Jermaine Jones

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MLS Snapshot: NYCFC add to Galaxy’s misery, win 2-0 in LA

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The game in 100 words (or less): At the risk of making the same mistake two seasons in a row (writing the Seattle Sounders off in early August), it’s time to forget about the LA Galaxy making the playoffs in 2017. Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of New York City FC was their seventh in eight games. Sigi Schmid inherited an absolute mess of a squad, which currently sits nine points out of the sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference. Rookie Jonathan Lewis scored the game’s opening goal, his first in MLS, and David Villa added the insurance 15 minutes before full-time, his league-leading 18th of the season. NYCFC leapfrogged the Chicago Fire, who lost on Saturday, for second place in the Eastern Conference and remain four points back of Toronto FC in the race for the Supporters’ Shield (and home-field advantage in the playoffs).

[ MORE: Assessing the top moves of the MLS summer transfer ]

Three moments that mattered

40′ — Johnson makes a reaction save to deny Pele — No, you didn’t read that wrong. (Pele van Anholt, that is.)

54′ — Lewis curls a beauty past Rowe for 1-0 — It’s a wonderful strike by Lewis, but one must acknowledge Jermaine Jones’ flailing challenge which comes up painfully empty as the rookie skates past him and goes for goal.

73′ — Villa curls one past Rowe for 2-0 — We are truly fortunate to follow this league while this player continues to do his thing at this level. He’ll almost certainly become the first back-to-back MVP in MLS history.

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Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Lewis (54′), Villa (73′)

MLS Snapshot: Galaxy hammer Red Bulls without injured Jones

Photo credit: LA Galaxy / Facebook
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The game in 100 words (or less): In a shocking turn of events that no one could have possibly ever predicted (hopefully your sarcasm detector is going off right about now), the LA Galaxy were without Jermaine Jones (knee) for Sunday’s clash with the New York Red Bulls, and lo and behold, they appeared to be lightyears ahead of the version of themselves (read: “Jones in tow”) that labored spiraled out of control to the tune of two wins from their first nine games this season. Beyond the three goals scored, two of which were bagged by an extremely motivated side very early on, LA were 1) quick(er) on the counter; 2) most importantly, competent in transitioning and shifting everyone side to side when defending. If you watched this team over the first two and a half months of the season, you know that’s nothing short of a miracle. Final score: 3-1, Galaxy. Here’s hoping Bruce Arena is watching and takes note with regarding to his roster for World Cup qualifiers this summer. Also, of particular note: Romain Alessandrini will win Newcomer of the Year.

[ MORE: MLS (late-night) roundup | Afternoon roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Alessandrini’s free kick untouched, hits paydirt — Jelle Van Damme was probably smart to not touch the ball, as his presence inside the six-yard box alone was enough to freeze Luis Robles in his tracks.

9′ — Alessandrini again, for 2-0 — Not so long after making it 1-0, Alessandrini to the penalty spot and hammered Giovani dos Santos’ cross past Robles to double LA’s lead. Alessandrini has six goals and four assists in his first 10 MLS games.

78′ — Alessandrini wins a penalty, Dos Santos converts — When life is good, life is really good.

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Man of the match: Romain Alessandrini

Goalscorers: Alessandrini (8′, 9′), Dos Santos (78′ – PK), Royer (90+3′)

MLS roundup: FC Dallas still unbeaten; Dynamo destroy Orlando

Photo credit: Houston Dynamo / Twitter: @HoustonDynamo
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With nine MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 25 more to go…

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Real Salt Lake 0-3 FC Dallas

Eight games into the 2017 season, Dallas are the last remaining unbeaten team (five wins, three draws) in MLS and continue to look like runaway favorites in any “best team in the league” discussion.

On Saturday, Oscar Pareja’s side went for a comfortable stroll in the park and notched a completely unspectacular 3-0 victory over RSL. Things couldn’t have started any better for the visitors, as they were awarded a (highly questionable) penalty in the 3rd minute, which Maximiliano Urruti converted, and that was basically ballgame. Matt Hedges made it 2-0 not long after the hour mark, just for formality’s sake, and Urruti completed his brace a minute into second-half stoppage time.

The firing of Jeff Cassar, and subsequent hiring of Mike Petke, has done very little to fix a number of glaring problems which have plagued RSL since their 2016 season started coming unglued last April. A complete teardown and rebuild seem a foregone conclusion this summer/next winter. If Petke’s the right man for the job — and there’s nothing to suggest otherwise — the RSL hierarchy (and fans) are going to have to be mighty patient, as there’s only a handful of salvageable pieces currently on the roster.


Philadelphia Union 3-0 New York Red Bulls

After 15 regular-season games without a win, going all the way back Aug. 27, 2016, Union fans can call themselves winners once again, thanks to C.J. Sapong’s first career hat trick and a second straight clean sheet by Andre Blake.

Blake made a pair of stellar saves either side of halftime to keep New York off the board, setting the stage for an 11-minute explosion of goals (from minutes 74 to 85) from Sapong, who moved level with Erick “Cubo” Torres in the race for the 2017 Golden Boot (7 goals). Sapong has never reached the double-digit goals benchmark (he has hit 9 twice in his first six seasons as a pro).


Houston Dynamo 4-0 Orlando City SC

Here’s something I said on Twitter following Houston’s third (of four) goal against Orlando on Saturday: “Dynamo are terrifying in the first three or four seconds after winning the ball. Don’t find yourself one-on-one against them in open space.” Orlando head coach Jason Kreis, nor any of his players on the field, listened. It was, of course, already too late to make much difference, but it happened again fewer than 10 minutes later.


LA Galaxy 2-2 Chicago Fire

Fact: LA’s midfield is a gigantic problem.

Theory: Jermaine Jones is a big part of that problem

Recent evidence: During the 42 minutes he was on the field against Chicago on Saturday (he went off injured), LA were soundly beaten, 2-0 (Jelle Van Damme’s 30-minute shift is an additional variable which cannot be isolated at this time), and seemed headed for a thorough beating. In the 48 minutes that followed, LA found their footing, looked the better of the two sides, and rescued a point from an otherwise disastrous evening.

Clearly, soccer is far more complicated than simple plus-minus totals, but the eye test also supports the above evidence. Those opening 30 minutes saw Chicago go 1-0 ahead in the 13th minute (David Accam, from the penalty spot) and 2-0 up just three minutes later (Nemanja Nikolic, courtesy of Accam). LA weren’t just bad; they were atrocious.

Still unable to create much of anything through open play, LA made the most of set pieces and willed themselves back to life.


Columbus Crew SC 2-0 New England Revolution

Ola Kamara is quickly becoming is already a star in MLS, as the Norwegian striker continues to shred defenses and add to his impressive haul of goals barely a full 34 games into his MLS career. Through 35 regular-season games played, the 27-year-old has 22 goals to his name after bagging the winning goal against New England on Saturday.

Kamara also notched an assist (his third since arriving in MLS last year) on Columbus’s second goal, scored by Federico Higuain. With the victory, Columbus are up to third in the Eastern Conference, just three points back of red-hot Toronto FC.


San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 Portland Timbers

This week in MLS Results That Make Absolutely No Sense, But Hey, That’s MLS


D.C. United 0-1 Montreal Impact

In a league with so many exciting, entertaining, enjoyable teams to watch, Ben Olsen’s D.C. United remains the hardest of hard passes on MLS Live.

Elsewhere in MLS

Seattle Sounders 0-1 Toronto FC — RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS

Jermaine Jones says his critics are like those who hate Tom Brady

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Whether you love him, loathe him, or exist somewhere in between, it’s difficult to call Jermaine Jones anything but interesting.

The LA Galaxy and USMNT man spoke out again on Monday, largely because some asked him. Jones was a guest on an ESPN podcast and spilled his guts on his American soccer perception.

[ MORE: Gabriel Jesus back in training ]

The comments were colorful, as usual for Jones, with the midfielder harboring hopes for a 2018 World Cup spot and wondering why American fans don’t his strong European record with the same respect proffered to Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey.

Part of that could be down to Howard and Dempsey thriving in the Premier League while Jones got less U.S. TV time operating in Germany aside from short spells at Blackburn and Besiktas.

Debate those thoughts all you like, but we gravitated to his self-comparison to NFL star Tom Brady. Jones is fine with being hated like the Super Bowl-winning QB.

“That is normal. I respect that it is the kind of sport, you know. You have to get hated. If I look in football, look how many people hate Tom Brady, but he is out there and he balling, he gets the championship year for year.

“End of the day, if somebody hates you, that is what i learned from one coach. If they hate you, end of the day, they hate you because they are scared of you.”

STREAM LIVE: USMNT looks for 3 more points in Panama

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.

Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore

Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski