Brian Bliss took over for Robert Warzycha two days ago. Now he has his first win as coach of the Columbus Crew, though had Will Bruin been on his game, this match would have gone much differently. The Houston Dynamo striker had three great chances in this game’s first 11 minutes, and as the Columbus Crew color analyst notes, it’s difficult to look beyond casual finishing on two of those misses.
With Bruin struggling, tonight’s match at Crew Stadium went into halftime 0-0. From there, it was all the home side, creating Ryan Finley’s first goal two minutes into the second before Justin Meram put the game away. Columbus would go on to defeat the Dynamo, 2-0.
There’s really no way around talking about Bruin. The misses where just that important. Where Houston was controlling the outset of this match — where Bruin’s teammates and, to a certain extent, himself were firing on all cylinders — it’s his job to finish those chances. He needs to make the plan, work, and execution pay off. That he didn’t allowed the Crew to hang around and, eventually, prolong Houston’s agony.
That agony’s been defined by their last five matches. At a time when Houston should be surging — their team finally settling in after a season disrupted by injuries and national team call-ups — they’ve gone 1-3-1, dropping out of the East’s top five. National team call-ups are still bothering them (Boniek Garcia was absent tonight), and injuries have now claimed Ricardo Clark. But at some point, beyond all circumstances and excuses, this team needs to turn it around.
That point wasn’t tonight, with Columbus’s second half dominance seeing Houston out of Crew Stadium with a two-goal loss.
Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.
[ MORE: Champions League standings ]
The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]
So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:
- A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B
[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]
There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.
The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?
With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.
[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]
Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.
Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.
Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.
Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.
Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).