MLS Roundup: DC and NE wins congest the East, Seattle thumped

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What a weekend in Major League Soccer. The best part: Only one tie (though of course it featured the Tying Timbers).

Philadelphia Union 0-1 DC United: Even a new formation couldn’t help Philly’s struggling offense, and Chicago’s offload of Chris Rolfe and his salary continues to reap dividends for DC, which surged into second place in the Eastern Conference after the midfielder’s 6th minute goal. Could United be for real?

Montreal Impact 0-3 Sporting KC: Seventy-three minutes of 10-man ball is not a recipe for beating the reigning MLS champions, and Sporting took care of business after Collin Warner received an early red card. Two goals came courtesy of Dom Dwyer, while Paolo Nagamura also found the back of the net. Montreal is not clicking under Frank Klopas so far, while KC is tied atop the East.

New York Red Bulls 4-5 Chicago Fire: Chicago has a win! Chicago finally has a win! The good Shipp, Harrison, buried his first three MLS goals as it looked like the Fire were going to make a mockery of the Red Bulls in New York, but the hosts came charging back thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips. He added a league-best eighth and ninth goals on the night, but couldn’t bring New York all the way back.

Columbus Crew 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps: Super-early-season darlings Columbus lost again at home, where their record fell to 1W-2L-2T. The villain in this one was Erik Hurtado, who netted his first MLS goal for Carl Robinson’s surging club. It was Vancouver’s first win on the road.

San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 FC Dallas: Oscar Pareja and FC Dallas red-hot opening slate has fizzled into four straight losses, and perhaps San Jose will start to get a bit more respect after this triumph that saw just 45 minutes of even play. No Mauro Diaz did not help — nor will it — as Dallas tries to find answers. Meanwhile, San Jose has pulled into fifth-place after the tough, congested start that included CONCACAF Champions League matches.

Portland Timbers 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy: Who had the Portland Timbers as the team with the West’s worst record in mid-May? The traditionally-tying Timbers caught a major break to even get one point, as a takedown of Juninho on a breakaway could’ve easily been the penalty attempt to make it 2-0. Both markers came in stoppage time, as Diego Valeri scored at the death to cancel out Robbie Keane’s fifth goal of the year.

Colorado Rapids 1-3 Chivas USA: Break up the Goats. Chivas USA is technically out of the basement again after substitute Martin Chavez scored twice in the second half to lift the visitors. Erick Torres was solid again with a goal and assist, and Dan Kennedy lost his shutout late when Deshorn Brown scored in stoppage time.

New England Revolution 5-0 Seattle Sounders: Diego Fagundez took nine games to score his first of the season, but picked up two as New England picked apart Seattle to the tune of a 4-0 halftime lead. Bobby Shuttleworth was fantastic as the Sounders tempted the frame several times early, but Sigi Schmid will regret many missed chances.

Houston Dynamo 2-5 Real Salt Lake: The story could’ve been Mark Sherrod’s first two MLS goals, but instead it’s about a dicey red card to Servando Carrasco and Javier Morales finding his goal-scoring boots. Morales netted a hat trick, with two in the first 17 minutes and an 89th minute penalty kick. RSL led 3-1 at halftime on the way to a comfortable 5-2 win at BBVA Compass Stadium, its first ever at Houston.

STANDINGS

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Sporting KC 9 5 2 2 14 6 8 3-2-0 2-0-2 17
New England 10 5 2 3 14 10 4 3-1-0 2-1-3 17
D.C. 9 4 2 3 13 11 2 3-1-1 1-1-2 14
Houston 11 4 2 5 15 19 -4 3-1-2 1-1-3 14
New York 11 3 5 3 18 17 1 2-2-1 1-3-2 14
Columbus 10 3 3 4 10 11 -1 1-2-2 2-1-2 12
Toronto FC 7 3 0 4 7 9 -2 1-0-2 2-0-2 9
Chicago 9 1 6 2 17 18 -1 0-3-1 1-3-1 9
Philadelphia 11 1 5 5 10 14 -4 1-3-1 0-2-4 8
Montreal 9 1 3 5 7 17 -10 1-2-2 0-1-3 6
Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Seattle 11 7 1 3 22 19 3 4-0-2 3-1-1 22
Real Salt Lake 10 5 5 0 21 12 9 2-2-0 3-3-0 20
FC Dallas 11 5 1 5 20 19 1 4-0-2 1-1-3 16
Vancouver 10 4 4 2 16 12 4 3-1-1 1-3-1 16
Colorado 10 4 3 3 11 12 -1 2-1-2 2-2-1 15
San Jose 9 2 4 3 10 11 -1 2-3-1 0-1-2 10
Los Angeles 7 2 3 2 8 6 2 1-0-1 1-3-1 9
Chivas USA 10 2 3 5 12 19 -7 1-1-3 1-2-2 9
Portland 10 1 6 3 13 16 -3 1-5-0 0-1-3 9

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Wenger, Kroenke meet; Arsenal board will be told decision Tues.

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Wenger watch is entering its final hours.

The BBC is reporting that Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke met with longtime manager Arsene Wenger on Monday to discuss the Frenchman’s future, and that the decision was going to be made together.

[ MORE: Wenger would pay Sanchez, Ozil ]

It seems almost certain that Wenger is going to come back to the Emirates Stadium. From the BBC:

The outcome is unclear but the decision rests solely with Wenger and Kroenke and will be relayed to directors at a Tuesday board meeting.

Fresh terms were agreed in principle some months ago, but nothing is signed.

There have been questions about whether Wenger would accept a sporting director being placed above him, and if Kroenke believes the repercussions of keeping the boss would negatively impact the business.

Barcelona to keep goalkeeper Ter Stegen until 2022

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has reached a deal to extend the contract of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen until June 2022.

The club said the new agreement, which has a buyout clause of 180 million euros ($201 million), will be signed on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Yaya to stay at Man City ]

Ter Stegen has been with the club since 2014, helping it win nine titles in three seasons.

The German goalkeeper has played 93 matches with Barcelona, conceding 90 goals in 71 wins, 10 draws and 12 losses.

Barcelona has already renewed the contracts of Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. It is still working on new deals for Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

Report: Wenger ready to pay Ozil, Sanchez club record deals

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Arsenal knows its departure from the UEFA Champions League has to be a short one, and that keeping its two best attackers around is imperative.

That’s why Arsene Wenger is preparing to make Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez the top paid players in Arsenal history, according to a report from The Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson.

The contract status of both players has been a touchy one this season, and Sanchez especially has been linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe (including London neighbors Chelsea).

[ MORE: Yaya to stay at Man City ]

But perhaps the Gunners’ FA Cup triumph over Chelsea has Ozil and Sanchez feeling good vibes about the Emirates Stadium set, and Arsenal is ready to pounce. According to the report:

Wenger has told the board that he thinks he can win the Premier League if this group stays together and is supplemented by no more than two or three key additions. Ozil is understood already to have been offered more than £250,000 a week and the club are ready to go to around £280,000 for both him and Sanchez.

The Gunners need both players healthy and happy heading into next season, and appropriate additions as well (A top striker is a must. Again). Wage structure is important, but Arsenal will have a blessing in disguise if another player can make a legit case he deserves to be paid like Ozil and Sanchez any time soon.

West Ham, Everton, and the superstar striker’s need for the Champions League

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Come up with a list of active elite level strikers, and it’s likely to be a short one filled with names from UEFA Champions League clubs.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Harry Kane, even Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Rarely do names like these move to a non-UCL club while in their prime, and it’s just as uncommon to see them stay at clubs which have failed to qualify for the UCL.

The money, the prestige, the endorsements; All are amplified by the world stage. Given the massive import of their domestic stage and spotlight, Premier League sides have bucked this trend on occasion — see Romelu Lukaku — but it’s the exception to the rule.

That’s what puts an ambitious club like West Ham United between a rock and a hard place. The Irons have been vocal about their desires to bring in a top-end striker, and it’s likely they’d be happy to spend what it takes to attract Alexandre Lacazette, Aubameyang, or Cavani to town.

Lyon reportedly rejected a $45 million bid for Lacazette last season, admitting that ultimately the player’s desires would determine his future. Higuain, too, was linked to chairman David Gold’s wallet before moving to Juventus. Carlos Bacca also saw his future connected to the Irons.

Instead, Gold landed Andre Ayew from Swansea, and had to hope Andy Carroll could stay healthy or Enner Valencia would deliver. Not a striker, Dimitri Payet apparently decided to skip town soon after West Ham’s Europa League exit at the hands of Astra Giurgiu.

Now it’s Kelechi Iheanacho being linked to the London Stadium, another hopeful swing from the Irons that points a strong finger at the problem: West Ham can be as ambitious as it likes, but it’s going to need a miracle to pull an elite striker to London without European football.

And it shouldn’t happen, but what if Everton is bumped from the UEL in the third qualifying round or playoff next year? Will Lukaku follow Payet’s lead and sink another team from joining the discussion? Though an argument can be made it’s better for Everton to lose those summer games, the Toffees very much need to succeed in the UEL qualifying and also show signs of strength in the early PL docket. That’s the unforgiving life of sitting on the outskirts of the powerful tier.

Every team at every level is searching for the next elite striker. Some, like West Ham, will need to luck into a young buck on the rise or a flawed striker finding his potential. And how do they hold onto that player, one who will have alerted the big boys to his arrival, without qualifying for Europe? It’s improbable.

The ability of teams like Chelsea and Liverpool to compete for a European slot in the PL standings thanks to missing out on the UCL the year before signals hope for clubs like Everton and West Ham. And five Premier League sides competing in the UCL this year could extend an invitation to stay longer in the Top Seven discussion for sides like Southampton and Leicester City, too.

So this summer’s striker captures are huge for Slaven Bilic and David Gold. This is a window the league’s “next group” won’t have open annually, and West Ham’s hopes of barging into the discussion again hinge on who shows up by August.