CONCACAF Championship - United States v Mexico

Steve Cherundolo back on the field, and that is one huge (and underrated) plus for United States

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A big talker among the Yanks abroad brigade last weekend was Clint Dempsey’s huge goal for Tottenham. Atta boy, Duece!

Brad Guzan was topical, too, as awards came a’tumbling his way and West Ham put the U.S. backup ‘keeper on its summer shopping list.

But here was one that fell through the media maven cracks just a bit – but a newsy bit that may be every bit as important in the bigger picture: Steve Cherundolo got back on the field for Hannover 96.

It’s an important development for the longtime U.S. incumbent right back, who was hurt for much of the spring, but did get healthy and back on the field before tumbling out of Die Roten lineup.

Cherundolo lost his place in the Hannover lineup after he was part of the team chewed up by the Bayern Munich machine back on April 20.

It certainly smarts to go down at home by a five-spot. The runaway Bundesliga champs battered Cherundolo’s club that day, 6-1. We mentioned that was in Hannover, right?

Still, that surely wasn’t Cherundolo’s fault. Still, he didn’t appear in the side’s next two matches, an important win at SpVgg Greuther Furth and then a disappointing draw at home to Mainz. He was on the bench for both of those, but appeared in neither.

So last weekend, good news arrived in Cherundolo’s appearance in the starting 11 in Hannover’s loss at Bayer Leverkusen. It marked massive disappointment for Cherundolo’s longtime club, whose Europa League hopes were extinguished for good last weekend at the Bay Arena.

But the silver lining for U.S. fans was getting a game for the veteran defender.

Considering Timothy Chandler’s injury, which depleted the U.S. outside back depth, and considering the youth of Klinsmann’s rebuilt back line, a fit and in-form Cherundolo would mean so much.

Whatever was made of Chandler’s injury and the bigger picture, Cherundolo was always the more important outside back heading into these three critical June qualifiers. He was probably Klinsmann’s first-choice right back all along. Cherundolo has historically been so easy to overlook, but anyone paying close attention can see how much he adds in knowing just when to press into the attack, and in skillful, well-considered crossing from the right side.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.