CONCACAF Champions League - Toronto FC v Los Angeles Galaxy

Drilling down on: at Toronto 1, Philadelphia 0

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Man of the Match: Danny Koevermans didn’t come on until the hour mark, but when you score the goal that ends a league record run of futility, you get the honor. Taking advantage of a nice effort from fellow sub Nick Soolsma, TFC’s oft-injured striker thighed home the winner in the 88th minute, improving Toronto to 1-9-0 on the season.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Koeverman’s goal, combined with some poorly-taken chances from Ryan Johnson, will only heighten the refrain: What would this season be if TFC’s big ticket attacking purchase was healthy?
  • For much of this match Toronto was the better team, particularly in the first half. With Reggie Lambe and Joao Plata on each side of Johnson, Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman sitting behind Luis Silva, there was a nice balance to the team.
  • The only problem was the end product. Plata missed an easy chance early. Johnson continued to have trouble putting his opportunities on frame. The team continues to direly miss a healthy Koevermans.
  • Plata, however, was TFC’s best player before Koevermans scored, yet he came off at the hour mark. TFC’s spark plug left to a nice round of applause from the home fans, and although he came off for Koevermans, the move was still a bit of a header-scratcher. Why not take off Johnson?
  • Frings, still coming back from injury, looked decent, even if some of this passes in the final third could have been better. The TFC captain did seemed to be bothered by his shoulder at times, and a Gabriel Farfan (unintentional) forearm to the face gave him some trouble in the second half.
  • Philadelphia started 4-4-2, with both Danny Mwanga and Lionard Pajoy up top, but the Union never really caused Milos Kosic much trouble. While Philadelphia feigned some second half ascension, the best chances at match’s end were Toronto’s.
  • Chris Konopka, essentially a third-choice `keeper for Philadelphia, played well, even if he could have done better on the goal.  With Zac MacMath and Chase Harrison already out, the Union nearly had to bring on Brian Rowe (a league pool goalkeeper), with their final sub after Konopka tweaked a hammy in the 81st minute.
  • There was already grumbling amongst Philadelphia fans disgruntled over their team’s poor start. Today’s result won’t help. It would be one thing if the Union played well but gave up a late heartbreaker, but that’s not what happened. The final score was fair, leaving Union fans to ask If we’re not better than Toronto, what exactly’s going on?

 

Manchester City 3-1 West Ham: Sterling shines with double

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal with Nolito, Gael Clichy (2ndL) and David Silva (L) during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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West Ham gave Manchester City a bit of a scare early in the second half, but Raheem Sterling‘s second goal of the afternoon provided the home side with all three points at the Etihad Stadium.

The Citizens held on for a 3-1 win on Sunday after Sterling found the back of the net twice, with the second coming in the dying minutes from a close-range tap in.

In the 18th minute, Kevin De Bruyne hit a superb free kick directly into the path of Fernandinho, who smashed home a header to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.

Without a host of players for the visitors, City took it to their opposition early on when David Silva started a strong attack down the center of the West Ham defense. The Spaniard played the ball out wide to Nolito before finding an open Raheem Sterling, who calmly slotted his effort into the corner for the lead after seven minutes.

Michail Antonio provided West Ham with a lifeline following halftime, however, it wasn’t enough for the visitors to complete the comeback. Antonio headed home at the far post just prior to the hour mark after Arthur Masuaku beat his man and found the attacker.

Video: City clinical on set piece to double lead

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Manchester City has lived up to the billing early on in the Pep Guardiola era, and the first half of Sunday’s match against West Ham has been everything the Spaniard could hope for.

After taking an early lead through Raheem Sterling after seven minutes, Fernandinho doubled the City lead in the 18th minute after a stellar set piece situation.

Kevin De Bruyne‘s stepped up for a free kick before the Belgian curled his effort directly into the path of Fernandinho, who headed home the hosts for the 2-0 lead.

Even though West Ham is understandably undermanned with Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll and others, City is putting on a show right now at the Etihad.

West Brom 0-0 Middlesbrough: Guzan holds Baggies scoreless

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Cristhian Stuani of Middlesbrough takes on Brendan Galloway and Claudio Yacob (R) of West Bromwich Albion  during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough at The Hawthorns on August 28, 2016 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t the most attractive perfromance all around but Middlesbrough remained perfect on Sunday after finishing level in their 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion from The Hawthorns.

Brad Guzan earned his second start in net on Sunday since joining Middlesbrough, and the U.S. Men’s National Team keeper was active early on, making two key saves in the first half to keep the match scoreless.

Despite Boro’s success in possession, the team lacked a final touch early on and failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes. West Brom was successful in limiting Alvaro Negredo’s touches early on, which prevented the road side from getting any sort of offensive rhythm.

West Brom continued to press for the opener in the second stanza, however, the home side’s remained limited and largely unthreatening. Craig Dawson had an opportunity to open the scoring in the 63rd minute with a header from close range, but the attempt missed wide of net after Matt Phillips played in the service.

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. West Ham (Lineups, Live Stream)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City battles with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at the Boleyn Ground on January 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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Pep Guardiola remains perfect in his early run in the Premier League and looks to continue that trend on Sunday as Manchester City hosts a difficult West Ham United side at 11 a.m. E.T. from the Etihad Stadium on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Joe Hart has been the talking point for weeks now at City, but with the new signing of Claudio Bravo finalized earlier this week the attention turns to whether or not the Englishman will be offloaded before the transfer window closes next week.

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. Sunderland live online

West Ham needed a late winner a week ago to edge Bournemouth at home, however, Slaven Bilic‘s side has battled hard in both of their fixtures to start the season.

The Hammers will be extremely undermanned on Sunday as Dimitri Payet headlines the group of players that haven’t travelled with the team to Manchester. Striker Andy Carroll won’t be at the Etihad either, leaving West Ham lacking with depth up front.

Enner Valencia and Cheikhou Kouyate will play key roles for the Hammers as they look to fill the voids left by Payet and Carroll.

Meanwhile, City will keep Will Caballero in net while Bravo finishes his transition into the squad. Nolito also gets the start alongside Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero up front, which will give West Ham fits defensively.

LINEUPS

Manchester City – Caballero, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Nolito, Aguero.
Bench – Hart, Fernando, Nasri, Kolarov, Delph, Iheanacho, Navas.

West Ham – Adrián, Ogbonna, Reid, Masuaku, Collins, Noble, Kouyate, Antonio, Tore, Enner Valencia, Fletcher.
Bench – Randolph, Byrum, Burke, Oxford, Obiang, Lanzini, Calleri.