Chicago had a chance to make a big move, potentially pulling ahead of New England and Philadelphia on Saturday, vaulting from seventh in the East (not a playoff spot) all the way up to fifth (a playoff spot).
The men from Toyota Park had a 2-1 lead at home and found themselves at the penalty spot against the visitors from Montreal. So why are we talking tonight about a 2-2 draw in Bridgeview?
Blown opportunities, that’s why.
Mike Magee clanged his penalty kick (and bid for a hat trick) off the cross bar when a successful conversion would have put the game away. It’s hard to pin too much of this one on Magee, who had Chicago’s other two goals. Still, if we’re going to keep Magee in the MVP conversation, well, MVPs need to convert big penalty kicks.
At the other end, a careening clearance attempt (a bit unlucky, perhaps, but also just a bit thoughtless from Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, as his bid for a big, hoofing boot downfield beats off a teammates back and fall neatly for Maxim Tissot’s delicate header) put Montreal in position for the late equalizer.
From the Impact’s end, there was opportunity lost as well. It starts with Troy Perkins’ dallying (as we talked about earlier). And Montreal’s defense looked fairly shaky through the second half.
Impact scorer Marco Di Vaio did his part, striking for the 19th time this year, still good enough to keep ahead of Magee for the league leadership. Montreal was surely far happier with the draw, but safe to say that neither team covered itself in glory on this one.
As you watch the highlights from Toyota Park in Bridgeview just outside Chicago, ask yourself this: Could Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson have done a little better on one or even both of Montreal’s goals?
Mourinho: Tactics involved targeting young Benfica backstop
That paid off when Svilar carried Marcus Rashford‘s free kick into the goal, the lone marker of a 1-0 loss that keeps United atop Group A and Benfica three points behind second- and third place.
“I knew how good the goalkeeper was, I told the players that. We had a little bit of a strategy, especially on set-pieces to make him uncomfortable. We put men around him on corners so he cannot come out. He risks a lot, but only top keepers do that. He was unlucky for the goal,” Mourinho said.
Svilar looked dejected after the game, apologizing to fans at the Estadio da Luz and getting consolation from a fellow Belgian in Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.
“The manager said to us to try and shoot and get some crosses towards their goalkeeper because he is young and playing in his first game. This is football and I know he is a great goalkeeper and I wish him well for the future.
“We had control, some difficulties in the first 30 minuets but then we controlled the pitch. We used our experience. We could not find the second goal but did not make any mistakes at the back.”
Rashford limped out of the game, and Mourinho says he initially thought it was cramps. Instead, it’s a problem with his left knee. Simon Peach of the Press Association quotes Mourinho as hoping the injury is not bad.
United completed more than 500 passes, doubling Benfica’s production. Some have been critical of Mourinho’s penchant to play it safe, and he winked at them after the match in calling his tactics “a crime.”
“We were in control, David De Gea did not have one save to make. I never felt we could concede a goal and were solid defensively. Sometime I feel being good defensively is a crime, but that is a way of getting results.”
According to Wahl, Donovan issued no comment when asked whether he is seriously considering a run for president. Gulati didn’t confirm that he’d run for a fourth term — the maximum tenure — during his post-World Cup failure conference call, but strongly lauded his credentials for another stint.
While Gans would challenge Gulati and perhaps make for interesting debate and a bellwether of the appetite for change amongst the constituency, Donovan’s name would likely be enough to swing some voters regardless.
Without making any judgments about the job Donovan would do, think of it as a big entertainment name like Dwayne Johnson amongst Democrats or Donald Trump amongst Republicans who might upturn eyebrows amongst folks thinking, “Maybe we need something different.” The name value isn’t the same but perhaps it’s less polarizing to compare the runs of Jesse Ventura and Al Franken, or Jack Kemp and Steve Largent instead.
A Donovan run would likely keep U.S Soccer’s cozy relationship with Major League Soccer while perhaps emboldening those who seek big changes within the youth structure (Donovan was part of the U.S. residency program which was recently canceled in a sort of “We did it” nod to academies). His experience is varied and his network exceptional.