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.

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

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Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

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Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET