Important things to know about Saturday’s Houston Dynamo win over Seattle Sounders

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  • Remember where we tried to tell you that Clint Dempsey could do a lot of things, but he won’t be able to improve a Sounders defense that is average at best? Well … we saw a bunch of that “average at best” at work Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium, where space opened up on both sides for a combined for 35 shots. The Sounders had their chances. But my, oh my, the Dynamo had its chances, too. The Sounders defense was a real mess, especially in the first half.
  • Clint Dempsey started and went the full 90 minutes for Seattle – no small task considering the typical heat and humidity of South Texas. The Sounders new DP played well enough, creating some chances and finding shooting spots here and there in a match that was Wild West wide open. And yet, two matches in, Dempsey remains on the hunt for his first goal or assist. Maybe that’s next week in the huge-and-getting-huger Cascadia match against Portland.
  • Giles Barnes (pictured) supplied the first two Dynamo goals, including an absolute crackerjack from about 35 yards. So, maybe Juan Agudelo has a little competition for Goal of the Week, after all. See the video below. Prepare to be impressed.
  • Houston’s Ricardo Clark left in the first half, and that’s potentially terrible news for Houston, which is in the middle of that big pile-up for playoff spots in the East. Clark covers so much ground and wins so many balls with those long legs. Houston has midfield cover, but no one with Clark’s combined skills set.
  • Yes, Seattle has some games in hand, which makes it easier to see Dempsey and the Sounders making their way into the 2013 playoffs. On the other hand, the Sounders’ last four victories have all been against awful teams. Last Sounders win against a team currently in playoff position: June 8 against Vancouver.

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Report: Man City, Guardiola to discuss new contract this summer

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Manchester City does not want to let Pep Guardiola start the third year with the club without signing on for longer term.

Guardiola enters the third and final year of his deal in August, and the BBC reports that Man City plans to negotiate a new deal with the Catalan wizard this summer.

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This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given City’s outstanding sophomore season under Guardiola.

Unbeaten City has an 11-point lead on the Premier League table after 18 weeks, with one draw and a PL record 16-straight wins. They have 56 goals scored, conceding just 12.

They’ve won five of six UEFA Champions League matches, only losing a match their opposition needed and they did not, 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. City faces Basel next, and visits Leicester City in the League Cup quarterfinals Wednesday.

Lanzini charged by FA for fooling ref with dive

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Manuel Lanzini dove to earn a penalty in West Ham’s 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday at the bet365 Stadium, and he may pay for it.

Lanzini, who also posted an assist in an influential performance, drew the penalty converted by Mark Noble when he hit the deck under minimal contact from Erik Pieters.

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He could miss two matches for “successful deception of a match official,” the same penalty given to Everton’s Oumar Niasse for a similar offense.

West Ham pulled out of the drop zone with the win, but has three bottom-half battles coming up over the festive fixtures: Saturday versus Newcastle, Dec. 26 at Bournemouth, and Jan. 2 versus West Brom.

Griezmann backtracks over ‘insensitive’ blackface tweet

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MADRID (AP) Soccer star Antoine Griezmann has apologized for any offense caused after posting an image of himself on social media in blackface as part of an NBA party costume on Sunday.

Griezmann, who is white, was also wearing a wig and holding a basketball in the photo which had “NBA 69 ALLSTARS” on the jersey.

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The photo on his official Twitter account was accompanied by the message “80’s Party” followed by basketball and laughing emojis.

One response called the photo a “bad idea” with others urging the France forward to delete the tweet.

Griezmann at first reacted to the criticism by tweeting: “Calm down friends, I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and of this great era… It’s a tribute.”

He later tweeted an apology to those he had offended.

“I recognize that’s it’s insensitive on my part. If I offended some people I’m sorry,” he wrote.

The 26-year-old Griezmann plays for Spanish team Atletico Madrid but has been linked to a move to Barcelona.

Alex Morgan named CONCACAF Female POY, Navas wins Male POY

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CONCACAF awarded some of its finest players and coaches on Sunday night, and two familiar faces took home the evening’s most notable awards.

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U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Real Madrid each earned Female and Male Player of the Year honors, after boasting tremendous 2017 seasons.

Morgan who primarily plays for Orlando in the NWSL, was also a member of Lyon, who went on to win the Women’s Champions League this past season.

Navas, on the other hand, played a key role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League run, as well as Los Blancos’ La Liga title.

For Morgan, the award is her third since CONCACAF began handing out its annual awards in 2013. Meanwhile, Navas has now won Male Player of the Year on two occasions.