Richard Farley

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 1-1 Columbus Crew

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One game, 100 words (or less): Chicago’s plague of draws continues, with the Fire managing to drop points from after scoring first for the eighth time this season. Today, a first half penalty conversion from Mike Magee gave them temporary hope, but a goal seconds after the teams returned from the locker room pulled Columbus even. Thanks to a big stop early in the second half from Sean Johnson, the Crew were prevented from building on their equalizer, with Chicago left to endure its 13th draw of the season.


Chicago: Magee 37′
Columbus: Higuaín 46′

There moments that mattered:

36′ – Ball to … oh, wait. Nevermind – This type of play usually draws a number of “ball to hand” appeals, but Tyson Wahl had both arms outstretched when Grant Ward hit his cross. When the ball found Wahl’s right arm, Silviu Petrescu pointed to the spot, with little doubt behind the call that put Chicago up one.

46′ – 10 seconds? – Jeff Larentowicz jumps into midfield, Patrick Ianni ends up on his backside, and next thing you know, Columbus is even, with Federico Higuaín’s goal coming before Chicago’s sen any second half possession. Straight out of the locker rooms, the Crew have their equalizer, with the corresponding momentum leaving Chicago on the edge of a deficit.

53′ – The leg of Sean – After the equalizer, Columbus looked ready to take over, with the field apparently tilted toward Sean Johnson’s goal. In the 53rd minute, that advantage was set to pay off when Ben Speas ran unto a layoff from Higuaín, but with a kick save worthy of Dominik Hasek, Johnson kept the Fire even, leaving the teams destined to play out a half of few chances.


Chicago: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares; Grant Ward (Harry Shipp 57′), Matt Watson, Chris Ritter (Logan Pause 81′), Alex (Razvan Cocis 63′); Mike Magee, Quincy Amarikwa

Columbus: Steve Clark; Michael Parkhurst (Eric Gehrig 91′), Giancarlo Gonzalez, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis; Ethan Finlay, Tony Tchiani, Wil Trapp, Ben Speas (Jusitn Meram 66′); Federico Higuaín; Adam Bedell (Aaron Schoenfeld 66′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. Larentowicz in the back still a work in progress – It’s not so much that the defense was bad. After all, Chicago only gave up one goal. It’s just a matter of how soon it clicks. Today, Larentowicz did play a small part in the goal, coming out of defense but failing to win the ball. At the same time, the rest of the defense, specifically Patrick Ianni, didn’t make the play behind him. How much can you really fault him for the goal?

In that way, the change leaves Chicago no better off, with the Fire defense still exhibiting a tendency for random error. Will that tendency continue into the future? In theory, time can only help the Fire’s new center back.

2. The value of Sean Johnson – Johnson used to be known for a hyper-athleticism that offset his inexperience, a quality that led to some eye-opening errors in goal. Over time, however, those errors have started to fade, while the high points have become more frequent. Bill Hamid may be going to Portland, but you can see why Sean Johnson remains slightly higher in Jurgen Klinsmann’s pecking order (for now).

3. Drawing out the season – 21 games, only eight of which have ended with a winner. That’s Chicago’s season, and while it’s admirable the Fire have avoided more than five losses, they play in a three-point world. At some point, preferably while the playoffs are still a distant hope, they need to become a three-point club.

Where this leaves them:

  • With the draw, Chicago remains five points back of the playoffs, albeit in eighth in the East.
  • As for Columbus, the point allows them to move clear of New England – one point into the East’s top five.

WATCH LIVE: San Jose, Seattle invade Levi’s Stadium (Lineups and Discussion)

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Before the San Francisco 49ers debut in their new home, the San Jose Earthquakes are going to break it in. In front of that’s expected to exceed 40,000, the `Quakes will host Western Conference-leading Seattle, with live coverage beginning at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

San Jose will be looking to feed off the Levi’s Stadium crowd to climb out of the West’s cellar, with the 2012 Supporters’ Shield winners within three of eighth place Chivas USA coming into the weekend. Though they’ll be without defender Clarence Goodson, San Jose will feature the Chris Wondowski and Yannick Djaló up top, with the forward tandem helping the team to a 5-1 win in its last match against Chicago.

Seattle comes into tonight’s match with its trend line pointing the other direction, with a 3-0 loss to visiting Los Angeles sending a fright through the Sounders’ fan base. For a group that’s suffered through late season disappointment three years in a row, Seattle’s fans have been a resilient group, but any repeat of last fall’s collapse will test the patience of the league’s largest fan base.

Tonight in Santa Clara, the Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, and the Seattle Sounders get their chance to recapture their form. San Jose, on the other hand, can spark a late surge toward the playoff race.

Here are your lineups:

San Jose: Busch; Francis, Bernardez, Hernandez, Stewart; Harris, Cronin, Pierazzi, Salines; Djaló, Wondolowski

Seattle: Frei; Yedlin, Anibaba, Scott, Gonzalez; Evans, Alonso, Pineda, Pappa; Dempsey, Martins

MLS Snapshot: New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

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One game, 100 words (or less) – Any momentum New England took out of its mid-week win over Colorado was squandered in today’s second half, something that should never happen against a team playing with 10 men.

Despite that advantage, one augmented by the 1-0 lead Charlie Davies gave them mid-way through the first, the Revs were outplayed in the second half, with the Red Bulls overcoming a first half, stoppage time red to Matt Miazga with goals from Dax McCarty and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

With stellar day from McCarty helping New York maintain 58 percent of the ball, the home side was able to overcome their numeric disadvantage, jumping back into the East’s top five with a 2-1 win.


New York: McCarty 47′, Wright-Phillips 63′
New England: Davies 20′

Three moments that mattered

47′ – The sign they needed – New England was the better team early, an edge that led to Davies’ first half opener. When the Revs were handed a man advantage just before intermission, the visitors had a paved route to their second win in a row. The match was theirs.

Early in the second, McCarty served notice: Nothing was going to be easy. Chipping Bobby Shuttleworth from just outside the area, the Red Bulls’ linchpin brought his team back into the game, a moment that foreshadowed the rest of his team’s second half. The most important player on the field, McCarty gave a Player of the Week-worthy performance in leading his side to victory.

63′ – A mess at the back for New England – A ball sent wide by Wright-Phillips allows Lloyd Sam to catch the Revs on the counter, something that draws Jose Gonçalves wide. The rest of the New England defense never recovers.

Sprinting through the huge hole Gonçalves leaves behind, Wright-Phillips is fed into the right of the area, where a recovering A.J. Soares can’t prevent the league’s leading scorer from cutting back onto his left foot. Putting his shot inside the far post, Wright-Phillips gives his 10-man team a 2-1 lead, a scoreline that holds through the final whistle.

87′ – Dax’s night is done – New York’s second half dominance was so complete, the team could afford to take off its best player before full-time. Never mind its lead was only one. Never mind the Red Bulls were only playing with 10. The extent to which New York controlled the half meant McCarty could take his bow.


New York: Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Ibraham Segaya, Matt Miazga, Roy Miller; Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty (Kosuke Kimura 87′), Tim Cahill (Eric Alexander 46′), Ambroise Oyongo; Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Péguy Luyindula 77′)
New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares (Daigo Kobayashi 78′), José Gonçalves, Kevin Alston; Scott Caldwell; Teal Bunbury, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Steve Neumann (Diego Fagundez 58′); Charlie Davies (Patrick Mullins 58′)

Three Four lessons going forward:

1. Charlie Davies still has a flare for theatrics – The former U.S. international’s time with D.C. United three years ago earned him a reputation for simulation, one that may have cost him in today’s third minute. Though it looked like Davies drew contact from a New England defender, his embellishment gets Kevin Stott’s attention. On the same day he scored his first New England goal, Davies also drew a yellow for diving.

2. Kevin Stott let too much go – On first half sequence summed up the official’s early approach, with Kelyn Rowe’s two-handed shove in Ibrahim Segaya’s back coming seconds before a shoulder charge from Chris Duvall left the New England midfielder sprawled out in the Red Bulls’ penalty box. Both fouls, so obvious to those watching on television, were ignored by Stott, whose let-them-play approach led to more rough play before the end of the half.

3. Remember Dax McCarty – The weekend’s not done, so somebody else could still step up, but if a player with two goals and little else bests McCarty for this week’s Player of the Week honor, flood @MLS’s mentions. The Red Bull anchor gave a strong case for this week’s honor.

4. Momentum lost – What a demoralizing day for New England. One game after snapping an eight-match losing run, you let a 10-man team come from behind to claim victory. Whatever good was done on Wednesday was thrown away at New York.

Where this leaves them:

  • Pending the result in Chicago, New England is in fifth place, but a point for the Crew will push the Revs out of the East’s top five.
  • New York, on the other hand, jumps into fourth place, and impressive showing in today’s second half keeping the Red Bulls within one point of third place Toronto.

Premier League on tour, Saturday roundup: Liverpool, Manchester United into ICC final


For Manchester City, the International Champions Cup is over, with penalty kicks again haunting Manuel Pellegrini’s squad. After losing to Liverpool via spot kicks on Wednesday, Manuel Pellegrini’s team met the same fate on Saturday, with Greek champions Olympiacos claiming second in Group B after their shootout win in Minneapolis, Minn.

The result set paved the way for Liverpool, first in the group, to join rival Manchester United in Monday’s final, with both halves of England’s greatest northwest derby using Saturday wins to clinch their place in Miami. backed by an early goal in Charlotte, N.C., the Reds claimed victory over Milan, while a record crowd in Ann Arbor, Mich. saw Manchester United down European champions Real Madrid.

Here more on the three Premier League titans’ days on American soil:

Olympiacos 2-2 Manchester City

Stevan Jovetic’s goal 10 minutes before halftime gave the Citizens a brief lead, but when Dimitrios Diamantakos equalized from the middle of the box in the 37th minute, the sides went into intermission tied, 1-1.

Aleksandr Kolarov restored City’s lead in the 53rd minute after David Silva was brought down in the box, but Diamantakos’s second of the game saw the teams play out the final 25 minutes at 2-2. In the shootout, Micah Richards’ miss in the seventh round allowed Anastasios Papazoglou to lift Olympiacos to second in Group B, his conversion into the lower left corner giving the Greeks the shootout, 5-4.

Manchester United 3-1 Real Madrid

The largest crowd in U.S. soccer history (109,318) saw Ashley Young stake the Red Devils to a 21st minute lead, an advantage Gareth Bale pulled back from the spot after being taken down in the box. Eight minutes before halftime, a cross from Young was misplayed by Iker Casillas, giving the United winger what would turn out to be the game’s winning goal.

In the 80th, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández converted from close range off a Shinji Kagawa cross to give United a 3-1 lead, allowing the Red Devils to claim a spot in Monday’s final.

Milan 0-2 Liverpool

A disappointing tournament for Milan ends with the Rossoneri giving up their ninth and 10th goals of the competition: An earlier opener to Joe Allen, and late consolation for Suso. While Pippo Inzaghi’s side confirmed its place at the bottom of the eight-team tournament, Liverpool moved on to Monday’s final, where a preseason derby will mark the end of each club’s U.S. tour.

Southampton’s finally found another home for Dani Osvaldo

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Call this part of Southampton’s exodus if you want, but this is one player Saints wanted to lose. Striker Dani Osvaldo, who was sent out on loan in January after a training ground fight with a teammate, is close to confirming a return to Italy, with the former Roma and Juventus striker set to move to Internazionale on completion of his physical.

The move will be a temporary one, a six-month loan, but Inter will have the opportunity to purchase the 28-year-old for $9.4 million at the end of the season. Should the Argentine-cum-Italian revert to his Roma form, the deal could be a bargain for the Nerazzurri.

From The Guardian:

Gazzetta dello Sport say the 28-year-old will join Inter on an initial six-month loan deal with and a £5.6m option to buy next summer. The two clubs have agreed the terms of the transfer and Osvaldo will fly to Italy from Argentina in the next couple of days to take his medical.

Southampton broke their transfer record to sign Osvaldo from Roma for a fee rising to £14.6m last summer. But the Italy striker was shipped out on loan to Juventus for the second half of the season following a training ground bust-up with his Saints team-mate José Fonte. His record on the south coast currently stands at three goals in 13 games.

With so much money hitting Saints’ account this summer, losing close to $15 million in fees won’t be the problem. The bigger issue: how somebody who was counted on to have an impact at St. Mary’s could turn into such a bust.

For those who’ve followed Osvaldo, the conflict wasn’t a huge surprise, with the former Huracán, Atalanta, Lecce, Fiorentina, Bologna, and Espanyol forward’s temperament leading the Giallorossi to cash in last season. Now back in Italy, Osvaldo may need his best behavior to win a permanent move  from St. Marys.