“Phenomenal” home crowd makes believers out of Defoe, Bradley in MLS home debut


TORONTO, Canada — They’ve played everywhere from London to Rome, but Canada did right by new Toronto FC men Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley on Saturday afternoon.

“Phenomenal,” Bradley said after the match. “We all expected it to be good, but I don’t think anybody really knew that it was going to be this good. Standing on the field before the game, the entire stadium was singing the Canadian national anthem. It was special.”

Whether it was on purpose or accidental, the anthem’s volume lowered out of the loudspeakers and the crowd roared the anthem throughout BMO Field (Canadians are some of the least-hesitant singers on Earth, and good for them).

The buzz around BMO wasn’t as loud last year at this time, something TFC manager Ryan Nelsen noticed almost as soon as his team took the pitch for Saturday’s home opener.

“Even the guys were saying it was better than a lot of the atmospheres in Europe,” Nelsen said. “It was fantastic for the fans and everything to get out there. It was electric and unfortunately the football and the field didn’t match the atmosphere in the stands but we got a win.”

What about a certain diminutive 31-year-old striker from England?

“From minute one, the stadium was rocking,” Defoe said. “That definitely helps the team, lifts the players. I suppose we owed it to the fans to get a victory today and we did that.

“(It’s) a day I’ll never forget because I was so much looking forward to the game at home, to see the fans. Before the game you just hope that you give something back because I knew it was going to be an unbelievable atmosphere. They turned up in numbers and from the first minute to the last, they sung their hearts out.”

TFC hits the road for a spell before its next home match, which comes April 12 against Colorado. But for now, the long-suffering fans of Toronto have an unbeaten team that’s just starting to learn itself, each other and it’s fans.

And things are going well.

Zlatan becomes PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 21:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #10 of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates his goal in the second half against AFC Fiorentina during the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.Paris Saint-Germain defeated ACF Fiorentina 4-2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, and he is already the club’s all-time leading scorer.

After scoring both of PSG’s goals in a 2-1 win over Marseille today, Zlatan’s tally is up to 110 goals for the club, eclipsing Pauleta’s mark of 109. However, Pauleta needed 79 more matches to reach that number.

Zlatan has scored at a blistering pace since moving to Paris, having seasons of 35, 41, and 30 goals in his first three years at the club. Early into his fourth season with PSG, he has four goals through seven matches.

Not only has Zlatan achieved great success individually during his time at Parc des Princes, the club has dominated French football during his tenure.

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Since Zlatan moved to Paris in 2012, the club has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, two League Cups, and one French Cup. During that time, Zlatan was twice named Ligue 1 Player of the Year and won two Golden Boots as the league’s top scorer.

Zlatan’s contract with PSG is up at the end of this season, and it has been long suspected that he will move on and join a new club next summer. Despite turning 34 earlier this month, Zlatan has proven his is still one of the world’s elite goalscorers, and will have his choice of clubs should he leave PSG.

Atletico and Real draw 1-1 in Madrid derby

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF wins the header after Gabi Fernandez of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.

Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.

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Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.

Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.

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With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.

The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.