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.

FIFA says deal close to resolve transfer system complaint

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ZURICH (AP) A complaint to the European Commission challenging soccer’s transfer market is set to be withdrawn by the global group of players’ unions, according to FIFA.

A formal complaint that the trading system is “anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal” was filed in Brussels two years ago by FIFPro.

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After a meeting Thursday of the FIFA stakeholders committee, soccer’s world governing body said a tentative agreement relating to unpaid player wages and transfer fees reached with FIFPro, European clubs and a global leagues’ group can help end the dispute next year.

“It was an issue that was stewing for a long, long, long time,” FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani told reporters after chairing the meeting. “Because of our impetus they came to an agreement.”

FIFPro, which has campaigned to let players terminate contracts after going unpaid for several weeks, cautiously welcomed its “constructive talks with FIFA.”

“(It’s) premature to discuss what might happen next regarding our legal complaint against the transfer system, or any prospective deal until we are satisfied with the proposals put forth,” the Netherlands-based union said.

FIFA has been open to reviewing a transfer system which has seemed weighted in favor of wealthy clubs and was widely criticized in the European summer trading window. Salary caps, limits on squad sizes and restricting loan deals have been suggested.

Representing 65,000 players, FIFPro had suggested its September 2015 filing threatened the biggest upheaval in transfer rules since the Bosman case in 1995.

Then, a European Court of Justice ruling gave players more freedom to move within the European Union and drove up salaries by letting clubs sign out-of-contract players without paying a transfer fee.

The tentative accord FIFA announced Thursday seeks to amend complex transfer regulations and better protect players and clubs from unpaid salaries and transfer fees.

Another shared goal is enforcing cases more efficiently with a clearer path to applying sanctions. Players can wait many months – and even years – pursuing claims for unpaid wages in FIFA judicial bodies.

FIFA’s ruling council must approve the accord next week at a meeting in India. A new draft of transfer regulations could then be put to the Council next March in Zurich, clearing FIFPro to drop its complaint case.

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Delegates at FIFA headquarters Thursday included English Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore and two-time Champions League winner Edwin van der Sar, now CEO at Ajax.

The session also discussed changing rules that govern players’ eligibility for national teams and switching allegiance, FIFA said.

However, talking points such as club salary caps, allowing an extra Copa America tournament in 2020 on the international match calendar, and issues around the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were not raised.

Report: USMNT interim manager to be named this weekend

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What’s next for the U.S. Men’s National Team?

[ MORE: Landon Donovan considering running for U.S. Soccer presidency ]

The first of many dominos may fall this weekend, according to ESPN FC.

The report states that the USMNT is likely to name its interim manager “some time this weekend,” however, U.S. Under-20 manager Tab Ramos likely won’t be the one named.

Ramos is reportedly seeking a full-time position as the USMNT boss, and the interim tag could be a turn off for the 51-year-old former national team midfielder.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati had stated following former U.S. manager Bruce Arena’s departure that he expected to make a decision in “seven to 10 days.” A decision this weekend would stick with Gulati’s original intentions.

The Americans will reconvene next month when they take on Portugal on Nov. 14 in an international friendly in Leiria.

[ MORE: PST speaks with Atlanta United’s Julian Gressel ]

The match was originally scheduled to be played in Faro, but due to recent devastation in the are the fixture will be played in Leiria and all proceeds will go to the victims of wildfire damage. Portugal will also play a friendly four days prior to taking on the U.S. against Saudi Arabia at the same stadium.

Top 5 Premier League storylines in Week 9

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Manchester City continues to dominate its opposition at the top of the Premier League, but there are plenty of other details to watch for this weekend around England’s top flight.

The 2017/18 PL campaign has seen several of the league’s top sides struggle through eight matches, while surprises Watford and Burnley attempt to stake their claim as legitimate title contenders.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Below, PST takes a look at the top 5 storylines around Week 9 of PL action.

Blues hope to end recent woes against surprise Hornets

Chelsea vs. Watford — Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

What’s going on with Chelsea? The Blues nearly gave away all three points against Roma in Wednesday’s Champions League clash. That was after Antonio Conte‘s suffered back-to-back league defeats against Manchester City and bottom side Crystal Palace.

Injuries have certainly played a role in some of the club’s shortcomings recently, but there is still plenty of positive squad talent for Chelsea to pick up its performances. N'Golo Kante‘s absence in the midfield is notable because of his high work rate, but the Blues will have to make due in the mean time without the Frenchman.

Eden Hazard‘s brace against Roma is a good sign though for Chelsea, who will need their most dangerous player to influence the attack in addition to Alvaro Morata’s strong early return since joining from Real Madrid.

Clarets look to spoil City’s perfect start

Manchester City vs. Burnley — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN

The Clarets proved last season that they could be one of the most dangerous home sides in the PL, but 2017 has shown that Sean Dyche‘s men could present a real threat in England’s top flight.

Burnley is unbeaten in seven of its first eight matches, with its lone defeat coming to West Brom. Although that match proved to be a bit of an anomaly given the team’s win over Chelsea on opening day and subsequent results against Tottenham and Liverpool on the road.

The Citizens will present a different threat given the club’s highly-potent attack, but Burnley’s back line has been a revelation thus far by allowing just six goals. That ranks fourth in the PL behind only Man City, Man United and Spurs.

[ MORE: PST ranks the top 20 players in the latest PL power rankings ]

Kane presents challenge for Reds’ defensive unit

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool — Sunday, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Prior to Wednesday’s 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in the UCL, Liverpool had drawn three straight matches in all competitions. It doesn’t really have to be stated, but Tottenham is not Maribor… they’re a lot better.

In fact, Harry Kane is budding into one of — if not the best — strikers in the world at the moment. The Englishman has already scored 11 goals in as many matches across all competitions, which poses a massive threat to a Reds defense that has struggled mightily.

Liverpool has conceded 12 goals in eight PL matches, which is only one fewer than Watford for the most allowed out of the top 14 sides in England’s top flight. Jurgen Klopp‘s group has surely built something special up front with the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah threatening opposing back lines, but that is all for not if they cannot establish a solid unit defensively.

Can the Toffees stop the bleeding at the Emirates?

Arsenal vs. Everton — Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Two wins in their first eight is far from the expectations that anyone around Everton would have hoped for this season. The departure of Romelu Lukaku was an undoubted blow, but the Toffees have looked in shambles on both sides of the ball through the first eight weeks of play.

Everton is tied for the fourth-most goals conceded thus far in the PL (13), while only managing five finishes up front. Ronald Koeman has a lot of work to do with his side, who sit just two points above the relegation zone. That’s nowhere near the top 6/7, where the club has been accustomed to finishing in recent years.

[ MORE: The biggest surprises, disappointments in UCL so far ]

New-look Hammers head to Old Trafford

Swansea City vs. Leicester City — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET online

It’s still hard to pinpoint Leicester’s problems, but another manager has gone by the wayside and the club is running out of excuses for the team’s poor play. We saw a similar struggle from the Foxes last season, after having had won the PL in 2015/16, but the team just looks less desirable at the moment.

The Foxes currently sit in 18th place through eight matches, this despite still having Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Kasper Schmeichel — each of whom are widely-regarded as some of the best players at their position in the PL

For the Swans, goals have been hard to come by through the first weeks of the season. The loss of Gylfi Sigurdsson prior to the new campaign beginning was a massive blow, but the club has still managed eight points thus far.

TFC’s Giovinco says Toronto FC would “avoid relegation” in Serie A

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Toronto FC won’t be leaving Major League Soccer for Serie A any time soon — or probably ever — but wouldn’t it be fun if they had the chance to?

[ MORE: Landon Donovan considering U.S. Soccer presidency run ]

Star striker Sebastian Giovinco brought up the hypothetical in a recent interview, and the former Italian international believes that his current TFC side is good enough to avoid relegation in Italy’s top flight.

“There’s no doubt that [MLS] has improved,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s still not on the same level as the elite European leagues, but it all depends on the desire and the effort you put out there. Big names keep arriving and there are a lot of top quality South Americans.

“[If Toronto were in Serie A] we would avoid relegation easily, maybe finishing in mid-table.”

The comments were prompted by the Atomic Ant after Italy manager manager Gian Piero Ventura openly expressed concerns with Giovinco playing in MLS instead of one of Europe’s top leagues. The same could be said about Ventura’s predecessor and current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

It’s difficult to equate MLS directly to Serie A, or any other league for that matter, but one thing has been clear throughout Giovinco’s tenure in Toronto. He’s really good.

Giovinco has scored 54 regular season goals for TFC since joining the Canadian side in 2015, while adding 37 assists. Additionally, during last season’s playoff run — which saw Toronto advanced all the way to MLS Cup — Giovinco had four goals and as many assists.