- Portland claimed the Western Conference regular season championship by throttling Chivas USA down in Southern California, 5-0. Supporters Shield was already out of the question thanks to Kansas City’s win earlier in the day, but the Timbers’ win ensured that Caleb Porter’s team has the best chance in the West of hosting MLS Cup. How’s that for a turnaround?
- Philadelphia was eliminated in the 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Anybody remember when the Union was right at the top of the East and Jack McInerney was scoring a goal every time he got out of bed … or so it seemed? What a fall from grace it was for John Hackworth’s young team.
- With Philly out of the playoff picture, four teams (Montreal, Chicago, New England and Houston) remain eligible for the three remaining playoff spots out of the East. Chicago, New England and Houston all control their fate, all able to qualify for the post-season with wins on Sunday. But if one slips up, Montreal is in.
- Sporting Kansas City’s win positioned the club to take Supporters Shield if New York cannot get the job done Sunday; Mike Petke’s Red Bulls need a win to seal the Supporters Shield – which would be the club’s first major trophy in 18 years. (And believe me, I have to keep double checking to make sure that’s really true.)
- Who knows what Montreal’s loss at Toronto (1-0 at a wet and rainy BMO Field) will do for TFC manager Ryan Nelsen, where yet more organizational reshaping may be underway in the coming off-season. But we do know how much it helped the other Eastern Conference playoff pursuers. Read more about that here.
- In Montreal’s loss, Golden Boot pursuer Marco Di Vaio failed to register a goal. That means he and Chicago’s Magee remain level at 20 goals each in a dandy chase for the league’s final scoring leadership. More on that one here. By the way, Magee takes the Fire’s penalty kicks … which gave him a bit of an edge on Di Vaio coming into the weekend, anyway.
- Don’t forget about this: why MLS clubs are fairly desperate to avoid finishing fourth or fifth, why it’s apples-and-oranges better to finish no worse than third.
It should’ve been an equalizer, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s EFL Cup Final opening goal was brilliant nonetheless.
Minutes after Manolo Gabbiadini was incorrectly ruled offside on a would-be opener, Oriel Romeu gave away a free kick from a bit more than 25 yards away from goal.
[ FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton vs. Man Utd ]
Southampton looks to put icing on its incredible rise to the Premier League with an EFL Cup Final win on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
Standing in their way? PL giants Manchester United, who could give Jose Mourinho his first full tournament title as Red Devils boss.
[ FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton vs. Man Utd ]
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Rojo; Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Martial; Ibrahimovic. Subs: Romero, Blind, Young, Carrick, Fellaini, Rooney, Rashford.
Southampton: Forster, Cédric, Yoshida, Stephens, Bertrand, Romeu, Davis (c), Ward-Prowse, Tadić, Redmond, Gabbiadini. Subs: Hassen, Long, Rodriguez, Caceres, Boufal, Hojbjerg, McQueen
That’s especially true for Dele, who was sent off in Thursday’s 2-2 draw against Gent.
“I felt horrible after the game and at halftime I apologized to the boys,” Dele said. “I went to see the guy right after the game to see if he was alright.”
[ RECAP: Spurs 4-0 Stoke ]
Dele then scored Spurs’ fourth goal on Sunday, though he was a bit surprised to see hat trick hero Harry Kane slide the ball his way.
“We had a laugh at halftime,” Dele said. “I thought he was going to go for four.”
As for Kane, he was the clear cut star of the show in netting a hat trick before the break to help Spurs create a good feeling at White Hart Lane.
“It was important,” Kane said. “We wanted to come out and get back to winning ways. Thursday was very disappointing for us.”
As for the hat trick?
“Just trying to get my shots off,” he said. “Bit of luck with the third one but if you don’t shoot you don’t score.”
A bit of North London’s Wayne Gretzky in that quote.
- Kane tops 100 club goals
- Dele Alli also scores
- Cameron subs on for Stoke
Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur put on quite an advertisement for Sunday’s PL Download on NBCSN with an outright thumping of Stoke City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Kane had a hat trick and an assist before halftime, as Spurs throttled Stoke 4-0.
The win moves Spurs back into second, 10 points back of leaders Chelsea and a point ahead of idle Manchester City. Stoke is 10th with 32 points.
USMNT back Geoff Cameron made his first appearance since Oct. 22, 2016, when he subbed into the game for the final nine minutes plus stoppage.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Harry Kane’s deft dribble in the 10th minute could’ve provided a goal but didn’t even bring a shot as Spurs got a bit too cute with passing inside the 18.
Stoke found a rare early chance minutes later, though Spurs had their angles covered and Joe Allen‘s rip into the side netting was largely a cosmetic offer.
Kane opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Christian Eriksen bobbled Dele Alli’s pass into the 18, but Ryan Shawcross‘ barely hit his clearance and Kane took a touch before belting home for the advantage.
Jan Vertonghen and Kane each had chances before the half-hour mark, with the former belting one off the cross bar and the latter shaping an aesthetically-pleasing effort just wide of the frame.
Kane turned provider for Dele before halftime, racing past Bruno Martins Indi to send the youngster forward for a sliding goal. 4-0.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
The second half started with a rough moment for Spurs, as stalwart center back Toby Alderweireld walked off injured. This on the day Vertonghen returned to the fold, and also left after little more than an hour.
Kane briefly left the match with an injury as well.