MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 1-0 DC United

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One game, 100 words or less:  With DC United looking for a spot at the top of not just the East but Major League Soccer, Houston held strong at home. The Dynamo were the best team from start to finish, and capitalized on a late mistake to pick up three points. It was a deserved victory for Houston who were the tougher, more physical, and quicker team.

Goals

Houston: Bruin 90′ + 1

Three moments that mattered:

21′ – Hamid says no – All match Bruin looked the most likely to score. He’d get one later, but for now, Bill Hamid wasn’t having it.  A cross to the far post (that sounds familiar) found Bruin’s head, and he targeted the underside of the bar. This time he put it on target, but Hamid leaped to tip it over, and he showed multiple times why he’s a top MLS goalkeeper.

39′ – Beast mode Bill – Houston eventually won, but Hamid has a shout for Man of the Match. Houston peppered his goal, and it took a late mistake to finally get one. Before the break, he maintained his stellar play. The Dynamo countered, and Giles Barnes eventually found himself one-on-one with Hamid. The keeper made himself big, and he kept the game scoreless

90′ + 1 – Fratricide – With Hamid standing strong all match, one bit of miscommunication and it all came crumbling down. Steve Birnbaum was looking to control the ball in his own box with Bruin pressuring, and Hamid got a little too close. The goalkeeper tripped his defender, and it left the goal mouth open for Bruin to ease the winner home.

Lineups

Houston – Hall; Taylor, Sarkodie, Hosrt, Beasley; Davis (Driver 88′), Clark, Garrido (Ownby 76′); Garcia, Bruin, Barnes (Owings 88′).
DC United – Hamid; Franklin, Birnbaum, Boswell, Kemp; Arnaud, Rolfe, Kitchen, Neal (Seaton 75′); Johnson, Silva (Martin 60′).

Three lessons going forward:

1. Bill Hamid is in the upper echelon – It’s pretty obvious now that the future of the USMNT goalkeeping situation could very well involve Bill Hamid. He was impressive all match as Houston slammed his goal with 20 shots, six on target. He’s one of the best in MLS, and things look up. The mistake is ugly, but it’s forgivable considering how he played the rest of the match.

2. The Houston Dynamo need Will Bruin – Bruin is one of the streakier strikers in the league, and has two different three-goal streaks in this season. Seeing how he gave Houston a dangerous option up front and ended up with a score, could he go on another mini-tear? The Dynamo need it. In the six games Bruin has scored in this season, the Dynamo have won five of them. They have six wins all season. Simple math.

3. It’s a long climb, but the Dynamo can do it – With 22 points, Houston remains in 8th place in the East. It hasn’t been pretty…actually, it’s been quite ugly…but we’ve seen it before from Houston. They have the quality to build a playoff run, but it’s going to be a journey. A long one.

Where this leaves them:

DC United – DC United had it all in front of them. Real Salt Lake drew, and Seattle lost.  But they couldn’t take advantage of those slip-ups, failing to grab the lead in the Supporter’s Shield. Instead, they’re still second in the East, with plenty of space over their shoulder.
Houston Dynamo – Still in 8th place, they have a 6-point gap between them and the playoffs. Six points is a long way in this clogged Eastern Conference.

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

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Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

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Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

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Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET