lee_nguyen

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

Leave a comment

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.

Wenger slams criticism of Arsenal’s players ahead of fan protests

Leave a comment

Arsene Wenger is not a happy man.

I know, I know, tell us something we don’t know.

[ MORE: Alli suspended 3 games ]

However, the 66-year-old Gunners boss has taken exception to widespread criticism of his players ahead of fan protests against him which are planned for this Saturday’s game against Norwich (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Wenger stood up for his players who are having their commitment questioned.

“I tell you, this team has character and attitude. Some people who question them, I know them well – they have less character than this team has. I saw them play, and even know them very closely, and they should not question the character of these players,” Wenger said. “There are some groups of people that try to manipulate our fans, but I believe apart from a personal agenda and a big ego there’s not a lot behind [the criticism].”

Okay then…

[ MORE: Wenger has a message for Arsenal’s fans ]

With empty seats galore at the Emirates last Thursday during the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, Wenger had been dealing with growing fan unrest throughout this season.

Although Wenger urged fans of Arsenal to support the players on Saturday against Norwich he did admit he shares their frustration about limping out of the title race this season, of all seasons.

“I can understand the frustration,” Wenger said. “No one is more frustrated than me, but our disappointment has not to go too far. When a club cannot enjoy anything any more, it is in trouble, and we have to not forget that in football you go down very quickly and you come up very slowly.”

Arsenal looked certain to be making a title charge in February after they beat Leicester City late on but since that huge victory they’ve won just three of their last nine Premier League games, plus lost in the FA Cup to Watford and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Barcelona at the Round of 16.

After two decades of Wenger in charge and no PL title in 12 years, Arsenal’s fans want more. They want trophies and success.

They also want answers from Wenger and as the protests on Saturday will show, the vast majority also want a new manager.

Goteborg apologizes over crowd trouble at abandoned match

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 31:  IFK Goteborg receives the silver medal after the match between IFK Goteborg and Kalmar FF at Gamla Ullevi on October 31, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.  (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) Swedish club IFK Goteborg has apologized for crowd trouble that resulted in a league match against Malmo being abandoned after a firework landed next to a visiting player warming up on the sidelines and he responded angrily.

Wednesday’s game was interrupted in the 77th minute, with the score at 0-0, when a firecracker tossed from the crowd exploded next to midfielder Tobias Sana, a former Goteborg player. Jolted by the loud bang, Sana reacted by throwing a corner flag into the stands.

[ WATCH: Sana throws corner flag into Goteborg fans ]

Match officials decided to abandon the match, saying a linesman who was also near the firework when it exploded was shocked by the incident.

Sana, who said he had a headache and ear pain following the incident, apologized for his actions.

“Now that I’ve gotten over the shock, I feel it was the stupidest decision of my life,” Sana said Thursday in statement. “There are many young people who look up to me so I really want to apologize.”

Malmo said that Sana wouldn’t face any sanctions from the club.

In a move suggesting the firework was thrown by home fans, Goteborg posted an apology on its website directed at Malmo, match officials and the spectators. The club could face sanctions from the Swedish football association’s disciplinary committee.

There was another security incident on a chaotic evening in Goteborg. After the match was suspended, a Norwegian hockey player ran onto the field, reportedly as part of a bet with teammates at recently crowned Swedish champion Frolunda.

[ MORE: The latest on MLS in Detroit — 2020? ]

Newspaper Aftonbladet said Mats Rosseli Olsen, who played for Norway at the Sochi Olympics, was charged with a public order offense and could face fines.

Frolunda director Christian Lechtaler told Swedish news agency TT that Olsen’s behavior would have “consequences” but didn’t elaborate.

“Mats is very regretful and doesn’t feel good at all about this,” Lechtaler said.

Swedish football has been marred by crowd problems for years, including fans throwing objects at players and match officials and brawling with each other before or after games. Two years ago, a Djurgarden fan was killed after being attacked by hooligans ahead of an away match against Helsingborg.

Flores on future at Watford: “I need to feel happy”

during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at the Boleyn Ground, April 20, 2016, London, England
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On the surface, it sounds crazy: Why trade a manager who led a first-year Premier League club to relatively quick safety in England’s top flight and a FA Cup semifinal?

But Watford is not any club when it comes to their views on managers, having parted ways with Slavisa Jokanovic after the Serbian manager led them to promotion. Oh, and when hired Jokanovic was the Hornets fourth coach in five weeks.

[ EUROPA: Villarreal 1-0 Liverpool | Shakhtar 2-2 Sevilla ]

So current manager Quique Sanchez Flores isn’t safe despite the Hornets’ 12th place status. That probably has a lot to do with Watford’s four points since the start of March, a tough schedule run that included Leicester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham.

So, could he be gone this summer? Flores has a break clause after this season, and Watford may not have a choice even if they want to keep the Spaniard around.

From Sky Sports:

Asked if he wanted to stay, Flores said: “This is not the question for me now.

“I know the kind of people I want to work with. That’s the only thing I can say. In the last four or five years I work from my feelings. I work around people I feel completely protected with.

“These are my feelings. When we finish the season I will check what the conditions are but I need to feel happy.”

Who needs who the most? Flores’ season has been impressive even with the late struggles, but Watford’s managerial merry-go-round happened before the club advanced into the Premier League and they’ve survived despite making a change in the summer. Still, we’d do our best to keep Flores at Vicarage Road.

Ex-soccer star Weah to run again for president of Liberia

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 25: Liberia soccer legend George Weah speaks during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw at the ICC convention centre on November 25, 2007 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
1 Comment

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) Former world footballer of the year George Weah says he will make a second bid to become president of Liberia.

The ex-AC Milan striker announced on Thursday he will stand as a candidate in elections next year, when current president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second and final term ends.

[ MORE: MLS weeekend preview ]

Weah, who formed the Congress for Democratic Change party, lost to Sirleaf in the 2005 election.

Declaring his intention to stand again, Weah told supporters he sympathized with the plight of many poor Liberians. He said “there were times I didn’t have school fees. I continued to strive with the hope that one day life will get better.”

Weah was the world footballer of the year in 1995. He is a senator in his West African homeland.