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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.

FIFA disbands racism task force ahead of World Cup in Russia

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) FIFA has disbanded its anti-racism task force, declaring the work complete despite ongoing concerns about discriminatory behavior in 2018 World Cup host Russia.

FIFA wrote to members of the task force to say that it has “completely fulfilled its temporary mission” and “is hereby dissolved and no longer in operation.”

“I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not,” task force member Osasu Obayiuwana told The Associated Press on Sunday. “The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which need continuous attention.

“I personally think there remained a lot of very serious work for the task force to have done – the 2018 World Cup in Russia being one such matter. But it is evident the FIFA administration takes a different position.”

The task force was established in 2013 by then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter and headed by Jeffrey Webb, a vice president of world soccer’s governing body until he was arrested in 2015 as part of the American investigation into soccer corruption.

Webb, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, was replaced exactly a year ago as task force chairman by Congolese federation president Constant Omari, who also sits on FIFA’s ruling council.

“We never had a single meeting under his chairmanship,” Obayiuwana said. “I wrote him, more than once, asking for when a meeting would be held. But I never received a reply from him.”

Obayiuwana, a journalist, broadcaster and qualified lawyer, received the letter from FIFA on Friday announcing the end of the task force.

“The FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination was set up with your help on a temporary basis to develop recommendations for FIFA,” wrote Gerd Dembowski, FIFA’s diversity and anti-discrimination manager.

“We are therefore delighted to inform you that all of the task force’s recommendations have been implemented and all resulting projects are ongoing.”

FIFA pointed to the introduction of an anti-discrimination monitoring system at matches, the launch of a “Good Practice Guide ,” starting a team of footballing legends and a new diversity award. Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s first female and non-European secretary general, will present the award on Monday at the SoccerEx convention in Manchester.

FIFA also told task force members that its own initiatives “actually exceed the working group’s recommendations” – trumpeting its “Say No to Racism” campaign, women’s leadership conferences and programs in Russia. There are less than nine months until Russia stages the Confederations Cup, the warm-up event for the 2018 World Cup.

The most recent research from the Moscow-based SOVA Center and the UEFA-affiliated FARE Network reported a surge in the number of racist displays by Russian soccer fans, with most cases going unpunished. Researchers logged 92 incidents of discriminatory displays and chants by Russian fans in and around stadiums in the 2014-15 season, against a total of 83 for the previous two seasons put together.

Rob Harris can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/RobHarris and http://www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew 2-0 New England Revolution (video)

Joseph Maiorana/USA Today Sports
Joseph Maiorana/USA Today Sports
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The game in 100 words (or less): It was mostly the Crew from start to finish, and Ola Kamara’s brace helped ensure Greg Berhalter’s side that the team will remain in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. While the other Kamara — Kei — and his Revolution teammates were largely limited for chances on the evening, the Crew backline did an admirable job to prevent their opposition from testing them. For the Crew, it was the team’s first shutout since the two sides last met on August 20, ironically also a 2-0 victory for Berhalter’s group.

[ MORE: David Villa discusses MLS playoffs, Guardiola and more ]

Three moments that mattered

42′ – Ola smashes one past the Revs on the stroke of halftime — The Crew attack has sputtered a lot in 2016, but Ola Kamara continues to keep the team’s bleak playoff hopes intact.

67′ — Afful’s effort smacks against the post, stays out — The Crew attacked and attacked and attacked some more. Harrison Afful was definitely a bit unlucky that this chance didn’t end up in Brad Knighton’s goal.

84′ — Questionable penalty seals the points — It looked a bit soft to be given, but Kamara makes no mistake with the finish.

 

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ola Kamara

Goalscorers: Ola Kamara (42′, 84)

Watch: Dario Benedetto scores audacious blast for Boca Juniors

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When there’s little support up the field, what should you do?

Just ask, Dario Benedetto.

The Boca Juniors man broke Sunday’s 4-1 win over Quilmes wide open after a quarter hour when Benedetto smashed a 40-yard attempt into the back of the net, leaving the opposing keeper speechless.

The 26-year-old did just about everything right on the day, as Benedetto finished off the match with a hat-trick before halftime.

Serie A roundup: Torino knocks off Roma, Fiorentina-AC Milan finish scoreless

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Andrea Belotti (L) of Torino and Federico Fazio of Roma compete for the ball during the Serie A match between FC Torino and AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on September 25, 2016 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
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Joe Hart and Torino earned a 3-1 win over Roma on Sunday after two second-half finishes from Iago Falqué separated the hosts from the Giallorossi. Andrea Belotti struck for Torino after just eight minutes to give Siniša Mihajlović’s men the early lead. Meanwhile, Francesco Totti attempted to get Roma back in the match after halftime as the veteran striker converted from the penalty spot with 35 minutes remaining. For Totti, the goal marked his 250th in Serie A with Roma.

[ MORE: Schalke misery continues, Leipzig earns road point ]

Fiorentina drew AC Milan, 0-0, as the latter managed just one shot on target throughout the afternoon. Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was forced into five saves on the day, however, the Viola couldn’t find a way to break through the Milan backline.

Goals from Mattia Destro and Ivan Perisic cancelled out as Bologna picked up a point on the road against Inter Milan. Frank de Boer’s Inter currently sit third in Serie A, trailing only Juventus and Napoli, while holds the seventh spot.

Despite going down to nine men in the second half, Genoa managed a 1-1 draw against Pescara on Sunday afternoon. Giovanni Simeone’s opener gave the hosts the advantage just two minutes after the halftime whistle, however, Rey Manaj tapped in from close range in the 85th minute to secure a point for Pescara.

A pair of finishes from Balde Diao Keita and Senad Lulic helped hand Lazio a 2-0 win over Empoli to propel the Biancocelesti to fifth place in Serie A. The defeat leaves Empoli in the relegation zone through six matches.

Gregoire Defrel lifted Sassuolo past Udinese, 1-0, after knocking home the game’s lone finish in the 34th minute. Udinese fought until the very last minute, nearly finding an equalizer in the 90th minute when Felipe’s header struck the cross bar.