CONCACAF Champions League Roundup: New York makes victorious debut

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Eighteen years of existence, and the closest the Red Bulls had come to continental competition was a two-legged loss to Trinidad and Tobago’s W Connection while qualifying for 2009-10’s Champions League. This year, New York didn’t have to go through any formalities, with last season’s Supporters’ Shield guaranteeing the team would finally experience full CONCACAF soccer.

On Tuesday night, that new experience got off to a successful start. Within 11 minutes of El Salvador champion FAS’s visit to Red Bull Arena, Saer Sene had his new team on the board, with Lloyd Sam’s second half insurance earning a 2-0 win for the Champions League debutants.

Sene converted his opener after an Ambroise Oyongo cross found Tim Cahill, who headed down for his new teammate for an early lead. Just under an hour later, Sam was set up by Peguy Luyindula in the right of the penalty area, his shot beating Adolfo Menendez near post to give New York its two-goal victory.

The game also saw a return to goal for Ryan Meara, the 23-year-old who impressed as a rookie two years ago. Limited to U.S. Open Cup action against since, Meara made three saves against FAS, with New York holding a 13-7 edge in overall shots.

The win means FAS, 0-0-3 on the competition, can not advance out of Group 3, with the six points Montréal earned from the Salvadorans leaving the Impact on top of the trio.

Deportivo Saprissa 3-0 Real Estelí

Whereas last week Real Estelí were stifling MLS’s champions, this week brought a reminder of Group 2’s challenge. Thanks to a hat trick from Ariel Rodríguez, Estelí was handed its first loss, albeit one that keeps them winless through three games.

Rodríguez broke through in the 18th minute off a give-and-go with David Estrada to notch his second goal of the competition. A late tap-in and a header from a Jordan Smith cross gave the 24-year-old four goals in two games, sealing Saprissa’s first win of the competition.

With four points, the Costa Ricans are on top of Group 2, with Estelí’s second place standing perilous after only two points in three games. Saprissa still have two matches against Sporting Kansas City, while the MLS champions having only played once.

Comunicaciones 1-1 Club América

América didn’t replicate the 5-0 drubbing they gave Puerto Rico’s Bayamón last week, but the Mexican titans got the result they needed to take control of the group. Though Rolando Blackburn’s 25th minute equalizer pulled back Oribe Peralta’s fifth minute opener, América held on to earn a road point from its main challengers, meaning a win over Comunicacions on Oct. 21 at Estadio Azteca will send the team into the quarterfinals.

 

 

 

Marco Verratti crushes teammates in PSG ultimatum

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When asked if he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, Marco Verratti gave an answer sure to turn the heads of his teammates in the French capital.

Transfer rumors have swirled around the Italian midfielder all summer, and he finally addressed the situation in Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport. When asked if he wanted to leave, Verratti said he’d like to stay, but if he is to do so, the club must come through in the transfer window.

“It’s not that I want to go at all costs,” Verratti said. “It’s just I want to see if they really do build a great squad this time. In that case, I would be happy to stay.”

“Each year they say they are going to build a great squad, but we’ve seen the results. Promises are not enough. If, on the other hand, this time PSG with [sporting director Antero] Henrique stick to what they say, then I will be absolutely happy to stay. At the end of the day, nobody is forcing me to leave.”

It’s one thing for a player to say he thinks the club needs reinforcements in the summer, but Veratti goes all in here. For the Italian to claim that promises had been broken and good players were not brought in, that’s a ruthless aside to his current teammates.

Media reports have linked Verratti with a move away from Parc de Princes all summer. The 24-year-old has been most heavily linked with Barcelona, although clubs like Bayern Munich and Chelsea have been mentioned. According to a number of reports, Verratti turned down a new PSG contract as recently as last week in a meeting with the sporting director.

MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 1-1 FC Dallas (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It ended scoreless when the two sides met for the first time this season, and although there were goals in this one, it finished with the same outcome. The Dynamo and Dallas remain equal on points following the draw, with each team boasting 25 at the midway point through the MLS campaign. Goals from Erick “Cubo’ Torres and Maxi Urruti cancelled one another out at BBVA Compass Stadium, but it was the Dallas that had more of the chances in the match. The Dynamo remain one of the top sides in MLS at home, boasting a record of 7-0-2 in their opening nine matches in Houston.

Three two moments that mattered

19′ — Torres makes it 11 on the year! — Give Erick Torres an inch this season… Well, you know the rest of the saying…

59′ — Urruti makes Dynamo pay for missed chance on other end — The Dynamo were so close to making it 2-0 just a minute sooner, but Maxi Urruti had other plans for the visitors.

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Man of the match: Maxi Urruti

Goalscorers: Erick Torres (19′), Maxi Urruti (59′)

MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 2-0 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Toronto FC was without some of its regulars on Friday night, but that didn’t matter much as Greg Vanney’s side avenged their loss to the Revolution from two weeks ago. Coming off of just two days’ rest, TFC continued its push towards an Eastern Conference title at BMO Field behind Drew Moor’s first goal of the season. Sebastian Giovinco was held in check most of the evening, but the Italian scorer did what he does best in the final minute of stoppage time to seal it for the home side with his seventh goal of the year. The Revs pushed and pushed during the second half for an equalizer but TFC’s resilience defensively proved superior as they kept the visitors off the scoreboard for their eighth shutout of 2017.

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Moor taps in for early Toronto advantage — Even on two days’ rest Toronto looks like this…

57′ — Cheeky Nguyen keeps Revs in match — Lee Nguyen is typically known for his creativity in the offensive half but it was this clever play defensively that kept the Revolution down just one goal.

83′ — Kamara comes so close! — It’s just not meant to be on the night for the Revs.

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Man of the match: Alex Bono

Goalscorers: Drew Moor (11′), Sebastian Giovinco (90+6′)

Video: Orlando City product scores crazy bicycle kick

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Goals like this one below never grow old.

Orlando City academy product Alejandro Pereira scored a brilliant bicycle kick for his Under-17/18 side in their 2-0 win on Thursday night during the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs.

Orlando will continue its path in the Academy Playoffs on Saturday when they face off against Players Development Academy (PDA) U-17/18, before meeting Indiana Fire U-17/18 on Monday.