MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 2-2 NY Red Bulls

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One game, 100 words or less: Bang. That’s how quick you can concede a goal.

The US National Team figured that out the hard way against Portugal at the death, and with USMNT winger Brad Davis back to captain the side, the Houston Dynamo also discovered that against New York. In fact, both sides did.

Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his blistering run, bagging his 13th and 14th goals of the season to lead the league.

Three moments that mattered:

1′ – Houston strikes early – Well, that was quick. Kofi Sardokie shot up the right touchline, and sent a dangerous cross into the box.  The defending was horrific, and the ball sailed a wide-open Will Bruin and fell to an equally as wide-open Giles Barnes who headed home.  There was absolutely no man-marking by the Red Bulls, who were all caught ball-watching in the opening seconds. Oops.

72′ – BWP does it again – Yea, he’s on fire. After scoring in the 13th minute out of nothing, he picked up a brace. Ambroise Oyongo made Andrew Driver look silly on the left flank, and Wright-Phillips fired home his league-leading 14th goal of the season. He skipped away with a carefree

81′ – Davis returns in style – Ehhhh. A penalty for a handball allowed Houston a way back in, albeit a soft one. Chris Duvall was called for the foul, but replays showed the ball likely hit his shoulder legally. Brad Davis, back from World Cup duty, calmly and cooly equalized by converting low for a 2-2 draw.

Three lessons going forward:

1. Defending lasts for 90 minutes

Both teams learned in the opening 15 minutes that one iota of relaxation at the back can result in a concession. New York took the opening minute to get their legs under them, and it resulted in a disastrously defended corner.  Houston then let up for a moment, and they were punished for a second of losing concentration.

2. Misses matter

Will Bruin will be kicking himself. Chris Wondolowski missed a sitter to send the US past Belgium at the end of regulation, and Bruin had a wide open goal at the end of the first half that ended up being a big miss. Gotta take the chances the opponent gives you.

3. Petke won’t like this

It could be ugly for Mike Petke postmatch, as he will surely be asked about the penalty that allowed Houston to steal a point. The Red Bulls benefitted from Wright-Phillips’ wonderful form, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to earn all the points. Well…it was, except that it wasn’t. The match was wide open, but New York, er, Wright-Phillips was more clinical in front of net.  Look out Red Bulls reporters, Petke could be heated.

Where that leaves them:

Nobody wins here. Both teams would have been clamoring for a win, but a point each leaves the sides in eighth and fifth respectively.

  • New York sits on 20 points, sitting them in fifth place having played 17 matches to a 4-8-5 record.
  • Houston jumps to 18 points, good enough for seventh place with 18 matches under their belt on a 5-3-10 record.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.

Celtic secures trophy treble, ends Scottish season unbeaten

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) Celtic completed a trophy treble in Scottish soccer and finished the domestic season undefeated after beating Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final thanks to an injury-time goal on Saturday.

Midfielder Tom Rogic scored from an acute angle in the second minute of stoppage time at Hampden Park to ensure Celtic added the cup to the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish League Cup.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Brendan Rodgers became the third manager, after Jock Stein (1967, 1969) and Martin O’Neill (2001), to lead Celtic to a treble of domestic titles.

Celtic hasn’t lost any of its 47 games across in the league and both cups, and is the first team to go through the whole of a Scottish domestic season unbeaten.

No China for Costa: It’ll be Chelsea or Atletico Madrid

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Blues striker Diego Costa offered some insight into his future following Chelsea’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal on Saturday.

The combustible striker was subject to a head-turning bid from the Chinese Super League this winter, but is only looking at two European locations for his future.

Those are his current club, Chelsea, as well as former home at Atletico Madrid.

[ JPW: Poignant FA Cup Final reflects English mood ]

The 28-year-old Costa has kept his scoring pace level since arriving in the Premier League. He scored 64 goals in 134 matches for Atleti, and has notched 58 goals for Chelsea in 120 appearances.

Costa reportedly said, “No, no, no” when asked about China, as well as the following: