Vincent Kompany gives Manchester City fitness boost ahead of Champions League opener

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Good news for fans of the Citizens.

Captain Vincent Kompany could be in line to return to the backline for their Champions League Group D opener in the Czech Republic against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday.

The towering Belgian defender injured his groin during City’s Premier League opener against Newcastle back on August 20, and hasn’t featured since. But boss Manuel Pellegrini will be delighted to see the powerful defender traveling with this squad  following a few inept displays from Man City’s makeshift defense, that has included midfielder Javi Garcia playing in the central defensive role with Matija Nastasic also out injured for the first few games.

Kompany, 27, has been a mainstay at the back for five seasons and his presence in marshaling and leading City’s defensive unit has been sorely missed following an away defeat to Cardiff City and a shaky home win against Hull City already this campaign.

(MORE: Stoke City 0-0 Manchester City; Stalemate at the Britannia)

City shutout Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, but they were outplayed and could have easily lost the game after the Potters generated plenty of scoring opportunities. Kompany back at the heart of City’s defense should see things go back to normal.

Last season despite finishing second and 11 points behind United in the race for the PL title, City easily had the best defense in the league after they conceded just 34 times in 38 games. They have three clean sheets from four games this PL season, two of them without Kompany, but they haven’t looked quite as stable as they usually do with the big Belgian at the back.

(MORE: Champions League Preview; Group D)

It remains to be seen whether or not Kompany will start in their Champions League game against Plzen on Tuesday evening, however it would seem like a pretty strange decision to take a recovering player on a flight to Eastern Europe just to make him sit on the bench or watch from the stand. In my eyes, Kompany will make his return.

And after Champions League failure in the last two years, City were knocked out of the group stage on both occasions, Kompany’s ability to spur on his teammates to European success is undervalued. Pellegrini will need his skipper on Tuesday in  the Czech Republic.

As City’s fans know only too well, no game in the Champions League is ever easy… Even though they’re expected to win big.

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 1-3 Toronto FC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Greg Vanney and Toronto keep on doing their thing, and the Canadian side is yet another step closer to achieving MLS glory. TFC picked up its 50th point of the season on Saturday night after comfortably handling the Chicago Fire, who have cooled off significantly as of late in the Eastern Conference. The Fire are now nine points behind the East leaders and are losers of four of their last five matches.

Three moments that mattered

54′ — Accam, Fire level it up — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from everybody…

64′ — Hasler nets first MLS goal — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from all of their players…

90′ — Giovinco says goodnight to Chicago — That’s 12 goals on the season for Sebastian Giovinco and the TFC striker continues to help his side push towards the top seed in the East and MLS.

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Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Marco Delgado (14′), David Accam (54′), Nick Hasler (63′), Sebastian Giovinco (90′)

Video: Watts gifts D.C. United own goal for the ages

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Not many things have gone right for either side involved in 2017, but D.C. United was the recipient of a gift early on against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Piatti brace lifts Impact to fourth win in a row; Orlando, Crew draw ]

In the 27th minute, Rapids center back Jared Watts received the ball at the back, before making a routine back pass to USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard

Or at least, it should have been a routine back pass.

Instead, Watts’ pass was well off target and too strong for Howard to reach and landed in the back of the Rapids goal. 1-0 in favor of D.C.

Reminder: Both these teams sit at the bottom of their respective conferences on points.

MLS Snapshot: Piatti brace lifts Impact | Crew, Orlando City draw

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact have proven to be a second-half of the season team the last several years, and that form appears to be holding true once more. Mauro Biello’s side won its fourth straight match on Saturday, while Ignacio Piatti continues to show he’s one of the most deadly scorers in the league. Meanwhile, RSL’s six-match unbeaten run is snapped north of the border, leaving the Western Conference side three points out of sixth place.

Three four moments that mattered

11′ — Piatti nets his first of the night — The Impact made this attack look so easy, and Ignacio Piatti simply won’t miss a chance like this one.

26′ — Evan Bush left motionless as RSL equalize — Luis Silva took matters into his own hands, and boy did he connect with this effort!

29′ — Impact punish poor RSL defense — Guess who? Piatti has his second of the evening.

47′ — Hosts begin to pile it on — Anthony Jackson-Hamel played provider in the first two goals, so it’s only fair he got one of his own.

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Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Ignacio Piatti (11′, 29′), Luis Silva (26′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (47′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City and the Crew settled for a point apiece on Saturday night, but for the former the club is running out of opportunities to pick up points in the playoff race. Giles Barnes pulled a goal back for the hosts after Lalas Abubakar netted his first MLS goal for the Crew, but Orlando couldn’t find a second. The Lions played up a man for the final 13 minutes, following Harrison Afful’s dismissal.

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Abubakar knocks in first MLS goal — Orlando City’s defensive woes are certainly notable as well, but for Lalas Abubakar this is a quality way to open his scoring account in MLS.

67′ — Barnes knots it up at 1-1 — The veteran MLS forward picked up his second goal of the season.

77′ — VAR used for red card decision — The video monitor came into play briefly in the second half, and Harrison Afful was sent off the pitch early after the referee viewed the defender’s elbow to the head of Yoshi Yotun.

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Man of the match: Zack Steffen

Goalscorers: Lalas Abubakar (35′), Giles Barnes (67′)

Atlanta United fans pack 20,000 into new stadium for training session

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Atlanta United is currently in the midst of a three-match road trip in MLS play, but that didn’t stop the club from unveiling its new home venue to a massive crowd of supporters on Saturday.

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Over 20,000 fans of the Eastern Conference expansion side filed into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch Gerardo Martino’s side train on Saturday as Atlanta prepares to finish out its road trip against D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union.

Atlanta will open up home play at their new stadium on September 10 when they host FC Dallas. The club will have the benefit of playing eight of its final 10 regular season matches in front of its Georgia fan base.

The first-year MLS side will share the stadium with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.

Here are some sights from the training session