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Roundup: All scores, recaps, highlights from MLS’s seven-match Saturday

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Sporting Kansas City 2-1 LA Galaxy

A statement game against a Galaxy team that came into the match eight-games unbeaten saw Sporing control the first hour, giving LA 30 minutes to pull back goals from Benny Feilhaber and Lawrence Olum. Robbie Keane did his best, finally breaking through in the 79th minute, albeit LA’s last chance of the game. After a convincing performance by Kansas City, the Galaxy’s streak is over.

Where the leaves them: Pending D.C. United’s match tomorrow, Sporting’s four points clear in the East. The Galaxy slide to fourth in the Western Conference.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes

The match ended as a missed opportunity for the Red Bulls when a lackluster performance couldn’t build on Bradley Wright-Phillips’ 33rd minute penalty conversion. Five minutes from time, a San Jose team that’d also failed to shine was blessed an open chance or Steven Lenhart near the penalty spot. The forward volley first goal of the season past Luis Robles to salvage a point for the visiting Earthquakes.

Note: Tim Cahill left this game in the 70th minute with an eye injury, though the problem did not appear serious.

Where this leaves them: The point allows New York to claim fourth in the East, while San Jose remains at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Columbus Crew 2-1 Montréal Impact

The slump is over! For the first time in eight games, the Crew are in the win column, and while it took a visit from the league’s worst team to do it, the three points count all the same. Thirty-five minutes in, after Marco Di Vaio’s opener, it didn’t appear as if that result would come, but thanks to two strikes from Bernardo Anor and another strong performance from goalkeeper Steve Clark, Gregg Berhalter’s team busted its slump.

Where this leaves them: Tiebreakers are all that keep the Crew out of a playoff spot, while Montréal is five points away from being able to climb out of the cellar.

Chicago Fire 1-1 Philadelphia Union

An often choppy match saw Jeff Larentowicz take advantage of some ridiculous marking to head home a corner in the 60th minute. Just before full-time, a controversial hand-ball call on Gonzalez Segares sent Sebastien Le Toux to the spot, where the Philadelphia veteran beat Sean Johnson to earn a draw.

Where this leaves them: Despite five wins in 21 games, Philadelphia is how sixth in the East. (Seriously, East: get your act together.) Chicago, three points back, remains in eighth.

FC Dallas 2-0 New England Revolution

The Revs run hits seven, with neither the defense nor attack able to dent in what’s becoming a season-defining swoon. After Andres Escobar put FCD up in the 29th minute, Tesho Akindele’s late tally provided the insurance, with the two-goal margin flattering a New England team that was out-shot 24-9 on the night.

Where this leaves them: New England is nearly out the playoffs, having slipped to fifth in the East. FC Dallas, on the other hand, has jumped to second in the West just as they’re about to get Mauro Díaz and Fabián Castillo back in the fold.

Houston Dynamo 2-2 Toronto FC

One week after giving up four in Toronto, Houston cut that total in half, though two goals allowed and a penalty conceded in the first 45 minutes saw the Dynamo blow two one-goal leads. After a second half defined by goalkeeping and Houston’s oppressive heat, the teams shared the spoils of a 2-2 draw.

Where this leaves them: The Dynamo stay ninth in the East, only four points out of a playoff spot. Toronto’s position holds steady, too, albeit at the other end of the standings (third).

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Matching the controversy in Chicago, a late whistle played a major role in Sandy, with Nat Borchers’ 71st minute challenge on Darren Mattocks earning Vancouver a disputed penalty kick. When the Jamaican converted into the left of Nick Rimando’s goal, the Whitecaps had a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, with what would have otherwise been the winning goal, João Plata claimed a point for RSL, handing the Whitecaps their second straight road draw.

Where this leaves them: Real Salt Lake is now tied on points with Dallas for second place, while Vancouver is part of the trio resting two points back.

FIFA disbands racism task force ahead of World Cup in Russia

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) FIFA has disbanded its anti-racism task force, declaring the work complete despite ongoing concerns about discriminatory behavior in 2018 World Cup host Russia.

FIFA wrote to members of the task force to say that it has “completely fulfilled its temporary mission” and “is hereby dissolved and no longer in operation.”

“I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not,” task force member Osasu Obayiuwana told The Associated Press on Sunday. “The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which need continuous attention.

“I personally think there remained a lot of very serious work for the task force to have done – the 2018 World Cup in Russia being one such matter. But it is evident the FIFA administration takes a different position.”

The task force was established in 2013 by then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter and headed by Jeffrey Webb, a vice president of world soccer’s governing body until he was arrested in 2015 as part of the American investigation into soccer corruption.

Webb, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, was replaced exactly a year ago as task force chairman by Congolese federation president Constant Omari, who also sits on FIFA’s ruling council.

“We never had a single meeting under his chairmanship,” Obayiuwana said. “I wrote him, more than once, asking for when a meeting would be held. But I never received a reply from him.”

Obayiuwana, a journalist, broadcaster and qualified lawyer, received the letter from FIFA on Friday announcing the end of the task force.

“The FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination was set up with your help on a temporary basis to develop recommendations for FIFA,” wrote Gerd Dembowski, FIFA’s diversity and anti-discrimination manager.

“We are therefore delighted to inform you that all of the task force’s recommendations have been implemented and all resulting projects are ongoing.”

FIFA pointed to the introduction of an anti-discrimination monitoring system at matches, the launch of a “Good Practice Guide ,” starting a team of footballing legends and a new diversity award. Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s first female and non-European secretary general, will present the award on Monday at the SoccerEx convention in Manchester.

FIFA also told task force members that its own initiatives “actually exceed the working group’s recommendations” – trumpeting its “Say No to Racism” campaign, women’s leadership conferences and programs in Russia. There are less than nine months until Russia stages the Confederations Cup, the warm-up event for the 2018 World Cup.

The most recent research from the Moscow-based SOVA Center and the UEFA-affiliated FARE Network reported a surge in the number of racist displays by Russian soccer fans, with most cases going unpunished. Researchers logged 92 incidents of discriminatory displays and chants by Russian fans in and around stadiums in the 2014-15 season, against a total of 83 for the previous two seasons put together.

Rob Harris can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/RobHarris and http://www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew 2-0 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It was mostly the Crew from start to finish, and Ola Kamara’s brace helped ensure Greg Berhalter’s side that the team will remain in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. While the other Kamara — Kei — and his Revolution teammates were largely limited for chances on the evening, the Crew backline did an admirable job to prevent their opposition from testing them. For the Crew, it was the team’s first shutout since the two sides last met on August 20, ironically also a 2-0 victory for Berhalter’s group.

[ MORE: David Villa discusses MLS playoffs, Guardiola and more ]

Three moments that mattered

42′ – Ola smashes one past the Revs on the stroke of halftime — The Crew attack has sputtered a lot in 2016, but Ola Kamara continues to keep the team’s bleak playoff hopes intact.

67′ — Afful’s effort smacks against the post, stays out — The Crew attacked and attacked and attacked some more. Harrison Afful was definitely a bit unlucky that this chance didn’t end up in Brad Knighton’s goal.

84′ — Questionable penalty seals the points — It looked a bit soft to be given, but Kamara makes no mistake with the finish.

 

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ola Kamara

Goalscorers: Ola Kamara (42′, 84)

Watch: Dario Benedetto scores audacious blast for Boca Juniors

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When there’s little support up the field, what should you do?

Just ask, Dario Benedetto.

The Boca Juniors man broke Sunday’s 4-1 win over Quilmes wide open after a quarter hour when Benedetto smashed a 40-yard attempt into the back of the net, leaving the opposing keeper speechless.

The 26-year-old did just about everything right on the day, as Benedetto finished off the match with a hat-trick before halftime.

Serie A roundup: Torino knocks off Roma, Fiorentina-AC Milan finish scoreless

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Andrea Belotti (L) of Torino and Federico Fazio of Roma compete for the ball during the Serie A match between FC Torino and AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on September 25, 2016 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
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Joe Hart and Torino earned a 3-1 win over Roma on Sunday after two second-half finishes from Iago Falqué separated the hosts from the Giallorossi. Andrea Belotti struck for Torino after just eight minutes to give Siniša Mihajlović’s men the early lead. Meanwhile, Francesco Totti attempted to get Roma back in the match after halftime as the veteran striker converted from the penalty spot with 35 minutes remaining. For Totti, the goal marked his 250th in Serie A with Roma.

[ MORE: Schalke misery continues, Leipzig earns road point ]

Fiorentina drew AC Milan, 0-0, as the latter managed just one shot on target throughout the afternoon. Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was forced into five saves on the day, however, the Viola couldn’t find a way to break through the Milan backline.

Goals from Mattia Destro and Ivan Perisic cancelled out as Bologna picked up a point on the road against Inter Milan. Frank de Boer’s Inter currently sit third in Serie A, trailing only Juventus and Napoli, while holds the seventh spot.

Despite going down to nine men in the second half, Genoa managed a 1-1 draw against Pescara on Sunday afternoon. Giovanni Simeone’s opener gave the hosts the advantage just two minutes after the halftime whistle, however, Rey Manaj tapped in from close range in the 85th minute to secure a point for Pescara.

A pair of finishes from Balde Diao Keita and Senad Lulic helped hand Lazio a 2-0 win over Empoli to propel the Biancocelesti to fifth place in Serie A. The defeat leaves Empoli in the relegation zone through six matches.

Gregoire Defrel lifted Sassuolo past Udinese, 1-0, after knocking home the game’s lone finish in the 34th minute. Udinese fought until the very last minute, nearly finding an equalizer in the 90th minute when Felipe’s header struck the cross bar.