Aston Villa's goalkeeper Bradley Guzan reacts after Swansea City's Jonjo Shelvey, not in picture, scores his team's second goal during their English Premier League soccer match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, Saturday, April 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Potts, PA Wire)

Swansea City 4-1 Aston Villa: Shelvey wondergoal highlight of comfortable Swans win (video)

Leave a comment

Swansea hadn’t won back to back PL games in 17 months, but Aston Villa are very, very good at helping teams break unflattering streaks. Now the Swans have guaranteed themselves a spot in the Premier League next season – provided Norwich lose at Manchester United in the late match. Meanwhile, the future is looking even bleaker for the Villa.

It looked like it was going to be all too easy for Swansea, with the hosts threatening inside three minutes. Brad Guzan easily stopped the early attempt, but was unable to do anything about Wilfried Bony’s shot in the 10th minute. The goalkeeper wasn’t helped by a sleeping defense, who allowed Bony to get on the end of a ball from Jonjo Shelvey to go one on one against him. A cool finish and Swans were up.

With no goals in their last two games, and without star striker Christian Benteke, a comeback for Villa looked unlikely. But then Gabby Agbonlahor, who hadn’t scored a goal since January, got behind Jordi Amat to tap in a cross from Marc Albrighton, who was easily the visitors’ most threatening player in the first half.

But Villa, who haven’t won since March 15, were unable to keep the lead for even five minutes. After a series of corners, Guzan was unable to get the ball out from the back quickly enough, and had to resort to picking out Ron Vlaar. But the captain was unable to clear properly, allowing the ball to bounce in front of Shelvey. The Swansea player hit it on the bounce, lashing his curling shot from the center circle into the top corner of the net, past a frantically back-pedaling Guzan.

(WATCH: WONDER GOAL FROM JONJO SHELVEY)

Shelvey wanted another, and did well to threaten the Villa defense in the 60th minute. The Englishman beat two defenders to send in a curling shot, but this time Guzan was there to push around the post and out for a corner. That meant the attacks kept coming, with Wayne Routledge being allowed plenty of freedom and time to place his shot. Somehow, though, he managed to strike it wide.

Sure enough, Shelvey was able to get himself involved and get a third goal for the Swans. Pablo Hernández did well to knock down Shelvey’s cross, and needed just a touch to aim his shot past Guzan and into the back of the net.

Swansea were already certain of the three points, but for some reason, Nathan Baker elected to commit a woeful challenge on substitute Marvin Emnes inside the area. The referee pointed to the spot, Bony stepped up, and Swansea took all three points with a comfortable 4-1 win.

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel (Taylor 77), Amat, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, de Guzman (Fulton 83), Hernandez, Routledge (Emnes 88), Bony

Goals: Bony 10′; Shelvey 26′; Hernández 73′; Bony 92′

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton 45), Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand, Albrighton, Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi (Holt 75), Agbonlahor, Weimann (Robinson 67)

Goals: Agbonlahor 22′

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
Leave a comment

SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
Leave a comment

Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113rd minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

Leave a comment

Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.

Palmer-Brown heads U.S. U-20s to win over Mexico (video)

Erik Palmer-Brown
@ussoccer_ynt
Leave a comment

The United States U-20 men are on the precipice of the U-20 World Cup after beating Mexico 1-0 on Monday, scooping their first win against El Tri in 31 years.

Brooks Lennon continues to look the part for the U.S. ahead of his loan season from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops again ]

The youngster sent in this free kick that Erik Palmer-Brown, himself a loan man at Porto from Sporting KC this year, headed into the Mexico goal courtesy of a back post defender who opted for his right leg over a decent clearing attempt.

The U.S. took that lead into halftime.

Things got chippy as the second half unfolded, with referee Melvin Matamoros turning a blind eye to a few clattering tackles.

Tab Ramos subbed NYCFC prospect Jonathan Lewis into the match, and he sprung a counterattack that should have put the match to bed. But Lewis’ through ball missed FC Dallas’ Coy Craft and the latter took too much time, frittering away the chance.