Two goalkeepers, two penalties conceded as Portland falls in Colorado


The whispered questions about the Timbers will gain full voice after today’s 2-0 loss in Colorado, but given the similarities between the day’s two goals, most of the post-match talk will be about the two penalties two different Portland goalkeepers conceded late against the Rapids. In the 73rd minute, Donovan Ricketts saw straight read after his attempt to play a pass ended with his right boot in Deshorn Brown’s stomach. After Vicente Sanchez’s second conversion of the season, the Uruguayan drew another penalty two minutes later, with Brown putting home the rebound of his own shot to give Colorado their two-goal win.

Up until that point, the match had been a relatively easy one. A sluggish start for Portland gave way to a more controlling stretch before half time, with the teams playing on relatively even footing until mid-way through the second half. Then, in the 68th minute, the came changed with a Dillon Powers ball lofted over the Timber defense, one that forced Ricketts off this line.

Beating Brown to the ball, the veteran goalkeeper appeared set to clear the pass, but missing the ball entirely, Ricketts ended up kicking fellow Jamaican international Brown in the stomach. Referee Mark Geiger immediately pointed toward the spot and, after Ricketts spent four minutes on the ground injured, showed the Timbers keeper a red card. Sanchez’s conversion high into the middle of goal beat replacement Andrew Weber, giving Colorado a one-goal edge.

Two minutes later, after a bad giveaway by Pah Modou Kah, Powers send Sanchez behind the Timbers defense and into the right of the penalty area. Weber, charging off his line to challenge, saw Sanchez vault into a tumble that helped draw the whistle. Moments later, Brown was putting home the rebound of his penalty try, Weber having stopped his initial attempt into the left of goal.

It was a bizarre case of low-grade de ja vu, one that left the game with a slightly misleading final score. There wasn’t much that separated Colorado from Portland over 70 minutes. Then, a poor decision from Ricketts blew the game open.

Playing down a man, the Timbers quickly gave up a second. Had Ricketts managed to make contact with the ball, Colorado and Portland likely share points on Saturday.

Video of the first penalty’s above. Here’s the second:

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
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FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast