New York Red Bulls v New England Revolution

MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 3-0 Colorado Rapids

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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.


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.


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.

MLS Cup Playoffs: NY Red Bulls 1-0 (1-2 agg.) Columbus Crew SC

Tony Tchani, Michael Parkhurst

The game in 100 words (or less): Columbus Crew SC are headed to their second MLS Cup in club history (champions – 2008) after defeating the New York Red Bulls, 2-0 on aggregate, in the Western Conference finals (0-0 draw in an extremely chippy second leg on Sunday). Justin Meram and Kei Kamara scored the two-leg tie’s only goals — eight seconds and 85 minutes into the first leg, respectively — and Crew SC confidently managed the second leg by defending with numbers and wisely picking their spots to break out on the counter. RBNY held nearly 60 percent of possession in the second leg, but could muster just six shots on target over the 90 minutes. Crew SC will host the Portland Timbers in MLS Cup 2015 next Sunday (4 p.m. ET) at MAPFRE Stadium.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS weekend ]

Three moments that mattered

38′ — Robles at full stretch to deny Kamara — What’s better: the first touch, second touch, turn and shot by Kei Kamara; or, the sprawled-out save by Luis Robles to swat away a ball clearly headed for the bottom corner? Quality on quality.

90+3′ — Abang heads home to make it nervy late — Anatole Abange rose above the crowd and headed home a recycled ball inside the penalty area after a Sal Zizzo cross was headed high into the air late into stoppage time.

90+5′ — Madness in the penalty area, RBNY hit the post — It was absolute scenes inside the Crew SC penalty area. Ball after ball pumped into the box, headed high into the air and briefly cleared. The final chance of the game fell to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who headed the ball toward the far post with Steve Clark rushing out quickly, only to see his slow dribbler bounce off the front side of the post and back into the field of play.

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

Man of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Abang (90+3′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: FC Dallas 2-2 (3-5 agg.) Portland Timbers

Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers FC
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Portland Timbers are headed to their first MLS Cup in club history after defeating FC Dallas, 5-3 on aggregate, in the Western Conference finals (2-2 draw in the second leg). Fanendo Adi scored in Sunday’s second leg, giving Caleb Porter’s side a 4-1 aggregate lead before Ryan Hollingshead and Blas Perez scored inside the last 25 minutes to give Oscar Pareja’s bunch a late lifeline, but Lucas Melano’s spectacular tap-in sealed the Timbers’ trip to MLS Cup. The third seed heading into the playoffs, Portland bounced Sporting Kansas City in an epic penalty shootout in the knockout round and outlasted the Vancouver Whitecaps in the conference semifinals before knocking off the West’s top seed over two legs to advance to MLS Cup 2015. No matter who advances from the East finals later on Sunday, Portland will play away in MLS Cup, to either the New York Red Bulls or Columbus Crew SC.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS weekend ]

Three Four moments that mattered

54′ — Adi fires past Gonzalez to make if 4-1 — Oscar Pareja elected to go with Walker Zimmerman at center back on Sunday, dropping regular starter Zach Loyd to the bench. On the game’s opening goal, it was Zimmerman who wound up on the ground as Adi received the ball, turned and fired a massive away goal past Jesse Gonzalez.

68′ — Diaz’s magical ball curled home by Hollingshead — Mauro Diaz is a wonderful magician capable of playing the kill through ball from anywhere on the field — this we’ve known for quite some time. His chipped through ball to set up Hollingshead’s goal was extraordinarily brilliant, even for him.

73′ — Perez heads home the free kick to pull within one — Would you be surprised to hear that it was Diaz who set up FCD’s second goal? His free kick was Perez-finding missile and found the head of the Panamanian striker at the top of the six-yard box, where 34-year-old headed home with ease.

90+5′ — Melano rounds Gonzalez, seals MLS Cup berth — Poor Jesse Gonzalez. Absolutely schooled and posterized by Lucas Melano. What a way to sew up a place in the championship final.

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

Man of the match: Mauro Diaz

Goalscorers: Adi (54′), Hollingshead (68′), Perez (73′), Melano (90+5′)

La Liga & Serie A: Real Madrid bounce back; Juventus on the charge

Gareth Bale, Real Madrid CF
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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

Eibar 0-2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid bounced back from back-to-back La Liga defeats with a 2-0 victory away to Eibar on Sunday. Gareth Bale (below video) and Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty kick) provided the goals to keep Rafa Benitez‘s bunch (27 points) third in the league, two points behind Atletico Madrid and six behind leaders Barcelona.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Getafe 2-0 Villarreal
Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla 1-0 Valencia

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga roundup ]

Roma 0-2 Atalanta

Losing at home to sides currently in a relegation battle — rarely a good idea, especially if you fancy yourselves title challengers, but that didn’t stop Roma from doing just that on Sunday. Alejandro Gomez and German Denis scored the goals to knock off a 10-man Roma side (Maicon – 81st minute) and keep Rudi Garcia’s bunch (27 points) from gaining ground on any of the three teams currently ahead of them — Inter Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina — all of whom play on Monday.

AC Milan 4-1 Sampdoria

M’Baye Niang scored twice, while Giacomo Bonaventura and Luiz Adriano (below video) added single tallies for AC Milan (23 points) to keep pace with the top-five pack in Serie A. After 14 rounds of games, the Rossoneri sit sixth, a point outside fifth (UEFA Europa League) and five points out of third (UEFA Champions League).

Palermo 0-3 Juventus

Don’t look now, but here come Juventus. Sunday’s 3-0 triumph over Palermo makes it four straight wins in the league for Massimiliano Allegri’s side — a run that pushes them all the way up to fifth in the league (24 points), just six points off the pace of leaders Inter, who play on Monday. Mario Mandzukic (below video), Stefano Sturaro and Simone Zaza scored the goals for the world’s most frightening fifth-place team.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Torino 2-0 Bologna
Chievo 2-3 Udinese
Frosinone 3-2 Hellas Verona
Genoa 1-2 Carpi
Empoli 1-0 Lazio

Monday’s Serie A schedule

Sassuolo vs. Fiorentina (1 p.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Inter Milan (3 p.m. ET)

Arsenal’s injury crisis — add Sanchez, Cazorla, Koscielny to the list

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC
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From title challengers to just hoping to hold on to a top-four place while Arsene Wenger is forced to play reserves and academy players because half of his star players are currently out injured — the annual story of Arsenal.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Oct. 27, when Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both went down with injuries in the same game, marked the unofficial start of Arsenal’s 2015-16 injury crisis, but things didn’t really get going full bore until the last seven days, when five more players — four of them full-time starters — picked up injuries that will keep them out of action for anywhere between three weeks and three months.

Added to the list last weekend: Francis Coquelin (knee – three months minimum), Mikel Arteta (calf – three weeks)

Added to the list on Sunday: Alexis Sanchez (hamstring – MORE DETAILS), Santi Cazorla (knee), Laurent Koscielny (hip)

Following Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City, Wenger said Koscielny “could not walk” due to the hip spasm that forced him out of the game after just 11 minutes. He also divulged that Cazorla, who could not be subbed off because Wenger had already used all three subs late on, played the second half “on one leg.” Sanchez came into Sunday injured after picking up a hamstring injury in Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Sunday’s PL roundup — Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs all draw ]

Arsenal fans were up in arms during the summer transfer window — let’s be honest, the following is true of every transfer window the last five years — crying out, “We must buy, we must buy.” Have a look at Arsenal’s complete injury list at the moment, and try to say, “They didn’t need to buy in the summer.”

In chronological order: Danny Welbeck (knee – early 2016 return), Tomas Rosicky (knee – Christmas time return), Jack Wilshere (leg – Christmas time return), Theo Walcott (calf – December return), Mikel Arteta (calf – three weeks), Francis Coquelin (knee – three months minimum), Laurent Koscielny (hip – to be assessed), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring – to be assessed), Santi Cazorla (knee – to be assessed)