Holy self-destruction! Red Bulls fall apart against San Jose

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If anyone remembers how the New York Red Bulls lost a lead last week against Portland, walking back a potential win into a draw, well, know this:

That was nothing!

The Red Bulls had a late lead Sunday night, about to make their way back east with four points (of a possible six) from two matches away from home to open 2013, darn good work by almost any measure. (Especially considering the matches meant two cross-country road trips.)

But things unraveled spectacularly for Mike Petke’s team over the last 10 minutes Sunday; San Jose scored in the 83rd minute and again in stoppage time for a 2-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Red Bulls star Thierry Henry, remember, had some less than flattering things to say about his teammates after last week’s second-half clunker, about the club’s need for more high-level know-how.  So what in the world will the famous Frenchman think now? (And more to the point, will he keep it to himself?)

Credit the San Jose Earthquakes, who finally found a little of that missing 2012 magic, concocting a big rally that looked so familiar from last year’s sensational Supporters Shield run.

It seemed quite unlikely, too. Still missing from San Jose’s selections are bothersome strikers Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart, speedy Marvin Chavez and skillful Simon Dawkins in the midfield and Steven Beitashour coming forward from his right back position. (All are injured except for Dawkins, who is back in England, now with Aston Villa.)

(MORE: We’ll soon learn more about rookie Red Bulls coach Mike Petke)

But second half sub Adam Jahn got the Earthquakes first goal of the season 83 minutes into Sunday evening when left unmarked at the far post.

Then, it was Jahn once again making something happen in stoppage time. Red Bulls left back Roy Miller was waving and arm where arms don’t need to be, preventing Jahn’s header off a corner kick from going goal-ward.

Goalkeeper Luis Robles, who had his share of shaky moments Sunday, came up with a huge stop. But Miller … well, what got into the man?

He was responsible for two late fouls that gave San Jose dangerous free kicks. Then his hand ball gifted San Jose with the penalty kick. And to put the cherry on this parfait of awful, Miller stepped into the penalty area so early prior to Wondolowski’s spot kick, referee Ricardo Salazar had little choice but to call for the re-kick.

Red Bulls players protested, but Miller was in so ridiculously early, Salazar made the correct call.

The 10-minute spell was an absolute fiasco.

Full highlights are here:

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Photo: Flamengo supporter tattoos club jersey on body

MAURÍCIO DOS ANJOS VIA VICE
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A supporter in Brazil has taken fandom to a whole new level with a piece of body art that shows his devotion to the club.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Maurício dos Anjos, a passionate Flamengo fan, has been a life-long supporter of the Rio de Janeiro-based club, and has the tattoo to prove it.

While it may look like body paint, Dos Anjos has a tattoo on the upper-half of his body depicting the Flamengo jersey, and it’s pretty awesome.

“People ask me if I don’t find it strange that I’m always wearing a Flamengo shirt. And I just don’t,” dos Anjos told VICE. “To me, it’s normal. But it doesn’t seem like anyone I talk to about it actually dislikes my tattoo.”

In total, Dos Anjos says the body work took over 90 hours and 30 sessions to complete the tattoo.

Has the perception of MLS really changed?

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When David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles back in 2007 his presence changed the complexion of Major League Soccer for all the right reasons, and the perception of the growing league changed.

[ MORE: Go behind the scenes at NYCFC’s new training facility ]

Over the years, MLS has strived to move into the upper-echelon of the global game, in an attempt to compete with the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, but naysayers still indicate to this day that the United States’ top flight lacks the quality of the aforementioned.

Phrases like “retirement league” and “uninspired” have been used to describe MLS in the past, particularly when it comes to the league’s willingness to spend boatloads of cash on notable players well past their prime.

Examples such as Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard and Rafael Marquez have at times dampened the perception of MLS due to the lack of quality on the pitch from those players, along with several others that had previously boasted extensive resumes.

Now, we’re at a time where MLS has picked up its scouting, with clubs focused more on younger, more skilled talents from South America and Europe.

That has led to major signings over the past several years, such as Ezequiel Barco, Miguel Almiron, Diego Rossi and Jesus Medina, to name a few.

Has that changed the overall complexion of MLS though?

On Thursday, Kevin De Bruyne‘s agent, Patrick de Koster, suggested in an interview that the Belgium international would likely “finish” his career in MLS.

“For now, he’s very happy at this club,” De Koster said. “We always look what the best solution for the player, both financially and football wise. Kevin’s future? I can see him finish at Los Angeles.”

This comes on the heels of a 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the LA Galaxy in a move that has sent shockwaves across the league and the world because of the Swede’s great presence on a global scale.

It’s not to say that players like Ibrahimovic, or previous signings like David Villa and Didier Drogba cannot help the overall growth of MLS, because they certainly bring an awareness to the matches and draw attention to their respective clubs.

However, the long-term viability of MLS has been and will continue to be sustained on youth players succeeding in the league, as well as being able to draw promising young talents into the top flight of the U.S.

Report: USMNT likely to face Brazil, Mexico in September friendlies

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The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.

[ MORE: Chivas’ Almeyda exhales after CCL title win ]

ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.

The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.

Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.

The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.

The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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