Sporting KC gives up a late goal…again…and draws 2-2 with Toronto


It would seem Sporting KC has found themselves a full-on nosedive, and with top-of-the-table aspirations, they could be facing a five-point deficit in the East Divison standings after this week.

KC picked up a point, drawing with Toronto, but they had themselves the full spoils until Bradley Orr brought 10-man Toronto FC back level in injury time and pegged KC back yet again.

It’s not a total nosedive as other teams would see it, but if they fail to secure a top seed later on down the stretch, this could be a period they look back on with disappointment.  Tonight was the perfect opportunity to end a short skid, and instead they found themselves with their heads down at full-time.

With Steven Caldwell sent off in the 63rd minute, KC bagged the potential winner (after some wary moments earlier), Dom Dwyer’s second, and things looked fine and dandy.

Well, things aren’t fine and dandy anymore. They need to figure out soon how to get results without their top players, or else this season could start really going south.

Little mistakes continue to plague Sporting KC in a big way.  They gave rookie Nick Hagglund just a tiny bit too much space, and he made them pay with a clutch cross.  With a chance to kill the game, they couldn’t get by a solid Joe Bendnik.

It’s not all bad.  Dwyer now sits atop the MLS goal tally, they did get a point from this match, and they host a Red Bulls team next weekend that has been iffy on the road.  A win there puts this all in the rear view mirror, and they can head out on the road for three tough matches with new confidence.

But it’s the potential for things to go further south that have this match a turning point in either direction, and right now, that direction is down.

Enough about Sporting KC, let’s take a moment to praise Toronto for their confidence.  They scored both goals a man down after Caldwell’s red, and Hagglund and Justin Morrow were phenomenal going forward.

The result is a big one for Toronto, sitting in sixth position but still a few games in hand.  Their point on the road gives them redemption after a so-so homestand.  Without Michael Bradley, they come home for another pair of games – their third and fourth in five matches – with a chance to really gain ground in the middle of the table.

It’s too early to say these teams are headed in the opposite direction, because one result for either could bring them back down or send them back up. But these teams are on the verge of tipping off the scales one way or another.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.