The New England Revolution looked something very close to dead one month ago after a loss at Chicago – a loss to a team appeared to be chasing the very same playoff spot Jay Heaps and his Revs were after.
And the Revolution looked almost dead two weeks ago when New York’s Tim Cahill scored that dramatic equalizer so deep into stoppage time at Red Bull Arena, blocking off New England from what was looking like a massive three points on the road.
And yet New England just keeps hanging in there. Last week’s 1-0 win at Montreal was huge – although it would have meant little without a big follow-up tonight in a match against Columbus, a team that was all but mathematically out of the race.
Well, Columbus is officially out of its now. And Heaps’ team, against considerably stacked odds, is very much in it.
Young MLS sensation Diego Fagundez was left unmarked at the far post for his 12th goal this year – his 12th goal! It was the match-winner in yet another massive result for the Revs, a 3-2 win at a Gillette Stadium that was suddenly alive with hope.
Fagundez guy is just 18 years old, and yet his goals have been so important to the Revs this year. It wasn’t just the critical goal Saturday, either; Fagundez played with the awareness and wherewithal of a player 10 years older.
Now Heaps’ team has this: one more match against Columbus in Ohio (yes, the same team it just beat – more goofy MLS scheduling). A win at Crew Stadium may not be enough to get the Revs into the playoffs for the first time since 2009, but they probably won’t get there without one.
There’s still a chance, at least – and one more win would probably give the Revs a good chance.
Here are the highlights from Saturday, including Fagundez’s match-winner:
We’ve seen MLS teams make major splashes in the past, and one of next year’s newcomers could be a really big draw if they can manage to seal the deal on a Mexican international.
[ MORE: Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS and more in interview ]
According to Metro New York, Los Angeles FC is continuing its talks with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez about a potential deal that would prove massive in terms of MLS spending.
While LAFC won’t debut in MLS until 2018, the club could potentially make the Mexico striker the highest-paid player in league history with an average salary of roughly $10 million.
The 28-year-old Hernandez currently plays in Germany with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he’s plied his trade since joining the club during the 2015/16 season.
Additionally, the former Manchester United man has dominated the international scene for El Tri, scoring 46 goals in 90 appearances for the CONCACAF nation.
German publication Kicker says Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke attended both of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals and had his eye on two players in particular.
Reschke apparently wants to bring players from both North London Derby rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Allianz Arena.
[ MORE: Liverpool’s Top Four plight ]
In the case of Spurs, that man is right back Kyle Walker. The 26-year-old has also played right mid in 8 of his 35 matches for Tottenham this season, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. It’s hard to believe Spurs would have interest in selling Walker, who would help fill the role of retiring Philipp Lahm.
On the other side is Alexis Sanchez, the embattled but electric Arsenal attacker who Arsene Wenger described as an “animal” and “always ready to kill the opponent” this weekend. Wenger says Sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but Bayern does boast Chilean teammate Arturo Vidal and former Barca mate Thiago Alcantara.
Walker is signed at Spurs through 2021, while Sanchez’s contract ends after next season.
AS Roma has found its new sporting director, and it’s a man with a keen eye for talent.
Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez Verdejo, 48, has spent the last 18 years as the sporting director at Sevilla, which won five UEFA Europa League titles under his watch.
Monchi was discussed in the media as a target for the same job at Arsenal and was a target for other Premier League clubs, but Roma sealed the deal with the former goalkeeper.
[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]
He is considered to have a big role in discovering and developing Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Dani Alves.
Read more from ASRoma.com.
Liverpool is a historic club with incredible presence. Jurgen Klopp is a celebrated manager with a strong reputation as a players’ coach.
Those two facets will always make the club attractive to players. Missing out on the UEFA Champions League is another thing altogether and would put a huge dent in Klopp’s ambitious recruitment goals.
And right now, the Reds look destined to drop out of the Top Four.
[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]
Even if Manchester United and Manchester City draw Thursday’s derby, both will be poised to pass the Reds by winning the match-in-hand.
Injury-ravaged United is bothered by UEFA Europa League duty against Celta Vigo, and has a brutal run-in that includes Spurs and Arsenal in addition to City. Liverpool has to hope United falls off, because Man City is likely going to walk over the Top Four line even with a draw in the derby.
The worst case scenario for Liverpool, aside from continuing to flail against clubs outside the Top Seven, is United toppling City on Thursday.
As an aside, it’s extremely unlikely that Arsenal leaps into the fray but if the Gunners did it would come at the expense of United.
Really, Liverpool’s run-in is perfectly built for two of its supporters’ favorite things: Winning matches and rooting against Manchester United. Here’s how they finish:
May 1 — at Watford
May 7 — vs. Southampton
May 14 — at West Ham United
May 21 — vs. Middlesbrough
Liverpool battered Watford 6-1 at Anfield and Boro 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium, but drew both Saints and West Ham earlier this season in addition to losing to Southampton in an EFL Cup semifinal.
Say the Reds nab a perfect 12 points to finish with 78; They’ll need City to take less than 14 from six remaining matches and United to earn less than 15 from six. The latter is far more likely than the former, but will matter very little if Klopp can’t motivate and organize his men in the final four matches.