Everton v Stoke City - Premier League

Finally, a Brek Shea sighting at Stoke City, and a Steve Cherundolo sighting at Hannover

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Is there hope for Brek Shea around the Britannia, after all?

The young American winger, who is not playing for Stoke but has managed to hang around the U.S. World Cup roster conversation because the United States player pool is so pitifully depleted in the flank areas, finally got on the field for Stoke City in a league match.

Praise be.

Shea came in for the final 31 minutes Saturday against Everton. His entrance was hardly the best of circumstances, part of double switch of desperation in the 59th minute after the Potters had fallen behind 3-0 to Everton. (The thrashing was completed later, as Stoke City finished on the wrong end of a 4-0 afternoon.)

Still, the depressing day for his club was something of a high water mark for Shea; those were his first minutes in a league match for Stoke this year, which means it was the winger’s first league minutes under first-year manager Mark Hughes. Previously, Shea has emerged from his virtual witness protection status only long enough for a short Capital One Cup cameo.

Shea wasn’t the only U.S. World Cup wannbe to make his season debut over the weekend. Steve Cherundolo made a late, late appearance off the bench for Hannover, as he gets closer to competing for his old spot at right back for the Bundesliga club.

Cherundolo remains a big part of the U.S. conversation at right back; Brad Evans, Michael Parkhurst, Geoff Cameron and perhaps Fabian Johnson, all with good and bad points at the potential right back answer, remain in contention for the position.

Cherundolo entered in the 90th minute of Hannover’s 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.