MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 0-1 Real Salt Lake

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS1QT7pBhnU]

One game, 100 words (or less): Ten men were all Real Salt Lake needed to take back bragging rights. Defending Javier Morales’s 14th minute opener, a 10-man RSL won back the Rocky Mountain Cup, putting the team’s goalkeeper in Major League Soccer’s record books after a 1-0 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Early control came good for the visitors when Chris Wingert set up his team’s playmaker for the  opener. Colorado’s ascendancy from the middle of the period on culminated with RSL defender Aaron Maund being dismissed for denying in a goal scoring opportunity. Despite that man advantage, the Rapids couldn’t break through in the second half, with Nick Rimando’s 112th career clean sheet tying him for MLS’s shutouts record.

Goals

Colorado: None.
Real Salt Lake: 14′

Three moments that mattered:

14′ – Chris Wingert, supply chain – It’s understandable why Marvell Wynne hopped over Wingert, but ultimately, it’s his job to stop players from creating chances. When the Colorado central defender elected to skip over Wingerts sliding challenge, he gave the RSL left back a path into the middle of the box. One pass later, Morales was set up for the game’s only goal.

45+1′ – Tough call, right call – It was a difficult situation for Aaron Maund, who was attempting to get on the right side of Vicente Sánchez after Nat Borchers’ missed tackle allowed the Rapids attacker a path to goal. But if it’s a foul at all, it’s a denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, and with Maund’s swim move creating enough contact to justify the call, Baldomero Toledo may have been obliged to send him off.

72′ – The best of a bad lot – Credit Real Salt Lake’s defense, because Colorado’s best chance for an equalizer wasn’t that good. From a sharp angle to the right of goal, Deshorn Brown needed some help from Nick Rimando to even up the score. With his eyes on history, the MLS veteran didn’t oblige. By the end of the season, the U.S. international will have the shutouts record all to himself.

Lineups

Coloardo: Clint Irwin; Chris Klute, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Marc Burch; Dillon Serna (Gabriel Torres 73′), José Marí (Carlos Alvarez 73′), Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sánchez, Deshorn Brown
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Aaron Maund, Chris Wingert; Luis Gil (John Stertzer 85′), Ned Grabavoy; Javier Morales (Cole Grossman 74′); Robbie Findley, Devon Sandoval (Carlos Salcedo 50′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. Like their old selves – Even while they were dropping points to New York mid-week, RSL carried themselves like the composed, controlling group we’ve seen over the last five or six years. After the team went down a man today, that composure paid off. Colorado was up in numbers, but they never came close to taking control.

2. Borchers responded – After his failure to make a tackle led to Maund’s red card, Borchers stepped up. The RSL center back ended the game with 11 clearances, five more than anybody else on the field.

3.  Buddle was missed – After making his first start since May on Wednesday in New England, Edson Buddle didn’t make Saturday’s squad. Left pumping crosses into Deshorn Brown, Colorado could have used their only true number nine.

Where this leaves them:

  • The loss leaves Colorado in fifth in the West, one point ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • RSL, all of a sudden, is within two points of Seattle, though after Saturday’s games, the Sounders will still have two matches in hand.

Schweinsteiger waiting on visa, training in Mallorca

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Bastian Schweinsteiger is waiting on a visa to make his trip to Chicago official.

It’s a formality, albeit a bit trickier now given the political climate in the United States. The former Manchester United midfielder is training at Real Mallorca ahead of the move.

The transfer was announced one week ago, and Schweinsteiger is anxious to get back on the pitch. Set for a 1-year, $4.5 million deal, the midfielder has not missed any Chicago matches yet.

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

The Fire is 1-1-1 to start the new season under Veljko Paunovic, and has three home matches next: Montreal (Saturday), Columbus (Apr. 8), and New England (Apr. 15)

Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Diego Costa injured, but will stay with Spain squad for friendly

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa pulled up in Spain training on Sunday, and with the Blues in first in the Premier League and Costa in great form, there were obvious concerns.

With Costa struggling with leg and ankle injuries, the RFEF informed Chelsea that there was an issue, and Costa was pulled from training and sent for tests. X-Rays at the local hospital in Madrid were negative, and he’s rejoined the squad.

According to the RFEF, doctors will continue to monitor the 28-year-old and he will continue with the national team for the rest of the international break. With a World Cup qualification win over Israel already in the books and just a friendly against France to go on Tuesday, it’s odd that Spain would risk Costa moving forward, but they will continue to keep him around.

Costa has scored 18 goals this season to lead the Blues, and he scored in the win over Israel. Spain takes on France in Saint-Denis on Tuesday, with both teams leading their World Cup qualification groups. Spain has a goal-differential lead on Italy with both teams miles above the rest of the Group G, and France is ahead of Sweden by three points in Group A, with the Netherlands back in fourth.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.