Leicester

Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal: Home side holds strong for draw

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Arsenal were listless and wasteful, and Leicester were collected as the Premier League new boys held on strong for a 1-1 draw at King Power Stadium.

The Gunners scored after 20 minutes, but Leicester responded just three minutes later and Arsenal had nothing of quality left to offer.

The game begun in an open manner, with both sides testing the other with attacking flow and counter-attacks.

There looked to be an early injury change, unfortunately for Arsenal, with Laurent Koscielny and Jeffery Schlupp clattering heads in an aerial challenge, and the Gunners defender received the worst of the challenge.

With an open wound on his head and clearly dazed, Koscielny still was able to return with a head wrapping a few minutes later after receiving two staples in his head.

Leicester came closest early on when Riyad Mahrez skipped past Aaron Ramsey twice before shooting just wide left, having beaten Wojciech Szczesny.

On the other end, Arsenal proved lethal in the 20th minute. Some messy defending allowed Alexis Sanchez to put Yaya Sanogo through with a dink. Kasper Schmeichel came out to stone Sanogo but Sanchez was there to skillfully rip home the rebound.

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights, here]

Leicester wasted no time hitting back though, as Schlupp lifted in a wonderful cross from nearly in the corner flag, and it found the head of Leo Ulloa who thundered home for the equalizer just three minutes after falling behind.

It was Koscielny who Ulloa beat in the air for the goal, and following the goal, Wenger removed the French defender in favor of Callum Chambers – likely a change which should have taken place well prior.

The rest of the half went back and forth, and both sides had a few chances with positive counter-attacks, but nothing came of it despite a large amount of stoppage time thanks to Koscielny’s treatment.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

The best chance of the second half came five minutes in, when Sanchez picked out a free Santi Cazorla but the Spaniard dragged his shot wide despite the good opportunity.

It fell to Ulloa on the other end two minutes later after fooling the usually pinpoint Chambers, but with just Szczesny to beat, the ball ended up off the side netting as the Polish keeper got a touch.

Arsenal’s attack slowly became more and more toothless as the game dragged on, but Wenger waited ages to make any replacements. Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, and Sanogo had long since seen their usefulness dry up, but Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remained seated on the bench.

Finally, with 14 minutes to go Ox and Podolski came on, but poetic justice saw Mesut Ozil go down painfully on the edge in front of the advertising boards, and with Arsenal just having used their substitutes, they were down to 10 men for a good four minutes while he received treatment.

Ulloa also was withdrawn, having put in a full shift and clearly looking exhausted and with an empty tank.  Other tired legs remained on the pitch, and the game slowed to a crawl as a result.

Finally, something burst to life when Leicester got a one-man counter-attack with substitute Jamie Vardy skipping past a number of defenders on a high line near the mid line. He got support from Andy King, and Vardy got it back for the shot – denied by a diving Szczesny.

A fitting moment marked extra time, as Szczesny came out to collect a corner and got tangled with Liam Moore, and the pair were booked after a scuffle broke out.

With the point, Arsenal get up to five on the season and stay undefeated but fail to take the chance to jump Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester City.  Leicester City get their best result of the short season and move to two points total.

LINEUPS:

Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Mahrez (Albrighton 64′), King, Hammond, Schlupp (Vardy 77′), Nugent, Ulloa (Drinkwater 77′).

Goals: Ulloa 23′

Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny (Chambers 27′), Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Cazorla (Oxlade-Chamberlain 77′), Ozil, Alexis, Sanogo (Podolski 77′).

Goals: Sanchez 20′

Three takeaways from the Red Bulls CCL draw against the Whitecaps

New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, left, trips over Vancouver Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston inside the Whitecaps box during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal soccer match, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
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With 90 more minutes to play up in Vancouver, this tie is far from over. However, Wednesday night’s clash at Red Bull Arena surely presented intriguing storylines ahead of leg two.

The Vancouver Whitecaps picked up a critical away goal in their 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal meeting.

While their CCL clash was the first competitive action for either side since 2016, both clubs showed glimpses of brilliance in the first of their two encounters in the competition.

Here’s a look back at three important takeaways from the Red Bulls’ draw against the Whitecaps.

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Red Bulls still working out kinks up front

Bradley Wright-Phillips has been one of Major League Soccer’s most prolific goalscorers since joining the Red Bulls, but even the star striker struggled to find the ball in dangerous positions on Wednesday. The Red Bulls striker netted the game’s equalizer after 62 minutes, but chances were far and few between on the night for Wright-Phillips.

Despite dominating the possession for long spells of the match (as is the case much of the time), the Red Bulls found difficulty breaking down the Whitecaps when it mattered most.

Jesse Marsch’s side managed just two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes, while Sacha Kljestan’s penalty kick miss voided the host side from leveling up the first leg just after the halftime break.

The Red Bulls have wanted to toy with a two-striker set since early 2016, and Marsch finally got his wish with Argentine DP Gonzalo Veron match fit for the start of the campaign. Veron looked solid at times with his quality first touches and quick pace, but it was the final ball that was often lacking.

Sacha Kljestan and Daniel Royer interlinked well with one another behind the two strikers, and with Mike Grella and Alex Muyl also tabbed as rotational players in the midfield, Marsch will have a solid group to pick from to help his attack develop moving forward.

Manneh is coming into his own

He scored, facilitated and just looked all around dangerous against the Red Bulls. Kekuta Manneh has become one of the most intriguing MLS players over the past 12 months in large part because of his success in the league as well as the opportunity to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team.

While his goal wasn’t the prettiest six minutes before halftime, the Whitecaps attacker was in the right spot, just as he was for much of the night. His three shots on target led all players involved, but it was Manneh’s confidence under pressure that was most impressive.

The Whitecaps didn’t throw too many numbers forward on the night — with the second leg being north of the border — but Manneh and the Whitecaps attack thrived on the counterattack on several occasions.

With a number of players unavailable for Carl Robinson’s side, including Yordy Reyna, Christian Bolanos and Fredy Montero, the visitors played a strong opening leg, particularly after playing the final 20 minutes down a man when Cristian Techera was dismissed for a high tackle on Red Bulls defender Sal Zizzo.

Youngsters show out for both sides

Experience is still the name of the game for both the Red Bulls and Whitecaps, but Wednesday night also provided a glimpse into the future with several stellar performances from the youngsters on the pitch.

Sean Davis was tasked with filling the hole in the central midfield after Dax McCarty was treaded away from the Red Bulls this offseason, and although the youngster has had experience in the past, he certainly didn’t disappoint for Marsch’s group. The 24-year-old looked confident in his distribution and defended well when called upon alongside Felipe.

Meanwhile, Whitecaps attacker Alphonso Davies continues to turn heads for a player that is only 16 years old. Davies only appeared in eight MLS matches last season for the Western Conference side, but looked like a seasoned veteran against the Red Bulls at times with his blazing strides and pinpoint passes.

The young attacker surely has room to grow, particularly in front of net, but hey, he’s 16.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps: BWP saves a draw

New York Red Bulls' Aaron Long, top, climbs over Vancouver Whitecaps forward Erik Hurtado while competing for the ball during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal soccer match, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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  • ‘Caps nap road goal
  • Techera sent off in 71′
  • Return leg March 2

Kekuta Manneh and Bradley Wright-Phillips traded goals as the Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls drew 1-1 in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena.

Cristian Techera sent the ‘Caps down to 10 men in the 71st minute when he connected with a kick between Sal Zizzo’s legs.

A deft touch by Wright-Phillips set up Sacha Kljestan for a fifth minute chance, but two sliding Whitecaps helped pressure the captain’s shot wide of the near post.

Vancouver had a chance two minutes later when Alphonso Davies played Russell Teibert down the right wing, and the Whitecaps wide man curled a shot wide of the far post.

[ MORE: Amazing beach soccer bicycle kick goal ]

The Whitecaps beat Luis Robles before halftime. Kendall Waston flicked a ball toward the net, and Kekuta used his head to turn the ball off Justin Bilyeu and behind Robles. 1-0, 39′.

A foul outside the 18 nearly saw Kljestan level it up with a 45th minute free kick.

Kljestan should’ve tied it up with a PK just after the break. He didn’t, barely chipping his Panenka attempt above shin level. Woof.

Wright-Phillips made it 1-1 in the 62nd minute, when Zizzo’s cross dropped at his feet. A quick reaction had the ball in the back of the net.

Sacha Kljestan stars in “When Panenkas Fail” (video)

HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 22:  Sacha Kljestan #16 of New York Red Bulls heads the ball in front of Steve Birnbaum #15 of D.C. United during their match at Red Bull Arena on March 22, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
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When Panenkas don’t go well, players look foolish.

Sacha Kljestan looks foolish.

The New York Red Bulls captain strode to the penalty spot to level the score in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.

[ MORE: Leicester grabs away goal ]

Only he didn’t. Kljestan chipped his attempt barely a foot off the ground, allowing David Ousted to kick the chance away. Bradley Wright-Phillips blazed the rebound over the frame, and it remained 1-0 for the ‘Caps.

WATCH: Liverpool loanee nets hat trick for U.S. U-20 side

STEVENAGE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Brooks Lennon of Liverpool celebrates his goal during the Premier League 2 match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at The Lamex Stadium on September 19, 2016 in Stevenage, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
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If Brooks Lennon brings this sort of scoring prowess to Real Salt Lake, he may just walk away Rookie of the Year.

On loan from Liverpool, Lennon is first on duty with the United States U-20 men’s national team in Costa Rica.

The U.S. opened U-20 World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 loss to Panama, and was under the gun when it allowed an early goal to Haiti late Tuesday evening.

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But Lennon scored a trio of goals and sent in the corner that Luca de la Torre eventually finished as the Yanks won 4-1. The U.S. has St. Kitts and Nevis in the final group match on Friday.

The top two teams from each group of four advance to the next round, in which four teams will qualify for the U-20 World Cup. That tournament is set for May in South Korea.