MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 3-0 Colorado Rapids

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxn4hSCfsH0]

One game, 100 words (or less): New England’s summer nightmare is may have finally, mercifully reached its end, with Wednesday night’s performance at Gillette Stadium getting the Revolution into the win column for the first time May 25.

Thanks to Lee Nguyen’s early effort off Drew Moor, the home side got a rare chance to play with the lead, something that limited Colorado to three shots on goal. Frustrated as the Revs maintained control, the Rapids were eventually reduced to 10 men, with Thomas Piermayr earning a 74th minute dismissal.

After Nguyen converted the ensuing restart, Kelyn Rowe added the day’s final goal, with New England’s losing streak ending after its 3-0 win over Colorado.

Goals:

New England: Moor (o.g.) 10′, Nguyen 75′, Rowe 78′
Colorado: None

Three moments that mattered:

10′ – Davies, Nguyen, and Moor – As Jay Heaps has searched for solutions, Charlie Davis has seen more time, a trend that saw the former U.S. international get Wednesday’s start. In the 10th minute, that choice paid off, with the forward’s layoff for Lee Nguyen allowing the star midfielder to generate a chance from the middle of the Rapids’s penalty area. Targeting the far (left) post, Nguyen appeared to have pull his shot wide, but with Drew Moor falling back toward his own goal line, the try got the help it needed to turn into the game’s first goal.

74′ – Too much, when on a card – Whether this was a frustration foul, only Pietmayer knows, but after a game where New England had held the pursuing Rapids at arms’ length, it looked like the Colorado right back was trying too hard to make an impact. When the Austrian elevated into an aerial challenge against Steve Neumann in the 74th, he followed through with his right elbow. Ultimately, it was harmless, but it was enough to draw Juan Guzman’s attention.  Colorado would finish with 10.

78‘ – Weight off their shoulders – By the end of its losing streak, New England’s problems seemed as mental and physical, especially going forward. After two goals and an opponent’s red card, the Revolution had finally loosened up, as evidenced by the team’s final goal.

A sequence of play in the middle of the park allowed Kelyn Rowe to take advantage of a Neumann run behind the Rapids’ defense. After Nguyen slipped a ball through the Rapids’ defense, the Revolution had the type of convincing scoreline that could build confidence going forward.

Lineups:

New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, José Gonçalves, Kevin Alston; Scott Caldwell; Teal Bunbury, Kelyn Rowe (Daigo Kobayashi 78′), Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez (Steve Neumann 72′); Charlie Davies (Patrick Mullins 62′)

Colorado: Clint Irwin; Thomas Piermayr, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Chris Klute; Marlon Hairston, Jared Watts (Dillon Powers 57′), Nick LaBrocca, Kamani Hill (Dillon Serna 63′); Gabriel Torres (Vicente Sánchez 68′), Edson Buddle

Three lessons going forward:

1. Brown, Powers, Sánchez matter – No kidding, right? Yeah, pointing out the importance of Deshorn Brown, Dillon Powers and Vicente Sánchez is low-hanging fruit, but in a match where Colorado seemed meek after giving up an early opener, the absence of the team’s three best player deserves to be mentioned. Though Powers and Sánchez eventually came on, the team remained lifeless. The first 56 minutes had set the tone.

2. Lee Nguyen, alpha dog – Kelyn Rowe’s injury allowed Lee Nguyen to assert himself as the clear leader in midfield, something that was evidenced again tonight. Nguyen played a part in all three goals and had a team-leading 56 passes (to Rowe’s 26).

3. Cross-country, mid-week, short-handed – Thanks to a myriad factors, this was never going to be Colorado’s night. Credit to New England, as the hosts took advantage of the circumstances, but the Rapids shouldn’t spend too much time dwelling on this one.

Where this leaves them:

  • Combined with Toronto’s loss, New England’s now part of a three-way tie for third in the East, with tiebreakers leaving the Revs above TFC and Columbus.
  • Colorado’s a part of their own three-way tie in the West, but the Rapids may need a result this weekend against Real Salt Lake to maintain their place in the West’s top five.

Chinese clubs to pay 100% tax on foreign transfers

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The days of Chinese Super League sides spending eye-popping figures on a handful of international superstars are over — either that, or those figures are about to double — for now, at least.

[ MORE: Oscar given 8-game ban for petulant display in China ]

China’s Football Association announced Thursday that, effective immediately, any foreign player signed for a fee exceeding $6.63 million would be subject to a 100-percent tax on top of the fee paid to acquire the player. The tax will remain in effect until the end of China’s ongoing transfer window, July 14. The tax will also apply to Chinese players signed for a fee exceeding $3 million.

It’s Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to prevent big spending by CSL clubs, which has in every instance been detrimental to the development of young Chinese players making their way through the academy system. The taxed money will then be reinvested in “youth training, construction of public sporting facilities and scientific progress in football development,” according to a statement by the CFA.

Just last week, China was eliminated from contention to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The only time China has ever qualified for the World Cup was in 2002.

Young Englishman Oxford goes abroad, to Gladbach, on loan

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MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) Borussia Moenchengladbach has signed English central defender Reece Oxford on loan for the season from Premier League club West Ham.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl says “Oxford has gone through all the England youth teams and is one of the biggest defensive talents in Britain.”

The 18-year-old Oxford, who spent the second half of last season on loan at second-division club Reading, is Gladbach’s fifth arrival of the off-season.

Qatar stadium safety concerns again raised by death investigation

Photo by Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy/Qatar 2022 via Getty Images
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An investigation into why a British man fell to his death on a building site for the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup has raised concerns about stadium roof safety.

World Cup organizers on Thursday released partial findings of an assessment of the accident at the Khalifa International Stadium, but said the full report cannot be released while local authorities continue their own investigation. It is one of two work-related deaths detailed in Qatar’s latest welfare report on preparations for the 2022 soccer tournament, which currently involves 12,367 workers on eight construction sites.

The 40-year-old British man fell 39 meters in January after one end of the roof catwalk he was installing dropped and a safety rope snapped.

“During the course of the investigation, the team had raised concerns with the method of installation of the raised catwalk system,” the welfare report from Qatar’s World Cup organizers stated. “This required further investigation regarding the method itself and the supervision skills of the specialist contractor staff.”

It has led to “corrective and preventative actions” being implemented by the contractor, a joint venture between Belgian and Qatari firms, along with safety checks across all stadium sites, the report said.

“These included a review of all working-at-height activities across all SC projects, an enhanced process when reviewing specialist activities within construction sites, and a detailed review of all roof and gantry designs,” the Supreme Committee overseeing stadium projects added.

The British man is the only European working on Qatar stadiums to have died in a country relying on a low-paid migrant workforce from south Asia to prepare for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Six non-work related deaths have been announced by organizers, with most suffering from heart or breathing problems.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the supreme committee’s secretary general, said medical staff are trying to raise awareness of the “importance of healthy lifestyles” by evaluating diets and identifying health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. Cooling helmets have also been developed in an attempt to make it safer for workers on outdoor sites during the searing summer heat.

World Cup preparations have been dogged by concerns about the welfare of workers since the natural gas-rich Gulf nation won the FIFA vote in 2010. Mounting international pressure led to Qatar raising living standards and worker rights. Inspections led to three contractors being blacklisted and 14 entities “demobilized” from projects for failing to tackle welfare issues, the World Cup report reveals.

“There is still work to be done to ensure our workers’ welfare standards continue to have a tangible impact on the ground and we are comprehensive in our attempts to tackle the myriad of issues facing migrant workers across the SC program,” Khalid Al-Kubaisi, who oversees worker welfare at the Supreme Committee, said in a statement.

The report has been released as Qatar is gripped by a diplomatic crisis that has seen it isolated in the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and blocked air, sea and land traffic over its support for Islamist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.

Official (finally): Salah completes move from Roma to Liverpool

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It was the summer’s first transfer rumor-turned-real-story-turned-never-ending-saga that seemed to refuse to cross the finish line, but it’s finally come to pass: Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player.

Salah’s move from Roma to Liverpool took so long to complete that the club’s poor social-media manager probably never wants to read the words “Announce Salah” for the rest of his/her life.

The deal will cost Liverpool something in the neighborhood of $50 million — a new Liverpool club record — and completes the utterly terrifying attacking quartet Jurgen Klopp can’t wait to unleash on the Premier League come August — Salah on one side, Sadio Mane opposite, Philippe Coutinho in the middle, and Roberto Firmino at striker. Salah, by the way, will take over Firmino’s no. 11 shirt, with the Brazilian switching to no. 9.