MLS Snapshot: Sporting Kansas City 2-1 LA Galaxy

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One game, 100 words or less: A showdown match between two of the league’s hottest teams was controlled by the defending champions, whose goals from Benny Feilhaber and Lawrence Olum built a 2-0 lead by the 61st minute. With 11 minutes left, the threat Robbie Keane posed throughout the second half paid off, cutting Sporting’s lead to one, but unable to put another shot on target, the visiting Galaxy were handed a 2-1 loss.

Goals:

Sporting: Feilhaber 10′, Olum 61′
Galaxy: Keane 79′

Three moments that mattered:

10′ – Feilhaber ¯\_()_/¯ – Kansas City came out of the locker rooms the stronger side, an advantage that paid off when Juninho committed a ninth minute foul just outside the penalty area. Moments later, Benny Feilhaber put his side in front:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ indeed, Mr. Feilhaber.

54′ – Collision at the edge of the box – Perhaps this moment was more scary than influential, but when Andy Gruenebaum bolted out of his area in the 54th minute, the result looked painful:

Gruenebaum needed some attention but was able to continue. Keane’s only reaction was incredulity, with the LA star left asking how the Sporting keeper didn’t earn a card.

79′ – Keane makes it interesting – After Lawrence Olum doubled Sporting’s lead just after the hour mark, LA was left in pursuit, yet despite the increased intensity from Landon Donovan and the rest of his support, Keane remained LA’s only threat.

After 17-year-old debutant Bradford Jamieson put him behind the defense late, Keane finally had his goal, albeit one that would prove mere consolation:

Lineups:

Sporting: Gruenebaum; Julião (Ellis 83′), Collin, Besler, Sinovic; Olum, Feilhaber, Zusi; Toni (Peterson 46′), Dwyer, Saad (Sapong 73′)
Galaxy: Penedo; Meyer, Leonardo, Opare; DeLaGarza (Jamieson 75′); Sarvas, Juninho (Ishizaki 70′), Husidic; Donovan; Zardes, Keane

Three lessons going forward:

1. LA’s Revolution was an outlier – When a team scores five times, it’s safe to assume it’s an outlying performance, but after the Galaxy poured it on against New England mid-week, there was reason to think the team’s attack was starting to come around.

Today’s performance provided a counterpoint, although the circumstances bear some consideration. The Galaxy were on the road and facing one of the best defenses in the league. A lot of teams leave Kansas City with without a goal, consolation or otherwise.

Still, the underlying performance was reminiscent of the struggles LA’s had all season. At times, it looked like Robbie Keane was playing on one level, while the rest of his team struggled lingered another.

2. Olum establishing himself in the middle – In the wake of Oriol Rosell’s sale, the Kenyan international was going to have to step up, and while he’s doing so in a different way, that’s exactly what’s happened. While Rosell added a bit of that Barcelona, Sergio Busquets flavor to Peter Vermes’s three-man middle, Olum has been a bit more like former Sporting destroyer Julio Cesar – establishing a formidable defensive triangle in front of goal.

With Feilhaber’s distribution, Kansas City can afford to make the tradeoff, and as Olum showed in the 61st minute, he can still have an impact near the opposite goal. Regardless, Sporting’s yet to miss their young Catalan holder.

3. Memorable debut for Jamieson – His team may have lost, but Bradford Jamieson make an impact in his MLS debut, setting up Keane to pull the Galaxy within one. Only 17 years old, the former Chivas USA academy member probably isn’t ready to make a consistent impact with the senior squad, but ahead of his upcoming appearance in the homegrown game, the U.S. U-level standout drew some early attention to a promising career.

Where this leaves them:

  • The win increases Kansas City’s newfound lead at the top of the East, forging a four-point gap on D.C. United.
  • The Galaxy miss their chance to hop over Real Salt Lake for second, leaving them 11 back of the West-leading Sounders.

Toronto FC beats Crew 5-0 to extend unbeaten streak to 8

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TORONTO (AP) Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC routed the Columbus Crew 5-0 on Friday night to extend its unbeaten streak to a franchise record-matching eight games.

[ MORE: Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape ]

Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has lost five of seven since topping Toronto.

Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton also scored for MLS-leading Toronto. The Canadian team also was unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.

Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. Osorio and Hamilton then scored to pad the lead for Toronto in its sixth shutout of the season.

Toronto played without the starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation). Defender Nick Hagglund also is injured.

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

[ MORE: Totti leaves future uncertain heading into final Roma match ]

That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

[ MORE: Man City acquire Monaco’s Silva after passing medical ]

Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on acquiring Monaco’s Silva ]

According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.