Toronto FC latest MLS club burned by refereeing blunder

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Toronto FC, by virtue of defense so bad that Paolo Maldini (one of the best of all time) surely felt a disturbance in The Force and didn’t understand why, deserved to lose. Or, at very least, the Reds didn’t deserve to win Saturday.

But let’s also be very clear about this: Toronto FC was the victim of some egregiously poor refereeing by Allen Chapman, who was timid about making the necessary choices that could have easily changed this result.

SKC defender Aurelien Collin (pictured) was ever so lucky to be on the field by halftime. Already carrying a yellow card, Collin put an elbow into Alvaro Rey’s face near the penalty area. It should have been a second yellow, but Chapman barely had a word to say to the SKC center back, who has about a half-dozen of these matches each year, where he pretty much loses control and very nearly loses his mind.

But there was plenty more …

In the 73rd minute, Kansas City’s Peterson Joseph kicked Toronto’s Bobby Convey inside the penalty area. Perhaps there was enough doubt in this one for Chapman to keep the whistle quiet and not award a penalty kick, but …

Minutes later, as TFC pressed for the equalizer in an eventual 2-1 loss, there was no doubt as Collin intentionally and cynically shoved Justin Braun to the ground as the Toronto striker eyeballed a header near goal. Collin wasn’t looking at the ball nor making any effort for the ball. There was a clear goal scoring opportunity cynically denied … only Chapman and his assistants inexplicably chose to pretend that nothing happened.

(MORE: TFC sets defense back years on these two goals)

Two things to note:

Next time SKC manager Peter Vermes complains about an officiating decision that costs his team points – and the fiery Vermes will complain long and hard about pretty much every call that doesn’t go his team’s way – someone needs to remind him of this one. His team took three points when on another day, with a referee more in charge and less afraid to render a big decision, could have brought a completely different result.

And about those points: MLS matches every week, at such a critical time, are turning on refereeing mistakes. Bad ones, too … not just borderline toughies that could really go either way. Playoff spots (and by attachment, jobs) are at stake.

Major League Soccer refereeing is better this year than two or three years back, for sure. And yet there is clearly, undeniably, a long, long way to go.

Below is the elbow incident, followed by the Braun take-down:

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Cristiano Ronaldo announces birth of twin sons via surrogate

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal’s third-place match at the 2017 Confederations Cup this Sunday.

He has bigger things to sort out.

Ronaldo, 32, was released from Portugal’s squad late Wednesday after their defeat on penalty kicks to Chile in the Confed Cup semifinals in Russia.  The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar will now travel to visit his new twin sons, who were born via a surrogate earlier this month, with Ronaldo set to meet them for the first time after captaining Portugal in Russia over the past few weeks.

According to reports from Portuguese TV channel SIC, the surrogate mother was based on the west coast of the U.S. (I can already hear you guys asking ‘does that mean they’re eligible to play for the USMNT?’). Ronaldo is now the father of three children after already having a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.

Reports also suggest that his 22-year-old girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez is five months pregnant, so soon he could be a father for the fourth time. He would then be able to field a five-a-side team of Ronaldo’s for indoor games…

Below is the post from Ronaldo confirming his departure from Portugal’s squad, which the national team also confirmed, as he is set to meet his new children for the first time.

“I was in the service of the national team, as always, body and soul, even though my two sons were born. Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve the main sporting objective that we wanted, but I am sure we will continue to give joy to the Portuguese.

“The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national picker have today had an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget. I’m very happy to finally be with my children for the first time.”

Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.