Chicago continues furious turnaround with comeback win over Columbus

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Two weeks ago I told you the Fire’s season looked promising going forward, and they didn’t disappoint.

After Columbus took the lead through a Federico Higuain penalty, Dilly Duka and Mike McGee quickfired consecutive scores in the second half to complete a shocking comeback as Chicago stunned the Crew 2-1.

The win gives the Fire 12 points in their last 5 fixtures, and completely muddies the waters in the Eastern Conference.

With all three points, Chicago is now just four points back of fifth position, and two behind Columbus in sixth.

The turnaround exactly coincides with Mike Magee’s debut with the Fire, having come over in exchange for the rights to Robby Rogers. The winger now has 9 goals in 13 MLS matches this season, and he’s got a goal in all 4 matches with the Fire since the transfer – 3 wins and a draw. Saturday night’s – a header into the top corner on a cross from Lindpere – is also Magee’s 6th goal in his last 6 matches between both clubs.

Also instrumental in Chicago’s turnaround is Bakary Soumare, the Malian central defender who joined in May from Philadelphia and made an immediate impact.

Since joining the squad, Soumare has been instrumental at the back. The fire have given up just 4 goals in 4 matches since Soumare’s return, picking up points in each one. In fact, in the two matches for Philadelphia against Chicago prior to his transfer, Soumare and the Union held the Fire to a goose egg on both occasions.

The Fire, with their new found form, have two massive opportunities coming up. They have a wonderful chance for points against San Jose at home, and Sporting KC at home in a match with major playoff implications.

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.