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Report: Whitecaps bid to bring Besiktas’ Hutchinson to town

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Atiba Hutchinson was 19 the last time he played club ball in North America, but that could change this summer.

Reports out of Turkey, shared by Whitecaps’ blog Eighty Six Forever, says Vancouver has bid $5 million for the Canadian international.

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Hutchinson has made 157 appearances for Besiktas since joining the Turkish giants from PSV Eindhoven in 2013. He’s also played for FC Copenhagen, Helsingborgs, and Osters since leaving the Toronto Lynx in 2002.

The defensive midfielder is a five-time Canadian Player of the Year and has 77 caps for the national team. He’s also won hardware at nearly every stop of his career, and was the Danish Superliga Player of the Year in 2009-10.

He’d make quite a dilemma for Carl Robinson, with Tony Tchani and Matias Laba both also in important central midfield roles. Should Hutchinson arrive, it probably spells the end for a 4-1-4-1 but the ‘Caps won’t complain about the problem.

Whitecaps’ Williams charged with assault in domestic case

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Vancouver Whitecaps defender Sheanon Williams was suspended by Major League Soccer on Friday, a day after he was arrested and charged with assault in a domestic case.

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MLS suspended Williams indefinitely pending investigations by the league and Vancouver police. MLS said Williams will be assessed by doctors under its Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.

“We are working closely with MLS and local authorities and fully support the league’s swift action to suspend the player while further investigation takes place,” the Whitecaps said in a statement. “Vancouver Whitecaps FC is a values-based organization and we expect all members of the club to act in a manner that reflects our values both on and off the field.”

The 27-year-old Williams, from Boston, has two assists in 11 games this season – his first with Vancouver. He has seven goals and 24 assists in 188 career games in nine seasons with the Philadelphia Union, Houston Dynamo and Vancouver.

Also Thursday, the Whitecaps – who also field a team in the lower-tier United Soccer League – said two minors have been charged with sexual assault after an incident last week at the team’s training facility in Burnaby. The players were indefinitely suspended by the Whitecaps and the team pressed charged with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

MLS Snapshot: Union storm back vs. Rapids, Whitecaps defeat Sporting KC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): In a battle of two of the league’s weakest sides to this point, it was the Philadelphia Union that emerged victorious after a strange sequence of events late in the match ended up benefitting the hosts. Caleb Calvert had a dream start for the Colorado Rapids with his first career MLS goal after a quarter hour, but the 20-year-old’s night came to an abrupt end in the second half after the striker re-entered the match without the referee’s permission. This resulted in a second yellow card. End of his evening. From there, Haris Medunjanin’s stunning free kick beat Tim Howard six minutes later and gave the Union their fourth win of the season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

15′ — Calvert stuns Union for first MLS goal — Andre Blake stood no chance on this one. Just watch below and you’ll understand why. So pretty.

23′ — Howard denies Union equalizer with kick save — Two words: Tim Howard.

69′ — Stranger things happening in Philly — The Rapids were reduced to 10 when Calvert re-entered the pitch without the referee waving the forward back on, and just like that the visitors were at a tremendous disadvantage.

75′ — Union take the lead — Oh boy, that’s some strike from Haris Medunjanin. Wow!

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Man of the match: C.J. Sapong

Goalscorers: Caleb Calvert (15′), C.J. Sapong (67′ — PK), Haris Medunjanin (75′)


The game in 100 words (or less): The Vancouver Whitecaps are picked up a bit of steam in the Western Conference after a slow start to the season, and Christian Bolanos is proving to be a key playmaker for the Canadian side. The Costa Rican recorded two assists on Saturday, helping pace the Whitecaps to their fifth win of the season at BC Place against Sporting KC. Meanwhile, it was an off night for the West leaders, who posted just two shots on target. Goalkeeper Tim Melia impressed once against though for SKC, making five stops in net, two of which came off a second-half penalty double-save.

Three moments that mattered

40′ — Techera volley gives Whitecaps lead — This might be the best team goal you see all season… and Cristian Techera’s finish was pretty darn good too.

67′ — Parker heads home for Whitecaps’ second — The U.S. Men’s National Team defender knocked him his first of the season after the hour mark to ensure the points for the home side.

‘ — Melia makes crazy double-save — It wasn’t Sporting KC’s evening but Tim Melia continues to show us why he’s one of the top up-and-coming keepers in MLS.

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Man of the match: Christian Bolanos

Goalscorers: Cristian Techera (40′), Tim Parker (67′)

MLS roundup: FCD, POR thrill in 2-2 draw; Sounders’ epic comeback

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With eight MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 26 more to go…

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FC Dallas 2-2 Portland Timbers

For the third straight week, we were a matchup featuring two of the top three teams in the Western Conference. After Sporting Kansas City beat Portland two weeks ago, and Dallas topped Sporting KC last week, it was FCD’s turn to host Portland on Saturday. Thankfully, the third game of the early-season round robin did not disappointed, and delivered a higher level of entertaining, attacking soccer (each of the first two ended 1-0).

Fanendo Adi opened the scoring to conclude a cagey opening 30 minutes, and out the window went all semblance of structure and discipline from either side. FCD needed a full 30 minutes before they’d draw level, courtesy of Maximiliano Urruti, a goal that set up a fantastic, frantic final half-hour.

Sebastian Blacno’s first MLS goal put Portland ahead for the second time in the game, in the 71st minute, but the advantage was short-lived, as Tesho Akindele’s 80th-minute header brought FCD back to level terms once again.


Seattle Sounders 3-3 New England Revolution

Game. Of. The. Day.

Seattle found themselves 3-0 down to New England, at home, after 54 minutes. In 13 minutes’ time, from minute 75 to 88, the comeback was on. There’s not much to be said of this one. Just sit back, and enjoy.


Orlando City SC 2-0 Colorado Rapids

Five home games, five wins for Orlando City. The best home-field advantage in all of MLS might just reside in central Florida, and the summer humidity is yet to reach full effect.

Saturday’s victory over a truly awful Rapids side was more labored than you might have expected — all of 70 minutes passed before Carlos Rivas scored the breakthrough — but the result was never in doubt. Colorado managed all of three shots (one on target) over the course of 90 minutes, and Kaka marked his return to action (hamstring injury) with a goal in the 91st minute. All is very, very well in the City Beautiful.


New York Red Bulls 2-1 Chicago Fire

Dax McCarty’s return to Red Bull Arena, following the trade that sent him to Chicago during the offseason, was more than a little bittersweet for the box-to-box bulldog when spent five and a half seasons with New York.

After falling behind to Bradley Wright-Phillips’ opener in the 37th minute, McCarty assisted on Nemanja Nikolic’s 59th-minute equalizer — the spin and lay-off were perfectly executed. The evening ended in disappointment, though, as Kemar Lawrence broke the deadlock in the 71st minute and secured all three points. That’s back-to-back losses for Chicago, who were unbeaten in their first three games since Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s arrival. On the other end, three straight wins for New York, and they’re within two points of first-place Orlando in the Eastern Conference.


Columbus Crew SC 2-3 New York City FC

When two teams with zero desire to play the game at a non-frenetic pace, and no clue how to slow things down and control the game, get together, fireworks are to be expected.

Columbus and New York City meet the above criteria, and were happy to prove as much on Saturday. Jack Harrison put the visitors ahead with the deftest chip in the 8th minute, but Federico Higuain’s equalizer 21 minutes later was just as impressive.

Ola Kamara put Columbus 2-1 ahead in the 49th minute, and all Gregg Berhalter’s side seemed to be in total control. 15 minutes, later Yangel Herrera’s header made it 2-2, and Jack Harrison completed the comeback in the 76th minute. Few victories in MLS this season will deserve greater praise than this one, achieved without the services of David Villa (illness).


Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Real Salt Lake

When Sporting KC get themselves a lead, it’s game over. In the four games in which they’ve scored this season, they’ve won 12 out of 12 points possible. On the season, they’ve conceded three goals in eight games, and haven’t conceded multiple goals in a game yet this season.

Of course, scoring has been the majority of the problem, as Peter Vermes’ side has already been blanked four times themselves. It wasn’t a problem on Saturday, though, as Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Gerso Fernandes were each stellar from beginning to end, and each bagged a goal in Sporting’s 3-0 win over RSL. An inability close out games has haunted this team in the past, but they’re a perfect 4-for-4 thus far in 2017.


Montreal Impact 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps

Someone’s giving Colorado a run for their money as the worst team in MLS. With just a single win to their name this season, Montreal have to make the most out of 1) home games; 2) games in which they lead, if they’re to mount any kind of playoff challenge in 2017.

They did neither against Vancouver, throwing away an early 1-0 lead — Marco Donadel opened the scoring in the 9th minute — by conceding goals either side of halftime, to Andrew Jacobson and Cristian Techera. In truth, Vancouver were the better side over 90 minutes and fully deserved the three points, and it’s a crushing result for a Montreal side with just one victory (and zero clean sheets) on the season.


Minnesota United 0-1 San Jose Earthquakes

Elsewhere in MLS

LA Galaxy 0-0 Philadelphia Union

MLS roundup: FCD win battle of unbeatens; POR rebound vs. VAN

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With seven MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 27 more to go…

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FC Dallas 1-0 Sporting Kansas City

The only two remaining unbeaten teams faced off in Frisco on Saturday, and only one came out still unblemished. FCD dominated in the two most important facets of the game — chances created, and goals.

Maynor Figueroa scored the game’s only goal, a 77th-minute header to put home Michael Barrios’ floated cross toward the back post. If not for the (increasingly typical) heroics of Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia (five saves), FCD would have already been 3-0 or 4-0 in front by that point. Sporting’s only shot on target didn’t arrive until the 47th minute, and it was far from a clear-cut chance, as Jimmy Medranda fired from the corner of the 18-yard box and hardly tested Jesse Gonzalez with the effort.

The win sees FCD move to six games unbeaten to start the season (four wins, two draws), while Sporting suffer their first defeat in seven games.


Portland Timbers 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks bagged goals for Portland, who wasted little time in bouncing back from last weekend’s home defeat to Sporting. Nagbe’s goal, a stunner from outside the penalty area (WATCH HERE) opened the scoring in the 18th minute, and Mattocks made it 2-0 five minutes before halftime.

Fredy Montero scored his third goal in two games to bring Vancouver back to 2-1 just before the hour mark, but that’s as close as the visitors would get.

Diego Valeri was carried off the field in the 80th minute, which is the worst scare that Timbers fans could have possibly imagined, though the Argentine superstar told reporters after the game that he was feeling much better.


Real Salt Lake 1-3 Atlanta United

The honeymoon period is over for Mike Petke who, after back-to-back wins to open his tenure as RSL head coach, suffered his first defeat since taking over for Jeff Cassar five games into the season.

A series of comedic errors doomed RSL just about from the start, as Hector Villalba (9th minute) and Yamil Asad (46th), two of Atlanta’s South American starlets, put the visitors 2-0 ahead a minute into the first half — the latter was set up by Miguel Almiron, another of the young, South American attackers at Gerardo Martino’s disposal. Albert Rusnak pulled RSL back to 2-1 in the 69th minute, but it would remain that way until second-half stoppage time, when Brandon Vazquez beat Nick Rimando for a 3-1 clincher.


New York Red Bulls 2-0 Columbus Crew SC

Columbus’s defeat away to New York went from bad, to worse, to worst, in 39 minutes’ time on Saturday. Midfield revelation Artur went off with a nasty arm injury in the 6th minute, Alex Muyl put the home side 1-0 up in the 11th minute Daniel Royer made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 38th minute, and defensive revelation (and rookie) Alex Crognale went off injured immediately thereafter.


Houston Dynamo 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes

Wilmer Cabrera’s side will live and die by the form of his young attacking quartet this season. On Saturday, Erick Torres and Alberth Elis delivered the goals (read: goals) as Houston picked up a rather comfortable him win over San Jose.

Torres opened the scoring in the 9th minute, and though Elis didn’t double the advantage for another 63 minutes, the result was rarely, if ever, in doubt. San Jose managed just two shots on target (Houston had just three, for what it’s worth), as Adolfo Machado, Tyler Deric and Co. kept their first clean sheet of the season.


New England Revolution 2-2 D.C. United

In a battle of bottom-half Eastern Conference sides, New England and D.C. drew 2-2 after Lee Nguyen and a Sean Franklin own goal stalemated tallies from Jared Jeffrey and Sebastien Le Toux.