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.

USA 4-0 Panama: United States top Group A

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 01:  Jordan Morris #9 of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 1st minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match against Canada at Sporting Park on October 1, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The United States U-23 team exploded for four goals in the second half to down Panama 4-0, as the U.S. finish atop Group A in Olympic qualifying with a perfect three wins from three matches.

They advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Mexico or Honduras.

Thanks to a 2-2 draw between Canada and Cuba earlier in the evening, the U.S. had already clinched the top spot in Group A before this match began. With the United States’ win, Canada also advances into the semifinals as the second-place team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute, but Panama goalkeeper Elieser Powell made a higlight-reel save on Gedion Zelalem. Maki Tall moved in and fired a low shot on goal, forcing Powell to dive down and make a stop. The rebound rolled right out to Zelalem, who had the whole goal in front of him, but somehow Powell reached to get a hand on it, deflecting the shot over the bar.

Tied 0-0 at halftime, Andreas Herzog made some adjustments to his lineup, bringing in Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter for Tall and Zelalem. The substitutions paid immediate dividends, as the United States jumped out to a three-goal lead within minutes.

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In the 51st minute, Gboly Ariyibi’s cross took a deflection off Fidel Escobar and into the net, ruled an own goal on the Panamanian defender.

Two minutes later, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter took a pass from Luis Gil and fired a right-footed shot from a tight angle to the far post, doubling the United States’ lead. It was a very clean finish from the German-born Stuttgart product.

Three minutes after scoring a goal, Kiesewetter grabbed an assist as he combined with fellow substitute Jordan Morris to make it 3-0. Kiesewetter ran down the right wing and played a low cross in, where Morris tapped home his third goal of the tournament.

Kiesewetter continued his stellar half, blowing by a defender before doing well to draw a foul in the box. Luis Gil stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty, as the U.S. went 4-0 up in the 71st minute.

With the result, the United States heads into the semifinals with a +11 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in the group stage. A win in the semis would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympics.

Bayern, Germany legend Gerd Muller suffering from Alzheimer’s

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY  01:  Gerd Muller during a media event discussing the Golden Boot comptetition in the FIFA 2010 World Cup held at the adidas Jo'bulani Central in Sandton Convention Centre on July 1, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Dominic Barnardt/Getty Images for adidas)
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Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.

One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.

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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.

Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.

There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.

He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.

After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.

Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).