MLS Snapshot: Montréal Impact 0-2 Toronto FC

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em-BaPAH09o]

One game, 100 words (or less): In theory, Montréal and Toronto should be rivals, but Saturday’s game at Stade Saputo never captured a derby’s intensity. Conceding early to Gilberto, the Impact looked like a team in flux, one facing a team trying to rebound from mid-week disappointment. When Luke Moore converted early in the second half, that rebound was assured, with Toronto FC going on to claim full points in Quebec, 2-0.

Goals

Montréal: None
Toronto: Gilberto 11′, Moore 54′

Three moments that mattered

11′ – Too easy for Toronto – As the TSN team identified early, Michael Bradley was seeing too much time on the ball, something that came back to bite Montréal after 10 minute. Swinging a ball from the top of the box to the right flank, the U.S. international found Dominic Oduro, who played the ball back toward the spot for Gilberto. With the Impact defenders slow to react, the Reds’ striker had the time he ended to put his team up.

54′ – Again, too easy – It was a totally different kind of goal, but still one Montréal could have prevented. With the ball at the edge of his team’s defensive third, Bradley had the time to play a majestic long through ball behind Montréal left back, Krzysztof Krol:

Oduro’s speed allowed the Toronto midfielder to go in alone on goal, with his pass across the box to Moore giving his teammate an empty net goal.

87′ – Never gonna get it (never gonna get it) – Montréal almost ruined Joe Bendik’s clean sheet, with a 86th minute header from Andrés Romero drawing cheers from a crowd deceived into thinking the ball had gone in. Seconds later, Michael Bradley couldn’t catch up to a streaking Felipe Martins, whose try from just outside the six-yard box was blocked by Bendik. A late goal could have finally generated some excitement; ultimately; this was Toronto’s day.

Lineups

Montréal: Troy Perkins, Hassoun Camara, Futty Danso (Felipe Martins 51′), Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol; Justin Mapp (Dilly Duka 74′), Patrice Bernier, Eric Miller, Andrés Romero; Marco Di Vaio, Jack McInerney (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 65′)
Toronto: Joe Bendik; Warren Creavalle, Nick Hagglund, Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow; Dominic Oduro (Jackson 74′), Michael Bradley, Collen Warner (Kyle Bekker 84′), Jonathan Osorio; Gilberto (Daniel Lovitz 90′), Luke Moore

Three lessons going forward

1. Business of the rebound – At this point, winning in Montréal is almost obligatory, but coming off their mid-week disappointment, the Reds were facing that expectation along with the need to bounce back. Their response was an encouraging one, a result that provided them with much-needed points in the East’s playoff race.

2. Even without Defoe – That the team rebounded without Jermain Defoe is another reason to be encouraged. Jackson, so good along Toronto’s left of late, was also held back, as was Bradley Orr. For a team that finished near the bottom of last year’s Eastern Conference, Toronto’s required an enviable amount of depth.

3. Montréal adrift – With six losses in a row, the Impact appear done. Maybe Frank Klopas can get his team focused on Champions League (starting this week), but unable to get home points against Portland or Toronto, the Impact aren’t even ready for a spoilers’ role.

Where this leaves them:

  • Toronto is temporarily alone in third, the team’s 29 point leaving it three clear of Columbus and New England.
  • Montréal is still last, five points away from the league’s next-worst team (Houston).

Balotelli, Nice may have spoiled PSG’s title chances

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Monaco took care of business at the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday and now the Champions League semifinalists could be closing in on France’s crown.

[ MORE: Spurs revel in ruling North London, but want more ]

Paris Saint-Germain slipped up on Sunday with a 3-1 loss against third-place Nice, and it could spell the end for the Parisians’ hopes of winning Ligue 1 in 2016/17.

Mario Balotelli sprung Nice in front after 26 minutes with a curling left-footed effort from outside the box, before Ricardo Pereira doubled the advantage for the hosts just three minutes into the second stanza with a lovely curler of his own.

PSG managed to pull a goal back in the 64th minute as Marquinhos gave the visitors a glimmer of hope to keep their title hopes alive.

However, the final minutes of the match took a drastic turn for the worse for PSG as Thiago Motta and Angel di Maria were both shown red cards for violent tackles on Nice players.

Nice also found a third finish after PSG was dwindled down to nine men when Anastasios Donis headed home a lofted cross from the left wing.

With three matches remaining for PSG, Unai Emery’s side sits three points behind league leaders Monaco, who also have a match in hand. PSG finishes up their Ligue 1 account with matches against Bastia, St Etienne and Caen.

Video: Camilo Sanvezzo scores wonder goal for Queretaro

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Camilo Sanvezzo scored two goals on Sunday for Queretaro but many won’t even remember the score of the game after his brilliant first effort.

The Queretaro forward scored the first of two finishes in the 66th minute after winning the ball in his own half, carrying it into the Toluca end and unleashing a deadly shot from just inside midfield.

Sanvezzo eventually scored his side’s second goal in the dying minutes of the match, and his 88th minute finish proved to be the winner for Queretaro, who currently sit 13th in Liga MX.

The 28-year-old should be familiar to MLS fans after Sanvezzo’s time with the Vancouver Whitecaps from 2011 to 2013. The veteran scored 39 goals in 92 matches with the Canadian side.

MLS Snapshot: Atlanta United 1-3 D.C. United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Atlanta has been one of the most exciting teams in MLS over the opening two months of the season, but with a bit of luck and grit D.C. United spoiled the newcomers’ fun on Sunday afternoon. It was all the home side early on in the match, which was spearheaded by Kenwyne Jones‘ emphatic header, but D.C. responded well with some good pressure of their own. The win for D.C. moves Ben Olsen’s club into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Atlanta still holds the sixth and final playoff position through eight matches as Gerardo Martino’s side sits on 11 points.

[ MORE: MLS roundup from Saturday’s action ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Hosts apply pressure and hit D.C. where it hurts — This is exactly why Atlanta brought in Kenwyne Jones. Big body and deadly heading ability. Can’t stop that.

25′ — D.C. unexpectedly pulls level — It certainly wasn’t how Lamar Neagle drew it up but he and D.C. somehow equalized before the half hour mark after some sloppy Atlanta defending.

36′ — Acosta runs wild — Atlanta will probably want to look back on this moment and make sure they do a better job covering the diminutive attacker next time.

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Men of the match: Luciano Acosta

Goalscorers: Kenwyne Jones (9′), Michael Parkhurst — OG (25′), Luciano Acosta (36′), Sebastian Le Toux (55′)

La Liga & Serie A: Napoli gains ground on Roma and more

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Celta Vigo 0-3 Athletic Bilbao

Bilbao is up to sixth place following Sunday’s win over Celta, and it was quite the dominant performance from the road side. Celta managed zero shots on target throughout the match in comparison to Bilbao’s 12, while Raul Garcia’s brace helped pace his side to victory with goals on each side of halftime. Mikel Rico added a third in the 83rd minute for good measure but there was never much doubt on the day as to which side was coming away with the points.

Real Betis 1-4 Alaves

Despite going down inside the opening quarter hour, Alaves put out a superb showing after halftime to solidify its place in the top 10 in Spain. Nenad Krsticic, Rubén Sobrino and Christian Santos scored in a 10-minute span early in the second half to give the visitors a commanding lead before Aleksandar Katai added his side’s fourth of the day late in stoppage time.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Osasuna 2-2 Deportivo La Coruna
Eibar 2-0 Leganes


Roma 1-3 Lazio

It’s always a fun one when these two sides get together in the Derby della Capitale but Lazio’s victory could prove quite costly for their rivals from Rome. Keita Balde Diao continues his fantastic scoring run for Lazio as the 22-year-old is up to 13 Serie A goals on the season after Sunday’s brace. The Senegalese striker scored after 12 minutes before providing the final touch on the match for the visiting side. Daniele de Rossi converted from the penalty spot to pull Roma even on the stroke of halftime, but Dusan Basta restored the lead for Lazio five minutes into after the break.

Napoli 1-0 Inter Milan

Jose Callejon made things a lot more interesting in the race for the UEFA Champions League. Following Roma’s defeat, a victory for Napoli ensured that the side would move to within a point of the Giallorossi in Serie A. And that’s exactly what Napoli did. Callejon’s first-half finish gave Napoli the cushion it needed on the day, and now sets up an intriguing race for automatic qualification into next season’s UCL.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna 4-0 Udinese
Cagliari 1-0 Pescara
Crotone 1-1 AC Milan
Empoli 1-3 Sassuolo
Genoa 1-2 Chievo
Palermo 2-0 Fiorentina