MLS Snapshot: Portland Timbers 2-2 FC Dallas

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDOrQq4Y4f4]

One game, 100 words (or less): A first half where the Timbers failed to get a shot on target left Portland own two at intermission, with goals by Fabián Castíllo and Blas Pérez putting FC Dallas on the verge of its second win in a row. By full-time, however, a Will Johnson penalty kick and Pa Modou Kah’s stoppage time equalizer salvaged a point for the home side. Thanks to second half red cards to Moises Hernández and Pérez, FCD finished the match with nine men, allowing the Timbers to pile up 30 shots (10 on target).

Three moments that mattered:

1. 77′ – Adi draws the whistle on Watson – Part of what made Dallas’s first half performance so remarkable? They were depleted, especially at the back. None of Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Jair Benítez, Michel, Kellyn Acosta — heck, let’s throw George John in, too — were available, leaving fullback Zach Loyd to partner Stephen Keel in the middle while Hernández and Je-Vaughn Watson started wide. On paper, this was a team that should have struggled to contain the Timbers, but it wasn’t until FCD’s more conservative approach in the second half that the back line became sitting ducks.

Fanendo Adi took advantage in the 77th. Making the most of whatever contact there was between himself and Watson, the reigning MLS Player of the Week drew a crucial penalty in the left of the box. After Johnson and Gastón Fernández bickered over who’d have the honors, the Timbers captain brought his team back into the game, taking advantage of a generous whistle.

2. 90+2′ – Pérez ties Dallas’s hands – A dangerous tackle in the 87th minute had already sent Hernández to the locker room, but five minutes later, Pérez’s tendency toward gamesmanship got the better for him, drawing a red card when he stepped on a fallen Kah. Two minutes later, against a Dallas team reduced to nine, Kah scored from close range to make FCD pay for its lack of discipline.

source: Getty Images
Fabian Castillo bumped an assistant referee after Wednesday’s match in Portland, an action that will likely raw the ire of MLS’s league office. (Photo: Getty Images)

3. 90+6′ – Castillo, Dallas assistant create more problems – It’s a shame that a team that played so well over the first 45 minutes was left rueing behavioral problems, but two incidents that happened near the final whistle helped overshadow what would otherwise be a well-earned point:

  • The first saw assistant coach Josema Bazan sent from Dallas’s technical area after an altercation with a fan behind the FCD bench.
  • Then, seconds after full-time as blown, Castillo made contact with assistant referee Fabio Tovar after spiriting from Dallas’s bench to meet him on the field.

Both incidents should draw the attention of the league office.

Three lessons going forward

1. Portland’s defense is still bad – Tonight the back line was so bad that Caleb Porter pulled Rashawn McKenzie at halftime, replacing him with the recently signed Danny O’Rourke. With former Birmingham City defender Liam Ridgewell being spotted in Portland, the Timbers may be getting reinforcements soon.

2. Castillo’s newfound finishing will be missed – For the second game in a row, Castillo proved reliable when given a chance to finish, with his first half score from the right of the area giving Dallas its first half lead. Has the talented Colombian turned a corner? It may be a while before we know for sure. That post-match bump of Tovar could draw a multi-game suspension.

3. Dallas is running out of bodies – The World Cup break couldn’t come at a better time for FCD now. In addition to the team’s injured defenders (above), Mauro Díaz and Hendry Thomas are out. Thanks to their Wednesday indiscretions, Hernández, Pérez, and Castíllo will join them. If you ever wanted to play for a Major Leaue Soccer team, go ask @fcdallas now, because they may be operating on a first come, first serve basis.

Where that leaves them

  • Portland remains in sixth at 4-4-8 but has the seventh-best points rate in the Western Conference.
  • FC Dallas sits on 22 points through 17 games, tying them for third in the West with Colorado. Unfortunately, FCD has played two more matches than every other team in the West’s top five.

Frank de Boer named new Crystal Palace manager

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The Eagles have gone Dutch.

Crystal Palace appointed Frank de Boer as its new manager Monday, announcing the Dutch legend has signed a three-year deal at Selhurst Park.

De Boer, 47, previously won four consecutive Dutch titles in charge of Ajax from 2010-16 before a less successful spell in charge of Inter Milan last season as he lasted just three months (and just 14 matches) in charge of the Italian giants.

“I am thrilled to be appointed as manager of Crystal Palace Football Club. It is a great honor to take charge of such an historic club, a club that is known around the world for its hugely proud and passionate fan base,” De Boer said. “This role is a hugely exciting opportunity for me, and I cannot wait to get started in the Premier League with the players and staff here in south London.”

There’s no doubt De Boer’s playing career means he will demand the utmost respect from Palace’s players — he won five Dutch titles, a UEFA Champions League and Europa League at Ajax, a Spanish title at Barcelona and was capped 112 times by the Netherlands — but adapting to a new league may be difficult for the Dutchman, although he did spend time with Glasgow Rangers and had stops in Turkey and Qatar during his illustrious playing career. He’s no stranger to change.

Palace chairman Steve Parish revealed that De Boer’s arrival aligns with the ambitious plans for the club who also aim to develop their young players.

“We have undertaken a thorough interview process to ensure we are in a position to appoint a manager of the caliber and experience that Frank brings with him,” Parish said. “I am pleased to welcome him to Crystal Palace and I know he cannot wait to get started and prepare for our record breaking fifth season in the top flight.”

After Sam Allardyce announced his retirement at the end of the 2016-17 season after keeping Crystal Palace up in the Premier League, the Eagles have been searching for a new boss diligently. Parish is said to have favored former Hull boss Marco Silva to take charge of the south London club, but Silva opted for Watford.

Palace stretched out their managerial search with Mauricio Pellegrino, appointed by Southampton on Friday, also on their shortlist, but De Boer has now arrived to take charge of the ambitious London club.

With big money spent on the likes of Christian Benteke and Yohan Cabaye in recent seasons, the Eagles were supposed to be challenging for a top 10 finish. The past two seasons they’ve flirted with relegation under Alan Pardew and then Allardyce, with new American majority owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer yet to see the success they’d hoped for.

De Boer stated he would give every player at Palace a chance before making signings, but judging by the inconsistent displays by a squad largely built by Pardew and then patched up by Allardyce the Dutch coach will have a big job on his hands to turn the squad around and create a new identity for the Eagles.

He is a big name in the soccer world and Palace’s passionate fans will no doubt be excited by the prospect of De Boer bringing a new possession-based playing philosophy to Selhurst Park.

Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Aguero swap deal in place?

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A huge swap deal for two of the Premier League’s biggest stars is reportedly being discussed.

[ MORE: Mourinho’s father dies ]

The Daily Star reports that Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero could involved in a swap deal between Arsenal and Manchester City this summer.

Per the report, the deal would be a straight-swap and when you think about it for a moment, it would be the perfect solution for almost everyone involved and with Aguero aged 29 and Sanchez 28, it’s a close to a perfect swap as you’ll find for both clubs.

The South American superstars are both in tough situations with their current teams, but this would also be a tough deal to get done.

Arsenal do not want to sell Sanchez, especially to a Premier League rival, but with the Chilean superstar having just 12 months left on his contract his transfer value is rapidly diminishing each week he doesn’t sign a new deal. And with Aguero dropped by Pep Guardiola on multiple occasions last season despite scoring 33 times in all competitions, the Argentine would get the chance to be the main man at Arsenal.

Everything should be on board with this, right?

Well, Aguero would have to sacrifice UEFA Champions League action for at least one season with Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League in 2017-18 which could throw a considerable spanner in the works of this rather outrageous deal. However, Arsenal would be getting one of the greatest finishers of his generation, and in Premier League history, which would mean they’d finally have the prolific forward they need to finish off the multiple gilt-edged chances per game they create.

Wenger went after Jamie Vardy last summer but failed and with Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott around, all three are far from prolific. Aguero would be one of the missing pieces of the jigsaw for Arsenal but both clubs would argue they’d want to keep their stars and add the other. The only way City would be able to add Sanchez is if they offer up Aguero.

Sanchez was signed by Guardiola at Barcelona and the Chilean would perfectly slot into City’s fluid front three alongside Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling. Aguero didn’t fit that system well last season and despite Pep stating the Argentine striker would be at the club in 2017-18, you have to think he’d pick Alexis over Aguero.

Although this swap deal seems to suit almost everyone, it still seems incredibly far-fetched. That said, both Premier League clubs would save face in losing a star name and financially there would be no huge losses.

Hmmm. The more you think about it, the more this makes sense.

Jose Mourinho’s father dies in Portugal

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Jose Mourinho’s father has passed away at the age of 79.

Vitoria Setubal confirmed in a statement that Felix Mourinho had died in Portugal and will be buried in the City of Setubal, 25 miles south of Lisbon, on Tuesday.

No cause of death has been given.

Mourinho’s father played as a goalkeeper for Vitoria Setubal before going on to be a coach and club director, while also playing for the Portuguese national team in 1972.

Felix won the Portuguese cup in 1965 and heavily influenced Mourinho’s career with Jose scouting for his father and observing his training sessions from an early age.

The Manchester United manager, who has won the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto and Inter Milan, as well as domestic titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, posted the following photo of himself and his father on Instagram late Sunday but didn’t include a comment.

A post shared by Jose Mourinho (@josemourinho) on

Several of Jose Mourinho’s former clubs have also passed on their condolences to Mourinho via their social media accounts.

Dempsey, Sounders steal a point on wild night in Portland

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The game in 100 words (or less): An entire game can change in the blink of an eye. For the Seattle Sounders, that blink came in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. Up 1-0 by way of Joevin Jones’ opener in the 27th minute, the defending MLS Cup champs were poised to head into halftime with a one-goal advantage and every belief imaginable that they’d been the better team for the entire first half. Blink. Brad Evans wrapped his legs around Darlington Nagbe, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card, just like that, in the blink of an eye. Fanendo Adi stepped up to convert from the spot, but it still was to be a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline from Seattle’s perspective. Then, Dairon Asprilla got loose, completely unmarked atop the six-yard box, on a corner kick, and it was 2-1 after four minutes of first-half stoppage time. 45 more minutes pass, and the Timbers… blink. Clint Dempsey, 34 years old but fresh off the bench 40 minutes earlier, out-leaps everyone in the box and heads past Jake Gleeson to steal a point for Seattle.

[ MORE: San Jose fire Kinnear after 2.5 seasons ]

Three Four moments that mattered

27′ — Jones gets two chances, puts the second away — It’s a classic case of “I dropped my controller” from Alvas Powell, who just stops as Jones cuts across the penalty area. There’s no reason Jones should get a second look on this one.

44′ — Evans brings down Nagbe in the box, sees red — Goodbye, lead. Goodbye 11 versus 11. Things would unravel very quickly for Seattle.

45+4′ — Asprilla rises above to make it 2-1 — Seattle’s marking of Asprilla was nonexistent, and the Colombian showed off some serious hops to get his head to David Guzman’s corner kick.

90+4′ — Dempsey heads home deep in stoppage time — A costly turnover by Asprilla, a hit-it-and-pray cross by Roman Torres, and Dempsey snatches a point at the death.

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Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Jones (27′), Adi (45′ – PK), Asprilla (45+4′), Dempsey (90+4′)