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MLS Preview: FC Dallas, Chicago Fire look to return to winning ways

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It’s an international week, so you can be forgiven if you’re not fully focused on Major League Soccer, but there are a trio of intriguing matchups this weekend.

FC Dallas hosts the New York Red Bulls, the Chicago Fire travel north of the border to take on the Montreal Impact and the LA Galaxy host the struggling Colorado Rapids.

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Here’s a breakdown of the top three matchups in MLS action this weekend:


FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls — Saturday, 9 p.m. ET

Headlining the four-match weekend lineup is FC Dallas hosting the New York Red Bulls.

FC Dallas has been slumping, winless in its last six games including three straight defeats on the road. If the season ended today, FC Dallas, which at one point this season was leading the conference, would be out of the playoffs, a precipitous slide over the past two months.

The Red Bulls on the other side are winless in two games after winning five out of six games in July and August. The Red Bulls themselves are just three points above the red line and are in need of picking up points on the road.

Making life more difficult for Dallas is the fact that its without five starters including U.S. Men’s National Team callups Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges. The Red Bulls on the other hand are only missing three players due to international call-ups, with Kemar Lawrence the only notable absence.

Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire — Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

Similar to FC Dallas, the Chicago Fire are in a major slump and have dropped down the MLS standings.

The Fire have lost six of their last seven games and when star forward Nemanja Nikolic doesn’t score, the Fire have won just two games out of 14 (eight losses, four draws).

The Montreal Impact meanwhile saw their four-game winning streak snapped last weekend to rival and Eastern Conference-leading Toronto FC. But the Impact are on the upswing, with Ignacio Piatti recently being named MLS Player of the Month for August and leading the team up the standings.

Both teams will be missing starters due to international call-ups and injuries but it should still be a pretty entertaining game in Quebec.

LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids — Saturday, 11 p.m. ET

It’s a battle of two teams with two new coaches after rough first halves of the season.

The Galaxy notably sacked Curt Onalfo and brought back Sigi Schmid to be the team’s next coach. The Rapids then quietly showed club legend Pablo Mastroeni the door after his team was sitting in the bottom half of the standings most of the season.

Now, both Schmid and new Rapids coach Steve Cooke look to get their first wins of the season and try and turn the season around, even though both team’s chances of making the playoffs are minuscule at this point.

With Tim Howard and the Dos Santos brothers all missing on international duty, the game misses some star power. However, it will be a great chance to look at the tactics of the two coaches and how they’re setting up their team for the rest of the season.

Full MLS schedule

Saturday

New England Revolution vs. Orlando City SC — 7 p.m. ET
Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire — 7 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls — 9 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids — 11 p.m. ET

Leon Bailey stars but Bayer Leverkusen held 4-4 by Hannover

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BERLIN (AP) Jamaica striker Leon Bailey scored twice after coming on as a substitute but Bayer Leverkusen failed to hang on as Hannover grabbed a 4-4 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to move fourth ]

Bailey, who came on at the break, needed only two minutes to equalize after Hannover had gone 3-2 ahead, and he scored again 20 minutes later to put Leverkusen 4-3 in front.

But the 20-year-old missed another chance to complete a hat trick and Julian Korb scored late for Hannover to draw.

“I had a third chance, and I just know if I had taken that chance it would have been over for them. It’s just unlucky. But that’s football,” said Bailey. “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Both teams traded goals on an afternoon to forget for the goalkeepers.

“It was worth the entrance price for the spectators,” Korb said.

Julian Brandt fired Leverkusen into an early lead with a brilliant volley but Ihlas Bebou replied straight away with a header for Hannover.

Niclas Fuellkrug put the home side ahead with a penalty, only for Admir Mehmedi to equalize four minutes later for Leverkusen.

Hannover went ahead again after Fuellkrug set up Felix Klaus with his heel before the break, when Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich reacted with two substitutions.

One of them was Bailey, who raced forward to reach Kai Havertz’s through ball and kept his cool to beat Hannover `keeper Philipp Tschauner.

Bailey claimed his sixth goal of the season after the game’s longest stretch without a goal when Mehmedi played him through on a counterattack after a Hannover corner.

But there was further drama to come as Bebou eluded three Leverkusen defenders to set up Korb for Hannover’s equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Leipzig, level on points with Leverkusen, had the chance to go second again with a win at home against Hertha Berlin later Sunday.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool dominates, selling Coutinho discussed

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start off today’s show by discussing Man United’s win at The Hawthorns as Lukaku scores for the second straight match with Juan Mata impressing with his link up play. The guys also look at Alan Pardew’s influence on the Baggies. Liverpool net four in a dominating victory over Bournemouth and with Mo Salah continuing to dominate, the Robbies ask: can Liverpool now afford to sell Coutinho? And finally, the guys discuss Bournemouth’s recent struggles.

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 ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Report: PSV likely to land Man City, USMNT’s Palmer-Brown on loan

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A number of well-known American players have completed moves to Europe over the years, and a former Sporting KC defender is about to embark on his own journey abroad.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to go fourth ]

U.S. youth national team centerback Erik Palmer-Brown is headed to Premier League side Manchester City, who currently leads the English top flight, after signing a pre-contract with the club back in September.

It is now believed though that the young player will go on loan once he arrives with the English side.

Metro is reporting is that Palmer-Brown is likely to complete a move to Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven on loan.

Palmer-Brown helped the U.S. Under-20 national team reach the quarterfinals at this year’s U-20 World Cup in South Korea, after previously representing several other U.S. youth national teams.

La Liga & Serie A: Barca routs Deportivo, AC Milan routed

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo

Although Lionel Messi’s stardom was rewarded prior to the match at the Camp Nou with the European Golden Shoe, the Argentine forward couldn’t crack the scoresheet one the game kicked off. That didn’t matter though, as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each bagged braces on the day to keep Barcelona six points clear of Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Messi, who had a penalty kick attempt saved in the second half, came close on several occasions, but couldn’t find the scoring touch for the Blaugrana.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Girona 1-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 0-1 Villareal
Las Palmas 2-2 Espanyol


Hellas Verona 3-0 AC Milan

If AC Milan’s season wasn’t bad enough prior to Sunday, today’s performance at the Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi could have only made the club’s outlook much, much worse. Hellas captured its third league win of the season, however, the team remains in 19th in Serie A despite picking up three points. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri fell to eight in Italy’s top flight, after Genaro Gattuso’s men were completely outplayed on the road. To make matters worse for the struggling side, Suso earned a straight red card in the dying minutes, leaving Milan to fend with 10 men.

Bologna 0-3 Juventus

At the top of Serie A, things are getting very intriguing as the season nears its halfway point. Juventus did its part to keep pressure on league leaders Napoli, but four teams currently sit within four points of one another at the league’s summit, making for a testy title race. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic each scored before halftime, giving the Bianconeri a comfortable lead before the break. Meanwhile, ex-PSG man Blaise Matuidi capped off the game’s scoring in the 64th minute.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Atalanta 3-3 Lazio
Benevento 1-2 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Crotone 1-0 Chievo Verona