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The game in 100 words (or less): Here’s the only foolproof advice for any MLS team desperate for points in their pursuit of a playoff spot — don’t play Atlanta United, just don’t do it. Tata Martino’s side, now in the middle of a lengthy home-stand at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, has one four of their last five games (all at home) and climbed into third place in the Eastern Conference, finally surpassing the Chicago Fire, in the process. What’s more, Atlanta (49 points) also have a game in hand (or two) on every team above them in the standings. Hector Villalba and Jeff Laretnowicz bagged the goals during Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, though this weekend’s greatest impact on Atlanta’s season is perhaps yet to be felt after Miguel Almiron left the game with an injury early in the first half.
Three Four moments that mattered
17′ — Almiron leaves the field in tears, injured — Almiron left the game with an apparent leg injury. The 23-year-old Paraguayan, who has 9 goals and 13 assists this season, appeared to be in tears as he left the field.
28′ — Villalba unleashes a thunderbolt for 1-0 — If not for the back of the net, Villalba’s laser beam would still be traveling at a slightly upward trajectory two or three hours from now.
72′ — Guzan denies Salazer one-on-one to keep it 1-0 — Brad Guzan wasn’t asked to make a save until the 72nd minute, and the U.S. national teamer came up huge against Michael Salazar.
73′ — Larentowicz scores on the other end for 2-0 — Soccer, much like life, comes at you fast.
Man of the match: Carlos Carmona
Goalscorers: Villalba (28′), Larentowicz (73′)
MILAN (AP) AC Milan’s problems with consistency continued as a poor performance saw it lose 2-0 at Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday.
Milan didn’t even have a shot on target as late goals from Duvan Zapata and substitute Ricky Alvarez condemned the Rossoneri to its second defeat of the season.
“Samp was superior to us and deserved the victory,” Milan coach Vincenzo Montella said. “We didn’t perform. We were insufficient on a mental level and in our determination as well as technically.
“It’s a defeat which hurts us and we will have to understand why it happened. We’ll need to analyze everything without hiding ourselves.”
Milan slipped to sixth, six points behind leaders Napoli and Juventus. Inter Milan is two points below the top two after a narrow 1-0 victory over Genoa, with Lazio three points further back after beating Hellas Verona 3-0.
There was a huge scare for Milan in the second minute as the referee awarded a penalty to Sampdoria for handball but changed his mind after video review, as Franck Kessie’s arm was against his back when it was hit by Ivan Strinic’s cross.
Sampdoria had a number of chances before eventually breaking the deadlock in the 72nd. Milan defender Cristian Zapata inadvertently nodded an attempted clearance straight at his cousin, Duvan Zapata, who fired it in from six yards (meters).
Alvarez sealed the result in stoppage time, seconds after coming off the bench.
Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic pulled off a number of saves before a late goal helped the Nerazzurri secure a 1-0 win over Genoa, which ended the match with nine men.
Inter had lost its perfect record midweek in a surprise 1-1 draw against Bologna so needed a win to keep up the pressure on Napoli and Juventus.
It was Genoa which had the better of the chances, although Inter did hit the post through Marcelo Brozovic on the stroke of halftime.
However, Inter scored what was to prove the winner three minutes from time when Danilo D’Ambrosio headed in a corner.
“There’s still a bit of difference with Juventus and Napoli, we have to narrow the gap by reconsolidating the certainties which should belong to a great club like Inter,” coach Luciano Spalletti said.
“This team hasn’t reached its limits yet … we have to reach those limits and then surpass them.”
Genoa players Stephane Omeonga and Adel Taarabt were shown straight red cards within minutes of each other in stoppage time. Omeonga was ejected for bringing down Eder and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, and Taarabt for a two-footed tackle on Yann Karamoh.
Ciro Immobile maintained his impressive scoring streak as he netted another two goals to help Lazio win 3-0 at Verona and bounce back from its hefty midweek defeat to Napoli.
Both Immobile’s goals came in the first half, opening the scoring from the penalty spot after Adam Marusic was tripped by Samuel Souprayen,
Immobile’s second was a stunning solo goal as he weaved his way past two Verona defenders before firing into the far bottom corner for his 11th goal in all competitions for Lazio this season. The Italy forward has only failed to score in one match, in a 0-0 draw against Spal.
Immobile also set up Lazio’s third for Marusic.
Crotone scored its first goals of the season in a 2-0 win against Benevento, which is still seeking its first points in Serie A.
Rolando Mandragora netted a stunning strike for his first career goal and Marcus Rohden doubled Crotone’s lead. Nicolas Viola hit the post with a late penalty for Benevento.
Elsewhere, substitute Orji Okwonkwo scored a late winner, two minutes after coming off the bench, to fire Bologna to a 1-0 win at 10-man Sassuolo.
Chievo Verona won 2-0 at Cagliari.
The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City avoided the dreaded U.S. Open Cup hangover on Sunday, four short days after lifting the Cup here at Children’s Mercy Park, by beating the LA Galaxy, 2-1, to remain just a point back of the first-place Vancouver Whitecaps in the race for home-field advantage in the Western Conference. Daniel Salloi, scorer of the USOC-winning goal on Wednesday, and Diego Rubio put the exclamation point on a dominant first-performance by putting Sporting KC 2-0 ahead after 35 minutes. LA got a goal back through Romain Alessandrini’s curling free kick just before the hour mark, but that’s as close as Sigi Schmid’s side would get on the afternoon. The victory sets up a top-of-the-table clash between Sporting and Vancouver next Saturday. Also, Gyasi Zardes played 90 minutes at right back. It went about how you’d expect it to go.
Three Four moments that mattered
1′ — Dos Santos should have seen red after 26 seconds — If video review wasn’t implemented to review plays like this, we should just get rid of video review altogether.
18′ — Salloi gets to Rubio’s cross, toe-pokes it home — Maybe Peter Vermes knew what he was doing when he traded Dom Dwyer, thus opening a boatload of minutes for Salloi and Rubio.
35′ — Rubio taps it in after Sinovic puts it on a platter — Sporting made this one look really, really easy.
58′ — Alessandrini curls a beauty past Melia — Not a whole lot Tim Melia could do about that one.
Man of the match: Diego Rubio
Goalscorers: Salloi (18′), Rubio (35′), Alessandrini (58′)
Not every American player abroad found himself beneath a cleat this weekend, like DeAndre Yedlin.
[ PL PREVIEW: Arsenal vs. West Brom ]
The Magpies right back went 90 minutes for Newcastle and delivered good service in the 1-0 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion. How did other Americans fare abroad?
— Bobby Wood led Hamburg in attempts on goal in Hamburg’s 3-0 loss at Bayer Leverkusen.
— American teenager Weston McKennie made his second-straight start for Schalke, but was again on the losing end in a 2-0 defeat at Hoffenheim.
— Fellow 19-year-old Christian Pulisic went 64 minutes for first-place Borussia Dortmund, leaving with BVB up 5-0 and en route to a 6-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.
— Not many Foals had good matches in that 6-1 defeat to BVB, and Fabian Johnson departed after 72 minutes with his side down four.
— Credit Timmy Chandler for a match-best four crosses in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-1 loss at RB Leipzig.
— In the second tier, Terrence Boyd came off the bench to fire his first goal of the season, a 90th minute header that was joined by Tobias Kempe’s 93rd minute marker to give Darmstadt a 3-3 draw versus Dynamo Dresden.
— Alfredo Morales went 90 minutes in the midfield as Ingolstadt lost 2-0 at Bochum.
— Julian Green got another 90 at left midfield/wing but Greuther Furth fell 3-1 at home to Nurnberg.
— On loan from Schalke, Haji Wright went 59 minutes at center forward as Sandhausen fell 1-0 at Erzegebirge Aue. Ken Gipson was on the bench for the ninth time but did not feature for the eighth.
— Jann George had an assist for Jahn Regensburg in a 2-1 win against visiting Eintracht Braunschweig.
— Yedlin went 90 for Newcastle, as detailed above.
— On the otherside of the Tyne-Wear rivalry, Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch had a moment to remember in a loss to Cardiff City. Gooch converted a penalty that briefly leveled the match.
— Eric Lichaj isn’t getting Championship run for Nottingham Forest, but went 90 minutes at right mid in a 5-1 League Cup loss to Chelsea at midweek.
— Tim Ream has played all 810 league minutes for Fulham, who drew 1-1 versus Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage
— On loan from Everton, Antonee Robinson is still yet to taste victory as a member of Bolton Wanderers. They fell 3-0 to Brentford, with Robinson putting in 75 minutes at left mid.
— On loan from Spurs, Cameron Carter-Vickers went the distance for Sheffield United in a 4-2 derby win over Sheffield Wednesday. The Blades have won both of the 19-year-old’s starts.
— In League One, Gboly Ariyibi scored for the third time in six days as MK Dons won 2-0 at AFC Wimbledon.
— Duane Holmes put another 90 in the books at right mid for Scunthorpe United in a 2-0 win over visiting Portsmouth.
— Ethan Horvath picked up a win as Club Brugge went to RSC Charleroi and won 2-1. Brugge is 7W-1L in league play this season, and the 22-year-old has played every minute.
— On loan from Chelsea, Matt Miazga went 90 minutes at center back for Vitesse in a 2-1 win at Ajax.