Sorry about the headline. I still haven’t gotten used to the name. BBVA Stadium, I could do. Compass Park – no problem. BBVA Compass Stadium is so many syllables (nine). I expect the name to go on forever. BBVA Compass Park at Houston Dynamo Stadium. Or maybe BBVA Stadium and Compass Park. Nine is either too much or not enough. It just isn’t right.
But those concerns are five months olds. After last night, Houston’s living in the now, having taking three points from Real Salt Lake to jump the third in the East. The Dynamo have still played more games than their closest competitors, but as we mentioned last night, it’s a big win. Not only is it over RSL – one of the league’s most well-respected teams – but it also comes after Houston saw themselves pulled into the race of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots.
And Houston got the win when they were decidedly not themselves. Without Oscar Boniek Garcia (away on international duty), they’re a much different side. They lack dynamism in midfield – lacking that extra man who can pop up anywhere and reek havoc. The absence forced Dominic Kinnear to play a rather stoic 4-2-3-1/4-5-1. Calen Carr underneath Will Bruin just wasn’t working, yet good defender, patience, as some late night fortune still got Houston full points.
For Real Salt Lake, it’s a tough loss, if for no other reason than the final whistle was so close. RSL’s bench thought it should have been blown, but no matter the time of the game, Nick Rimando can’t give up a penalty like he did in the 93rd minute. When he left his feet, Rimando relinquished control of the play, helpless to avoid the game-deciding penalty.
Rimando’s decision leaves RSL with some work to avoid being passed in the West by Seattle. The Sounders are two points back with three matches in hand, with a Saturday match against Chivas USA likely to vault Sigi Schmid’s side into second place.
It’s a tough place to land for a team that had the better for play in the first half, but unable to translate their advantage onto the scoresheet, RSL leaves Houston empty-handed. Here are the highlights:
Since arriving on the New York City scene two years ago it’s fair to summarize Mix Diskerud’s tenure with New York City FC as a disappointment.
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While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.
Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.
Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.
It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.
According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.
Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.
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According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.
Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.
While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.
Tab Ramos’ side completed their first task, but now the U.S. Under-20 national team has its next challenge lying in front of them.
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The U.S. U-20s finished second in Group B at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after winning two of its three group stage matches.
Now, Mexico and El Salvador await the U-20s in the classification stage with a spot at May’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on the line.
During the classification round there will be two groups of three teams, with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup. Each group winner will meet in the CONCACAF Championship final.
Classification stage schedule
Feb. 27 — U.S. U-20s vs. Mexico
Mar. 1 — Mexico vs. El Salvador
Mar. 3 — U.S. U-20s vs. El Salvador
Feb. 27 — Panama vs. Honduras
Mar. 1 — Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Mar. 3 — Panama vs. Costa Rica
Manolo Gabbiadini performed brilliantly in Sunday’s EFL Cup final, but was the Southampton striker unfairly gipped of a hat-trick?
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Saints manager Claude Puel certainly believes so.
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While the back-and-forth final between Southampton and Manchester United presented a tremendous matchup, the Saints had every right to be furious with the officiating in the early going after Gabbiadini’s 11th minute finish was called off for offsides.
“I would like, of course, video in the future for these situations,” said Puel. “It’s very hard when we see this game to lose. It was cruel.”
Gabbiadini went on to score a pair of goals at the tail end of the first half and early in the second stanza, but Puel was pleased with his side’s resilience after going down 2-0 inside the opening 38 minutes.
“We kept the good attitude and spirit to stay in the game after going 2-0 down,” said the Southampton boss. “We played since the beginning of the season every two or three days. We played to a strong and fantastic level. It’s important now to continue this work, to put away this disappointment and come back in the Premier League with this strength and this quality.”
Video replay has been a common discussion for some time now, but more leagues are beginning to examine the possibility. FIFA is prepared to introduce new experimental trials over the coming months and could present a form of replay at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.