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No Costa, no problem for Alonso, Chelsea

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  • Chelsea scores within six minutes
  • Alonso adds 2nd in 52′
  • Conte: Costa out with back injury

Raise your hand if you thought Marcos Alonso would ease Chelsea’s scoring burden in the absence of Diego Costa.

Put it down, joker.

Alonso scored a goal in each half, and Pedro also scored, as Chelsea beat Leicester City 3-0 at King Power Stadium on Saturday.

The defender arrived from Fiorentina this summer, and boosted Chelsea seven points clear of second-place Tottenham. Liverpool can close the gap to five with a win over Manchester United on Sunday.

Leicester City sits 15th with 21 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first chance came Leicester’s way, with Ahmed Musa dancing around the edge to force Thibaut Courtois into a close-range save.

Chelsea went ahead in the sixth minute through Alonso, who slotted a square first-touch pass from Eden Hazard to make it 1-0.

Courtois again had to make a tight stop when Jamie Vardy sent a tricky ball toward the Chelsea goal, but Leicester had no one on the back post either.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Alonso added a second with a deflected goal, and fellow defender Gary Cahill got in on the act. The veteran didn’t score, but attempted a completely legit bicycle kick that was blocked out for a corner.

Alonso came within feet of scoring a third goal with a rip across the frame soon after his second.

Pedro provided the third goal as N'Golo Kante started a move that ended with a 1-2 between Willian and the scorer for a headed finish. 3-0, 71′

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PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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