Over 50,000 fans packed into CenturyLink field, as the Seattle Sounders beat the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Sunday.
Second half strikes from Marco Pappa and Gonzale Pindea were enough to hand the Sounders their first win in three games as they continued their push for the 2014 Supporters’ Shield. The win was soured by a late red card for Obafemi Martins but despite that minor blip Sigi Schmid will be delighted with his sides performance.
With the win Schmid recorded his 200th MLS victory as a head coach. The first manager in MLS history to reach that milestone.
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The turf field was looking a little strange in Seattle as recent maintenance work had left black patches and patterns all over the pitch. A tight encounter played out on that surface as the Dynamo took the game to Seattle early on in search of their first road win in six.
In the 26th minute Houston squandered the perfect opportunity to the take the lead as they were awarded a penalty kick by referee Chris Penso after Djimi Traore was adjudged to have handled in the box. However Brad Davis’ penalty kick was saved by Stefan Frei. The U.S. national team winger performed a stutter-step and tamely slotted his left-footed effort to Frei’s left but the big Swiss ‘keeper got down and kept the scores level.
Houston continued to push throughout the first half and Davis’ outswinging corner was headed just over the bar by Ricardo Clark. Seattle gradually came into the game as Martins and Lamar Neagle tried to get in behind but Tally Hall had little to do in an even first half at CenturyLink.
In the second half Houston continued to look lively in attack and Giles Barnes was went clean through but saw his shot blocked by a combination of Frei’s foot and Seattle defender Chad Marshall. Shortly after Martins looked to have been fouled in the box but play was waved on despite protests from the home crowd. The second half turned into a sloppy affair but in the 69th minute Pappa wriggled free of his marker on the edge of the box and drilled a shot goalwards which deflected off of David Horst’s standing leg and past Hall into the net. The deadlock was finally broken.
Less than five minutes later Seattle doubled their lead as Clark was clearly holding Martins in the box as a free kick arrived from the left. Referee Penso pointed to the spot for the second time in the match and Pineda slammed the ball home despite Hall getting his body behind the ball but the sheer power beat him. Late on Martins slid in and was shown a second yellow card and his marching order by Penso as the Nigerian striker will now miss Seattle’s pivotal trip to Real Salt Lake next weekend.
With the win Seattle go back to the top of the West on 41 points from 21 games, while Houston stay five points off a playoff spot in the East and sit in ninth.
After being named the NCAA Soccer Men’s Player of the Week, Spanish junior Albert Ruiz went out and set the base for a repeat.
The Florida Gulf Coast striker scored three goals in three minutes and 19 seconds on Tuesday, and the Eagles are battering visiting Rutgers.
[ MORE: Pochettino happy with “must win” defeat of CSKA ]
Not only that, but three goals all came before the game was 10 minutes old (9:02 to be exact). The team’s Twitter account says that’s a record to start a game, besting the record was set by Indiana’s Steve Burks on Oct. 6, 1973. Burks scored his three goals by the 11:41 mark of the first half.
If you look at the clock, too, we think it’s more like nine minutes on the dot.
Ruiz scored seven times in 11 games as a sophomore, and is battering that impressive mark this year. It’s not even halftime at FGCU, and he’s up to 11 goals in his ninth game of the season. That puts him into a tie with Buffalo’s Russell Cicerone for the most goals in men’s D1 soccer (and Ruiz has more than 45 minutes to play).
The 6-foot-2 forward is going to be attracting a lot of attention, especially considering this is his second hat trick in 10 days.
Manchester City visits White Hart Lane for a match-up of this early season’s first and second place Premier League clubs.
City will have one less day of rest than its Premier League rivals, though both are coming off road matches in Europe.
Spurs beat CSKA Moscow 1-0 on Tuesday, while Man City is battling Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany a day later.
[ MORE: Pochettino happy with “must win” defeat of CSKA ]
A win would pull Spurs to within a point of the leaders, while a City victory would guarantee, at-worst, a five-point table advantage for Pep Guardiola‘s bunch.
Kickoff is at 9:15 a.m. ET Sunday, and our own Joe Prince-Wright has the preview for you with the latest PST Extra (above).
While it’s easy to call any match “must win” after you’ve won, there’s little doubt how badly Spurs needed their 1-0 win at CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]
After making the long hike to Russia, Spurs controlled the match. Both Erik Lamela and Son Heung-min were lively but couldn’t break down the CSKA back line until Son finished a late chance.
From the BBC:
“That was a very important victory. Important to be in the race for the next round of the Champions League. This was a must win game, we are second in the group now but it is still all open.”
And Son admits it was a bit fortunate, as his shot was slowed by Akinfeev before inching across the line.
“This is a good time but also a lucky time. I try every game to score. We are very happy to win this game.”
Spurs are a point behind Monaco, who won at White Hart Lane in both teams’ Group E openers. Next up is a tricky visit from Bayer Leverkusen.
When it comes to quotes, Claudio Ranieri is one of the best.
The Leicester City manager was put on the spot after Tuesday’s 1-0 UEFA Champions League win over Porto, and handled it well.
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Asked about his name appearing on betting sites as a favorite to replace disgraced England boss Sam Allardyce — who left the job Tuesday — Ranieri responded with a nod to Leicester’s long odds-defying Premier League title run.