MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 3-0 Chivas USA

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

One game, 100 words (or less): Chivas USA is back to its old self. Five days after seeing its unbeaten run snapped in Washington, D.C., Wilmer Cabrera’s team gave up first half goals to Nick LaBrocca and Drew Moor, sending the teams to intermission with the match seemingly decided. In the second half, Chivas never game fans a reason to think they had two goals in them. After a late score from Gabriel Torres, the Rapids had a 3-0 win, handing their guests a second straight loss.

Goals:

Colorado: LaBrocca 16′, Moor 26′, Torres 74′
Chivas USA: None

Three moments that mattered

16′ – LaBrocca with the fadeaway – You don’t often see a player moving away from goal, outside the penalty area, put his name on the scoresheet, yet after 12 months without a goal, that’s exactly what LaBrocca did. In possession in the right of Dan Kennedy’s penalty area, LaBrocca dribbled into space just outside the box. Still moving away from goal, the former Chivas midfielder lofted a hopeful shot to the far post. Finding the far side-netting, LaBrocca converted a rare fadeaway goal, giving the Rapids their early lead.

26′ – Moor powers it home – Andrew Jean-Baptiste, getting a rare start, seemed freed up defending set pieces, allowed to go anywhere he leaping ability would be most effective. On a mid-first half corner, that ability came up just short, rising just underneath a Dillon Powers corner from the left side. Behind him, Moor leapt into a header that beat Kennedy, giving Colorado the multi-goal lead that seemed to end Chivas’s night.

74 – Torres breaks through – Gabriel Torres was the first Designated Player in franchise history, but in his first year under Pablo Mastroeni, the Panama international has had trouble winning playing time. In Friday’s 74th minute, Torres made good on a rare start, dipping a 19-yard shot over Kennedy and in for his first goal of the season.

Lineups

Colorado: Clint Irwin; Chris Klute, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Marc Burch; Nick LaBrocca, Jared Watts (Marlon Hairston 42′), Dillon Powers, Dillon Serna; Vicente Sánchez (Carlos Alvarez 70′), Gabriel Torres (Edson Buddle 76′)

Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy, Akira Kaji, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Eriq Zavaleta, Donny Toja; Marco Delgado, Austín Pelletieri, Nathan Sturgis, Eric Avila (Ryan Finley 64′); Leandro Barrera, Eric Torres

Three lessons going forward:

1. Eric Torres is mortal – For the first time in six games, Cubo didn’t get on the scoresheet. In fact, the entire Chivas team only managed one shot on target, another sign the team’s summer surge is over.

2. Chivas USA is back – 16-4 in total shots, 7-1 in shots on target. Colorado dominated this game, with the final hour playing out with a depressing inevitability. Once Colorado went up two, the game felt over.

3. Don’t underestimate Colorado’s performance – A three-goal win over Chivas makes it easy to overlook what Colorado did, but a series of other teams haven’t been able to take care of business against the Goats. And this summer, a series of other teams ended up dropped points to Chivas. Tonight, Colorado put their guests away early. They deserve credit for it.

Where this leaves them:

  • The win vaults Colorado into third in the West, having entered the night two spots lower in the standings.
  • The loss keeps Chivas USA eight in the West, three points ahead of San Jose.

Serie A: Juve keep winning to remain 1 point back of Napoli

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Juventus closed the gap on Serie A leader Napoli back to just one point as the six-time defending champion eased past Genoa 1-0 on Monday.

Douglas Costa scored in the 16th minute, the first conceded by Genoa in five league matches. It was a less than convincing performance from Juventus but it was never really troubled, as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – standing in for the still-injured Gianluigi Buffon – was little more than a spectator.

“What was important was to win,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “At the end there was a bit of nervousness because we were lacking in energy a bit.

“We could have finished off the match in the first half, and again with a couple of occasions after the break. We didn’t manage to so compliments to Genoa.”

The battle for the Serie A title is shaping into a two-horse race. Juventus moved 10 points clear of third-placed Lazio, although the capital side has a match in hand.

“The season is still long and all those who are behind us can still get back into the race,” Allegri said. “It was important to stay in Napoli’s slipstream.”

Juventus needed to win after Napoli beat Atalanta 1-0 on Sunday.

Allegri’s side started brightly and had an early chance to take the lead but Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin did well to keep out a free kick from specialist Miralem Panic.

However, it did not take much longer to strike. Douglas Costa passed out left to Mario Mandzukic, who played a delightful return ball for the Brazil midfielder to slot into the bottom left corner.

League Cup semi: Man City take 2-1 lead into 2nd leg vs. Bristol

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Manchester City can move one step closer on Tuesday to claiming their first of four potential trophies this season, when Pep Guardiola‘s men take on Bristol City in the second leg of the League Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday ]

After coming back to beat the Robins in the first leg at home, Man City must now go on the road and take care of business to reach the Feb. 25 final at Wembley Stadium. As he has done so many times — and so famously — in the sky blue of City, Sergio Aguero grabbed the late winner (91st minute — WATCH HERE) 14 days ago.

For a few not-so-insignificant periods of the game, Bristol were very much the aggressors and appeared more likely to make the score 2-0 than for City to get back to 1-1. Bobby Reid converted from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after her was brought down under John Stones‘ wild, sliding tackle. Kevin De Bruyne leveled things up 10 minutes into the second half, setting the stage for Aguero’s late heroics.

[ MORE: Alexis-for-Mkhi swap complete | De Bruyne’s new contract ]

Since the first leg on Jan. 9, City have failed in their bid to finish the PL season with an unbeaten record before bouncing back to beat Newcastle United on the weekend, courtesy of a hat trick from Aguero — Guardiola quotes, from Sport24:

“I said many times it was going to happen, we can lose, so (it is) important the reaction we have. Still we have 42 points to play (for). It is 14 games. It is a lot of games to play and difficult games like Saturday and like Liverpool. It is important to show the team is still there but I don’t have the feeling we give up.

“We want to go through to the final in the (League) Cup and the FA Cup, so (we have) a lot of games but I think the people have the desire to keep going, to keep going, to keep going.”

[ MORE: One dream January signing for each top-six side ]

Bristol, meanwhile, have fallen on hard times: it’s been nearly a month (Boxing Day, to be specific — five losses, one draw) since Lee Johnson’s side last won a game in any competition, and they’ve fallen from second to fifth in the Championship table — Johnson quotes, from the Guardian:

“We don’t want to be brave losers, we want to compete to win. It’s up to the players to be focused and tactically aware, and who knows what will happen if we can show the same quality as we have shown in the previous rounds?

“We have to make sure we’re really bold. If you’re going to deliver a corner, do it like you mean it. I’d rather fail bold than fail timid. We know we have to score. I hope Pep picks his absolute best team and we can give them a right go. I’m not sure you could go and play an under-23 side against us at the moment and I think he’ll know that.”

The winner of Arsenal versus Chelsea (0-0 after the first leg) awaits in the final.

The 2 Robbies: Alexis-Mkhitaryan Swap Becomes Reality

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to the Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap deal between Arsenal and Manchester United finally becoming reality (0:20), Swansea’s stunning 1-0 victory over Liverpool (9:20), Southampton’s much-needed draw with Spurs (22:30) and Watford’s decision to part ways with Marco Silva (36:20). The gents end the show sharing their memories of the late English striker, Cyrille Regis (39:45).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

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Inter Milan sign Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan completed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move.

Inter can sign the Brazil international permanently for $43 million plus $3.7 million in bonuses, and said on Monday that option “must be taken up before the end of the season.”

Rafinha, who was born in Sao Paulo, had been at Barcelona since 2006, when he joined its youth team. He spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Celta Vigo.

After nine months out after surgery on his right knee, he made his first appearance of the season last week as a late substitute in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defeat at Espanyol.

“It’s an important stage in my life,” he said, “and I had a lot of desire to approach this new phase in my career.”

Inter has slipped to fourth in Serie A, 11 points behind leader Napoli.

It could slip out of the Champions League places if Roma wins its match in hand on Wednesday.

“I hope to play in as many matches as possible and help the team to reach our objective which is Champions League qualification,” Rafinha said.