Kelyn Rowe

Rounding up Major League Soccer in U.S. Open Cup


This is looking like it’s just not the San Jose Earthquakes’ year. Just a few months after capturing Major League Soccer’s Supporters Shield for best regular season record, the ‘Quakes are two spots out of playoff spot. And …

Tuesday they became a “quick out” in the Lamar Hunt U.S. OpenCup.

The Charleston Battery on the USL Pro League (U.S. soccer’s third tier) eliminated San Jose in a third round Open Cup contest Tuesday at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., 1-0.  The Battery’s Colin Falvey supplied the game-winner in the 73rd minute, not long after Earthquakes defender Brad Ring was sent for a second yellow card.

Major League Soccer’s other upset came in Orlando, where Orlando City SC prevailed in its third round match over Colorado. Dom Dwyer, who spent last year with Sporting Kansas City, scored twice in the 3-1 win at Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Rapids manager Oscar Pareja played a strong lineup, using most of the same regulars who have seen his team go unbeaten over their last five MLS matches. The Rapids were down a goal (2-1) when goalkeeper Stew Ceus was shown a red card in the 56th minute.

D.C. United, Philadelphia, FC Dallas, New England, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA all survived to move into the fourth round.

United, desperate for something good to happen with things going so poorly in league play, needed penalty kicks to squeeze past Richmond after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer.

Goalkeeper Joe Willis saved two of the Kickers efforts from the 12-yard spot, moving United into a fourth-round contest against Philadelphia. Jack McInerney opened the scoring for Philly, which rolled out its top lineup for a 2-1 win over USL-PDL side Ocean City.

League-leading Dallas got past the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 2-0, on goals by Blas Perez and Matt Hedges.

Kelyn Rowe (pictured) had two goals and an assist as New England comfortably advanced, 5-1, over the Rochester Rhinos.

A largely second-choice lineup was enough for Sporting Kansas City to get past the Des Moines Menace of soccer’s fourth tier. Even though Peter Vermes used mostly reservists, Claudio Bieler and Kei Kamara were around to supply the goals in the 2-0 win at Sporting Park.

Real Salt Lake needed extra time to survive a challenge from Atlanta, the current leaders in soccer’s second division, the North American Soccer League. Manager Jason Kreis chose a mostly first-team lineup for the 3-2 win in Utah.

Finally, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy went forward to convert a second-half penalty kick in a 2-1 win over the third-tier LA Blues.

Six MLS teams are in Open Cup action Wednesday night; the full schedule and complete results are here.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

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

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

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
1 Comment

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.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

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.