FC Dallas' Tesho Akindele, front left, goes up for a header with Colorado Rapids' Drew Moor, top, and Jose Mari in front of the Rapids goal. (Photo: AP)

MLS Snapshot: FC Dallas 3-2 Colorado Rapids

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One game, 100 words or less: A prolonged slump in the wake of Mauro Díaz’s injury finally came to an end thanks to two deflected shots and some rare finishing savvy from Fabian Castillo.

Winless in eight going into the match, FC Dallas saw Colorado’s keeper look helpless on a an Andrés Escobar deflection (33′) and a blast from Zach Loyd (45′), allowing the home side to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. With an early second half goal from José Mari, Colorado was back even, but after a left-footed blast that finished his one-man counter, Castillo gave Dallas its first win since April 20.

Three moments that mattered:

1. 33′ – Escobar’s deflection throws off Irwin – The three-goal night gives the impression that FC Dallas came to life, but the team only put three shots on target, two off which needed help to beat Clint Irwin. The first of those tries came in the 33rd minute, when a Jair Benítez restart from well outside the penalty area clipped Escobar. A ball headed toward the right side of goal suddenly changed direction, leaving Irwin helpless to prevent Dallas’s equalizer.

2. 46′ – Matt Hedges follows Walker Zimmerman – When FC Dallas’s best defender didn’t come out for the second half, head coach Óscar Pareja lost his second center back of the day. With Zimmerman already subbed out, Hedges’s loss looked like a debilitating blow. Yet instead of Deshorn Brown building on his opening goal, Colorado’s only score over the last 45 minutes was a corner converted by Mari. Led by Stephen Keel, the replacements held up.

source: AP
FC Dallas’ Tesho Akindele, front left, goes up for a header with Colorado Rapids’ Drew Moor, top, and Jose Mari in front of the Rapids goal. (Photo: AP)

3. 62′ – Castillo puts it all together – Castillo is always one of Dallas’s most influential players, but the chances he created with his unmatched speed rarely see that quality duplicated near goal. Against Colorado, however, a turnover over just inside Dallas’s attacking half turned into a chance to flash his potential. Beating two players after picking up the ball 45 yards out, Castillo beat Irwin with a shot rifled into the right of goal, giving Dallas three points and fans another glimpse of his tantalizing talent.

Three lessons going forward:

1. Deshorn Brown is living up to clichés – You don’t want to succumb into unfounded cliché, but Brown’s opening score looked like a confidence goal. On a bouncing ball near the edge of the six-yard box, the Jamaican international arced a teardrop over Raul Fernández and into goal, showing the ease of a player who knows, conversion or not, more goals will come. Scoring three times in his last two starts, Brown is not up to five on the season.

2. Change can be good – Through most of the spring, Colorado and Dallas were locked into set formations despite hints they should change. Colorado had become far too conservative with its diamond midfield, while Dallas had lost the playmaker it needed to play its 4-2-3-1.

On Saturday, however, both teams showed different looks. Colorado, having moved away from its diamond some time ago, has finally reverted to the 4-2-3-1 that was so successful last season. Across the field, Dallas played a 4-4-2 that didn’t try to shoehorn a midfielder into a playmaker’s role.

Using a set up that suits your personnel. Who knew?

3. The slump may not over yet – FC Dallas ended its eight-match slide, but the keys to the victory should caution fans against thinking a corner’s been turned. Deflections are not a reliable plan for production, and through four years of his Major League Soccer career, Castillo’s been unreliable around goal. Over 90 minutes on Saturday, those factors produced three points, but they also need to be a stepping stone to a more reliable solution.

Where that leaves them:

  • FC Dallas: 6-7-3, currently fifth in the Western Conference
  • Colorado: 6-5-4, third in the West, 10 points back of first place Seattle

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).