MLS Roundup: DC United powers forward, Galaxy get a spark

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Midweek MLS action proved positive for a pair of clubs, while the other two faded into defeat.

It’s been a rocky seasons so far for the LA Galaxy, but Robbie Keane may have jump-started the club with a world-class goal early on to help Los Angeles past FC Dallas 2-1.

DC United climbed three spots in the table with another three points to extend their streak to nine games with just a single loss.  DC led Houston in just about every category including the scoreline as Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola bagged a pair in the 2-0 win.

Both teams showed confidence and skill around the 18-yard box, taking advantage of numerous chances.

For DC United, the three points grabbed tonight puts them at 18 for the season, passing last year’s total of 16 in the process.  It’s an incredible turnaround for a club that six months ago was searching for any sort of bright light of hope, but now sits in second place in the East.

Rolfe has picked up playing time in the last month, and with Eddie Johnson suspended, the 31-year-old partnered beautifully with Espindola, not only bagging a goal each but also assisting each other’s scores as well.

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Chris Rolfe filled in for Eddie Johnson up top admirably, injecting pace and life into the DC United attack.

The Galaxy’s win over Dallas picks them up off the bottom of the table, still with at least a game in hand on every other Western Conference team.  They showed a few major lapses in defense as Dallas pulled one back in the second half, but weathered the rest of the storm as they saw out the win.

Keane was outstanding, and Gyasi Zardes backed up Bruce Arena’s personnel selection with a goal of his own and an assist.  The reward for Arenas is a monumental one, considering all the shifting and changing he’s had to do thus far.

Hopefully for LA fans, the win proves the Galaxy are still capable of being their old selves, and picking the club off the bottom of the table can often have boost-like consequences.

The pair of clubs on the losing ends, FC Dallas and Houston, things are slightly different.

For Dallas, things continue to go from bad to worse.  Their torrid start is a distant memory, and they’ve picked up just a single point since April 19.  They broke their losing streak last time out with a promising draw against Chivas, but their trip to StubHub Arena now just dives them back into the abyss with a trip to undefeated Real Salt Lake next up.

Houston doesn’t look nearly as broken, but with results all over the place early on, it’s a tough start to their three-match road trip after a (mostly) positive homestand. With two important Western Conference games coming up against mid-table sides, the club needs to get back on the right track.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.

Conte praises Hazard’s style, wouldn’t want him to be “more selfish”

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Antonio Conte made two bold decisions on Saturday afternoon as his Chelsea side prepared to take on Tottenham in their FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu shines with Saints as he prepares for Chelsea return ]

The Italian manager has been known for his innovation and risk-taking in the past, but many were critical of the 47-year-old when his team sheet came out ahead of the match.

Conte left key attacking duo Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, allowing out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi and Pedro to get the starting nod.

Although Hazard nor Costa saw the field for the opening hour, the former made his presence known when he was summoned by Conte in the second half.

Often times Hazard has been known as a facilitator, someone that can pick apart defenses with his tremendous foot skills and clever passing. But the Belgian international has also shown his capabilities of scoring on a regular basis as well, which has prompted great interest from other giant clubs around Europe.

When Conte was asked about Hazard and if his attacker should be more selfish, the Italian gave an emphatic “NO” as his response.

“No, no, no, absolutely not,” Conte said. “I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent into the team. If you do this, the team [increases] your talent.

“The best players in the world don’t exist without a team. For me, it’s sad to listen to this, that a player must ‘be more selfish’ to reach the top level. That’s very sad. It’s not my idea of football and I will never understand this. Never, never. In my team, I don’t want selfish players.

“I prefer to lose a game than to have a selfish player. For me, I don’t want this and I can’t accept this. I don’t want my club to buy me a selfish player one day. Never. No.”

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

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Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.

Marseille making Olivier Giroud top transfer target this summer

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Marseille did well to bring in one star this season but could the French side have another trick up its sleeve this summer?

Sky Sports is reporting that the Ligue 1 club is preparing to sign Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud over the summer and the sixth-place side is “willing to pay up to £20m (roughly $25 million).

Marseille made a splash this season when the club re-signed Dimitri Payet, who was playing with Premier League side West Ham at the time.

The team does boast several quality attacking options such as Payet and Bafetimbi Gomis, but Giroud could serve as an ideal target man in the Marseille attack.

Prior to joining the Gunners in 2012, Giroud starred for Montpellier and with a potential link-up in the attack with a creator like Payet, it could present a dangerous attacking threat to the rest of Ligue 1.

Giroud, 30, has scored 95 goals in all competitions since arriving in London with Arsenal.