MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 0-3 New England Revolution

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One game, 100 words (or less): Through Jermaine Jones made his Major League Soccer debut, the drama of Saturday’s match was resolved before the U.S. international was subbed on.

With two goals in the first 21 minutes, the visiting Revolution took advantage of a lackadaisical Toronto defense, scoring twice from distance to build an early lead. Seeing little resistance from their hosts, the Revs added a third near the hour, completing an easy 3-0 win at BMO Field.

Goals

Toronto FC: None.
New England: Lee Nguyen 2′, Kelyn Rowe 21′, Teal Bunbury 58′

Three moments that mattered:

21′ – More at Bradley’s expense – After opening the scoring through Lee Nguyen in the second minute, New England doubled their lead via Kelyn Rowe, who dribbled past Michael Bradley to create an open shot just outside the Toronto penalty area. Just as on the opener, where Bradley failed to show any urgency to get to a pass from Mark Bloom, Toronto’s biggest star was caught in first gear, with two long shots swaying the match toward New England.

58′ – The final word – It was another play that started with Bradley, though a number of errors occurred after the U.S. star’s contribution to this one. Attempting to switch play just inside New England’s half, Bradley put his pass off Nguyen, with the rebound sparking a New England counter. Moments later, Charlie Davies was playing across the Toronto area to Teal Bunbury, who finished into an empty net to make it 3-0.

65′ – Wasting no time – He’s only been training with New England for four days, but with his team leading 3-0, Jermaine Jones was given room for an extended run out. By the time he stepped onto the field, the game may have been over, but the near-half-hour of playing time will come in handy mid-week. With Scott Caldwell picking up his fifth yellow card, Jones is likely to get his first MLS start on Wednesday against Sporting.

Lineups

Toronto FC: Joe Bendik; Nick Hagglund, Bradley Orr, Daniel Haber, Mark Bloom; Dominic Oduro (Jackson 68′), Collen Warner, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio (Daniel Lovitz 62′); Luke Moore (Dwayne De Rosario 80′), Gilberto
New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, José Gonçalves, Darius Barnes; Scott Caldwell; Teal Bunbury (Steve Neumann 65′), Lee Nguyen (Diego Fagundez 76′), Daigo Kobayashi (Jermaine Jones 65′), Kelyn Rowe; Charlie Davies

Three lessons going forward:

1. Michael Bradley is not “best player in CONCACAF, Michael Bradley” right now – At his best, Bradley is in that discussion. Right now, he’s clearly not. Typically so active in all phases, Bradley looked worn out, almost injured at points on Saturday. Unfortunately for Toronto, those points included the day’s first two goals.

source:
Via WhoScored.com, New England’s average positions shows Kelyn Rowe, number 11, is still spending much of his time in the middle of the park. Though switching wingers often makes wide midfielders’ average positions deceptive, New England’s second goal shows the damage Rowe can do coming in from the left side.

2. Kelyn Rowe wide. Again. – Lee Nguyen’s partnership with Daigo Kobayashi has had the benefit of settling which midfielder’s Maverick and which one is Goose. Last year, when Rowe was healthy, it wasn’t as clear. Now, with Rowe back healthy, it’s been difficult to fit him into the team, though Jay Heaps may have found a solution.

Leaving Kobayashi in the middle (as the team’s done over the last two games) preserves Nguyen’s comfort zone, while starting Rowe wide allows New England to leverage his skill as needed. Rather than be a second focal point, Rowe can pick his moments to come in and take advantage of space created by his central partners.

On Saturday, that skill produced the game’s second goal, one that permanently put the match in New England’s control. While other teams could probably use those talents through the middle, for New England, a wide-to-in Rowe can complement what already works.

3. Life without Defoe – We’ve looked at Toronto’s attack sans the former England international before. Today, this absence was glaring. The starting duo of Gilberto and Luke Moore combined for zero shots on target.

Where this leaves them:

  • Toronto’s now in the three-way tie for third in the East, one that could be broken if Columbus gets a result at Monday. A New York win (tomorrow) and a Crew result leaves Toronto in sixth place come Monday morning.
  • New England is back in the East’s top five. One of three teams with 33 points, the Revs technically sit third thanks to their 10 wins (one more than Toronto; two more than Columbus).

Why PSG’s Alexis, Neymar pursuit fits in a (relatively) smart space

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Paris Saint-Germain’s run of four Ligue 1 titles ended last season, a campaign which also saw exciting league-winners Monaco go two rounds further into the UEFA Champions League.

Monaco looks set for a step back this season, with Bernardo Silva off to Man City and Tiemoue Bakayoko signing for Chelsea. Kylian Mbappe could join Monaco’s list of departures, and reports say Man City had a bid accepted for Benjamin Mendy.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

While Monaco is loading up on young talent again, PSG clearly sees its chance to surge back into the title seat and Les Parisiens may just make themselves European favorites as well if they can pry Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Neymar from Barcelona.

That would be a South American trident nearly as potent as the one Neymar current shares with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and the Brazilian would not be second or third fiddle.

PSG has so far been relatively quiet this summer, with the addition of Dani Alves the lone new buy. Aside from money, how was Alves lured to Paris over Man City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola? The idea of a reunion with Neymar and several Brazilian mates — Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura — may’ve been enough and surely that conversation would’ve happened between the two Barca stars.

The French side has to make a big chance at some point soon, unless they’ve been able to unload their money bags and actually buy a fountain of youth. Thiago Motta is 34, Blaise Matuidi 30, Silva 32, and Edinson Cavani 30.

It’s calculated aggression from PSG to splash cash in hopes of rivaling Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barca in pursuit of the UCL title. The Neymar move weakens one of those rivals. If Marco Verratti isn’t part of a swap deal, the signings of Sanchez and Neymar would meet the Italian star’s ambitions well up the road.

De Boer: West Brom was out to injure Palace star Zaha

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No shrinking violet, new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer was left fuming at West Bromwich Albion players following the PL Asia Trophy third place match on Saturday in Hong Kong.

While the focus could’ve been on Luka Milivojevic‘s gorgeous free kick (watch here), De Boer couldn’t get past the hard fouls aimed at his key attacker.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

West Brom gave away the free kick that led to the aforementioned goal by chopping down Zaha, and the foul was not an isolated incident.

From the BBC:

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said De Boer.

“He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

De Boer is no stranger to rough play, so this is not coming from a soft place. We doubt it’s going to change anything from Tony Pulis‘ men, though.

Chelsea hammers Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing (video)

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Chelsea struck twice early and Michy Batshuayi put the cherry on top as the Premier League champions cruised past Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing on Saturday.

The Blues started a lineup they’d use on any occasion in the PL, while Arsenal had unproven prospects Cohen Bramall and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the XI.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

Willian‘s quick goal put the Blues up 1-0 at the Bird’s Nest, and Batshuayi scored the second and third. Both were pretty classy, especially the second.

Marcos Alonso did the lion’s share of the work to produce the second chance for Batshuayi, who is threatening to carry over his fine late season form to this campaign. What a smash.

Coutinho rocket helps LFC to PL Asia Trophy (video)

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Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.

Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.

The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.

We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.