MLS Snapshot: Montréal Impact 2-0 Columbus Crew

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One game, 100 words (or less): The momentum Columbus build in recent wins over Los Angeles and Houston failed to make it through customs, with the last place Impact opening the scoring before halftime. The Crew’s second half pressure never evolved into chances on goal, and when Marco Di Vaio drew the defense’s attention in stoppage time, Ignacio Piatti was set up for his second score of the night,. The Argentine’s first two MLS goals gave Montréal the 2-0 win, ending Columbus’s two-game winning run.


Montréal: Ignacio Piatti 40′, 93′
Columbus: None

Three moments that mattered:

40′ – Piatti’s payoff –  A deserved breakthrough for a home team that tested the Columbus defense from the get go, but whereas many of those tests came via through balls from deep, the home side’s opener came in transition, allowing the team’s new Designated Player to record his first MLS goal. After Ignacio Piatti broke down the Crew defense, converting from just inside the penalty area, the Impact had a 1-0 lead, the third straight match Frank Klopas’s team had drawn first blood.

71′ – Di Vaio’s chance – Columbus took control out of intermission, but a Montréal defense showing a newfound resilience managed to keep the Impact in front. In the 71st minute, with the Crew pushing, the home side had a chance to put the game away, creating a chance for Marco Di Vaio on the counter. From the right of goal, the former All-Star nearly found the gap between Steve Clark and his near post. The shot into the right side-netting left Columbus within one.

93′ – Caught in pursuit – The Crew’s push for an equalizer finally bit them in added time when another Di Vaio counter drew the attention of the two defenders kept behind the ball. Free in the right of the area, Piatti waited out a moment’s chaos for his chance at a second, with his finish high into Clark’s net giving his new team its 2-0 result.


Montréal: Evan Bush; Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Wandrille Lefebvre, Krsysztof Krol; Patrice Bernier (Callum Mallace 80′), Felipe Martins; Andrés Romero (Eric Miller 88′), Dilly Duka (Maxim Tissot 63′), Ignacio Piatti; Marco Di Vaio
Columbus Crew: Steve Clark; Eric Gehrig (Héctor Jiménez 59′), Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis; Ethan Finlay, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram (Ben Speas 76′); Federico Higuaín; Adam Bedell (Aaron Schoenfeld 67′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. Montréal isn’t rolling over – This is the same lesson as last week, but given how long we’ve seen Montréal’s struggles (and how low our expectations have become), it’s going to take a while to believe. Piatti  makes them more dangerous, while playing Felipe’s presence behind him, Dilly Duka, and Andrés Romero gives the team a totally different look. Maybe we just need time to get used to that look before we consider Montréal.

2. Disappointment need not mean panic for Columbus – A win today would have helped Columbus pull clear of the five-team cluster fighting for the East’s last three playoff posts. In that sense, today’s loss is disappointing, but the team didn’t play that bad. The lack of a danger man in front of Federico Higuaín is a problem, but that’s nothing new. Though Columbus fans surely would have loved the team’s home form to make it over the border, the Crew weren’t going to be world-beaters forever. And at some point, despite the team’s record, you have to give credit to Montréal.

3. Berhalter will need some imagination in midfield – Tony Tchani’s first half yellow card leaves the Columbus midfielder suspended for next weekend’s visit from Chivas USA. Wil Trapp, electing to take a professional foul on Piatti late, will join his teammate on the sidelines, testing Berhalter’s imagination in midfield. Tchani’s up to seven yellow cards on the season. Trapp now has five.

Where this leaves them:

  • Montréal’s still lodged in the East’s cellar, but with its fifth victory of the season, the Impact are no longer last in the win column. Five victories leave Montréal one win ahead of Chicago.
  • Columbus remains in a three-way tie for third in the East, but they’ve played more games than both New England and Toronto.

Europa League: Manchester United thumps Fenerbahce, Zenit avoids upset

Manchester United's Paul Pogba, left, celebrates scoring his sides third goal with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, during the Europa League Group A soccer match between Manchester United and Fenerbahce at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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Goals, goals, goals and several red cards dotted the landscape of Europa League football on Thursday.

Premier League teams saw mixed results despite controlling performances, while the day avoided a single 0-0 result.

Manchester United 4-1 Fenerbahce

United moved atop Group A, level on points with Feyenoord, after a fairly comprehensive home win.

Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils got a pair of deserved penalty kicks in the first 34 minutes, as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial converted chances to make it 2-0.

Pogba scored a really nice goal from distance off a Jesse Lingard feed before halftime to put it out of reach, and then Lingard struck just after the break to make it entirely academic at Old Trafford.

Robin Van Persie did score upon this return to Manchester, and the fans gave his announced goal a warm cheer.

Inter Milan 1-0 SouthamptonRECAP

Saints were the better team on the day, but Antonio Candreva scored the lone goal as the hosts gave Southampton its first setback of this Europa League season in front of 7,000-plus traveling fans.

Dundalk 1-2 Zenit Saint Petersburg

The Lilywhites looked ready to leap atop the Group D table for a while, an achievement that would feel a bit like Leicester on PEDs.

The opening goal came from Robbie Benson in the 52nd minute, but Robert Mak equalized for Zenit in the 71st before Giuliano put the Russians ahead six minutes later.

The Irish semi-pro side is now 1-1-1 in group play and remains the first club from the republic to score a goal in a group stage or higher European when they drew at AZ Alkmaar.

Dundalk then became the first Irish side to win a European group stage match when it toppled Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-0 at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Take this moment to salute their performances, even with a loss on Thursday.

Celta Vigo 2-2 Ajax
Standard Liege 2-2 Panathinaikos
Konyaspor 1-1 Sporting Braga
Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 KAA Gent
RB Salzburg 0-1 Nice
Krasnodar 0-1 Schalke
Steaua Bucuresti 1-1 Zurich
Osmanlispor 2-2 Villarreal
Hapoel Be’er Sheva 0-1 Sparta Prague
Slovan Liberec 1-3 Fiorentina
Qarabag 2-0 PAOK Salonika

Feyenoord 1-0 Zorya Luhansk
Young Boys 3-1 Apoel Nicosia
Olympiakos 4-1 Astana
Mainz 1-1 Anderlecht
Saint-Etienne 1-0 Qabala
AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Roma 3-3 Austria Wien
Viktoria Plzen 1-2 Astra Giurgiu
Genk 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Rapid Wien 1-1 Sassuolo


Premier League and NBC Sports Group hosted at U.S. Embassy event in London

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The Premier League and NBC Sports Group were recognized today at a U.S. Embassy event in London.

The event, held at Winfield House, the residence of Ambassador Matthew Barzun, celebrated the growth of the Premier League in the United States, highlighted by NBC Sports Group’s innovative coverage and promotion of the league.

Attendees included Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, and NBC Sports Group’s U.K.-based Premier League announce team of Arlo White, Lee Dixon and Graeme LeSaux.

Ambassador Barzun introduced Scudamore and Jon Miller (President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN) at the top of the program.

“We are honoured to represent NBC Sports inside the hallowed halls of Winfield House,” said White, who moderated a Q&A at the event. “We thoroughly enjoy bringing the excitement of the Premier League to fans in the United States, and are thrilled that we are playing a prominent role in growing the game stateside.”

As the exclusive U.S. home of the Premier League since August 2013, NBC Sports Group’s presentation of the Premier League has reached nearly 30 million American viewers in each of its three full seasons as the league’s exclusive U.S. home – more than double the U.S. audience in any year prior.

WATCH: Pogba puts Europa League match to bed for Manchester United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20:  Anthony Martial #11 of Manchester United is cogratulated by teammate Paul Pogba after scoring his team's second goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Manchester United FC and Fenerbahce SK at Old Trafford on October 20, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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Manchester United’s first two goals of Thursday’s easy win over Fenerbahce came off penalty kicks, but the third was far more pleasing to the eye.

Paul Pogba nabbed his second of the night by tearing into a Jesse Lingard lay-off from 20 yards away, ensuring that halftime might as well have been full-time.

[ MORE: Saints fall in Milan ]

Anthony Martial joined Pogba in converting a penalty, while Lingard made it 4-0 just after halftime.

More than 7,000 Saints fans see Southampton fall in Milan (video)

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 20:  (R) Antonio Candreva of FC Internazionale celebrates his first goalduring the UEFA Europa League match between FC Internazionale Milano and Southampton FC at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on October 20, 2016 in Milan, .  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images
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Antonio Candreva’s 67th minute goal gave Inter Milan a lead against the run of play, and dominant Southampton failed to take advantage of an Inter red card in a 1-0 loss at the San Siro on Thursday. (video)

The setback was Southampton’s first in Europa League play this season, and costs them the top spot in Group K at the group stage’s midpoint.

[ MORE: Atleti accepts January transfer ban ]

Saints had the edge in shots and attempts on target, but couldn’t get the better of their historic Italian opponents.

Sparta Prague beat Hapoel Be’er Sheva 1-0 to move ahead of Saints on six points. Southampton has four, as does Hapoel. Inter sits fourth with three points.

The winner was a classy goal, by the way, for the 43-times capped Italian winger:

Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene as Saints were very well-represented in Italy.