Tag: Fulham

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13:  Moussa Dembele of Fulham is challenged by Grant Hanley of Blackburn Rovers during the Sky Bet Football League Championship match between Fulham and Blackburn Rovers at Craven Cottage on September 13, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Extend goal-line technology to the Championship? Controversy opens debate

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Fulham won 2-1 in Championship play Sunday after holding off a late push by Blackburn, a result which in and of itself isn’t exactly newsworthy.

How it came to pass, though, is.

With Fulham looking likely to cough up a 2-goal lead established after a positive opening 45 minutes at Craven Cottage, a Grant Hanley shot was cleared off the line by Whites’ Jamie O’Hara with in-form goalkeeper Andy Lonergan just out of reach. Replays showed the ball clearly crossed the line, but the goal was not given by referee Tony Harrington.

Goal-line technology exists in most of the bigger top flights across Europe, but it has not yet extended to the lower divisions in England. With more and more money being injected into the English game across all levels, that also means more money is at stake with every decision, and goal-line technology could be a solid investment for the FA.

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer agreed with that sentiment. “There’s a massive prize in this league at the end of the season, a huge amount of money for getting to the Premier League where modern technology is applied.”

Fulham boss Kit Symons, meanwhile, is happy goal-line technology has waited until after today to show up in the lower leagues. “I’m not going to apologise for us having a bit of luck,” said Symons. “We’ve had a lot of bad luck to deal with. I’ve only seen the still of the ball afterwards and it looks like it’s over the line. I’ve always been an advocate of goalline technology but not today!”

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Toronto FC (video)

Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders FC
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The game in 100 words (or less): With the Seattle Sounders’ season slowly slipping away and the possibility of missing the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2015 quickly becoming a reality, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey did what they do best in a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC Saturday night: run wild and score goals. TFC were surprisingly really good value for a point on the night after grabbing an equalizer just before the hour mark and and frustrating the two-man Sounders for much of the night. Big-time players make big-time plays, though, and Oba and Deuce are about as big-time as they come in Major League Soccer. With the victory, the Sounders (41 points) jump three places in the Western Conference, up to third, having played one, two or three more games than the four teams directly below them. TFC hold steady at fifth in the East, six points ahead of Montreal Impact and five points back of the second-place New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: Drogba’s first MLS goal, hat trick | Previewing the rest of Week 27 ]

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Dempsey to Martins, the dream combination — The last time Dempsey and Martins played together, the year was 1894 (it was actually June 13, 2015). They needed just six minutes to combine for a goal in their first game back together.

59′ — Zavaleta heads home to equalize at 1-1 — To all Sounders players: Marking the guys in red (or whatever color your opponents happen to be wearing during a given game) is a good idea. That’s Eriq Zavaleta, a former Sounder no less, standing all by himself at the top of the six-yard box. That’s the easiest goal he’ll ever score.

77′ — Dempsey pounces on Konopka’s epic blunder — Oh my, poor Chris Konopka. The TFC goalkeeper did the hard part — rushing off his line to take the ball of the foot of Martins — but couldn’t do the relatively easy part — hold onto the ball once it was in his hands. He spilled, Dempsey pounced and bagged the Sounders’ (extremely fortunate) winner.

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Man of the match: Clint Dempsey

Goalscorers: Martins (6′), Zavaleta (59′), Dempsey (77′)

MLS preview: Sounders vs. Toronto FC, Crew SC vs. FC Dallas headline Week 27

Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders FC
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Week 27 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is upon us, which means it’s time to talk about how awesome lame it is that MLS continues to schedule league games during FIFA’s international windows. Furthermore, only half the league has to play this weekend, handing a decided advantage to the league’s other 10 teams who aren’t forced to play a game without some of their best players. Fun times!

Predictions record through Week 26: 40-49

So, if you’re to watch just three MLS games this weekend — who am I to tell you to watch only three games? — might I suggest the following three:

Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC (Saturday, 10 pm ET, MLS Live)

It sounds as though Clint Dempsey might actually play in this one, given he’s expected to join US national team camp for Tuesday’s friendly against Brazil, so that’s pretty neat. Dempsey and Michael Bradley each skipped the USMNT’s friendly against Peru on Friday to be available for one of MLS’s highest-priced (salaries, that is) showpiece games.

With Benoit Cheyrou out with injury, Bradley could be forced into a deeper-sitting midfield role against the Sounders, which is a bummer for him, for TFC and for anyone who enjoys watching an American player enjoying a real purple patch of form, but should offer an interesting tactical battle as Dempsey and Obafemi Martins look to combine through Bradley’s part of the field in front of the porous TFC defense.

Prediction: Sounders 2-1 TFC

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

Columbus Crew SC vs. FC Dallas (Sunday, 7 pm ET, Fox Sports 1)

Any other week, this is the no. 1 game I’m circling on the calendar and looking forward to for three or four weeks prior. Alas, international call-ups have completely stripped these two super-fun teams of their super-fun parts — Crew SC: Kei Kamara, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram and Waylon Francis (among others); FCD: Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele and Moises Hernandez (among others).

Let’s be real here: this is going to be an awful game, but one man, Crew SC’s Ethan Finlay, is going to have an absolute blinder in this one and, for 90 minutes at least, look like the best player in the world. Without Hernandez, who generally starts at left back (and very capably so) for FCD, Finlay is going to run riot over Ryan Hollingshead, who has deputized in Hernandez’s absence of late. Jack McInerney will squander a number of quality chances created by Finlay, only to tap in a free rebound with about 15 minutes left in the game.

Prediction: Crew SC 1-0 FCD

[ MORE: If you’ve ever questioned Jurgen Klinsmann, you don’t understand soccer ]

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live)

“Why in the world would this guy tell me to watch San Jose and Philly,” is what I know you’re screaming at your computer/smartphone/tablet. It’s mostly because the Earthquakes have been good for three weeks now. Like, really, really good. They’ve won four straight, and knocked of Sporting Kansas City, D.C. United and LA Galaxy, in that order, by a combine score of 8-0.

That’s all well and good, to play that way against some of the league’s top teams with your season on the line (the ‘Quakes are suddenly level on points with the Sounders for the sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference, and have a game in hand). Wouldn’t it just be “peak MLS,” though, for one of the league’s hottest teams to lay an egg against the last-place-in-the-league Union, at home, immediately following the above run of results? Don’t get MLS’d this weekend, and I’m ready to consider the Fighting Dom Kinnears real playoff contenders.

Prediction: Quakes 2-2 Union