Watch Live: Newcastle vs. Aston Villa (Lineups and Discuss)

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Two teams on poor form look to turn things around at St. James Park this morning, with Aston Villa on the road to face a safe yet unsettled Newcastle squad at 8:30am ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Despite Newcastle a comfortable 13 points above the relegation zone, they’re also in mid-table limbo, out of reach of anyone in the top seven as well.

With that in mind, Alan Pardew went on record having said his players could be playing for their places, and following those comments Hatem Ben Arfa fails to make the squad of 18 – nowhere to be found on the teamsheet. Sylvain Marveaux is another name that mysteriously did not appear.

Pardew has made such a declaration thanks to a pair of hammerings in their last two times out – a 4-0 loss to Spurs and a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea.  Newcastle have not scored in their last four matches.

The Magpies manager has plenty of options to choose from today, receiving a major boost to his squad. Striker Loic Remy is back from his three-match suspension, and both Fabricio Coloccini and Chieck Tiote return from injury. All three made the starting lineup.

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The visitors have much more on the line table-wise, with Villa sitting just four points above the relegation zone. They, like Newcastle, come into the match limping, having lost two of their last three matches, scoring just one goal during that span.

Villa also, however, have a majorly fit squad for this matchup.  Both Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor start up front. Benteke appeared to have put a ghastly season behind him with three goals in three games, but it’s again dried up over their last three matches.  Agbonlahor has been an outstanding creator all season, but it’s also dried up for him over the last two.

LINEUPS:

Newcastle – Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Tiote, Anita, Gouffran; Remy, Cisse.
Bench – Elliott, Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, S.Taylor, Gosling, Shola Ameobi, de Jong.

Aston Villa – Guzan; Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand; Westwood Delph, El Ahmadi, Weimann; Benteke, Agbonlahor.
Bench – Steer, Sylla, Holt, Clark, Albrighton, Tonev, Bennett.

Video: Watts gifts D.C. United own goal for the ages

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Not many things have gone right for either side involved in 2017, but D.C. United was the recipient of a gift early on against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Piatti brace lifts Impact to fourth win in a row; Orlando, Crew draw ]

In the 27th minute, Rapids center back Jared Watts received the ball at the back, before making a routine back pass to USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard

Or at least, it should have been a routine back pass.

Instead, Watts’ pass was well off target and too strong for Howard to reach and landed in the back of the Rapids goal. 1-0 in favor of D.C.

Reminder: Both these teams sit at the bottom of their respective conferences on points.

MLS Snapshot: Piatti brace lifts Impact | Crew, Orlando City draw

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact have proven to be a second-half of the season team the last several years, and that form appears to be holding true once more. Mauro Biello’s side won its fourth straight match on Saturday, while Ignacio Piatti continues to show he’s one of the most deadly scorers in the league. Meanwhile, RSL’s six-match unbeaten run is snapped north of the border, leaving the Western Conference side three points out of sixth place.

Three four moments that mattered

11′ — Piatti nets his first of the night — The Impact made this attack look so easy, and Ignacio Piatti simply won’t miss a chance like this one.

26′ — Evan Bush left motionless as RSL equalize — Luis Silva took matters into his own hands, and boy did he connect with this effort!

29′ — Impact punish poor RSL defense — Guess who? Piatti has his second of the evening.

47′ — Hosts begin to pile it on — Anthony Jackson-Hamel played provider in the first two goals, so it’s only fair he got one of his own.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Ignacio Piatti (11′, 29′), Luis Silva (26′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (47′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City and the Crew settled for a point apiece on Saturday night, but for the former the club is running out of opportunities to pick up points in the playoff race. Giles Barnes pulled a goal back for the hosts after Lalas Abubakar netted his first MLS goal for the Crew, but Orlando couldn’t find a second. The Lions played up a man for the final 13 minutes, following Harrison Afful’s dismissal.

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Abubakar knocks in first MLS goal — Orlando City’s defensive woes are certainly notable as well, but for Lalas Abubakar this is a quality way to open his scoring account in MLS.

67′ — Barnes knots it up at 1-1 — The veteran MLS forward picked up his second goal of the season.

77′ — VAR used for red card decision — The video monitor came into play briefly in the second half, and Harrison Afful was sent off the pitch early after the referee viewed the defender’s elbow to the head of Yoshi Yotun.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Zack Steffen

Goalscorers: Lalas Abubakar (35′), Giles Barnes (67′)

Atlanta United fans pack 20,000 into new stadium for training session

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Atlanta United is currently in the midst of a three-match road trip in MLS play, but that didn’t stop the club from unveiling its new home venue to a massive crowd of supporters on Saturday.

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Over 20,000 fans of the Eastern Conference expansion side filed into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch Gerardo Martino’s side train on Saturday as Atlanta prepares to finish out its road trip against D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union.

Atlanta will open up home play at their new stadium on September 10 when they host FC Dallas. The club will have the benefit of playing eight of its final 10 regular season matches in front of its Georgia fan base.

The first-year MLS side will share the stadium with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.

Here are some sights from the training session

Follow Live — Fire host TFC in MLS headliner

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With most MLS sides having 10 matches or less remaining in the regular season, it’s crunch time for many clubs seeking out a playoff position.

Saturday features several massive fixtures in both conferences, including the Chicago Fire taking on East leaders Toronto FC — who are unbeaten in their last six matches.

[ MORE: Van Damme exits Galaxy, joins side in native Belgium ]

Meanwhile, Sporting KC hosts FC Dallas out West as the playoff battle heats up in the league’s other conference. As it stands, the top seven sides in the Western Conference are separated by just six points.

Here’s the full rundown of Saturday’s MLS matches.

Montreal Impact vs. Real Salt Lake — 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew — 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC — 8 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas — 8:30 p.m. ET
Colorado Rapids vs. D.C. United — 9 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo — 10 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union — 10:30 p.m. ET