The “real” Chivas USA may be breaking through

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Are we seeing the real Chivas USA reveal itself? Was that fast start in the Jose Luis “El Chelis” Sanchez Sola reign the stuff of smoke and mirrors. Are the Goats turning back into the disheveled lot we all expected them to be prior to a stunning March?

It’s starting to look like it.

Sunday’s battering at Sporting Park outside Kansas City is the latest evidence. In a word for the visitors: “Yuk.”

It finished at 4-0, and the Goats were never really in it. Some shoddy work in the back led to a give-away that SKC turned into a first-half goal. Later, Graham Zusi’s good work in the midfield sprung Paulo Nagamura, who was brought down for a penalty kick and a 2-0 SKC lead. And … well, you get the idea.

The one caveat is that Dan Kennedy should not have been expelled from this one, and three of the goals landed after the Goats’ outstanding ‘keeper walked off. Still, total shots on goals for Chivas USA: zero. Final edge in shots for the home team: 16-3.

(MORE: The ref got it wrong by showing red to Kennedy)

The Goats have not won since March. At 3-4-2 they are not sixth in the West, a lot closer to where we all thought they would be when the scrambled egg of a first season under “Chelis” began. We can pick apart anybody’s wins and losses, of course. But if we peel back the cover on Chivas’ trio of Ws this year, they are quite suspicious.

  • One win came over FC Dallas in Week 2, before Schellas Hyndman’s team got its midfield sorted out; the visitors from Texas were, simply put, pretty lousy in keeping much shape that day.
  • One win came over a Chicago side that was a complete mess then. It was easily the best “W” of the Chelis era, a 4-1 battering delivered on the road at Toyota Park. Credit for seizing opportunity, of course, but Chicago really was in a bad way then. Frank Klopas’ team from Illinois has stabilized a bit since then. Just a bit.
  • A 2-1 win over Vancouver wasn’t bad for Chivas. Then again, the Whitecaps are pretty lousy on the road, 0-4-1 this year and 3-26-10 since joining MLS. So there’s that.

AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes

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After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

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