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MLS Week 22: Schmid, LA Galaxy host Seattle, Chicago visits Sporting KC and more

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The annual LA Galaxy-Seattle Sounders matchups are always filled with drama, but Thursday’s moves took the drama and interest in the match up a notch.

Sigi Schmid’s first game back in charge of the LA Galaxy will be against his former club, which fired him midway through the 2016 season. Schmid will also have a brand new signing to debut in Jonathan Dos Santos, the midfield brother of star forward Giovani Dos Santos.

Meanwhile, the second-place Chicago Fire from the Eastern Conference travel to face second-place Sporting Kansas City from the Western Conference, with both teams back to full strength with the Gold Cup completed.

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Here’s a look at this weekend’s full slate of matches around MLS.


Atlanta United vs. Orlando City — 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

It’s a rematch from last week’s 1-0 late win for Atlanta United over OCSC. Atlanta has won five of its last six matches, courtesy of Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba, who scored the game winner last week, but Orlando City upgraded this week by trading for former player Dom Dwyer. The American international could make his Orlando City return on Saturday.

New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

The New York Red Bulls passed the test in flying colors on the turf and in the heat at Minnesota, picking up an emphatic 3-0 victory. The Red Bulls have won three-straight games and Sacha Kljestan, Daniel Royer and Bradley Wright-Phillips are firing on all cylinders. The Impact meanwhile coughed up a lead to fall 2-1 and will now have to rebound against the Red Bulls. The good news is that Ignacio Piatti is set to return to the starting lineup.

New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union — 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

Both teams have struggled to win consistently this season but New England picked up a big confidence-boosting win last week, a 4-3 result over the LA Galaxy, which ended up being the dagger for Curt Onalfo. Philadelphia meanwhile is coming off a big win of it’s own, 3-0 on Wednesday against the nine-man Columbus Crew, which were pretty woeful on the night. CJ Sapong getting on the scoresheet is always a boost to the Union.

Minnesota United vs. D.C. United — 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

It’s a battle of the irrelevants as the last-place team in the Western Conference hosts the same in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have struggled mightily defensively but a win on Saturday could be a nice boost for the fan bases that have suffered through the first half of the season.

Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew — 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

The Columbus Crew’s poor road form continued Wednesday with a 3-0 battering at the Philadelphia Union. Gregg Berhalter’s side will have to rebound without two starting centerbacks against one of the league’s hottest teams in Real Salt Lake, as Mike Petke’s side is beginning to hit its stride.

FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

FC Dallas has managed to stay in first place in the Western Conference – with two games in hand over second-place Sporting Kansas City – and now they get starters Matt Hedges, Jesse Gonzalez and Kellyn Acosta back from international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team. The Whitecaps meanwhile are clinging to the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and will need a positive result to stay above the red line.

Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers — 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

The Houston Dynamo, under Wilmer Cabrera, has been one of this season’s surprises and should have a good advantage in the heat against the Timbers, which sit two points behind the Dynamo in the conference standings having played an extra game. However, the Timbers do get star Darlington Nagbe back from the Gold Cup and could steal a point on the road.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire — 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

In one of the weekend’s most-anticipated matches, it’s a battle of two second-place teams that are about to be back at full strength. Aside from the midfield battle between Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty against Benny Feilhaber and Roger Espinoza, the biggest question for the game is how Sporting KC replaces Dom Dwyer up top. Latif Blessing, Diego Rubio and Daniel Salloi are all options up top.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids — 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

The Colorado Rapids have dropped back to earth this year after a stellar 2016, but the playoffs aren’t yet out of reach. Sitting just seven points out of a playoff place and six from the Earthquakes, Pablo Mastroeni’s side are looking for a chance to pick up a rare road win. The Earthquakes meanwhile are struggling under Chris Leitch, having lost three-straight. Colorado’s visit may come at the best time.

LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders — 10:00 p.m. ET on Saturday

It’s arguably the weekend’s marquee game, with Sigi Schmid facing his old team. The Galaxy have struggled mightily to this point this season, but they’ve also had multiple starters missing large chunks of the season including Jermaine Jones, Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lleget and Baggio Husidic. However, the focus will be on the sideline as well as on the new stars on the field, with the signing of Jonathan Dos Santos confirmed on Friday.

Toronto FC vs. New York City FC — 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday

Toronto FC secured a 2-2 draw with NYCFC that included a controversial goal that was originally given and then called back for offside, and it’s a bitter memory that Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney won’t forget. NYCFC are in a good vein of form but Toronto FC get Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley back from the Gold Cup and the pair are high on confidence from the Gold Cup title and final performances.

PL Sunday preview: Wayward Watford welcome woeful West Ham

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In a reversal of roles, based on preseason projections at least, Watford welcome West Ham United to Vicarage Road on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for a clash of mid-table climbers and relegation fighters, respectively.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Man Utd, Chelsea win big… so do Man City ]

Watford began the 2017-18 Premier League season in fine form, winning four of their first eight games and losing just one (to runaway leaders Manchester City, no less). In their last three games, however, the Hornets have conceded eight goals, while scoring just four themselves, and winning zero points. Coincidentally — nor not, perhaps — that three-game slide began at the same time Watford manager Marco Silva‘s name was linked with the vacant manager’s job at Everton. With Ronald Koeman fired almost four weeks ago now, Watford have rejected approach after approach from Everton owner Farhad Moshiri. Silva, for his first three months of efforts, has been roundly praised by the club’s supporters and players alike.

“Everybody could see he changed a lot of things in the team. We had quite a lot of the same players but we improved a lot,” defender Christian Kabasele said this week. “When you have somebody like this and other teams are looking for him it’s important that Watford try to do everything possible to keep him.”

West Ham, meanwhile, started the season poorly and have remained equally so in recent weeks. Slaven Bilic was subsequently fired two weeks and succeeded by David Moyes, who had been out of a job since guiding Sunderland to relegation at the end of last season. Sunday’s bout with Watford will see Moyes make his debut for West Ham, the fourth club to employ him since leaving Everton four and a half years ago. To make matters more difficult, the Hammers’ leading scorer, Javier Hernandez (4 goals), won’t be available after picking up an injury on international duty.

“It’s a clean slate for the entire squad,” Moyes said last week. “They’ve all worked very hard this week and responded in a positive manner to everything we’ve asked of them. It will obviously take time for the players to fully understand our style and methods but the initial signs are very encouraging — they’ve bought in what we are trying to do and that’s a good base for us to build on.”

INJURIES: Watford — OUT: Troy Deeney (suspension), Nathaniel Chalobah (knee), Isaac Success (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Sebastian Prodl (hamstring), Roberto Pereyra (hamstring) | West Ham — OUT: Javier Hernandez (hamstring), James Collins (ankle), Sam Byram (thigh), Jose Fonte (foot); QUESTIONABLE: Michail Antonio (ribs)

The 2 Robbies: North London Painted Red

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In today’s pod, the Robbies heap praise on Arsenal’s impressive performance in the North London Derby (00:30), analyze Manchester United’s 4-1 win against Newcastle on the back of Paul Pogba’s return (10:00), ask if this Man City side is the best Premier League side ever (18:25), debate where Kevin De Bruyne’s current form ranks in the league’s greatest ever players (23:45) and pick the best summer signing so far this season (27:15; hint, hint – he might be leading the league in scoring).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

La Liga: Draw in Madrid derby puts Barca 10 clear of capital rivals

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid played to a scoreless draw in their first derby at the new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday, leaving both teams further away from Spanish league leader Barcelona.

Barcelona won at Leganes 3-0 earlier and ended the day 10 points in front of both Madrid clubs after 12 matches. The thriving Catalan club is seven points in front of second-place Valencia, which will try to extend its seven-game winning streak at Espanyol on Sunday.

The draw extended Atletico’s winless run at its new home to five matches. It drew three straight entering this weekend. Diego Simeone’s team has won only two of its last 10 games in all competitions.

Both teams will have to remain nearly perfect for the rest of the season to try to catch up to Barcelona, which has won 11 of its 12 league matches.

It was a tense between Real and Atletico from the start, with hard fouls from both sides.

Real had control for most of the game but was not able to create many significant chances.

Atletico had one of its best opportunities early when forward Angel Correa entered the area free from markers with only goalkeeper Kiko Casilla to beat but sent his shot wide.

Substitute Kevin Gameiro also came close in the second half, but his shot over Casilla was cleared by Real defender Raphael Varane in front of the goal-line.

Real threatened with a few runs by Isco and a couple of free kicks taken by Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was another tough night for Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann. Ronaldo has scored six times in the Champions league but only once in La Liga, while Griezmann has only three goals in 14 matches with Atletico in all competitions. The France forward was jeered when he was replaced by Fernando Torres near the end of the second half.

Luis Suarez scored twice to end a five-match scoring drought in Barcelona’s win.

The Uruguay striker found the net in each half and substitute midfielder Paulinho scored late to give the Catalan club its 11th win.

Leganes, ninth in the standings, had its chances early in southern Madrid but couldn’t beat Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Suarez opened the scoring in the 28th after Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar dropped the ball in front of the goal after a cross by Paco Alcacer. Suarez’s second in the 60th was a rebound shot after Cuellar parried a shot by Lionel Messi. Suarez hadn’t scored in more than a month.

“What mattered to me was that I was feeling good and was helping the team, and today the goals helped us get the three points against a difficult rival,” Suarez said. “We always try to play better, but it’s not always possible.”

Paulinho sealed the victory in the 90th after a pass by Messi, who was on the ground fighting for the ball when he tipped it back to the midfielder.

Leganes, playing only in its second season in the first division, wore a specially designed purple shirt to promote the fight against gender violence.

“We had our opportunities, but in the end we knew that we were playing against the best team in the world, and with very little they can score on you,” Leganes midfielder Ruben Perez said.

Sevilla recovered from its loss to Barcelona in the previous round by beating Celta Vigo 2-1 to move back to fifth place.

Celta got on the board first through Maxi Gomez, but the hosts rallied with goals by Luis Muriel in the first half and Nolito in the second.

It was the fourth win in five matches for Sevilla in all competitions.

Markel Bergara and Jorge Molina scored in the first 10 minutes to lead Getafe to a comfortable 4-1 win over Alaves at home.

It was the 10th league loss for Alaves, which remains in 18th place. Getafe is 10th.

“Our performance was embarrassing,” Alaves coach Gianni De Biasi said.

Bundesliga: Bayern running away (again) after slow start

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BERLIN (AP) Robert Lewandowski scored twice to help Bayern Munich stretch its lead in the Bundesliga to six points with a 3-0 defeat of Bavarian rival Augsburg on Saturday.

It was the 500th league win for Jupp Heynckes as a player or coach and extends the 72-year-old’s winning start to eight games across all competitions since he returned for his fourth stint.

“That’s a surprise for me. I don’t bother with statistics and numbers,” Heynckes said on being told about his winning landmark. “But it’s an impressive number (500). I had a long career as a player, and now as a coach. It wasn’t planned.”

Heynckes was coaxed out of retirement to take over from the fired Carlo Ancelotti on Oct. 5. Bayern was trailing then-leader Borussia Dortmund by five points at the time. Now the side is nine points ahead of Dortmund, which hasn’t won in the league since Sept. 30, and six ahead of Leipzig, held to a draw at Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal broke the deadlock after half an hour, swiveling to fire home the rebound from a difficult angle after Mats Hummels’s effort was blocked and the ball ricocheted off Niklas Suele.

Vidal turned provider seven minutes later, playing Lewandowski through on a counterattack to shoot past Marwin Hitz.

The Poland striker claimed his league-leading 13th goal of the season early in the second half with a perfectly struck volley to Joshua Kimmich’s precise long cross from the right.

Vidal headed against the crossbar just afterward before Bayern conserved energy for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Anderlecht.

The win stretched the side’s unbeaten record to 28 games at home.

Winless Cologne’s terrible start to the league continued with its 10th defeat in 12 games, while the discussion over video assistance in the league will continue after two mistakes by referee Felix Brych.

Daniel Brosinski’s penalty before the break was enough for a 1-0 win for Mainz against Cologne, but how it came about will ensure the controversy over video assistance goes on.

Brych pointed to the spot when Pablo De Blasis fell under Frederik Sorensen’s challenge. He then consulted the video assistant, who had the benefit of studying replays in Cologne, and stood by the decision – despite television showing that Sorensen made hardly any contact with the Mainz player.

Brych later sent off Mainz’s Giulio Donati for what he perceived as striking Leon Bittencourt after a tussle between the two. However, Bittencourt’s foot struck Donati in the face beforehand. Donati, who was lying on the pitch clutching his face, brushed the Cologne player away when he went to lift him up.

Following controversial decisions in previous games, the German soccer federation said video assistants were only to step in when there was “a clear wrong decision.”

Ten-man Leverkusen came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at home against second-place Leipzig.

Timo Werner’s early penalty put the visitors in front before Leon Bailey equalized before the break.

The home side’s hopes took a blow when Benjamin Henrichs was sent off for handball on the line and Emil Forsberg scored the resulting penalty, but Kevin Volland equalized again with a quarter-hour remaining.

Wolfsburg defeated Freiburg 3-1 at home to give coach Martin Schmidt his first win after he started with seven draws.

On loan from Bayern, Serge Gnabry did brilliantly to set up Mark Uth for Hoffenheim’s injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw with visiting Eintracht Frankfurt.