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Premier League Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Manchester City

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  • Brighton and Hove Albion set to make Premier League debut.
  • Benjamin Mendy is out but Manchester City can debut Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Bernardo Silva.
  • Manchester City has won each of their last six opening matches in the Premier League, the best current run in the competition.
  • Brighton’s Beram Kayal set to miss 12 weeks with broken leg.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City look to rebound from a disappointing season as the Sky Blues start off on the road against newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The 2016-2017 season was the first since 2008 that Guardiola didn’t win a single trophy in a season. It was also the first empty campaign for Manchester City since the 2012-2013 season. That means the heat is on full blast under Guardiola’s seat and while he’s spent upwards of $270 million on new signings, he’ll have to quickly get his team to the top of the table to satisfy the critics.

In advance of its first Premier League season, Brighton and Hove has been busy in the transfer marking, signing ten new players including Dutch international Davy Propper and Chelsea and England youth international Izzy Brown. After scoring 74 goals in the Championship last year, plenty will be expected from Brighton’s strikeforce of Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and  Sam Baldock.

Ahead of its opener, Brighton suffered a bit of a blow, as starting holding midfielder Beram Kayal suffered a broken fibula, ruling him out for 12 weeks. Baldock too, who underwent calf surgery over the summer, is still working on his recovery.

What they’re saying

Guardiola on if Manchester City are title favorites: “Last season at my first press conference we were favorites, so nothing has changed. I was confident then too.”

Guardiola on spending so much on transfers this summer: “We make good things last season with the players we had. But we were not able to achieve what we were looking for. Like a lot of top teams here in England and around the world, always they are looking for the best possible. But we had one of the oldest teams in the Premier League and we decide to put energy and new players for the next four, five, six years.

“Our average is 24, so it means a lot for the future of the Club.”

Chris Houghton on starting life in the Premier League: “We’re all glad that it has come around, because when you have that initial excitement, you know that has to drop down at some stage, and the reality is we’re playing in arguably the toughest league there is.

“The work starts from the day you get promotion. It’s normal that the players and supporters are going to be celebrating for a period of time, but we have had to come down to reality. We’ve got a very level-headed group of professionals that have trained well every week and have applied themselves very well for games.

“But this division is far tougher and we’ll certainly need all of the experienced heads around us.”

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Prediction

Manchester City may have retooled much of its team this offseason but it is still one of the title favorites. Brighton and Hove meanwhile will just be happy to stay up. While Brighton should put up a fight, especially at home, this one should go easily to Manchester City. Manchester 3-0 Brighton and Hove

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 1-3 Toronto FC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Greg Vanney and Toronto keep on doing their thing, and the Canadian side is yet another step closer to achieving MLS glory. TFC picked up its 50th point of the season on Saturday night after comfortably handling the Chicago Fire, who have cooled off significantly as of late in the Eastern Conference. The Fire are now nine points behind the East leaders and are losers of four of their last five matches.

Three moments that mattered

54′ — Accam, Fire level it up — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from everybody…

64′ — Hasler nets first MLS goal — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from all of their players…

90′ — Giovinco says goodnight to Chicago — That’s 12 goals on the season for Sebastian Giovinco and the TFC striker continues to help his side push towards the top seed in the East and MLS.

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Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Marco Delgado (14′), David Accam (54′), Nick Hasler (63′), Sebastian Giovinco (90′)

Video: Watts gifts D.C. United own goal for the ages

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Not many things have gone right for either side involved in 2017, but D.C. United was the recipient of a gift early on against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Piatti brace lifts Impact to fourth win in a row; Orlando, Crew draw ]

In the 27th minute, Rapids center back Jared Watts received the ball at the back, before making a routine back pass to USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard

Or at least, it should have been a routine back pass.

Instead, Watts’ pass was well off target and too strong for Howard to reach and landed in the back of the Rapids goal. 1-0 in favor of D.C.

Reminder: Both these teams sit at the bottom of their respective conferences on points.

MLS Snapshot: Piatti brace lifts Impact | Crew, Orlando City draw

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact have proven to be a second-half of the season team the last several years, and that form appears to be holding true once more. Mauro Biello’s side won its fourth straight match on Saturday, while Ignacio Piatti continues to show he’s one of the most deadly scorers in the league. Meanwhile, RSL’s six-match unbeaten run is snapped north of the border, leaving the Western Conference side three points out of sixth place.

Three four moments that mattered

11′ — Piatti nets his first of the night — The Impact made this attack look so easy, and Ignacio Piatti simply won’t miss a chance like this one.

26′ — Evan Bush left motionless as RSL equalize — Luis Silva took matters into his own hands, and boy did he connect with this effort!

29′ — Impact punish poor RSL defense — Guess who? Piatti has his second of the evening.

47′ — Hosts begin to pile it on — Anthony Jackson-Hamel played provider in the first two goals, so it’s only fair he got one of his own.

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

Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Ignacio Piatti (11′, 29′), Luis Silva (26′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (47′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City and the Crew settled for a point apiece on Saturday night, but for the former the club is running out of opportunities to pick up points in the playoff race. Giles Barnes pulled a goal back for the hosts after Lalas Abubakar netted his first MLS goal for the Crew, but Orlando couldn’t find a second. The Lions played up a man for the final 13 minutes, following Harrison Afful’s dismissal.

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Abubakar knocks in first MLS goal — Orlando City’s defensive woes are certainly notable as well, but for Lalas Abubakar this is a quality way to open his scoring account in MLS.

67′ — Barnes knots it up at 1-1 — The veteran MLS forward picked up his second goal of the season.

77′ — VAR used for red card decision — The video monitor came into play briefly in the second half, and Harrison Afful was sent off the pitch early after the referee viewed the defender’s elbow to the head of Yoshi Yotun.

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

Man of the match: Zack Steffen

Goalscorers: Lalas Abubakar (35′), Giles Barnes (67′)

Atlanta United fans pack 20,000 into new stadium for training session

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Atlanta United is currently in the midst of a three-match road trip in MLS play, but that didn’t stop the club from unveiling its new home venue to a massive crowd of supporters on Saturday.

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Over 20,000 fans of the Eastern Conference expansion side filed into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch Gerardo Martino’s side train on Saturday as Atlanta prepares to finish out its road trip against D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union.

Atlanta will open up home play at their new stadium on September 10 when they host FC Dallas. The club will have the benefit of playing eight of its final 10 regular season matches in front of its Georgia fan base.

The first-year MLS side will share the stadium with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.

Here are some sights from the training session