MLS Week in Review


Most shocking result: What says “shocker” like someone putting a five-spot on the two-time defending champs? Congrats to Jay Heaps and his New England Revolution, who took the LA Galaxy apart Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Diego Fagundez had a goal and two assists in the Revs’ 5-0 win.

Goals pouring in at Gillette: The last time New England scored five goals or more? A 6-1 result over Colorado back in 2004. Fagundez was 9 years old then!

League’s hottest player: Fagundez was simply outstanding, especially in the second half, alert, creative and supplier of a well-taken goal. Is an MLS Player off the Week honor ahead for the 18-year-old Revolution attacker? Could be, but either way he’s either the league’s hottest attacker, or at very least co-hottest along with Jack McInerney. Fagundez (pictured) has scored in four consecutive matches.

Best match: Montreal won at a place where it’s painfully hard to go get any points, much less all three, tamping down an under-strength Kansas City at Sporting Park – and this match had a lot going on. There was drama to the end, a coach sent off, a player sent off, lots of shots as the home team tried to close the gap late, etc.  Oh, and there may be a suspension or two coming for the little dust-up between Montreal Alessando Nesta (who was ejected) and KC’s Claudio Bieler (who wasn’t … but may be fined or suspended anyway). The highlights are here.

Woe is D.C. United: A 2-0 loss to Chicago drove Ben Olsen’s club further off the cliff; that was a franchise-record 11th consecutive match without a win. As the Washington Post’s Steven Goff said: “MLS’s greatest embarrassment, Chivas USA, has earned six more points than United this season.”  The personnel collection has been badly miscalculated; It seems inconceivable that someone, whether it is general manager Dave Kasper or Olsen, won’t soon be held accountable.

The woeful streak that no one is talking about: Toronto FC is also winless in 11, just like D.C. United. Unfortunately, considering  this team’s history, that’s every bit as surprising as syrup poured over pancakes.

The missing men: It would be impossible not to think that Sporting KC and the Galaxy missed their top center backs, both of whom were starting for Jurgen Klinsmann U.S. national team on Sunday. Both of Montreal’s goals came after KC clearances that just weren’t good enough. SKC was without Matt Besler.

And the Galaxy allowing five? Sounds impossible … until you consider that Omar Gonzalez wasn’t around.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Earthquakes clearly missed dominating center back Victor Bernardez in falling hard at Real Salt Lake, 3-0.

More from Morales: Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales is presumably slowing down, now 33. But he had was The Man in RSL’s 3-0 win over San Jose, and that came after playing three full matches over a week. (In fact, since the RSL playmaker went 120 minutes, including overtime, in the mid-week Open Cup triumph, make that “three matches and change” in a week.

Jack McInerney scores again: There is just no stopping this kid in 2013, as the Philadelphia Union’s 20-year-old striker struck for yet another goal – and another important one. We keep saying it, but so many of his league-leading 10 goals are either match-winners or equalizers. Saturday, his stoppage-time grass-cutter through traffic was the late, late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Toronto.

Best goal: Watch the shape on Kelyn Rowe’s goal, the final tally in New England’s spirit-crusher over the Galaxy. It’s a fine piece of work:


Like clockwork, top goalkeepers criticize new World Cup ball

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It’s a tradition as old as time — the union of top goalkeepers from all over the world, no matter the continent from which they hail, complaining about the new ball to be used at the upcoming World Cup.

[ MORE: New USMNT kits for 2018 World Cup ]

By the end of this summer’s tournament in Russia, you’ll reflexively twitch every time you hear the words “Telstar 18.” Goalkeepers will tell you that it’s designed to deceive them, to boost goalscoring numbers during major tournaments.

Below you’ll find the critical, but restrained so as not to offend, assessments of goalkeepers David De Gea (Spain’s no. 1), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany’s no. 1b) and Pepe Reina (De Gea’s wily backup) — quotes from FourFourTwo:

“It’s really strange. It could have been made a lot better.”

“The ball could be better; it moves a lot. But I think we’re just going to have to get used to working with it — and try to get to grips with it as quickly as possible before the World Cup starts. We’ve got no other option.”

“They should change it. There’s still time.”

[ MORE: France blow a lead, lose to Colombia; England top Holland ]

Unsurprisingly, top attacking stars — those who presumably stand to benefit from a ball that unpredictably moves on goalkeepers — have given their seal of approval for Telstar 18.

MLS (afternoon) roundup: NYCFC come back vs. NE; FCD, POR stalemate

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Ismael Tajouri scored two goals and Sean Johnson had five saves to help New York City FC play the New England Revolution to a 2-2 draw Saturday.

The 23-year-old Tajouri, who has appeared in four MLS games, has three goals in the last two matches while filling in for the injured David Villa.

Yangel Herrera threaded a pass between two defenders to Tajouri, who turned and blasted a rising left-footer into the net to cap the scoring in the 76th minute.

Diego Fagundez bent a shot from well outside the box off the post to give New England (1-1-1) a 1-0 lead in the 11th. Tajouri tied it early in the second half, first-timing a cross from Saad Abdul-Salaam past a diving Matt Turner from near the penalty spot and Juan Agudelo’s header in the 63rd put the Revolution back in front. Cristian Penilla played a perfect cross from the left side to Agudelo who finished from the top of the 6-yard box.

NYCFC (4-0-0) is off to its best start in history and has won a franchise-record five in a row, dating to the 2017 playoffs.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) Roland Lamah scored his third goal in two games and Jimmy Maurer had a career-high five saves in FC Dallas’ 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Lamah, who had two goals and an assists in FC Dallas’ 3-0 win over Seattle on Sunday, opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Jacori Hayes evaded two defenders and then tapped it to Lamah, who rolled a left-footer past a diving Jake Gleeson into the net from the top of the penalty arc.

Sebastian Blanco side-netted a left-footer from the top of the box to tie it in the 47th.

FC Dallas (1-0-2) is unbeaten in its last nine home matches.

Lawrence Olum, who was shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior in the 44th minute, drew a red for a hand ball in the 75th for Portland (0-2-1).

Report: PSG pressing Conte to leave Chelsea this summer

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First, Paris Saint-Germain (reportedly) wanted Mauricio Pochettino; then it was (reportedly) Diego Simeone; now it’s Antonio Conte who’s (you guessed it — reportedly) been targeted for, and pitched, an exit from Chelsea this summer.

[ MORE: Conte, Pirlo could spearhead Italy managerial team ]

According to a report from the Guardian, PSG executives have held talks with Conte’s agent in recent days and/or weeks, as the winners of four of the last five Ligue 1 titles prepare to move on from current manager Unai Emery this summer.

The belief in the French capital is that Conte, who’s made no bones about his frustrations at Chelsea dating back to last summer, would be a far more realistic target for that reason. According to the report, PSG are willing to offer Conte an annual salary in the neighborhood of $14 million. The Italian is currently paid nearly $13.5 million per year at Chelsea.

Conte has been at odds with the Chelsea hierarchy, largely, over the lack of funds made available to him to rebuild the squad in the transfer market.

“I have great ambition but I don’t have money for Chelsea. The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition. That is very clear. When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner. And that ambition must always be shared.”

[ MORE: Man City, Man United reportedly chasing Neymar ]

Talks are said to have been “positive” between Conte’s representative and PSG.

PSG’s motivation to fire Emery stems from the Spaniard’s failure to impress in European competition — two round-of-16 exits from the Champions League, one either side of the massive spending spree of last summer which resulted in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe moving to the Parc des Princes.

Int’l friendlies: Sweden fall to Chile; Canada win Herdman’s debut

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A roundup of Saturday’s (less-than-stellar) slate of international friendlies…

[ MORE: France blow a lead, lose to Colombia; England top Holland ]

Sweden 1-2 Chile

Sweden, who’ll be at the 2018 World Cup, fell 1-0 behind Chile, who won’t be joining them in Russia, when Arturo Vidal hit a simply stunning, off-balance volley into the upper-90 from the edge of the box in the 22nd minute. Ola Toivonen brought Sweden back to 1-1 just a minute later, but Marcos Bolados broke Blagult hearts in the 90th minute, when he pounced on a bouncing rebound and hammered the ball into an open net.

[ MORE: New USMNT kits for 2018 World Cup ]

Northern Ireland 2-1 South Korea

Speaking of World Cup-bound sides falling to those who failed to qualify themselves, South Korea went ahead away to Northern Ireland after just seven minutes, but watched helplessly as Kwon Chang-Hoon’s opening goal slipped away from the Taeguk Warriors.

Min-Jae Kim scored a mostly unavoidable own goal in the 20th minute, and Paul Smyth slipped through a sea of South Korean defenders to fire home a wonderful winner in the 86th minute.

Canada 1-0 New Zealand

Among the national teams not currently preparing for this summer’s tournament, but instead building toward qualification in 2022, there’s Canada, who knocked off New Zealand in Murcia, Spain, to begin the John Herdman era with a victory on Saturday.

Tosaint Ricketts scored the game’s only goal, a 54th-minute volley from the Toronto FC forward, courtesy of a long, searching ball out of the back from defender Dejan Jakovic.

Herdman took over the Canadian men’s post in January, when he stepped down as head coach of the women’s team, which he led to two straight appearances in each the World Cup and Olympics during eight years on the job.

Come September, the Canucks will be competing in the CONCACAF Nations League, a 34-team tournament featuring all but the six nations to have competed in the Hexagonal of World Cup qualifying. The top 10 finishing sides will qualify for the 2019 Gold Cup, alongside the Hex combatants. Canada will face the U.S. Virgin Islands in September, followed by Dominica in October, Saint Kitts and Nevis in November, and finally French Guiana in March 2019.

Elsewhere in int’l friendlies

Israel 1-2 Romania
Togo 2-2 Ivory Coast
Georgia 4-0 Lithuania
Zambia 0-2 South Africa
Kenya 2-2 Comoros
Kosovo 1-0 Madagascar
Armenia 0-0 Estonia