Burnley 1-3 Chelsea: Blues cruise, go top after season opening win (video)

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Chelsea fell behind early to Premier League newcomers Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday but Jose Mourinho’s men rallied impressively to seal a 3-1 win in their opening game of the season.

Scott Arfield stunned the Blues early on as the Scotman controlled and volleyed home to put Burnley in front. However within 10 minutes Chelsea were ahead as Diego Costa finished clinically on his debut and Andre Schurrle scored a beautiful team goal after Cesc Fabregas’ sumptuous through ball.

[Mourinho: “Courtois my number one”]

Chelsea went 3-1 up before the break, as Branislav Ivanovic tapped home from close range. Burnley tried to get back in to the game but Chelsea kept the ball expertly and bagged all three points on a rainy evening up in Lancashire. Mourinho has now won five out of five on the opening day as Chelsea boss.

Mourinho’s men sit top of the standings after week one, will the bookmakers favorites remain their for the rest of the season?

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

source:
Chelsea celebrate Andre Schurrle’s stunning goals after a sumptous move.

Early on Costa buzzed around and collected the ball on the edge of the box, laid it off to Fabregas and Schurrle’s deflected shot almost crept in after wrong-footing Heaton. Burnley managed to clear the danger.

Inside the first 10 minutes Burnley broke free down the left and Lukas Jutkiewicz wriggled free but sent a tame effort into the side-netting. In the 14th minute Burnley took the lead as a corner from the left wasn’t cleared properly and Matthew Taylor chipped the ball towards the back post where Arfield controlled superbly before volleying an unstoppable effort past Thibaut Courtois to send the home fans wild.

Chelsea didn’t panic after going behind and in the 17th minute there were level thanks to Costa’s first goal in a blue shirt. The Spaniard reacted first as Branislav Ivanovic’s cross from the right evaded everyone, following Fabregas’ beautiful back heel set up, and cannoned back off the post. Costa finished clinically to make it 1-1 as Mourinho punched the air in delight.  Less then five minutes later Chelsea were ahead as Ivanovic again got the ball on the right and dinked it inside to Fabregas on the edge of the box and the Spanish midfielder caressed an exquisite ball into Schurrle who tapped home to make it 2-1 following a perfectly timed run. Majestic flowing football from the away side.

Burnley tried to get going but a calamitous backpass played in Costa who rounded Burnley’s ‘keeper Tom Heaton and went down but referee Michael Oliver booked the Spaniard for simulation. On second viewing there was definite contact and the Clarets were lucky to escape without conceding a penalty and having a player sent off. In the 34th minute Chelsea went 3-1 up as Ivanovic tapped home from a corner after some schoolboy defending from the home side. Some good build up play down the left saw Danny Ings direct an effort wide of the target as the home side tried to pull a goal back but it was 3-1 at the break.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

source: AP
Arfield celebrates his opening goals after Burnley took the lead vs. Chelsea.

After the break a long ball over the top saw Ings get free but he dragged a low shot wide but the home side were buoyed by the effort. Arfield came so close to grabbing a second spectacular goal of the game as the Scotsman brought ball down on the right, cut inside and curled an effort towards the top corner which Courtois tipped wide superbly. Burnley were in the ascendancy. Chelsea knocked the ball about and kept possession for large chunks of the second half but Burnley looked dangerous on the break and Jutkiewicz drilled an effort just wide in the 60th minute.

Late on both teams made a raft of substitutions, including a second Blues debut for Didier Drogba who almost scored with an audacious volley, as Chelsea saw the game out with minimum fuss and get their campaign off and running in the perfect fashion with a comfortable win.

LINEUPS

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Taylor (Kightly, 70′); Ings (Sordell 82′), Jutkiewicz  (Barnes, 70′)

Goal: Arfield (14′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Schurrle (Willian, 78′), Oscar (Mikel, 82′), Hazard (Drogba, 83′); Costa

Goals: Costa (17′), Schurrle (21′), Ivanovic (34′)

Giovinco strikes twice to lift Toronto FC to Canadian Championship (video)

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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Sebastian Giovinco scored twice including in stoppage time as Toronto FC overcame Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla’s fantastic strike to win 2-1 in the second leg of the Canadian Championship at BMO Field on Tuesday.

TFC held the advantage after a 1-1 first leg in Montreal. The Reds advance to the CONCACAF Champions League.

Tabla, who just turned 18 in March, is an Ivorian-born Canadian youth international who now has four senior goals for the Impact.

Montreal veteran Patrice Bernier saw red in the 89th minute, putting the Impact’s chances behind the 8-ball.

[ MORE: USMNT Gold Cup questions ]

Toronto FC entered the match with a road goal advantage, which was undone in the quick flash of a left-foot, as Tabla dug a ball from underneath him and past a flying Clint Irwin to make it 2-1 on aggregate.

The goal was a double whammy for Toronto, which went to the break knowing it would need to score twice (or win in penalty kicks) to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League.

Yet TFC came back after a horrendous pass from Montreal, as Michael Bradley pinged a gorgeous diagonal ball to Sebastian Giovinco. The Atomic Ant recovered from a tough opening touch to bury his chance. 1-1.

And, oh yeah, watch this man work for his second…

Who is Kenny Saief, and other USMNT Gold Cup personnel questions

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Kenny Saief is an 23-year-old American left-sided player with UEFA Champions League experience.

So why do we know so little about the Miami-born man?

The answer is pretty straight-forward: Saief’s entire career has been under-the-radar. After coming up through a series of Israeli teams, he moved to KAA Gent in Belgium. None of those matches, even adding in his representing the full Israel national team twice, got a ton of play on American soil.

[ MORE: Saul scores stunner for Spain U-21s ]

So when Saief filed his one-time switch to represent the United States, paving the way for a USMNT call-up for this summer’s Gold Cup, even those of us who’d followed his career from afar had put a limited amount of actual observation on match footage.

So here’s the long-and-short:

  • Saief turns 24 in December.
  • He moved to Gent from Israeli second tier side Ramat haSharon in 2014.
  • Played a total of 35 minutes in friendlies versus Serbia and Croatia.
  • Saief has 20 total appearances between the Europa and Champions Leagues.
  • Posted a UCL assist versus Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 Round of 16.
  • Had goal, 2 assists in UEL this season, played 180 mins vs. Spurs.
  • Has 15 goals, 9 assists in 107 apps for Gent.

Saief should get an opportunity to make an impact for Bruce Arena’s USMNT, perhaps as soon as Saturday’s friendly against Ghana in East Hartford.

Who else stands a chance to gain the most from this tournament?

Joe Corona — The 26-year-old made his thirst-inducing name in American soccer circles by scoring a pair of goals in the 2013 Gold Cup, but has just 17 caps to his name. His call-up over veterans like Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan either shows how high he’s risen or how far those veterans have fallen.

Cristian Roldan — Seattle’s hard-nosed midfielder was playing college ball at Washington just three years ago, and it’s not crazy to think strong performances could boost him onto the radar of bigger clubs abroad (let alone make him a mainstay along Kellyn Acosta with the USMNT).

Dom Dwyer — If Roldan’s rise is surprising, Dwyer’s really is astounding. It’s easy to forget that the Sporting KC star forward was playing junior college soccer in 2010 before spending one season of Division I soccer with South Florida. Now he has 57 MLS goals and a look at becoming the clinical finisher the American side has wanted for some time.

Justin Morrow and Eric Lichaj — The 29- and 28-year-old fullbacks would love to prove their mettle is as good if not better than Jorge Villafana, the current front-runner to start at left back should the Yanks complete their revitalized run to the World Cup. Lichaj, a Nottingham Forest veteran, is also adept at right back.

This isn’t to say that Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe won’t benefit from strong tournaments, but the names above have either been rescued from soccer’s scrap heap or at least Jurgen Klinsmann’s prison.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check out the podcast here:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.