Everton's Steven Naismith, center, celebrates scoring their first goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Byrne, PA Wire)

Everton 2-1 Aston Villa: Toffees stage late comeback (video)

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Everton went into the break having learned, once again, that having the lion’s share of possession doesn’t automatically mean you’re destined to have the lead. Despite having 70% possession at the break, it was the visitors that were up, 1-0.

The hosts’ best chance came early on, when new boy Aiden McGeady tried his luck from distance. Aston Villa were saved by the post, however, with the winger smacking his shot against the upright.

In the 34th minute, Villa launched one of their counter-attacks, a tactic Paul Lambert has slowly been refining in this season’s squad. Fabian Delph’s tackle stole the ball from Ross Barkley, who turned his attention toward calling a foul rather than winning back possession. Instead Christian Benteke took control, holding off the Everton defense. The Belgian played in Leandro Bacuna, who nutmegged Tim Howard to score his second goal in as many matches.

After the restart, it looked as though nothing much had changed for Roberto Martinez’s men – save for switching out Barkley for Steven Pienaar, that is. The hosts continued to maintain possession, but failed to provide much to bother Brad Guzan.

But, with 15 minutes left to play, Everton managed to turn it around. Steven Naismith, on for John Stones in the 70th minute, got on the end of a little flick from Pienaar. His shot flew past Guzan and into the bottom corner of the net.

Lambert made a bold move a few minutes later, pulling center back Ron Vlaar in favor of Marc Albrighton, hoping that the winger’s pace could inject further life into the Villa attack. Instead, it just made their defense more vulnerable.

In the 85th minute, Ciaran Clark fouled Kevin Mirallas in a dangerous position – exactly the sort of thing you don’t want to do against Everton. Mirallas took the kick himself, waving away Leighton Baines, and sent a lovely curler into the top corner of the net. It was enough to secure all three points for the Toffees.

Everton: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, McGeady (Hibbert 87), Mirallas, Distin, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley (Pienaar 45), Osman, Stones (Naismith 74)

Goals: Naismith 74′; Mirallas 85′

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar (Albrighton 80), Clark, Baker, Bertrand, Westwood, Delph, Weimann (Tonev 87), Benteke, Holt (El Ahmadi 61)

Goals: Bacuna 34′

Contest to crown “Best American Bar” for Premier League fans

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For most of the weekend mornings, bars across the United States of America turn into places filled with jerseys of every color imaginable and either screams of despair or yelps of delight fill the air.

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Fans of the Premier League in the U.S. flock to plenty of pubs and bars across the nation to watch all the action and now NBC Sports wants to crown the “Best Premier League Bar in America” with your help.

Below are the details on how to get involved in the contest, as you can submit a nomination by visiting NBCSports.com/BestPLBarContest.

Oh, and by the way, the winning bar will receive $50,000 and an exclusive viewing party hosted by NBC Sports, plus be featured in a national commercial.

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Also, hit play in the video above to get a flavor of the competition.

STAMFORD, Conn. – October, 2015 – This week, NBC Sports Group introduced a contest searching for the best Premier League bar in America.

From now through December 6, NBC Sports Group is asking fans to “show their pub some love” by submitting nominations  to help their bar take the throne at NBCSports.com/BestPLBarContest. Additionally, fans can support their pub by:

  • Checking in on the NBC Sports Matchmaker App
  • Sharing stories, images and videos by tagging their bar and using #BestPLBarContest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Describing how much their Premier League pub means to them here.

The contest site also features a full list of participating bars, a list of trending bars, a social media feed with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts with the hashtag #BestPLBarContest, and a schedule of upcoming Premier League fixtures.

Following are the 10 bars currently trending:

  • The Londoner, Dallas, TX
  • Maggie McGarrys, San Francisco, CA
  • Irish Channel, Washington, DC
  • Carragher’s, New York, NY
  • Lucky Bar, Washington, DC
  • Boston Beer Garden, Boston, MA
  • 11th Street Bar, New York, NY
  • Beef & Barley, Chicago, Ill.
  • George and Dragon Pub, Seattle, WA
  • The Blind Pig, New York, NY

2015 MLS playoff scenarios heading into penultimate week

Michael Bradley, Toronto FC
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This is it, we have arrived at the penultimate week of the 2015 Major League Soccer season and there is still a lot to be decided.

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Only five teams, the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps have booked their spot in the postseason so far and the regular season Western and Eastern Conference titles are still up for grabs.

That, coupled with teams on the bubble (Orlando, Houston, Portland and RSL, I’m looking at you) for the playoffs is adding up to an enthralling final few games of the season as teams currently in the playoffs are only separated by a few points here and there.

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Below, courtesy of the league office, are the scenarios for each MLS team to clinch a berth in the playoffs. Study. Worry. Repeat.

We will have an updated list of the scenarios later this week after the next batch of games are played on Wednesday.


Columbus Crew SC will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Columbus Crew SC win or tie vs. Toronto FC on Saturday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

New England Revolution will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • New England Revolution win or tie vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

Toronto FC will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Toronto FC win or tie vs. New York Red Bulls on Wednesday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

Montreal Impact will clinch a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Montreal Impact win vs. New England Revolution on Saturday


  • Orlando City SC lose or tie vs. New York City FC on Friday

New York Red Bulls will clinch first place in the Eastern Conference IF

  • New York Red Bulls win or tie vs. Toronto FC on Wednesday