Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 25

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Goalkeeper:

  • L.A. Galaxy’s Josh Saunders

Rationale, motive and intent: Despite an advantage in possession, Dallas made the Galaxy keeper work hard in spots. Saunders had five saves in helping preserve his sixth shutout this year.

Back line:

  • Philadelphia’s Ramon Gaddis
  • Los Angeles’ Omar Gonzalez
  • Portland’s Steven Smith

Rationale, motive and intent: Gaddis made the most of his opportunity, playing in relief of the suspended Sheanon Williams. Gonzalez is moving like he never missed a match, never mind that he did miss about half the season. He helped make Blas Perez’s return to the field for Dallas less than memorable.

Smith was big all night along the defensive left side in Portland’s Cascadia Cup win over Vancouver. He was never bigger than in a second half, athletic goal line clearance. It was probably a game-saver.

Midfield:

  • Sporting Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza
  • L.A. Galaxy’s Juninho
  • San Jose’s Simon Dawkins
  • Montreal’s Patrice Bernier

Rationale, motive and intent: Espinoza never stopped running in his team’s 1-1 draw with New York. Juninho was a similar bundle of skillful energy at the Galaxy ran past Dallas. Dunfield looks like a new man under TFC coach Paul Mariner, and the “new man” was big factor in guiding the Canadians to a point over the weekend in Houston.

Dawkins helps make San Jose unstoppable when he’s on his game (and when he scores a couple, as he did in the ‘Quakes’ romp-and-stomp over Colorado). And Bernier has put together an unbelievable season at Montreal; he had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s win over D.C. United.

Forward:

  • Seattle’s Fredy Montero
  • Columbus’ Jairo Arrieta
  • Columbus’ Federico Higuain (pictured)

Rationale, motive and intent: Montero’s hat trick is impossible to ignore – so we didn’t. The Sounders’ man now has 11 goals in 2012. Arrieta and Higuain had two apiece Saturday in the Crew’s thrilling 4-3 win over New England. And they were spectacular. You can watch them here.

Manchester United to seek out those who continue offensive Lukaku chant

Andrew Matthews/PA via AP
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Some Manchester United supporters persisting in singing a chant glorifying Romelu Lukaku which has been deemed racist by many for its depiction of the player’s penis size.

Lukaku was among those to ask that fans stop singing the song, as did the club, but it was heard from the away end at St. Mary’s during Manchester United’s 1-0 win on Saturday (where Lukaku scored the winner).

[ WATCH: Coutinho’s gorgeous free kick ]

United responded with vigor after the match, releasing a statement claiming it would request closed circuit footage of the fans in attempts to ban those singing the song based on The Stone Roses’ “Made of Stone.”

WATCH: Coutinho spins gorgeous free kick past Schmeichel

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Minutes after setting up Mohamed Salah for a back door header for a 1-0 lead at Leicestwer City, Liverpool wizard Philippe Coutinho tacked on a goal of his own.

WATCH LEICESTER-LIVERPOOL ONLINE, HERE

Coutinho scored a beauty in the 23rd minute, as the Brazilian lorded over a free kick before spinning a goal just off the top of the wall and past a flying Kasper Schmeichel.

It looked like it was headed for the upper 90 even had it not taking its tiny deviation. The kick was a masterful effort from Coutinho.

Everton’s comeback win puts Koeman “in a totally different world”

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A quiz for you. Oumar Niasse‘s two goals:

  • A) Saved Ronald Koeman‘s job
  • B) Led Everton’s come back win
  • C) All of the above

Koeman admitted “there were a lot of emotions” in Everton’s 2-1 home win over Bournemouth on Saturday, as the Toffees got off the mat to post their first Premier League win since Aug. 12.

[ RECAP: Everton 2-1 Bournemouth ]

After a summer of spending, the Toffees were expected to compete for another berth in a European competition. Instead, a murderer’s row of early fixtures had Everton very low on the PL table.

Was Koeman able to stay calm as his team struggled at home against Bottom Three side Bournemouth?

“Calm after the game, yes. There were a lot of emotions. It was a difficult game, we did not create many chances and we took the right decision after 1-0 down to try something different – play two strikers and go more direct.

“It is a totally different world after winning. You have key moments during the season and this was a big win that will give everyone a boost.”

Apollon Limassol is next for the Toffees, followed by matches against Burnley and Brighton.

Jose Mourinho responds to sending off, Man United win

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho saw his side battle to a 1-0 win away at Southampton on Saturday as they kept their unbeaten start to the Premier League season going.

Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal of the game after 20 minutes and although Saints had the better of the play in the second half, United’s defense held firm.

Towards the end of the game Mourinho was sent to the stands by referee Craig Pawson for encroachment as he stepped onto the pitch during the action.

What happened?

“I don’t know, you have to ask the referee,” Mourinho said.

He then wasted more time by shaking the hands of every member of Southampton’s coaching staff before he briefly went into the stands before the final whistle was blown.

It remains to be seen if he will face a touchline ban or fine for his actions but speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho focused on the performance of his team.

“It is not always possible to operate at high quality but fought hard. We did what many teams in the Premier League do for 90 minutes, which was play with five defenders at the back. Credit to Southampton, they tried to play. Pellegrino changed the team and sent on another striker to play more direct.

“It was a hard game but I am really happy. Romelu Lukaku’s work is so important for us. He scored his goal and worked hard like everybody else. Nobody feels the pressure to play always attacking football because so many teams play always defensively. I felt some of the boys were not sharp. I didn’t feel like we could score three or four goals like we sometimes do so the option was to make sure we got the points.”