Cahill-Red Bulls

MLS Preview: New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC

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  • The Red Bulls are 9-4-3 all-time against TFC and undefeated in their last eight games (6-0-2) of the series
  • Toronto has been shut out in seven of its last 11 matches
  • New York is coming off a high quality 4-0 win over Montreal

For New York and first year head coach MikePetke, the ingredients are there. Here and there, the flashes of something great have arrived, as with last week’s dominant 4-0 win over Montreal.

What remains missing around Red Bull Arena is the consistency. Still led nobly by Thierry Henry and his penchant for the spectacular, and by Jamison Olave’s formidable presence in the back, the Red Bulls win and then the Red Bulls lose. They mix in a draw and so it goes – but where is the big run?

New York’s one little stretch of high-caliber success came in late April and early May, when Petke’s bunch won four in a row. But that one served only to pull the Red Bulls back even with the pack, helping to mitigate an opening eight-game stretch that included just two wins and seemed to threaten Petke’s coaching career before it ever really achieved liftoff.

Things have stabilized now, and such a run would do much more than just pull the team level with the field; It would go a long way to securing the Red Bulls playoff positioning in a packed Eastern Conference Field, where five teams are jostling for positioning and three others are within reach of elbowing someone out.

Last time the Red Bulls went on a run, it started with a big win at home (4-1 over New England) and then a trip into BMO Field. So …

Can Petke’s team stir up the memories and do the same following last week’s signature win over Montreal, which is being chased by the season’s second trip into Toronto’s home ground?

Tim Cahill (pictured above) scored twice in the teams’ previous meeting around Exhibition Place in Toronto. That was his long-awaited Red Bulls’ breakthrough, his first goal of 2013 and just his second since arriving last summer from Everton. The longtime Aussie international now has five goals, including some important ones for one of the Eastern Conference favorites.

The opportunity will certainly be there today when the team kick off at 4 p.m. ET (MLSSoccer.com’s official match preview is here). Toronto has been shut out in seven of its last 11 matches, with just seven total goals in that very dry stretch. Further, the team’s rebuilding efforts (it’s latest rebuilding, that is) appears to be going slow under manager Ryan Nelsen, whose choices sometimes seem at odds with management’s larger personnel plan.

Toronto was blanked last weekend at Sporting Kansas City (3-0) and then again during the week at Chivas USA (1-0).

“It is a learning experience for the young guys,” Nelsen told MLSSoccer.com of the match in California. “I thought they did well and worked really hard. If we could have got that one goal, it would probably have led to a comfortable two or three goals for us. They would have had to come out of their shell and play and we would have been fine. We just couldn’t get the goal.”

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Sevilla: Gameiro, Vitolo give two-time champs an edge

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Facundo Ferreyra, left, competes for the ball with Sevilla’s Mariano during semifinal first leg of the Europa League soccer match, between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Sevilla at Arena Lviv stadium in Lviv, western Ukraine, Thursday, April  28, 2016. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
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Vitolo scored a goal then drew a penalty, and Kevin Gameiro converted the chance as Sevilla picked up a pair of road goals in a 2-2 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday in the first leg of the clubs’ UEFA Europa League semifinal.

Marlos had a goal and an assist for Shakhtar Donetsk, with Taras Stepanenko scoring Shakhtar’s other goal.

Sevilla has won the last two tournaments, and hosts Thursday’s second leg with an advantage toward reaching a third.

[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]

Gameiro set up that oh-so-pivotal road goal in the first 6 minutes, sliding the ball to Vitolo for his left-footed finish between the legs of Andriy Pyatov.

But the Ukranians weren’t slow to respond, and Shakhtar netted twice before halftime. First Marlos scored a left-footed of his own from Yaroslav Rakitskiy in the 21st minute, and then Marlos turned provider for Stepanenko’s headed finish in the 35th.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villarreal strikes late to take first leg on Liverpool in Europa League semis

during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.
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Denis Suarez found Adrian Lopez in the third minute of stoppage time to lift Villarreal to a 1-0 home win over Liverpool in Thursday’s first leg of their UEFA Europa League semifinal.

There wasn’t much enjoyable about the match for either side until late, but Liverpool looked set to head to Anfield in search of a win. Now they’ll need more.

[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]

The timing was off early for Mexican attacker Jonathan dos Santos and Congolese striker Cedric Bakambu, and Simon Mignolet made a couple collections to get into the flow of the match.

Liverpool answered with a dangerous chance in the fifth minute, but Joe Allen‘s only alley was a pass directly to keeper Sergio Asenjo.

Roberto Soldado knifed a bouncing shot wide of the far post in the 11th minute, and would later curl a shot around Kolo Toure that didn’t finish its dramatic bend inside the field of play.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The Yellow Submarine had the best of possession, but the Reds were stout in defense with the exception of some slips on the wet turf.

Roberto Firmino was the most dangerous Liverpool attacker, saved off the woodwork just over an hour into the match.

There wasn’t much threat coming from either camp before Mignolet made a terrific save on Bakambu in the 87th minute.

And Alberto Moreno sprung a near 60-yard run past the Villarreal back line, but couldn’t put his left-footed blast on net

Liverpool: Tribunal rules record payment due to Burnley in Ings case

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Danny Ings of Liverpool fends off Alan Hutton of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on September 26, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
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The Premier League has a new compensation record, as Burnley has received close to $12 million for Liverpool’s signing of Danny Ings after a tribunal’s ruling.

Ings, 23, was a transfer rumor mill mainstay but stayed through his contract at Turf Moor, earning the right to go anywhere on a free transfer.

[ MORE: Agbonlahor quits as Villa captain ]

But clubs have to pay compensation when signing players who are under the age of 24, and Burnley will get money from Liverpool.

From the BBC:

Burnley chief executive David Baldwin said: “This is an unprecedented record payment for training compensation and not a transfer fee.

“As the initial fee decided by the committee represents almost double the previous record for a tribunal, this fully justifies our decision to press ahead with what we felt was a fair reflection of the part Burnley played in Danny’s development.”

The Clarets will also receive 20 percent of any sell-on fees should Ings move to another club, and Bournemouth stands to make a small percentage as well. The Cherries sold Ings to Burnley in 2011.

Agbonlahor quits as captain of relegated Aston Villa

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Premier League
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Gabby Agbonlahor has quit as Aston Villa captain and apologized for his off-field conduct.

The forward was pictured in a newspaper with what look like nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – canisters on the same night that Aston Villa’s relegation was confirmed after losing to Manchester United this month.

Villa announced that Agbonlahor’s suspension from the club has been lifted, while he has been fined.

[ MORE: Alli’s season is over ]

Agbonlahor wrote on his Instagram account: “I am stepping down as club captain with immediate effect, as I do not deserve to carry out such a role anymore … it hurts to have lost it.”

Agbonlahor is Villa’s longest serving current player and their record English Premier League goal-scorer, having netted 73 times since his debut in 2006.