FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo

A penalty kick choice that went horribly wrong

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FC Dallas was at the very edge of something quite special; manager laments choice of late PK taker:

FC Dallas was at the very edge of something quite special.

Despite still missing three of its top starters – striker Blas Perez and center backs Ugo Ihemelu and George John – the club had just rallied from two goals down, on the road and against the league’s top side, no less. An 89th-minute strike left Dallas trailing, 2-1.

About two minutes later, Zach Loyd earned a dramatic stoppage-time penalty kick for the visitors. So Dallas was this close to pulling off something truly memorable. Having won on the road four nights earlier, and with the bottom team in the West coming to Texas this weekend, Dallas had the chance to string together a trio of results that can build real confidence (and make up some serious ground in the playoff chase).

Then Jair Benitez happened.

It was Dallas left back who stepped up to take the critical penalty kick. Brek Shea had been subbed out. So had David Ferreira.

So up stepped Benitez, a man without a goal in 83 MLS matches. He sent the ball well into the San Jose night. The Earthquakes survived. But will FC Dallas’ spirits do the same after such a dreadful turn?

Here’s what Hyndman said about the choice:

Unfortunately, Brek [Shea] is the one who normally takes our PKs and we subbed him out. [David] Ferriera is another one that has taken PKs and [Daniel] Hernandez is another one that has taken PKs. So we were looking at potentially three different players and the question became who can do it. In hindsight, we probably should have went with one of the other two.”

Here’s the thing with Benitez: He just keeps costing FC Dallas points. Again and again. Whether it’s due to bad defending, taking sill fouls or leaving his team a man down because he selfishly lashes out, he’s been costing the team points for two years.

Why he’s still on the field, only Hyndman could say.

The 33-year-old Colombian was once an offensive force from the left back spot. Determined attacking tenacity from the left back spot helped Dallas keep teams pinned in.

But that was 2010, when FCD advanced to the MLS Cup final. He simply isn’t that player anymore. Benitez has no assists in 15 contests this year – and the defensive errors continue to compound.

VIDEO: Alex Morgan scores goal against Costa Rica in 12 seconds

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The United States got off to a historically roaring start in Olympic qualifying. Taking on Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas to begin Group A play, Alex Morgan opened the scoring in just 12 seconds, taking just six passes to complete the masterpiece.

According to the USWNT twitter account, the goal is the fastest in U.S. Soccer history.

According to CONCACAF, the goal is also the quickest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, breaking Abby Wambach’s of 35 seconds in a 14-0 domination of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The United States scored three goals in the first 15 minutes against Costa Rica tonight. They will take on Mexico and Puerto Rico across the next five days.

Watch Live: USWNT vs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States is congratulated by teammate Alex Morgan #13 after a goal against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium on January 23, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The United States women are set to begin Group A play in Olympic qualification, taking on 36th ranked Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The game takes place after a 17-day camp at the national training camp in Carson, California.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Other teams in the group include Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Mexicans dominated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the first game.

LINEUP

United States: Solo; Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg; Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Heath; Morgan.

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

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New York City FC
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Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.

Men In Blazers podcast: Romelu Lukaku Pod Special

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Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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