Author: Richard Farley


Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Arsenal: Gunners outclassed by BVB


To say a team was outclassed has become a soccer cliché, but on rare occasions, the difference is undeniable. So it was today at the Westfalenstadion, where a Borussia Dortmund team at the peak of its counter attacking expertise embarrassed Arsenal. Outshooting its guests 23-5, BVB opened its UEFA Champions League campaign with a  2-0 win over the visiting Gunners, casting early doubts on the North Londoners’ chance of improving their fortunes in the this year’s tournament.

Eliminated in the Round of 16 four years running, Arsenal’s 2014-15 competition got off to an auspicious start despite staying even for 4r minutes, though Ciro Immobile’s goal just before halftime gave a dominant host its 1-0 lead. After the break, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quickly doubled that advantage, with 2012-13’s finalists ending the game with a 7-1 edge in shots on target.

The victory leaves Dortmund alone at the top of Group D after a late Galatasaray goal earned the Turkish champions a draw with Anderlecht. BVB visits the Belgians in the next round of games (Oct. 1), while Arsenal hosts Gala.

[MORE: Late penalty saves Liverpool blushes]

A lopsided first half that saw Arsenal outshot 15-2 nearly ended scoreless, but moments before intermission, one of Dortmund’s offseason reinforcements scored his first BVB goal. Found on a counter attack in the 45th minute, Immobile carried the ball half the field and to the right of the Gunners’ goal, splitting two defenders at the edge of the penalty area before rolling a right-footed shot inside Wojciech Szczesny’s far post. Leaving the Arsenal keeper flat-footed, the Italian international gave his team a 1-0 lead.

Moments after the break, BVB doubled its edge, again exposing Arsenal’s defense on the counter. Playing a ball from the center circle wide left to Kevin Grosskreutz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned and sprinted toward the edge of the Gunners’ area, where Grosskreutz’s long pass allow him to round an out-of-position Szczesny. Stumbling, Aubameyang eventually regained his composure to loft a left-footed finish into the abandoned goal, giving BVB a 2-0 lead.

[RELATED: Real Madrid score 1000th European goal]

The remainder of the game descended into a series of close calls and Arsenal errors. In the 57th minute, Aubameyeng hit the cross-bar after another defense-breaking counter. Later, pressure from the Gabon international nearly deflected a ball off Szczesny’s foot and into Arsenal’s net, while lackadaisical play from Mikel Arteta on a pass from the flank created an open chance for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Arsenal were able to create occasional chances for Danny Welbeck, footnotes in what as an otherwise meek performance.

It was nearly a worst case scenario for Arsenal. While getting points out of Westphalia was always unexpected, Arsenal now has reason to doubt whether they can meet the standard of Europe’s best. Today in Germany, the Gunners weren’t close.

For BVB, the performance was early confirmation. Though Robert Lewandowski has moved on, Jurgen Klopp still has enough weapons to do damage in this competition. Dortmund may be primed for another Champions League run.


Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Durm, Subotic, Sokratis, Schmeltzer (Jojic 79′); Mkhitaryan, Kehl (Ginter 45′), Bender, Grosskreutz; Immobile (Ramos 86′), Aubameyang

Arsenal: Szczesny; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta (Podolski 77′); Ozil (Oxlade-Chamberlain 62′), Ramsey (Cazorla 62′), Wilshere, Sánchez; Welbeck

Goals: Immobile 45′, Aubameyang 48′

U.S. routs Mexico on record-breaking night for Hope Solo

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To the extent anybody was scared the U.S. would repeat last cycle’s qualifying mishaps, Saturday night in Sandy, Utah, will go a long way toward minimizing any lingering fears of Mexico. Facing the team whose 2010 upset sent them into a qualifying playoff, the United States put up an 8-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium, the team’s first piece of preparation ahead of next month’s CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

The result meant goalkeeper  Hope Solo, entering the night tied with Brianna Scurry for the team’s all-time shutouts record, now sits alone among national team No. 1s. Behind a defense that was rarely tested, Solo recorded her 72nd career shutout, besting Scurry’s mark in 19 fewer international appearances (154).

The U.S. opened the scoring in the 11th minute after an own goal from Alina Garciamendez, whose attempted clearance of an Alex Morgan pass went off Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago before bouncing in for the game’s opening score.

Twelve minutes later, Morgan set up Wambach from deep down the left flank to double the U.S.’s lead, with Morgan adding her first of the night in the 36th minute. Before halftime, Wambach scored her 170th international goal, giving Morgan her second assist of the evening while sending the U.S. into halftime up, 4-0.

Eleven minutes after the break, Morgan added her second goal of the night, with defender Whitney Engen piling on the night’s sixth before the hour. Two 60th minute substitutes, Sydney Leroux and Heather O’Reilly, added late goals, giving the U.S. its final margin.

The win runs the U.S.’s all-time record against Mexico to 28-1-1, with the Tricolor’s only victory coming curing World Cup qualifying four years ago. Though that loss in CONCACAF’s qualifying tournament threw the U.S. into a playoff for Germany 2011’s last spot, there’s little chance we’ll see a similar outcome next month. Not only are there more qualifying spots for CONCACAF at next year’s World Cup (3.5, as opposed to 2.5 in 2011), but as recent results show, Mexico’s 2-1 win in Cancun remains an extreme outlier.

Five days from now, Mexico will have another chance to prove otherwise. The two teams meet again, this time at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.

The CONCACAF Women’s Championship begins on Oct. 15.

Late night sprint: Columbus comes back in Houston; Colorado, Toronto snap losing streaks

Portland Timbers against the Seattle Sounders

Major League Soccer scheduled four games with near identical kickoff times – the main reason why you’ll only see one detailed recap from the league’s late Saturday games.

Thankfully, MLS’s one-match Sunday gives us plenty of time to catch up on the day’s action. For now, though, we’ll have to content ourselves with the highlights and recaps for the three game were weren’t able to watch.

If you focused on one of these and skipped the action in Dallas, check out what happened in Frisco here. Otherwise, let’s do this together. Time to get up-to-date on what happened tonight in Major League Soccer:

Chicago 1-1 Toronto

Missed penalty kicks again cameback to hurt Chicago, though at the time Jeff Larentowicz failed to convert the Fire’s latest try (and Quincy Amarikwa hit Joe Bendik with the rebound), things didn’t look so bad for the home team. Up 1-0 in the 57th minute (after Lovel Palmer’s 11th minute opener), Chicago was looking for insurance – a cushion they didn’t need until late.

In the 89th minute, Dwayne De Rosario scavenged his first goal of the season, ending Toronto’s three-game losingstreak while casting more doubt on Chicago’s fading playoff hopes. The only silver lining for the Fire: Toronto had a late winner disallowed.

(As you’ll hear in the highlights, the reason for the “seasonal” orange at various places on Chicago’s field: Multiple football games being played recently on Toyota Park’s pitch. If this a “pro” for FieldTurf or a “con” for football on MLS fields? Ah, that pesky word “or”.)

Houston 2-2 Columbus

The Dynamo looked poised to avenge their loss in Ohio when Giles Barnes’s deft finish built on Adam Schoenfeld’s unfortunate finish into his own net, giving the home side a 2-0 lead before halftime. Nine minutes into the second half, however, that lead was gone, with a Wil Trapp drive and an Ethan Finlay header pulling the Crew even.

The take away from this match is less likely to be the score than two moments of Columbus hope that descended into controversy. In both halves, Ricardo Salazar awarded a penalty to the visitors only to wave it off after conferring with this assistants. Whereas twice rookie A.J. Cochran thought he had conceded a spot kick, twice he was left thanking Salazar’s sideline help.

Colorado 2-2 Portland

A terrible start for the Timbers was forgotten by halftime thanks to a Diego Valeri volley that blew through Steve Berner’s hands and inside the olorado keeper’s left post. In the 48th minute, however, luck shined on the Rapids when a fortunate whistle gave Dillon Powers a chance to equalize from the spot. After seven straight losses Colorado was within reach of an actual result.

That reach became a grasp in the 66th minute when a sharp-angle header from Deshorn Brown found Donovan Ricketts’ left side netting, giving Colorado a 2-1 lead. Ten minutes later, however, a Diego Valeri pass took a fortunate bounce behind the Rapids’ defense, where Gaston Fernandez was able to hold off the returning Shane O’Neill to put home Portland’s equalizer.