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MLS weekend roundup: Revolution down Toronto FC, D.C. United rolls on

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Another weekend of MLS matches are in the books, and listed below is a short recap for each of the nine matches that occurred.

Sporting Kansas City 1-3 Houston Dynamo: Will Bruin, David Horst and Ricardo Clark scored for Houston, as Dom Dwyer notched a goal for the opposition in an NBC-covered MLS match (recap here).

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Colorado Rapids: Unsurprisingly, Seattle Sounders FC will stay in the Western Conference’s top spot and, as has been customary this year, they remain very strong contenders in the Supporters Shield race. It was the lone goal from U.S. star Clint Dempsey that proved to be the difference in this match. In the 53rd minute, Marco Pappa delivered a cornice kick into the box, aiming towards the former Fulham striker, who smacked a volley off the inside of his right leg to cap a great finish.

Toronto FC 0-3 New England Revolution: Big news broke when the New England Revolution signed United States international Jermaine Jones to their ailing midfield, and the 32-year-old did make his debut, but not before the Revs had put themselves into a comfortable lead. Lee Nguyen pinpointed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to get the 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute. Kelyn Rowe’s screamer from distance then increased the advantage to 2-0, before Teal Bunbury’ simple close-range strike in the 58th minute essentially ended it.

Montreal Impact 2-0 Columbus Crew: The Montreal Impact’s new Designated Player, Ignacio Piatti, has already showed why his services are definitely necessary to tack wins on the board for Frank Klopas’ side. Piatti totaled the brace in this game, Montreal’s only two goals, in the 40th minute and deep into stoppage time. His first score arrived on some fancy footwork just inside the penalty area before he executed an excellent finish. Then, Piatti roofed the game-decider off Marco DiVaio’s deflected ball in front of the net.

Chicago Fire 1-0 FC Dallas: This match didn’t deviate from the trend of the one-man scoring crew, as Robert Earnshaw totaled the only goal of night, his second consecutive tally. In the 83rd minute, Jeff Larentowicz lobbed a cross into the center of the box, and Earnshaw was there to tuck his header just inside the far post for the timely conclusion. Chicago is battling to snag the fifth and final playoff position in the East. FC Dallas, despite the loss, sits solidly in the top of the Western Conference table.

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-3 Portland Timbers: The Timbers didn’t let their Cascadia rivals get very close to victory, and the three points gained by Caleb Porter’s crew now have them in the in the fifth-place playoff spot, one point in front of Vancouver. Alvas Powell opened up the appreciable amount of scoring in the 51st minute, nailing home a headed effort at the near post. Then, Maximiliano Urruti, nearly falling backwards, crushed a shot off the crossbar in the 75th minute for the next score, and four minutes later, Rodney Wallace added another one.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Real Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake the San Jose Earthquakes went head-to-head to try to gain the victory, but neither side could break the knotted scoreline. Chris Wondolowski, usually known for his goal scoring ability, snagged the assist to Sam Cronin in the 14th minute. But before halftime in the 36th minute, Javier Morales easily slotted away a penalty kick to draw the game level. Real’s one point put them in third place in the West, definitely looking to make the playoffs in a top seed. Being at ninth place in the same conference, San Jose needed the win.

D.C. United 2-0 New York Red Bulls: United’s form has been one of the most consistent this season, and hence, they are one of the best teams in the league, defeating the Red Bulls to provide a slight cushion in the Eastern Conference. Luis Silva and Eddie Johnson scored D.C.’s goals. NBC had the game covered for you (recap here).

Chivas USA 0-3 LA Galaxy: Youngster Gyasi Zardes, boasting the most goals of any American in MLS (12), must be giving the Galaxy bright hopes for their future at forward. He tallied a brace, along with Robbie Keane’s wonderful chipped goal in the 71st minute, to beat their cross-town rivals handily. USMNT international Landon Donovan also was on the assisting end of both Zardes’ goals, and with this win, the Galaxy pose at second place in the West. Chivas’ scoreless run increased to 546 consecutive minutes, which is actually the worst in the league this year.

Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel signs with former club Vitesse Arnham

NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:Ricky van Wolfswinkel of Norwich City celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton at Carrow Road on August 17, 2013 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
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Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Norwich City’s record transfer at the time of his purchase from Sporting CP in 2013, is moving on after a largely unsuccessful four-year stint with the Canaries.

The 27-year-old has returned to his home country, moving to Vitesse Arnham – the club he went professional with as a 19-year-old. Van Wolfswinkel made his professional debut in April of 2008 with Vitesse, and now returns for an undisclosed fee.

Van Wolfswinkel came to Norwich in 2013 with much fanfare, signing for a reported fee of $11 million – a club record signing at the time.

He proceeded to score just a single goal in 25 appearances during his first season in the Premier League, with Norwich finding itself relegated. He moved to Ligue 1 on loan with Norwich in the Championship, but still managed just five goals in 28 league appearances with St. Etienne. He never made another appearance for the Canaries, instead moving on loan again Real Betis last season, but flopped there too, scoring just once in 16 league appearances.

“I debuted in professional football on behalf of Vitesse and that is something you never forget,” van Wolfswinkel said upon signing. “After several foreign adventures I look forward to returning to the Dutch fields. I hope to find my niche and want to play well and add many goals and assists for Vitesse.”

Report: Arsenal continues to push for Lacazette transfer, readies another bid

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 23:  Lyon's forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring Lyon«s goal during the Friendly match between Sporting CP and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on July 23, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
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According to Friday’s edition of French publication L’Equipe, Arsenal is set to table yet another improved bid for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette should the current one of $44 million be rejected.

The Gunners have spent little this transfer window, with the capture of Granit Xhaka their only incoming purchase thus far, and it has unsettled many supporters. The club has looked to calm those fears, going so far as to claim they are unable to spend big like many others across England, but on the inside they appear ready to spend for the French frontman.

Should Arsenal submit yet another bid for Lacazette, it would be their third. An initial bid for $39 million was rejected earlier this week, the Ligue 1 side announced on Wednesday.

“The reality is that the Arsenal made an offer of £30m,” the club confirmed in a statement, “which Olympique Lyonnais did not respond to for one reason only: OL wishes to keep Alexandre Lacazette because he is irreplaceable and one of the major leaders of Bruno Genesio’s group.”

The Frenchman scored 21 goals last season in Ligue 1 play, including 11 goals in the season’s final 10 games. His total haul was second in the league behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s whopping 38.

It seems that, with this report out in public, Lyon would be silly to accept the new bid, given that Arsenal is likely to have another improved one soon to follow.

Europa League qualifying roundup: West Ham falls in Slovenia

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 08:  The UEFA Europa League trophy is displayed during the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League Play-off round draw at the UEFA headquarters, The House of European Football on August 8, 2014 in Nyon, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In what is often described as more of a distraction than anything for English teams, the Europa League third qualification round is under way, and a Premier League club is in danger of crashing out of the competition prior to the group stage for the third straight season.

West Ham fell 2-1 at NK Domzale, the third-placed finishers in the Slovenian league last season. Mark Noble grabbed an 18th-minute penalty, the only takeaway from an otherwise depressing road result. On the other side, 24-year-old Matic Crnic scored twice to put Domzale through.

Last season, the Hammers also dropped out of the competition in the third qualification round, to Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, although they had wins in the first and second rounds after entering the competition via fair play. In addition, Southampton also crashed out of last year’s Europa League in the playoff round to Danish side FC Mitdjylland. Hull City dropped out of the tournament two seasons ago in the playoff round.

West Ham has the opportunity to turn things around at home in a week as they host Domzale at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday, August 4 in what will be West Ham’s first competitive game in their new home.

Other notable scores from Europa League qualification include:

  • Lille 1-1 Gabala FC
  • Panathinaikos 1-0 AIK
  • Genk 1-0 Cork
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu 0-3 Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • Videoton 0-1 Midtjylland
  • Hertha BSC 1-0 Bronby
  • AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Giannina

Napoli chief calls Gonzalo Higuain a “traitor,” striker hits back

Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain shows the Juventus' jersey as he arrives in the team headquarters in Turin, Italy, Wednesday July 27, 2016. Italian champion Juventus said Tuesday it has signed  Higuain from Serie A rival Napoli for 90 million euros ($99 million). (Alessandro Di Marco/Ansa via Ap)
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Gonzalo Higuain’s summer move to Juventus has not come without bad blood.

When the 28-year-old striker moved from Naples to Turin thanks to Juventus activating his release clause, it left Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis with a sour taste in his mouth. “There are those who say that talk of betrayal is an exaggeration, but I think the opposite,” De Laurentiis told Corierre dello Sport. “Because, in this decision, there is the full sense of betrayal, which also includes ingratitude.”

“We never seriously thought he would leave. Nor that he would have erased in a flash the memories of his three years in Naples.”

That didn’t sit well with Higuain, who fired back that it was de Laurentiis who drove him out of his former club.

“It was my decision to leave, but it was [De Laurentiis] who pushed me into making it,” Higuain told the media at his Juventus unveiling. “I’d like to thank the fans and my teammates, but not De Laurentiis. I no longer had a relationship with him; I couldn’t stand another minute with him.”

Higuain was more celebratory about his time at Stadio San Paulo. “These have been three amazing years,” Higuain said, “and I can only say thanks for all the love I was given, but this was a decision I took for my own reasons. I can understand that they are angry with me and I’ve seen the insults, but it is something I had to do and I’m happy about it.”

Napoli visits Turin in Serie A play on October 30, while Juventus will not travel to Naples for the return fixture until early April of 2017.