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.

PL Preview: Brighton vs. Stoke City

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  • Stoke leads all-time 16W-14D-9L
  • First league meeting since 2006
  • Potters have won last 8 in series

Brighton and Hove Albion meets Stoke City for the first time in Premier League history when the two battle at the Amex Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Brighton is unbeaten in its last four PL matches, with a pair of away wins and two draws at home.

They’ve been led at the back end by Shane Duffy and in attack by Pascal Gross, but it’s been a well-traveled Premier League veteran filling the goals. Glenn Murray has historic motivation to keep scoring, knowing that a marker versus Stoke would make him the first Brighton player to ever score a goal in four successive top flight matches.

Stoke followed up its win over Watford with a draw against Leicester City. The Potters have two goals and four assists from Swiss attacker Xherdan Shaqiri, and three and one from Senegalese scorer Mame Biram Diouf.

What they’re saying

Brighton’s Chris Hughton on bagging wins“For a club like us to get back-to-back wins would show the level we are playing at. It’s tough. I remember being told by somebody with one of the promoted teams that they didn’t get their first away win until February-March. That can happen and it’s exactly the same for a team getting promoted to get back-to-wins. They are hard to come by. Any way we are able to do that would certainly be a major boost for us.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes on Xherdan ShaqiriHe is taking on more the role of the main instigator of our attacking threat. When he gets the ball, I think the whole team responds to that. You sense that maybe something’s going to happen. And I think the crowd sends it as well. And I know opposition team sense it too.”

Prediction

Few matches are more of a toss-up than this one, and there’s no recent match-ups on which to rest our heads. So we’ll side with the home team managing a point, and maybe a pair of old-timer goals from Murray and Peter Crouch, in a 1-1 draw.

Italy soccer chief resigns after failure to reach World Cup

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ROME (AP) Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio has resigned a week after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Monday’s announcement came following calls for a complete overhaul of the nation’s most popular sport, from the amateur leagues right up to Serie A and the national teams.

[ MORE: What’s next for West Brom? ]

Sweden’s playoff win over Italy kept the four-time champion out of the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura was fired two days after the loss.

For the last week, Tavecchio has resisted calls to step down but he eventually lost the support of the federation’s board of directors.

Former federation chief Giancarlo Abete said as he left the board meeting where Tavecchio resigned that a new election would be held within 90 days.

Managerial change a slippery slope for West Brom

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Tony Pulis brought much needed stability to West Bromwich Albion before his tenure soured in a hurry.

When Pulis took over at the Hawthorns, West Brom had seen both Pepe Mel and Alan Irvine do little winning in abbreviated managerial stints. Mel won three of 17 matches in charge, while Irvine could only nab five in 22.

[ MORE: Pulis sacked ]

So there is little debating, even for those who West Brom fans who revel in the club’s former free-flowing ways, that Pulis had a productive time in charge from January 2015 right on through most of last season.

But Pulis was seemingly limited to setting a points total and then kicking his heels up once Premier League safety was reached.

While that sounds a bit laughable, the facts are that the Baggies finished 10th last season despite an impressive start that saw the club comfortably eighth for much of the season. However, West Brom won five points from its final 12 matches to finish 16 points behind a European place (including five shutout losses at home).

The Baggies finished 14th the previous season, Pulis’ first full year in charge, but collapsed again after hitting the rarefied air of 11th. That final stretch? Five losses and four draws including shutout losses at home to Norwich City, Watford, and West Ham.

In doing so, Pulis belied his own budgetary critiques by proving the Baggies had the talent to compete for something relatively special.

Pulis was good at getting his side to play with the fury of a relegation contender from Day One, but it was so clear the side was sated once safety was secure. It wouldn’t be callous to opine that the manager would’ve viewed the Europa League as a nuisance to his “never been relegated” reputation (an idea buttressed by West Brom’s performances in Cup competitions, where Pulis never advanced to a quarterfinal while losing to Reading, Norwich City, Derby County, Northampton Town, and, this season, Man City).

What West Brom does next will say a lot. If it’s as simple as a rehashing of the “never been relegated” deck with Sam Allardyce, well, that’s something. But the Baggies are in the tricky predicament of having to replace a relatively stable hand who was their first good hire in three tries, while also running with the knowledge that their players clearly are capable of so much better than 17th.

The names on the bettor’s lists show what’s expected of West Brom: gritty style from an island manager. Derek McInnes is the favorite, with Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill just ahead of Sam Allardyce. Alan Pardew is next, followed by Ronald Koeman (For what it’s worth, bookies are still milking money from gamblers by including Jurgen Klinsmann’s name at 20:1 or so).

West Brom is in its eighth-straight Premier League campaign. The firing will jostle an already rocking ship, but the Baggies have steady leadership in Jonny Evans, Ben Foster, Chris Brunt, Gareth Barry, Gareth McAuley, and Craig Dawson. They have the wherewithal to achieve safety again, and can even look good in the process should a manager find the right way to use Salomon Rondon, Matty Phillips, Jay Rodriguez, Nacer Chadli, and others.

Who’s the right man for the job?

West Brom fires manager Tony Pulis

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Tony Pulis‘ reign over the Hawthorns is over, as West Bromwich Albion has fired the 59-year-old after just under three years in charge of the Premier League outfit.

Assistant coach Gary Megson takes over on an interim basis.

[ MLS: Steve Bruce to Miami? ]

The Baggies have not won a game since August, and were belted 4-0 at home by Chelsea on Saturday to leave the club one point above the drop zone.

Overall, Pulis oversaw wins in just 36 of his 121 matches, losing 49, in what will go down as one of the least successful stints in his well-traveled career. Only three PL clubs have scored less than the Baggies’ nine goals.

Here’s the club statement:

“These decisions are never taken lightly but always in the interests of the Club.

“We are in a results business and over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing.

“We would like to place on record our appreciation of Tony’s contribution and hard work during a period of transition for the Club which included a change of ownership. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Pulis will almost certainly be back on the touch line soon, as he hasn’t spent more than a few months out of work since 2002.