D.C. United’s 16-match winless run is over, and while it took a crucial Jose Gonçalves own goal to make it happen, beggars can’t be choosers. For the first time since Aug. 3, 2013, Ben Olsen’s team took three points from a Major League Soccer match, leaving New England the beggars after its 2-0 win at RFK Stadium.
Though the Black and Red deserve credit for limiting the Revolution to one shot on goal, they only managed two shots on target themselves, underscoring the importance of Gonçalves’s 43rd minute own goal. Given how little pressure the 2013 Defender of the Year was under while redirecting Cristian’s shot past Bobby Shuttleworth, New England fans would deb right to embrace a few what ifs. In a match where both teams struggled to create chances, Gonçalves’s mistake could have been the difference between a four-match unbeaten run and a D.C.’s much-needed victory.
On the scoreboard, at least, United did offer a little something else, with their newest acquisition scoring in his first appearance for the club. From one point of view, Chris Rolfe looks like another decent if limited veteran added to a team that spent the offseason acquiring decent if limited veterans: Jeff Parke; Bobby Boswell; Sean Franklin; Davy Arnaud; and Fabian Espindola. In theory, however, Rolfe adds a degree of versatility Olsen doesn’t otherwise have at his disposal – somebody who can help connect those too often isolated levels of D.C.’s formation. In the 93rd minute, his volley beat Shuttleworth to give his new team insurance.
It was part of a welcomed but mixed day for United, though you can forgive fans overlooking the multiple chances Teal Bunbury had extend D.C. United’s winless run. Instead, they may wish to focus on Eddie Johnson’s missed chance in the second half and note the team could have broken through without Gonçalves’s generosity.
In time, nobody’s going to remember that minutiae. For a team that’s been forced to accept an evermore depressing reality, Saturday provided reason for hope. So what if it wasn’t the greatest win in the world? D.C.’s not going to go from zero-to-hero over two hours. For one day, all that matters is the result – a positive one.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday