balls off Lewis Neal’s left foot set up both D.C. United goals, even if the left-sided midfielder didn’t get official assist props on the second. Overall,all four members of United’s midfield made things difficult on the visitors, who never established much possession or any rhythm to speak of.
Packaged for take-away:
- Conor Casey with his first start in almost a year. Nice to have the big battering ram back. Fewer dull moments with him banging around.
- Casey lasted through the 65th.
- Colorado was supposed to be the well-rested side, but it sure didn’t look that way. Credit D.C. United with a strong effort following a warm Saturday afternoon in Houston and subsequent travel.
- For a team that ostensibly wants to possess the ball, Colorado did look for Casey with long stuff fairly frequently. Again, that’s credit to United’s organized, energetic midfield.
- Dwayne De Rosario, last seen as a midfielder over the weekend, lined up as a second forward in this one, behind striker Hamdi Salihi.
- De Rosario found good spots all night. And once United took a two-goal lead, he dropped further into midfield, wisely helping his team adjust into possession and game-management mode. United, after all, has another match coming up Saturday, it’s third in eight days. So preserving the legs needed to become the order of the day once a two-goal margin was achieved.
- De Rosario’s third goal this year was a quality finish. And Neal’s ball played right into De Rosario’s stride was just swell. But good heavens the Rapids’ defending was coyote ugly on that sequence.
- The Rapids’ defense, missing center back Marvell Wynne, was a mess most of the night. Matt Pickens’ good work in Colorado goal kept this one as close as it was.
- On the other hand, Pickens looked like he was about to go MMA on a couple of his defenders. Yes, providing information, instruction, communication and a certain amount of motivation is all in a day’s work for goalkeepers. But when it comes to dramatic histrionics, is that really leadership?
- It was close, but Salihi sure looked offside on the home team’s second score.
- Rapids’ rookie forward Tony Cascio has tremendous talent and potential, but his choices on the ball sometimes need quickening.
- Perry Kitchen’s work as a defensive screener for United was quality stuff. He just keeps growing more and more into the position.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.
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CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.
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The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.
Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.
Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.
NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.
The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.
Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”
Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.
The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.
Three moments that mattered
36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.
39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!
86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.
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Man of the match: Brad Guzan
Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)
Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.
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The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.
Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.
Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.