Galaxy

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.

VIDEO: Sinclair passes Mia Hamm as 2nd-highest scorer in history

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Christine Sinclair scored her first goal for Canada in 2000, and today, she scored the 159th goal of her international career.

With goal #159, Sinclair passes Mia Hamm as the second-highest scorer in international soccer history, men or women. Abby Wambach’s record of 184 goals is the all-time mark.

[ REPORT: Obafemi Martins to China ]

Playing for Canada in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, Sinclair gave her country a 3-0 lead over Trinidad & Tobago to reach 159 goals. They would go on to win the match 6-0.

Sinclair, 32, will look to continue her scoring ways and lead Canada to Rio 2016, as the Canadians search for another medal after taking home bronze in 2012.

Report: Sounders’ Obafemi Martins to join Shanghai Shenhua

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 08:  Obafemi Martins #9 of the Seattle Sounders FC warms up prior to the match against the New England Revolution at CenturyLink Field on March 8, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Obafemi Martins
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The Chinese Super League continues to buy top talent, as Obafemi Martins looks set to join Shanghai Shenhua.

According to a report from the BBC, the Seattle Sounders’ striker will leave Major League Soccer for a “multi-million dollar deal” in China.

Should this deal go through, Martins would join a list of top talents who have moved to the Chinese Super League this winter, including Chelsea’s Ramires.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Martins has scored 43 goals in 84 appearances for Seattle since joining the club in 2013, named to the MLS Best XI in 2014 and the All-Star team in 2015.

If the 31-year-old was to leave, it would open up a potential starting spot for the USMNT’s Jordan Morris, who signed a record-breaking homegrown player contract with the Sounders last month.

[ MORE: Player ratings from Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Leicester City ]

Before moving to America, Martins played throughout Europe, spending most of his career with Inter Milan and Newcastle. He has earned 41 caps for the Nigerian national team.

At Shanghai Shenhua, Martins would line-up alongside former Premier League players Tim Cahill and Demba Ba, as wells as Fredy Guarin, who joined Shenhua in January from Inter Milan.

VIDEO: Barcelona work brilliant penalty as Messi dishes to Suarez from the spot

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 14:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates Neymar (L) and Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona after scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on February 14, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Barcelona is really, really good.

With their last loss coming all the way back on October 3, Barca remained unbeaten and put on a Sunday show in La Liga action, thrashing Celta Vigo, 6-1.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

The highlight of the match came in the 81st minute when Barcelona was awarded a penalty. Lionel Messi stepped up to the spot, and did this:

The classic Cruyff penalty kick, it looks so good when it works, but is very risky and could end in disaster. Just ask Robert Pires…

The goal gave Luis Suarez a hat-trick and showed the ridiculous amount of confidence this Barcelona side has right now, as no one in the world has an answer for the Messi-Neymar-Suarez trio.

Pellegrini rues “absolutely wrong” penalty decision in City’s loss to Spurs

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City protests with referee Mark Clattenburg after he awarded a penalty for his hand ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on February 14, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Manchester City fell 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in a massive battle in the Premier League title race.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-1 Spurs ]

While Christian Eriksen‘s late winner was the game’s deciding goal, it was Harry Kane‘s opener from the penalty spot that has caused some controversy.

Tottenham’s Danny Rose whipped in a cross that was blocked away by a jumping Raheem Sterling in the 54th minute. Sterling had his back to the ball, but the cross took a deflection off his elbow and referee Mark Clattenburg signaled for a penalty.

Speaking after the match, City boss Manuel Pellegrini was extremely angered by the decision, saying City were the better side until the penalty changed the flow of the match. Pellegrini also thought back to Tottenham’s win over Man City in September when the same official was in charge when Spurs scored two goals that looked to be offside.

It was a penalty that referee Mark Clattenburg wanted to sign for and he gave the sign. It was absolutely the wrong decision, it hit the back of Raheem Sterling then his elbow. Sterling was not even seeing the ball. It was the same referee in the first game where there were two clear goals in offside and we lost 4-1.

It was the key moment that decided the game; before that they did not shoot towards our goal and did not have any chances. We took the risks, the spirit of the team was good but it was not enough.

The rules regarding a hand-ball have been the topic of much conversation this season, as there seems to be a gray area where officials are forced to make judgement calls, with this decision very harsh.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Tottenham’s win over Man City ]

Now six points behind leaders Leicester, Manchester City will take a break from Premier League action and play a string of important cup ties. First up is a fifth-round FA Cup match against Chelsea before a long trip to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, followed by the League Cup final against Liverpool.