Snap Judgments: Quick reaction to Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action

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If Tuesday was defined by road success, Wednesday was about late goals. They turned matches in Gelsenkirchen, Manchester, Porto and St. Petersburg, and while we haven’t had time to catch up on all eight matches, we do have time for some snap judgments:

Group A

Porto 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain – James Rodriguez’s 83rd minute goal gives Porto a just result. Aside from a couple of moments of danger from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Portuguese champions were consistently the better side. Poor finishing let this match stay even until its final moments, but Porto’s Colombian dynamo made sure the hosts got three huge points. They sit on top of Group A perfect through two rounds.

Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb – New coach Oleg Blohkin’s Champions League debut with Dynamo saw his team up two after 33 minutes. Ultimately, the win is just holding serve. Dinamo’s expected to finish bottom of this group. Today, we saw why.

Group B

Arsenal 3-1 Olympiacos – As expected, Arsenal dominated the ball, but a goal from Kosta Mitroglou in first half stoppage time made this more interesting than Arsène Wenger would have liked. Lukas Podolski’s early second half winner (and Aaron Ramsey’s insurance tally) keeps the Gunners at the top of Group B ahead of their home-and-home with Schalke.

Schalke 2-2 Montpellier – Like Arsenal, Schalke made it more difficult than they would have liked, falling behind in the 13th minute. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s second half penalty conversion was set to put Schalke along side Arsenal with six points, but a 90th minute goal from Souleymane Camara grabbed a point for Montpellier. It’s a disappointing result for Schalke, but safely in second place (three points up on Montpellier), they’re still in a strong position to go advance.

Group C

Zenit St. Petersburg 2-3 Milan – Two very fortunate goals (in off Zenit players) get a struggling Milan full points in Russia. Zenit only played well for 30 minutes in the middle of the match. With no points through two rounds, they’ll rue not giving a better effort while going down two in the first 16 minutes.

Anderlecht 0-3 Málaga – We talked up Málaga as the better side, but a three-goal win is surprising. Anderlecht only put one shot on target as the Andalusians got another two-goal performance, this one from Eliseu. Málaga has six points, a +6 goal difference, and are going to be difficult to keep from the knockout rounds.

Group D

Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund – Borussia Dortmund were clearly the better side, but when Neven Subotic capped a poor day with a hand ball in the 89th minute, City had their route into the match. Mario Balotelli converted, City got their point, and left few who will remember how much the Germans’ superior play. We’ll drill down on this one later.

Ajax 1-4 Real Madrid – It took Real Madrid 42 minutes to break through, and when Ajax pulled back a goal early in the second, it looked like we might have a game. Ultimately, El Real got the result we expected. They’re perfect on top of Group D, and Cristiano has back-to-back hat tricks. We’ll assume he’s happy now.

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 1-3 Toronto FC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Greg Vanney and Toronto keep on doing their thing, and the Canadian side is yet another step closer to achieving MLS glory. TFC picked up its 50th point of the season on Saturday night after comfortably handling the Chicago Fire, who have cooled off significantly as of late in the Eastern Conference. The Fire are now nine points behind the East leaders and are losers of four of their last five matches.

Three moments that mattered

54′ — Accam, Fire level it up — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from everybody…

64′ — Hasler nets first MLS goal — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from all of their players…

90′ — Giovinco says goodnight to Chicago — That’s 12 goals on the season for Sebastian Giovinco and the TFC striker continues to help his side push towards the top seed in the East and MLS.

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Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Marco Delgado (14′), David Accam (54′), Nick Hasler (63′), Sebastian Giovinco (90′)

Video: Watts gifts D.C. United own goal for the ages

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Not many things have gone right for either side involved in 2017, but D.C. United was the recipient of a gift early on against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Piatti brace lifts Impact to fourth win in a row; Orlando, Crew draw ]

In the 27th minute, Rapids center back Jared Watts received the ball at the back, before making a routine back pass to USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard

Or at least, it should have been a routine back pass.

Instead, Watts’ pass was well off target and too strong for Howard to reach and landed in the back of the Rapids goal. 1-0 in favor of D.C.

Reminder: Both these teams sit at the bottom of their respective conferences on points.

MLS Snapshot: Piatti brace lifts Impact | Crew, Orlando City draw

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact have proven to be a second-half of the season team the last several years, and that form appears to be holding true once more. Mauro Biello’s side won its fourth straight match on Saturday, while Ignacio Piatti continues to show he’s one of the most deadly scorers in the league. Meanwhile, RSL’s six-match unbeaten run is snapped north of the border, leaving the Western Conference side three points out of sixth place.

Three four moments that mattered

11′ — Piatti nets his first of the night — The Impact made this attack look so easy, and Ignacio Piatti simply won’t miss a chance like this one.

26′ — Evan Bush left motionless as RSL equalize — Luis Silva took matters into his own hands, and boy did he connect with this effort!

29′ — Impact punish poor RSL defense — Guess who? Piatti has his second of the evening.

47′ — Hosts begin to pile it on — Anthony Jackson-Hamel played provider in the first two goals, so it’s only fair he got one of his own.

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Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Ignacio Piatti (11′, 29′), Luis Silva (26′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (47′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City and the Crew settled for a point apiece on Saturday night, but for the former the club is running out of opportunities to pick up points in the playoff race. Giles Barnes pulled a goal back for the hosts after Lalas Abubakar netted his first MLS goal for the Crew, but Orlando couldn’t find a second. The Lions played up a man for the final 13 minutes, following Harrison Afful’s dismissal.

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Abubakar knocks in first MLS goal — Orlando City’s defensive woes are certainly notable as well, but for Lalas Abubakar this is a quality way to open his scoring account in MLS.

67′ — Barnes knots it up at 1-1 — The veteran MLS forward picked up his second goal of the season.

77′ — VAR used for red card decision — The video monitor came into play briefly in the second half, and Harrison Afful was sent off the pitch early after the referee viewed the defender’s elbow to the head of Yoshi Yotun.

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Man of the match: Zack Steffen

Goalscorers: Lalas Abubakar (35′), Giles Barnes (67′)

Atlanta United fans pack 20,000 into new stadium for training session

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Atlanta United is currently in the midst of a three-match road trip in MLS play, but that didn’t stop the club from unveiling its new home venue to a massive crowd of supporters on Saturday.

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Over 20,000 fans of the Eastern Conference expansion side filed into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch Gerardo Martino’s side train on Saturday as Atlanta prepares to finish out its road trip against D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union.

Atlanta will open up home play at their new stadium on September 10 when they host FC Dallas. The club will have the benefit of playing eight of its final 10 regular season matches in front of its Georgia fan base.

The first-year MLS side will share the stadium with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.

Here are some sights from the training session