MLS weekend roundup: FC Dallas keeps streak strong, Crew blank Dynamo

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Here’s a quick recap of MLS action this weekend, starting on Friday.

FC Dallas 2-1 Real Salt Lake: FC Dallas kept their wonderful run of form alive against Real Salt Lake on Friday night, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 2-1 victory at Toyota Stadium. Je-Vaughn Watson scored the opening goal for FC Dallas off of a corner kick following the ejection of Blas Perez on a second yellow card. In the 74th minute, the red-hot Fabian Castillo made a straight run into the box and picked the lower corner of the net to put the Toros up by two scores. In stoppage time, Olmes Garcia’s bicycle kick brought the Real closer, but it was not enough to preserve a point.

New York Red Bulls 4-2 Montreal Impact: Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry bolstered the Red Bulls attack, each nothing a brace to retain their spot in the East’s fifth-place playoff spot. Dilly Duka took it upon himself to find a hole in the New York’s defense, providing the Impact with a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute. But from that point on, it was Henry and Wright Phillips show, with the Frenchman buried an excellent diving header in the 53rd minute and a deft touch 16 minutes later. Wright-Phillips scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in the 74th and 90th minute, Henry assisting on the first occasion.

Toronto FC 2-2 Chicago Fire: It was a tight game all the way through, and in the end, the final score reflected that even level of play. Bakary Soumare unfortunate deflection lopped over goalkeeper Sean Johnson to give Toronto FC an third-minute lead. In the 70th minute, Robert Earnshaw leveled the teams on his headed effort from Grant Ward’s cross. Toronto promptly responded nine minutes later, with Gilberto finding his way past the Fire’s back line and calmly sliding home his try. When you thought the Reds would take three points, Quincy Amarikwa smashed a volley to bring both teams back to equal footing.

Columbus Crew 3-0 Houston Dynamo: Will Bruin had a perfect chance to draw first blood in the 19th minute, unable to see through a open breakaway, and then, Columbus seized control of the game. Justin Meram weaved into the penalty box, and lifted a close-range attempt over Tally Hall. Meram followed up his score a well-placed ball for Adam Bedell, leading him to thump a header for another goal. Aaron Schoenfeld added another goal on a powerful header across the face of goal. Houston continues to falter, while Columbus stands in the thick of the playoff race, certainly making headway from last season.

New England Revolution 1-0 Chivas USA: The New England Revolution haven’t enjoyed the best form after their win streak collapsed a couple of months ago. They’ve been making their way back into serious playoff contention, though, and with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA, have gained a much-needed three points. Lee Nguyen, who has been the Revolution’s most consistent attacker and creator in the midfield this season, scored the goal to ultimately ice the match’s result for New England. Out on the wing, Kelyn Rowe muscled his pass to Nguyen right outside the penalty area, and the former PSV Eindhoven man fired a bullet past Dan Kennedy.

Sporting Kansas City 0-3 D.C. United: In about eight minutes, D.C. United scored three goals, and Sporting Kansas City, struggling at home, was shocked. Luis Silva was on the assisting end for the first two goals: Fabian Espindola’s long, rolling shot in the 24th minute and Chris Rolfe’s left-footer in the 28th minute. Perry Kitchen snagged the final goal three minutes later, staying onside and waiting for the precise moment to shoot near the top of the box. D.C. United has appreciated a top-class season, contending for the Supporters Shield as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Reigning champion Sporting KC sits one point behind United in the standings.

LA Galaxy 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps: Enjoying a six-game unbeaten streak, albeit due to several draws, the Vancouver Whitecaps looked to make some noise at the StubHub Center against the LA Galaxy, who ended up blanking the Caps to gather a two-game victorious streak. U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan slid forward to smack what appeared to be a low cross from Robbie Keane at the far post. Before halftime rolled around, Marcelo Savras had the luck of Robbie Keane’s aim on goal roll right to his feet at the near post, easily able to nail the second goal of the contest.

Portland Timbers 2-4 Seattle Sounders: Clint Dempsey scored his fifth goals vs. the Timbers this season, but when the whistle blew at the end of the game, Obafemi Martins was the real hero, as he totaled a brace in addition to Dempsey and Chad Barrett’s strikes. Fanendo Adi also registered a brace. With the win, Seattle is back to being in the Western Conference lead and at the head of the running for the Supporters’ Shield. The Timbers, on the other hand, are dealing with a close competition between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapid for the 5th place playoff spot in the West.

Philadelphia Union 4-2 San Jose Earthquakes:  Andrew Wenger and Sebastien Le Toux each put away a goal early in the contest, in the 10th and 14th minute respectively, with Le Toux supplying the former Montreal Impact man on the assist. However, it was a matter of sustaining their lead, while the Earthquakes fought back into match. Sam Cronin and USMNT forward Chris Wondolowski converted two consecutive goals, and the scoreboard was even in the 70th minute. Le Toux, who brandished an absolutely wonderful performance, assisted both Sheanon Williams and Wenger to provide the Union with a comfortable lead. San Jose’s losing sight of the postseason in the Western Conference, whilst the Union make their case for a playoff ranking, one point behind the Red Bulls in fifth place.

Premier League Power Rankings: In tiers

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Liverpool has knocked Manchester City from the Champions League, but sits 19 points behind the leaders and City has a match-in-hand.

Manchester United beat City just weeks ago, but was bounced from the UCL even earlier. The Red Devils also took four of six points from Liverpool.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Spurs are fourth in the table but also took four of six from Liverpool and could be level on points with the Reds by winning its match-in-hand.

So the question remains, who’s the best team in the Premier League right now? That’s why we’re revisiting our Premier League Power Rankings for the first time in a while, since City was the unquestioned No. 1 for months.

Will it change anything? Spoiler alert: Probably not.

Spots 20-14: Not safe yet

20. West Bromwich Albion: The Baggies are going down, but Darren Moore has at least instilled some life into a moribund bunch which was saddled with the dour and unsuccessful tactics of Tony Pulis before moving onto the peppy and hard-to-understand tactics of Alan Pardew.

19. Stoke City — The Paul Lambert jump has faded, and the Potters’ inferior goal differential and one more match played than both Southampton and Swansea City feel like a death knell.

18. Southampton — Yes, the Bottom Three is the same as the table, but Saints are a New South Coast Derby win away from sitting three points back of pulling Palace and perhaps Huddersfield Town and West Ham United back into the picture.

17. Huddersfield Town — If David Wagner cannot lead the Terriers past Everton this weekend, his side finishes at Man City, at Chelsea, and home to Arsenal. That’s a recipe for watching a six-point advantage on the drop zone melt away.

16. Swansea City — Still four points clear of the drop zone, Swans have the cup half-full of facing Saints and Stoke City. The two sides aren’t very good, but also the only teams to worry about when it comes to their Premier League lives.

15. Crystal Palace — Given their turnaround from the beginning of the season, it feels dirty to have them so low. But of the three clubs sitting six points clear of 18th, the Eagles are the one to have three matches left and not four.

14. West Ham United — A brutal schedule featuring two of David Moyes‘ old sides — Everton and Manchester United — means the Irons cannot breathe safely yet (especially with Swans, Saints, and Stoke set to take points off each other).


Spots 13-11: Foot off the gas (and is there any gas in the tank?)

13. Watford — Javi Gracia may have Watford safe, and that was his charge, but the Hornets look like the same team they did under previous bosses. The Hornets have two points from their last six, and would be much further down the table if they weren’t essentially safe.

12. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe is probably wondering how that Arsenal chair would feel right about now, as the Cherries have probably reached a glass ceiling. Now a derby against Saints can define the run-in to the season.

11. Brighton and Hove Albion — Perhaps satiated by a five-match unbeaten run that featured a win over Arsenal and beat downs of Swansea and West Ham, Chris Hughton‘s Gulls have two points in five matches including a derby loss to Palace.

10. Everton — Sam Allardyce‘s men nicked a win off of Newcastle last weekend, and it was about as satisfying as moribund draws against Liverpool’s B Team and Swansea City. There’s a lot of unrest at Goodison Park, and Sam Allardyce has to go. Because of the relative positive vibes at lower table sides Leicester and Newcastle, Everton sinks beneath them.

9. Leicester City — A fun team which has had infuriating lapses at the back. Jamie Vardy‘s as reliable as ever, and there’s a real question what they’ll do without Riyad Mahrez (allegedly) in the future. Wilfred Ndidi, Demarai Gray, and Fousseni Diabate look a big part of said future, but it’s a bit alarming that the Foxes haven’t been able to take advantage of the relatively open door to seventh since Claude Puel righted Craig Shakespeare‘s sinking ship.

8. Newcastle United — The Magpies saw their win streak snapped by Everton, but Rafa Benitez is playing with house money after coaxed a midtable season out of a Championship squad. A healthy Islam Slimani has moved Dwight Gayle to his rightful role as a spark plug off the bench, but don’t sleep on the wonders Benitez has worked in turning Mo Diame, DeAndre Yedlin, and Paul Dummett into serviceable Premier League players. The future is bright if Mike Ashley sells the team or at least opens his purse strings to make one of the longest road trips in the PL even harder for visitors to St. James’ Park.


Spot 7: One of the best stories in Premier League history

7. Burnley — A loss to Chelsea and draw with Stoke has sunk Sean Dyche‘s excitement, we’re sure, but Southampton’s departure from the FA Cup means seventh place means Europa League. It’s Burnley in Europe: Yes, for real!


Spots 6-4: The bargaining stage of grief

6. Chelsea — The Blues have won two-straight in the league and reached an FA Cup Final against old pal Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, but there’s as much uncertainty at Stamford Bridge as there is at the Emirates. The difference? We know Roman Abramovich will spend more to try to fix it.

5. Arsenal — The danger of slipping behind Burnley and into seventh on the table has passed, but the Arsene Wenger goodbye tour is focused firmly on the Gunners’ fate versus Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League and the quite decent form of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as a resurgent and healthy Aaron Ramsey. Defenders need improving in a big way and there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding Wenger’s replacement. Don’t know what you’ve got til its gone?

4. Spurs — No trophy again this season, and there’s a very good chance Tottenham will miss out on third place by virtue of goal difference when all is said and done; When all’s said and done, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men will have drawn 1-1 or 0-0 against West Brom, Swansea, Watford, West Ham, Saints, and Brighton. That’ll render a decent record against top foes less impressive.


Spots 3-1: Power trio

3. Manchester United — The Red Devils are better than almost everyone thinks despite precious few standout seasons from its players (David De Gea, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard are among the pardoned). When it comes to talking progress, however, second place won’t cut it: Mourinho needs that FA Cup win over Chelsea, a trophy United hasn’t won since (checks his notes) oh, two seasons ago.

2. Liverpool — The Reds looked incredible in dicing up Roma for 80 minutes, but allowed Roma a sliver of hope. Moreover, the last four goals Liverpool has allowed have come in the 79th, 88th, 81st, and 85th minutes. Why won’t we put them ahead of City? Well, let me clarify: it’s not PST, it’s me. I’ll own this: As brilliant as Liverpool was against City, they were out-chanced 31-14 over two legs. Give me that scenario 100 times, and I’m betting on the 31 about 85-90 times. The Reds are almost there, and Naby Keita over Jordan Henderson would be a huge upgrade (especially if this success convinces Emre Can to stick around). Next year, yeah. This year, just no.

  1. Manchester City — The records continue to fall, and it’s funny to consider that should City had lost the first Manchester Derby and been knocked out of the UCL a round earlier — yes, even by Liverpool in the same manner — no one would be arguing for anyone other than City at No. 1.

WATCH: Giovinco levels CONCACAF Champions League Final

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A trademark Sebastian Giovinco goal snapped a 1-1 first half tie and put Toronto FC in the driver’s seat for Major League Soccer’s first title in the CONCACAF Champions League era.

Jozy Altidore scored the first goal after Orbelin Pineda put Chivas Guadalajara ahead early in Mexico, and the tie is level at 3-3 after 135 minutes.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Toronto needs to score once more and stay ahead by one, or win in penalty kicks.

The winner goes to the Club World Cup in December.

Look at this quick work from Giovinco after Marky Delgado slipped him into his office.

Spartak and Zenit fined in latest Russia fan racism cases

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MOSCOW (AP) Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg have both been fined for racist chants by their fans, the latest such incident in World Cup host nation Russia.

Spartak’s fans were accused of aiming monkey chants at FC Tosno player Nuno Rocha, who is black, while some Zenit supporters allegedly chanted a Nazi slogan during a league game.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

The clubs must each pay a 100,000-ruble ($1,600) fine, and Spartak has been hit with a partial stadium closure for its next cup game, state news agency RIA Novosti quotes Russian Football Union disciplinary committee head Artur Grigoryants as saying.

The verdict comes after FIFA charged Russia with racist abuse of France players during last month’s friendly.

Zenit has also faced two racism charges from UEFA this season.

Europa League: Arsenal, Marseille host semifinal 1st legs

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Arsenal’s Champions League dreams could be in for a rude awakening against tournament-tested Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League vs. La Liga match-up is one of two Europa League semifinal first legs set to be served up Sunday, with Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg meeting in the other.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

There’s something romantic about Arsene Wenger closing out his time at Arsenal against French opposition in Lyon, but Atleti and Salzburg won’t step aside for poetics.

Both matches kickoff ay 3:05 p.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid

It’s a bit stunning that this tie has no history considering both club’s statures in their leagues and Europe, but that’s what we’ll se when Arsenal welcomes Atleti for the first leg.

Arsenal boasts two of the top 10 performers in the UEL this season — it would be three had the Gunners not sold Theo Walcott — and are paced by Aaron Ramsey, who has four goals and an assist. Mesut Ozil, who’s ready to return to the pitch, has the reverse with a goal and four helpers.

The Gunners have outscored UEL opposition 29-10 this season.

It’s no surprise that Antoine Griezmann has been Atleti’s best attacker since the Madrid side dropped out of the UCL to run rampant through the UEL knockout rounds. Atleti beat Copenhagen 5-1, Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1, and Sporting Lisbon 2-1 for an aggregate score line of 15-3.

Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Don’t expect this to be a simple case of Ligue 1 bossing inferior opposition: This pair met in the group stage, with the Austrian side winning at home and drawing 0-0 in France.

Salzburg has shown its mettle in various ways during the UEL. After allowing just one goal in an unbeaten group stage, they’ve won 4-3 over Real Sociedad, 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund, and 6-5 versus Lazio. That’s no easy road, and Marseille represents another big challenge.

Marseille is bidding to make its first European final since 2004, and has been led by Dimitri Payet‘s three goals and four assists, and Lucas Ocampos’ four goals and one assist. Marseille has knocked off RB Leipzig, Athletic Bilbao, and Braga after the group stage.

Names you’ll need to know from Salzburg: defenders Stefan Lainer and Paulo Miranda have been spectacular, and Munas Dabbur and Valon Berisha have each scored five times in the tournament.