Ajax v Willem II - Dutch Eredivisie

Ajax clinches their third straight Eredivisie title, 32nd of all time

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Ajax won its won 32nd Eredivisie title Sunday, and third in three years, as the Dutch club hammered Willem II Tilburg 5-0. The victory guarantees de Godenzonen a spot in next season’s Champions League.

Ajax’s domination of Tilburg saw all five goals scored by different players. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s header opened the scoring in the 12th minute and Christian Eriksen doubled the lead 13 minutes later prompting supporters to begin an early celebration with the song, “Stand up for the Champion!”

Ajax got their third in the 68th minute on a goal by Viktor Fischer that opened the floodgates for Siem de Jong to score in the 82nd minute and Danny Hoesen to complete the trounce seven minutes later. While seemingly an easy victory, De Jong explained after the match that the squad was anxious coming into the day. “We felt the pressure of the championship today, we played very nervously in the beginning,” the captain said. “I’m glad we finished the game the way we did.”

With the third straight title, Ajax coach Frank de Boer equals the club record set by Louis van Gaal in 1994-96 and Rinus Michels in 1966-68. “We deserve to be champion,” Ajax coach Frank de Boer said. “I think that we were the most consistent and showed we play the best football.” The win also gives De Boer the honor of being the first person to twin three titles at Ajax as both a player and a manager.

With one week remaining in the season, Ajax’s victory maintained their four point cushion over second place PSV, who beat NEC Nijmegen 4-2 in Eindhoven. With their victory PSV secured second place and the other Dutch spot in next year’s Champions League. Third place Feyenoord is only three points back of Eindhoven but with the later enjoying a huge goal-difference advantage, Feyenoord is destined to for the Europa League along with fourth place Vitesse Arnhem.

At the other side of the table, last place Tilburg has been relegated. The North Brabant-based club will join VVV Venlo and Roda JC in the Eerste Divisie next season.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)