Diego Chara

Quickie MLS review of Week 6

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Oddest situation: Who knows Law 4 from the FIFA set of rules that stodgy old set of game governances? I bet everyone around San Jose does this morning.

It’s all explained in yesterday’s post, but here is the super-short sum-up: Two players went off to change their shoes. The referee refused (correctly) to let them back on until a stoppage in play. Exploiting the 11-on-9 advantage, Vancouver nailed the game-tying goal in a 1-1 draw in Northern California. San Jose players and coaches humbly copped to their schoolboy mistake.

Hottest coaching seat: Who would have thought we would say this? It’s in Seattle, where Sigi Schmid’s Sounders are Major League Soccer’s only winless team. And things promised to get a little rockier still this week as Seattle completes the “away” leg of its two-game CONCACAF Champions League semifinal set with Mexico’s Santos Laguna. It don’t look good. Meanwhile, Chicago’s Frank Klopas  turned down the heat on his situation, at least for now.

Best tactical adjustment: Manager Caleb Porter made a wise adjustment in the Portland Timbers breakthrough win over Houston, the first victory for the Timbers’ first-year head coach. With Darlington Nagbe looking ill-suited as a playmaker in a 4-2-3-1, Porter shifted the team into a more conventional 4-4-2, and Diego Chara (pictured) proceeded to the run the show, and run Houston out of town with a 2-0 loss.

Best tactical tweak, Part II: In Chicago, Klopas pushed Joel Lindpere out wide, away from his holding role alongside Jeff Larentowicz. It worked out OK – this was mostly Lindpere’s spot during previous years with New York – but things clicked even more in the second half. In the second 45, Klopas encouraged his Estonian midfielder to actually stay out wide along the left, rather than working inside as much.

Trouble with penalty kicks: Chicago and Real Salt Lake both missed spot shots over the weekend. Chris Rolfe took a short run-up and pushed his shot wide left in the Fire’s win over New York. And Alvaro Saborio saw his shot from the 12 saved quite nicely by Colorado Rapids rookie Clinton Irwin. That was real justice, too, because the penalty decision in that one was pretty weak sauce.

Best individual performance: Whoa! Not so fast there, cowboy! Check back later today when we drop our ProSoccerTalk Player of the Week and Team of the Week.

Best goal: Had to be Darel Russell’s stunning, out-of-nowhere, laser-guided stinger in the closing minutes. Not only was it a great strike from the Toronto FC man, it was the late equalizer that punctuated a two-goal rally for the Reds in a 2-2 draw. Watch it here:

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Premier League roundup: Wins for Chelsea, Liverpool; Draws for six others

HULL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring his sides second goal with his team mates during the Premier League match between Hull City and Chelsea at KCOM Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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The European tournament week left us with just five Premier League clubs in action on Saturday, but we still saw some sensational goals and stunning saves.

[ MORE: PST talks with Michael Bradley ]

For the most part, we saw expected results aside from West Ham’s failure to capitalize against visiting Middlesbrough.

Here, recapped, is our Saturday in England’s top flight.

Swansea City 1-2 LiverpoolRECAP

James Milner converted his fourth penalty kick of the season to complete Liverpool’s road comeback over Swansea City, casting further doubt on Francesco Guidolin‘s time as Swans boss. Roberto Firmino equalized off a Philippe Coutinho free kick after Leroy Fer gave the hosts an early lead.

West Ham United 1-1 MiddlesbroughRECAP

West Ham will be happy to have “stopped the rot” and not lost a fifth-straight game, but it took some “pure magic” from Dimitri Payet to avoid another loss at the Olympic Stadium. Cristhian Stuani netted early to give Boro a road lead, but Payet dribbled through the 18 before cutting the ball across his body and past Victor Valdes.

Hull City 0-2 Chelsea — RECAP

The Blues ended their three-match winless skid in style, working very good possession and build-up before breaking through after the hour mark with Willian and then Diego Costa. Chelsea now starts a brutal five match run which includes Premier League matches against Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton, and Everton.

Sunderland 1-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Nacer Chadli has proven a good buy for the Baggies so far, as the ex-Spurs man scored again, but Patrick Van Aanholt continued his knack for big goals by pulling back a point for the woeful host Black Cats.

Watford 2-2 BournemouthRECAP

The Cherries had a pair of leads thanks to Callum Wilson and Josh King, and Jack Wilshere hit the post twice in a game the visitors could have and maybe should have claimed. But Troy Deeney and exciting sub Isaac Success nabbed goals for the Hornets as the two sides split the points.

VIDEO: Former players, journalists reflect on Wenger’s 20 years at Arsenal

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is celebrating his 20th year in charge of the storied Premier League club, and the accomplishment bears discussing.

In an age of managerial turnover, the Frenchman has maintained a consistent hold of the Gunners, and is widely viewed as a wonderful company man.

[ MORE: PST talks with Michael Bradley ]

In the above video, several former Gunners join media members to discuss the genius that is Wenger.

Enjoy!

Conte revels in Chelsea intensity in controlling win at Hull City

HULL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Hull City and Chelsea at KCOM Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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The intensity from Chelsea’s players in their 2-0 victory at Hull City was a sight for Antonio Conte‘s sore eyes.

Actually, that might be understating it.

“I like it when the team plays in this way,” Conte said after the win. “I like it so much.”

[ MORE: Hull City 0-2 Chelsea ]

The Blues controlled the match at the KC Stadium long before Willian and Diego Costa hit bullets past a helpless David Marshall to seal Chelsea’s 11th, 12th, and 13th points of the young Premier League season.

Conte loved the industry from his club in breaking a three-match losing streak.

From the BBC:

“We are working very hard and I am sure we can improve a lot if we continue to work in this way. I am pleased for all the players because in these situations because we have a clean sheet. In previous games we conceded too many goals. To finish with a clean sheet is very important. We also scored two and the performance is good. We must follow this with work, work, work!”

“We can improve and we must improve a lot and continue to work. After these two defeats it’s not easy to work because two defeats for Chelsea are heavy defeats. But this was a good answer.”

Yeah… he’s pretty intense. Is anyone going to take his “work, work, work” soundbite and work it into a Rihanna remix?

The Blues will need to work, as the schedule starts a brutal run after the international break: home to Leicester City and Manchester United, away to West Ham in the EFL Cup, and then on the road to Saints and home for Everton.

Adrian, Bilic praise Messi-like equalizer from “pure magic” Payet

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet, left, and Middlesbrough’s Marten de Roon challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Middlesbrough at The London Stadium  in London, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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To hear West Ham goalkeeper Adrian describe it, the Irons should start streaming their training sessions so we can see more magic from Dimitri Payet.

West Ham’s talisman rescued a point for his struggling club when he essentially worked six Middlesbrough players and delivered a terrific finish in a 1-1 draw at Olympic Stadium in London.

[ WATCH: Payet’s wondergoal ]

Adrian says they see that a lot.

“Payet is like that in training,” the goalkeeper said. “He scored like a Lionel Messi goal at Barcelona. It is a massive goal to us.”

[ MORE: West Ham 1-1 Middlesbrough ]

The goal truly was massive, as the Irons avoided losing five in-a-row. They are still in the relegation zone, but baby steps.

Here’s WHUFC head coach Slaven Bilic:

“It was an unbelievable goal, it was a pure magic. It was only a shame it wasn’t a winning goal. We needed that moment of class from our best player to lift the whole team up.”