Crystal Palace v Swansea City - Premier League

Crystal Palace 0-2 Swansea: Visitors grab quickfire goals at start to each half (Video)

Leave a comment

A goal in the second minute and another within three minutes of the second half’s start saw Swansea earn their second straight away win by beating Crystal Palace 2-0.

Michu got his second goal of the year and Nathan Dyer added the insurance for the visitors.

Swansea opened the match to a blistering start, as Michu bagged the game’s first goal in just over a minute.  They worked forward right off the start, with Michu, Jonjo Shelvey, and Wayne Routledge passing forward between each other.  Routledge got the ball in heavy traffic, and laid off to Michu who had lost his defender.  His shot was driven on goal, and Julian Speroni could only get a slight touch to it and the ball found the back of the net.

Swansea should have had a second in just the fourth minute as Chico Flores nearly headed in with space on a corner but he put it over.

The passing play of the Swans going forward on multiple occasions proved a lovely product, playing a quick one-touch passing game to make a mess of the opposing defense.

The game began to open up before halftime, with both teams having good efforts on goal.  Angel Rangel nearly gave Swansea a cushion on the 36th minute as he struck a venomous volley on goal but Speroni acrobatically dove to touch the ball over.

Swansea started the second half exactly how they started the first. Michu made a blistering run down the right side, and shot from a tight angle.  The shot was saved and parried by Speroni, but with the goalkeeper on the ground and out of position, the ball fell to Nathan Dyer who couldn’t miss the open net.

Attempting to get back in the game, Crystal Palace enjoyed a flurry of pressure as the second half rolled on, but it faded as the players ran out of steam looking to break down the solid Swansea defense.

It’s been a nightmare start for Ian Holloway, who watched from the stands while still serving his touchline ban.  Palace continue to mire in the relegation zone, sitting on just three points.  Meanwhile, Swansea join a host of other clubs with seven points, putting behind their slow start and now look like a team ready to challenge for another Europa League spot.

Goals:

Swansea – Michu 2′, Dyer 48′

Lineups:

Crystal Palace – Speroni; Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney (Campana, 45′), Moxey; Jedinak, Guedioura, Bannan (Thomas, 67′), Puncheon; Jerome (Gayle, 67′), Chamakh.

Swansea – Vorm; Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies; Canas (Britton, 78′), Shelvey; Michu, Dyer (Pozuelo, 71′), Routledge; Vazquez (De Guzman, 61′).

Sydney FC return to winning ways in A-League

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 24:  Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic of Sydney FC makes a save as Bruno Fornaroli of City competes for the ball during the round 21 A-League match between Melbourne City and Sydney FC at AAMI Park on February 24, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Leave a comment

SYDNEY (AP) Bobo scored twice as Sydney FC rebounded from its first loss in the A-League to beat Melbourne City 3-1 and continue atop the table.

[ MORE: Schmeichel speaks about Ranieri sacking, state of Leicester ]

Sydney’s ambitious attempt to become the first team to end the regular season unbeaten came unstuck last week when it was beaten by Western Sydney Wanderers in a fractious local derby, repercussions of which continued through the week. Wanderers were fined $20,000 by Football Federation Australia after its fans unfurled an obscene banner targeting Sydney coach Graham Arnold.

[ MORE: Chelsea, Everton extend unbeaten run in Saturday’s PL play ]

Sydney raised itself above that controversy on Friday with a comprehensive win over Melbourne City which briefly took it 11 points clear in first place.

Melbourne Victory restored the gap to eight points when it beat defending champion Adelaide United 2-1, and Perth leapfrogged Melbourne City into third place when it dumped the Wanderers 2-0.

Bobo opened Sydney’s scoring with a penalty, but City canceled that out only a minute later.

Sydney went in front again after the break, and Bobo sealed the win, set up by a superb through ball by Milos Ninkovic which highlighted their developing combination.

Midfielder Brandon O’Neil said Sydney was determined to leave behind the contention of their derby loss.

“When it all came out, the FFA and Western Sydney had to deal with it and it did,” O’Neil said. “It brought us together and we spoke about a few things, and nothing changed for us. We want to be premier (champions).”

Melbourne Victory’s win over Adelaide kept it in touch with Sydney with seven regular season rounds remaining.

Wellington kept its faint playoff hopes alive, staying in seventh place with a 2-1 win over Brisbane.

Whitecaps acquire U.S. defender Brek Shea in deal with Orlando City

Toronto FC v Orlando City SC
Alex Menendez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With almost a week to go until the Major League Soccer season kicks off, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Orlando City may have pulled off one of the biggest trades of offseason.

[ MORE: MLS negotiating to bring Chicharito to U.S. in 2018 ]

The clubs announced on Saturday that the Whitecaps have acquired U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder/defender Brek Shea in exchange for forward Giles Barnes, who is headed to Orlando City.

“We are excited to welcome Brek to our club and city,” said Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson. “Brek is a tall, physical, skilled player and will bring a different dimension to our attack. Brek will join the group in coming days and we anticipate he will be available for selection as early as this Thursday’s Champions League match against New York.”

Shea, 26, began his career in MLS with FC Dallas before heading to England for a brief stint with Stoke City. The U.S. defender made his way back to MLS ahead of Orlando City’s inaugural season in 2015 and started 39 matches in that span.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Meanwhile, Barnes has scored 33 goals since joining MLS in 2012. The 28-year-old forward played with the Houston Dynamo before spending last season with the Whitecaps.

Report: MLS negotiating to bring Chicharito to U.S. in 2018

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Bayer Leverkusen & Mexico
AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Leave a comment

Major League Soccer has attracted some of the world’s biggest stars over recent years and now one of the Mexican national team’s top talents could be heading stateside very soon.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

According to ESPN FC, MLS is currently in negotiations with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in an attempt to lure Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to the U.S. in the summer of 2018.

Expansion side Los Angeles FC has been heavily linked with Hernandez, with the club making its entrance into MLS in 2018. Additionally, the Los Angeles Galaxy have also been said to have strong ties with Chicharito.

Hernandez, 28, is currently under contract until next summer, and MLS is reportedly seeking a move in 2018 to avoid paying a transfer fee for the El Tri forward.

ESPN FC is also reporting that Chicharito could make around $9 million annually if he does in fact join MLS.

In 2015, Orlando City and the Chicago Fire were both linked with acquiring Hernandez but the Leverkusen forward was insistent upon the fact that he play Champions League football.

PL Sunday: Spurs look to regain second against Stoke

Leave a comment

Although there’s only one match on Sunday’s Premier League docket, the fixture bears great weight for both clubs.

[ MORE: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Tottenham vs. Stoke City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Spurs have the chance to move back into second place at White Hart Lane as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side are firmly in a battle to finish runners’ up to Chelsea this season. Tottenham currently sit 13 points out of the top spot, however, five clubs are within four points of another in the battle for second. Danny Rose and Erik Lamela remain sidelined due to injuries but Spurs will remain the favorites in the fixture after having won their previous two league meetings.

Stoke enters Sunday having gone unbeaten in five of its last six PL matches and the Potters can enter the top 10 with a victory. Mark Hughes‘ side could be given a big lift with the potential return of Xherdan Shaqiri while Saido Berahino could be in line to earn his first start since joining Stoke. Both players could present massive upside for the Potters, who have struggled to find goals as of late. In their last four matches, Stoke have managed just three finishes, one of which came from an own goal.