Early red card gives D.C. United easy day against Dallas, five-game unbeaten run

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Turnabout is fair play? Luck evening out? There are so many directions we could go with this one – so many sports clichés we can apply to what happened to FC Dallas today at RFK Stadium. Ultimately, they all amount to the same thing: The fortune Óscar Pareja’s team had when David Horst was sent off against Houston reversed itself against D.C. United. Instead of using a man advantage to claim a superficially convincing 4-1 win, the Hoops were dealt their own three-goal loss, falling by the same score Saturday in the nation’s capital.

FCD took an early lead through Mauro Díaz before D.C. took control of the game, with Zach Loyd’s second yellow card in the 39th minute giving the hosts a permanent advantage. Five minutes into first half stoppage time, after Díaz had left with an injury, a Fabian Espindola goal sent the sides into halftime even. In the second half, scores from Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin, and Espindola over a nine-minute period starting at the hour mark gave D.C. its most decisive victory of the season, one that gives 2013’s doormats a five-game unbeaten run.

I mention 2013 because this may be one of the last times we can realistically do so. This surge feels so new, it’s impossible not to cast it in contrast to last year’s failures, but after too long, we may get used to United being more than a doormat. Any mention of last year’s quality will either be lazy or ironic.

On form, there’s still a lot of progress to be made, yet their third win of the season inches the team closer to a symbolic milestone. Once they reach win four and pass last year’s record-setting low, 2013 may be irrelevant.

For now, last year helps provide important context for Saturday’s romp. While there’s a danger of reading too much into a team’s 11-on-10 performance (see: Dallas’s win over Houston), United’s ability to take advantage of its opportunities is noteworthy. Six months ago, this team was finding ways to give away points. Today, they were ruthless, quickly taking advantage of the 10-man Toros. It’s a quality that should serve D.C. well as pushes forward in its rebuild.

It’s a resourcefulness which, to this point in the season Dallas has shared – a quality one bad day in Washington, D.C., can’t take away. Though its inevitable that people ask whether today’s game burst the FCD bubble, it told us almost nothing about the team’s underlying quality. Just as the win in Houston wasn’t an indication of Dallas’s quick ascent into MLS’s elite, this game is not an indication Pareja’s side is about to slide.

The bigger worry is Díaz’s first half injury. Pareja also has to be concerned about any mental effect the lopsided result has on his squad. But as for what the final tells us about D.C.’s rise of Dallas’s potential fall: Not much.

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.