Will Bruin 2

Talking about the big Houston Dynamo doings …

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D.C. United is one of the league’s big dogs; it’s been that way since Bruce Arena (playing a little fast and loose with the roster rules, it should be said) put together those early, wow-wow MLS Cup winners of the late 1990s.

So no matter how far we stray from United’s salad days, a 4-0 loss for one of the league’s high-profiles clubs, plus a manager whose job is in real danger, are going to be big talkers. But …

We really should say some words about what Dominic Kinnear’s Houston Dynamo just accomplished. Because a team that has never been great shakes on the road (except for the playoffs, of course) has just pulled off a stunning road double.

Firsts was the 1-0 win at the LA Galaxy. That was on Sunday, followed by a cross-country road trip into the nation’s capital, which ended with Houston atop the Eastern Conference standings based on points-per-game.

Six points on the road over four nights? That’s like the best meal of your life … and the owner comps your food!

Wednesday’s 4-0 win was anything but a fluke. Kinnear’s men, guided by Will Bruin’s two goals and two assists, were all over a listless and lethargic United from the opening. Aside from scoring twice in the first half-hour, the Dynamo hit the post one and forced a very nice save from United ‘keeper Bill Hamid.

Meanwhile, tidy in the back, Houston didn’t allow a good scoring opportunity for the home team until after the break.

By the way, U.S. international Ricardo Clark was out of the Dynamo lineup for this one. But as we keep telling you, the Dynamo midfield is Major League Soccer’s deepest; in came Brad Davis to partner with Adam Moffat in the middle. With Andrew Driver, the hero of Sunday’s win in L.A., able to fill the left side more than adequately, the visitors’ midfield was at full rev for Wednesday’s ambush.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.