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.

Baroni fired by Serie A basement club Benevento

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BENEVENTO, Italy (AP) Benevento fired Marco Baroni and named Roberto De Zerbi its new coach after becoming the first squad in Serie A history to lose its first nine matches of the season.

The southern Italian club is the only team in Europe’s five major leagues without a point.

[ MORE: Ronaldo wins Best Male Player at FIFA awards ]

Benevento also announced it fired sporting director Salvatore Di Somma.

The moves on Monday came a day after a 3-0 home loss to Fiorentina.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Benevento will have to pay Baroni 800,000 euros (nearly $1 million) as part of an anti-firing clause in his contract.

Baroni guided Benevento up from Serie B last season.

De Zerbi last coached Palermo nearly a year ago before being fired by the Sicilian club.

It’s the second coaching change in Serie A this season, after Diego Lopez replaced Massimo Rastelli at Cagliari last week.

MLS Cup Playoffs: Atlanta hosts Crew, Whitecaps take on Earthquakes

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34 rounds of MLS action are in the books, and now the real fun is set to begin this week.

The MLS Cup Playoffs have arrived, and 12 teams are firmly in the running to hoist a trophy in December.

[ MORE: PST talks to Justin Meram ahead of the Crew’s playoff run ]

While Toronto FC, New York City FC, the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers will each have the opportunity to watch the first round from their homes, the action all starts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Here’s a look at what to expect when the knockout round begins.

Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls — Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Fire were one of the most intriguing stories for much of the regular season, but Veljko Paunovic’s side enters the postseason limping. Lucky for them, the Red Bulls have been just as inconsistent throughout the course of 2017 — which already saw Jesse Marsch’s club lose in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Paunovic and Co. have lost eight of their last 15 matches, which doesn’t bode well entering the home stretch of the schedule. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have won just two of their last 10 matches. The Harrison side should be well-rested though for Wednesday’s encounter after starting a mostly second-tier squad in Sunday’s season finale against D.C. United.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes — Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Whitecaps looked to be a sure-fire club destined for a bye in the first round, but things didn’t fall their way on Decision Day. Now, Carl Robinson’s side faces an Earthquakes side that is simply unpredictable.

The Quakes have the second-worst road record in the Western Conference when it comes to acquiring points — holding eight in points 17 matches. However, Chris Leitch has instilled a new-found belief amongst the squad that gives the California side a puncher’s chance.

Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew — Thursday, 7 p.m. ET

These two sides haven’t met since July 1, so all bets are off about these teams knowing one another. Since that point, Atlanta and Columbus have been two of the hottest sides in MLS and the former moved into a new stadium — which has given opposing sides quite the difficult time.

In their last 10 matches combined, the clubs boast just one loss, which Atlanta suffered at home against Minnesota United. There’s no reason not to expect a great one at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting KC — Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET

Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC side enters the playoffs winless in their last five, while their counterparts are unbeaten in six. The MLS postseason is often about which team is in the best form at the right particular moment, and right now, it doesn’t look like Sporting KC has luck on their side.

It’s also hard to not pay attention to the fact that the Dynamo have lost just once at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2017, which came on September 9 against the Colorado Rapids.

Carabao Cup preview: Man City hosts Wolves, Chelsea meets Everton

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All eyes will remain on the 11 Premier League sides left in this season’s Carabao Cup, but could a potential upset(s) shake the balance of power in the competition?

Norwich City and Leeds United will be among the teams seeking an upset in the tournament as they take on Arsenal and Leicester City, respectively, on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo captures Best Male Player at FIFA awards ]

Meanwhile, fresh off of Ronald Koeman‘s sacking, Everton must regroup quickly when they head to Stamford Bridge to take on Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea. The Toffees have taken just eight points in their first nine PL matches, leaving the Merseyside club in the relegation zone.

The Blues are aiming for their sixth League Cup title this season, while Manchester United could also achieve the same feat with the crown.

Here’s the slate of matches for the Carabao Cup Round of 16.

Tuesday (All fixtures kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET)

Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough
Bristol City vs. Crystal Palace
Leicester City vs. Leeds United
Arsenal vs. Norwich City
Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wednesday (All fixtures kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET)

Chelsea vs. Everton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United

Report: RBNY midfielder Felipe, NYCFC’s Harrison could play for USMNT

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The U.S. Men’s National Team has seen a rise in dual nationals representing the Stars and Stripes in recent years, and that trend could continue with two of MLS’ most promising midfielders interested in enhancing their international careers.

[ MORE: PST names Best XI for the 2017 MLS season ]

According to MSG Network’s Kristian Dyer, New York Red Bulls midfielder Felipe Martins is in the midst of a finalizing his American citizenship, while New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison has spoken with U.S. Soccer about potentially representing the U.S..

Martins already has his green card — which opened up an international slot for the Red Bulls this season –but obtaining citizenship in the near future would make him eligible for selection for the USMNT ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifying cycle.

The 27-year-old had also previously applied for permanent residency in Canada back in 2013 while Martins was with the Montreal Impact, however, his aspirations to represent the nation never transpired.

Meanwhile, Harrison recently represented the England Under-21s in October, but he too could be on track for U.S. citizenship over the next few years if he remains in MLS.

[ MORE: Justin Meram talks Crew’s good form, facing Atlanta and more ]

In Dyer’s report, he notes the rising interest in Harrison from English clubs, though, and a potential move back to the United Kingdom would hurt the former Manchester United academy member’s chances of joining the USMNT.

Harrison is only in his sophomore season with NYCFC, but the young Englishman has garnered plenty of attention after scoring 14 goals and adding 13 assists thus far for the Bronx side.