Can we quibble with two little things here as New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill adds some bulletin board material to the chase for Eastern supremacy?
Here’s what Cahill said following yesterday’s 2-0 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City.
I don’t think there’s anything special to their team [Sporting Kansas City]. I think we didn’t perform tonight. That’s definitely not the team I know. We’ve got a lot more fight than that.”
He’s right about his own side. A poor start, lowlighted by jayvee marking on two restarts, and then some poor quality work inside the attacking third did in the home team. Bottom line: we’ve seen better around Red Bull Arena.
First, if Cahill can’t see anything special about Sporting Kansas City, he might be the only one. No team in memory pressures with the collective commitment of Peter Vermes’ unit. Then there’s the obvious, that Sporting KC has more points (54) and a better goal difference (plus-12) than any Eastern Conference club. Which is why they are a couple of wins away from cinching off the conference crown.
Second, if you get shut out at home, is that really the best time to have a go at your worthy opponent?
Meanwhile, Thierry Henry saw things a little differently. And how.
Overall, they played better. Let’s not hide behind anything. They deserve to be first, and they are.
“We created chances, [but] we didn’t score. I said so many times that you’re not going to be able to come back sometimes in a game like that, and that happened. KC were better than us, way better. They attacked the game better than us, and we found ourselves down 2-0 after 20 minutes.’’
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.