Matchweek 30 of the Premier League produced a number of notable individual performances – Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph, Manchester City’s David Silva, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez – but one man stood tall among the masses, Steven Gerrard.
The 33-year-old midfielder has shown no signs of slowing down this season, scoring 10 goals and providing 9 assists in 25 matches for Liverpool. His play is even more impressive when considering where Liverpool sits in the table – 2nd, four points shy of leaders Chelsea with a game in hand – and that manager Brendan Rodgers has his skipper playing in a deeper role this season.
Heading into Sunday’s clash with rivals Manchester United, the storyline leading every major publication concerned the role reversal between the two squads and how this time around it was the Red Devils who looked to play the role of spoiler. Having displayed a decent improvement in form of late gave United a boost, as did the home field advantage of playing at Old Trafford.
So it was up to Gerrard to ensure his side came out firing and stayed focused throughout the 90 minutes. Mission accomplished. Within 34 minutes of play Rafael’s handball gave Liverpool the opportunity to snag an early lead. It was a chance that Gerrard made sure to take.
Cooly dispatching his pen into the top corner, Gerrard secured the Reds an early lead that they proved hell-bent on not relinquishing. Twelve minutes later Gerrard was asked to execute from the spot once again and he duly complied, kissing the camera in celebration and conjuring up memories of Liverpool’s dominant 4-1 victory over United in March 2009.
While his third pen found the post, Gerrard ensured his squad the three points by putting in a shift on the defensive side of the field, making four tackles, three interceptions and nabbing in a match-high 12 possessions gained.
That’s the kind of effort that earns you the nickname, ‘Captain Fantastic’, and the accolade of Premier League Player of the Week.
The game in 100 words (or less): It would appear, based on the optics of the Seattle Sounders’ 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Kansas City, a result that sees Sigi Schmid’s side fall 10 points adrift of the Western Conference playoff places, that the legendary coach’s time in the Emerald City has run out. It wasn’t the final score, or the fact that the Sounders were out-shot 18-1 on the afternoon, but the manner in which they arrived at those embarrassing figures — essentially giving up and waving the white flag over the game’s final 30 minutes — that sends a message loudly and clearly to Sounders’ front office: we aren’t playing for this guy anymore. Here’s the problem for Seattle, though: Jason Kreis, the presumptive Sigi replacement with an eye toward reuniting with Garth Lagerwey, was announced as Orlando City SC’s new head coach on Tuesday. Nothing would make the Sounders look more unprepared than firing Schmid five days after the best available MLS coach was plucked off the market.
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Three moments that mattered
21′ — Dwyer heads home from Espinoza’s cross for 1-0 — Defending optional for Seattle, as everyone in and around the penalty area did very little to close down or mark anyone in white.
45+3′ — Peterson goes upper-90 for 2-0 — First-time hit, upper-90. Jacob Peterson makes it 2-0.
79′ — Dwyer makes it 3-0 after Sounders all but quit — Questionable “effort” from the Sounders, to be sure.
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Man of the match: Dom Dwyer
Goalscorers: Dwyer (21′, 79′), Peterson (45+3′)
Patrick Vieira is very mad, and with good reason, but he might want to reconsider where he directs his displeasure following the New York City FC’s latest embarrassment at the hands of the New York Red Bulls, 4-1 on Sunday .
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In Vieira’s estimation, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch and referee Mark Geiger were co-men of the match; Marsch for his pre-game comments — “crying,” in Vieira’s words — and Geiger for playing into Marsch’s devious, revolutionary plan.
Adults … they’re just like us!
In the two sides’ three meetings this season, the Red Bulls won twice and lost once, by a combined score of 11-3.
New York Red Bulls rode a wave of first half goals to a heated and entertaining 4-1 win over New York City FC on Sunday at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
Sacha Kljestan had two assists and converted a penalty, while Bradley Wright-Phillips netted a brace and Ronald Zubar (!!) also scored for RBNY. If you’re keeping score at home that’s a combined 11-1 score line for RBNY in home Derby games this season.
Tommy McNamara scored a gorgeous goal before halftime to give City life. Aside from McNamara cranking a second-half effort off the crossbar, the rest of the life came in the form of pushing, shoving and fouling. Frank Lampard mixed it up with Kljestan, while Ethan White took two yellows for a late red card.
[ MORE: A Pogba Primer ]
The win gives the Red Bulls bragging rights for at least the regular season, as RBNY won 2 of 3 season matches against its area rivals.
NYC remains atop the East, while the Red Bulls are five points back in fourth.
Here’s the goal that got us started, as Kljestan slipped through BWP for a finish he’ll rarely miss (even when ice-cold).
Zubar then headed in a Kljestan pass to make it 2-0 before a handball allowed Kljestan to collect a goal for himself.
BWP restored the three-goal lead with 20 minutes to play, as he won a 50-50 ball played over the top and had all day to toy with Josh Saunders en route to his 11th of the season.
The New York Red Bulls were cruising at home, leading 3-0 in what looked like it could be another blowout New York Derby.
Enter Tommy Mac.
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The Clemson man and NYC fan favorite unleashed an absolute laser past Luis Robles to make it 3-1 and give City a look at a comeback.
The goal gives McNamara four to go with eight assists this season. Now can NYC keep the comeback working in the second half?