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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.

La Liga: Ronaldo scores twice, Neville gets 1st win as a manager

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athtletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals to lead Real Madrid to a 4-2 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, provisionally lifting it into second place in the Spanish league.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in the third minute before Javier Eraso quickly leveled for the Basques in a back-and-forth first half at the Santiago Bernabeu that finished with James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos giving Madrid a 3-1 lead at halftime.

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Madrid defender Raphael Varane, whose error led to Eraso’s goal, was sent off in the 83rd after earning identical bookings for twice thrusting his forearm into Aritz Aduriz’s head while contesting a high ball.

Despite being a man down, Ronaldo found the net again in the 87th to move past Barcelona’s Luis Suarez as the competition’s leading scorer with 21 goals this season.

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Gorka Elustondo headed in Bilbao’s second goal in the 90th.

Madrid’s fourth win in as many home matches under coach Zinedine Zidane – by a combined score of 20-3 – lifted it two points ahead of Atletico Madrid before it visits Getafe on Sunday.

Leader Barcelona is one point ahead of Madrid with two matches to play: against Celta on Sunday and at Sporting Gijon on Wednesday.

Zidane will make his European coaching debut on Wednesday when Madrid visits Roma in the Champions League’s round of 16.

Ronaldo’s goals were his 31st and 32nd in 30 games across all competitions this campaign, a season in which he has been criticized by some for failing to score against important rivals.

“About Cristiano, what can I say?” Zidane said before employing an expletive in Spanish to describe how good he considers the forward’s form.

“We are ready for the match against Roma. We are in shape, playing well, and very pleased with how we played today against a very good rival. We are prepared for Wednesday.”

Also Saturday, Villarreal strengthened its hold on fourth place and the last Champions League spot with a 1-0 win at home over Malaga thanks to striker Roberto Soldado‘s 18th-minute goal.

Ronaldo gave Madrid a brilliant start when he received a pass from Karim Benzema, used a deft dribble to wrong-foot Xabier Etxeita and fired a right-footed strike just under the crossbar.

But Bilbao was undaunted and quickly leveled in the 10th when Eraso pounced on Varane’s poor backpass that goalkeeper Keylor Navas did well to stop from becoming an own goal but left for Eraso to finish off.

Aduriz went close twice to putting the visitors ahead with a header saved by Navas before the striker hit the bar.

Rodriguez turned the flow back in Madrid’s favor with an excellent strike with his left foot from outside the area that curled around outstretched goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz in the 37th.

Kroos put Madrid in full control heading into the break when he took a pass from Ronaldo in the area and sent a shot that deflected off a defender past Iraizoz in first-half injury time.

“We leave with the feeling that we had a good first half. Maybe we missed a great opportunity today,” said Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde, impressed by Madrid’s “extraordinary firepower.”

Ronaldo hit the upright before finally getting his second goal from a pass by substitute Lucas Vazquez.

Valencia hosts Espanyol later, while Real Betis visits Deportivo La Coruna.

Juventus win 15th straight to take Serie A lead from Napoli

Juventus' Simone Zaza, second from right, celebrates with is teammates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Napoli at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)
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(AP) — Substitute Simone Zaza scored two minutes from time and Juventus beat visiting Napoli 1-0 on Saturday to take the Serie A lead from the southern club.

[ MORE: Napoli fans support racially abused Koulibaly ]

Seeking its fifth consecutive title, Juventus moved one point ahead of Napoli with 13 rounds remaining in the Italian league.

Near the end of a match in Turin that had been characterized by few chances for either side, Zaza’s goal came with a long, curving shot that deflected slightly off defender Raul Albiol.

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[ MORE: Chelsea’s next manager? Juve GM tells Allegri to “think twice” ]

It was Juventus’ 15th straight win, moving the Bianconeri within two victories of the Serie A record established by Inter Milan in 2006-07.

Earlier, Daniel Ciofani scored twice as promoted Frosinone beat Empoli 2-1 for its first away win in the top division. Also, Chievo Verona and Sassuolo drew 1-1.

Bundesliga wrap: Leverkusen win without Chicharito, drop Hertha to 4th

Leverkusen's Omer Toprak, right, celebrates his side's equalizing goal during a German Bundesliga soccer match between SV Darmstadt 98 and Bayer Leverkusen in Darmstadt, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Germany’s top flight…

[ FOLLOW: PST’s Bundesliga coverage ]

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Hannover

Bayern Munich’s lead has been cut to five points (for the time being – they play on Sunday) after Borussia Dortmund (48 points) returned to winning ways via Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s game-winning goal in the 57th minute (below video).

Darmstadt 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen

No Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, no problem for Bayer Leverkusen, who went third in the Bundesliga with a 2-1 away victory over 12th-place Darmstadt. After going down a goal in the 28th minute, the game swung on a pair of goals 15 minutes apart just after the hour mark. Aytac Sulu put the ball into his own net for Leverkusen’s equalizer on 62 minutes, and Julian Brandt scored the winner in the 77th minute. Now on 35 points with a +9 goal differential, Leverkusen have leapfrogged Hertha Berlin for the third and final automatic qualification spot into the UEFA Champions League.

Stuttgart 2-0 Hertha Berlin

Hertha are now four league games without a win (three draws) after falling 2-0 away to Stuttgart. Serey Die and Filip Kostic were the goalscorers on Saturday, as U.S. national team defender John Brooks completed his 12th straight 90-minute shift (all competitions). With 35 points and a +6 goal differential, Hertha now sit just two points ahead of Schalke and Mainz in the race for the Bundesliga’s fourth and final Champions League place.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

Wolfsburg 2-0 Ingolstadt
Werder Bremen 1-1 Hoffenheim
Koln 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Sunday’s Bundesliga schedule

Hamburg vs. Borussia Monchengladbach (9:30 a.m. ET)
Augsburg vs. Bayern Munich (11:30 a.m. ET)

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 20 17 2 1 50 9 41 10-0-0 7-2-1 53
Borussia Dortmund 21 15 3 3 53 24 29 9-1-0 6-2-3 48
Bayer Leverkusen 21 10 5 6 31 22 9 5-3-2 5-2-4 35
Hertha BSC Berlin 21 10 5 6 29 23 6 6-3-1 4-2-5 35
FC Schalke 04 21 10 3 8 30 28 2 6-2-3 4-1-5 33
FSV Mainz 05 21 10 3 8 27 25 2 6-1-4 4-2-4 33
Mönchengladbach 20 10 2 8 40 35 5 7-1-3 3-1-5 32
VfL Wolfsburg 21 8 6 7 31 28 3 7-3-1 1-3-6 30
1. FC Köln 21 7 8 6 24 27 -3 4-4-3 3-4-3 29
VfB Stuttgart 21 8 3 10 33 41 -8 5-1-5 3-2-5 27
FC Ingolstadt 04 21 7 5 9 14 23 -9 4-2-4 3-3-5 26
Darmstadt 21 6 6 9 22 31 -9 1-4-6 5-2-3 24
Hamburger SV 20 6 5 9 22 28 -6 2-3-5 4-2-4 23
FC Augsburg 20 5 6 9 22 28 -6 2-3-5 3-3-4 21
Eintracht Frankfurt 21 5 6 10 27 37 -10 3-3-4 2-3-6 21
Werder Bremen 21 5 5 11 25 42 -17 1-3-6 4-2-5 20
1899 Hoffenheim 21 2 9 10 19 31 -12 1-5-4 1-4-6 15
Hannover 96 21 4 2 15 19 36 -17 2-0-8 2-2-7 14

USWNT tops Mexico, advances to Olympic qualifying semis on late Lloyd PK

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The U.S. women’s national team is one step closer to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in after the Lady Yanks, on the back of Carli Lloyd’s 79th minute, knocked off their North American rivals, Mexico, in a narrow, physical affair at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tex., on Saturday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

With only bottom-of-the-group Puerto Rico (0 points, -15 goal differential through two games) still to face, the USWNT are through to the semifinal round, at which point they’ll be one more win away from qualifying for this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

The first half of Saturday’s clash was much different from what either side saw in their opening game — USWNT beat Costa Rica, 5-0, while Mexico routed Puerto Rick, 6-0 — as both sides engaged in a rough-and-tumble affair, racked up plenty of fouls and failed to create much of anything in terms of quality scoring chances.

The USWNT’s best chance early in the second half came in the 53rd minute, when Christen Press rifled a right-footed effort toward the far post from 15 yards out, but found nothing but woodwork before the ball caromed back into the field of play.

[ MORE: USWNT routs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying opener ]

Alex Morgan very nearly opened the scoring in the 67th minute. Becky Sauerbrunn’s long throw was flicked on by Lindsey Horan’s header inside the penalty area, and eventually made its way to Morgan near the top of the six-yard box, from where her volleyed effort was sent inches over the crossbar.

With 77 minutes on the clock, Horan followed suit with a shot of her own off the post. From 20 yards out, her right-footed effort had beaten the goalkeeper, only to hit the same far post and bounce across the face of goal, where not a single American player was waiting to tap home the rebound.

All of Mexico’s dogged defensive work was undone in the 79th minute, though, as the USWNT was awarded a controversial penalty for handball. Lloyd’s initial effort from the penalty spot was saved, but the reigning World Player of the Year was first to the rebound and slotted the ball into an empty net (below video).