Man of the Match: Rafael Baca had it easy on San Jose’s first goal, but looked at the running the 22-year-old did to put himself in position:
From that point on, Baca seemed like he was in the middle of everything. He completed a match-high 54 passes with a 83.1 percent success rate (overall match success rate: 76 percent).
Packaged for takeaway:
- The hype around this match advertised shootout, and for one half, the two teams delivered. But the goals were less a function of great attacking than poor defending:
- On the opening goal, Víctor Bernárdez got caught watching Kenny Cooper, while the entire San Jose defense seemed to lack urgency as Thierry Henry positioned himself to deliver the final ball.
- On the second goal, Rafael Marquez decides to stop running with Baca, and Jan Gunnar Solli is nowhere to be found at the back post.
- The third goal’s hard to pick apart, as a lot of left backs lose foot races with Dane Richards, but on San Jose’s second, Solli quit on the play early, seemingly assuming Steven Beitshour’s cross was destined to go out.
- Unfortunately, this match is less likely to be remembered for the goals, more likely to be remembered for a series of Crimes and Misdemeanors:
- Henry’s tackle seemed like an innocent mistake, Marquez’s incident reflects an respect issue, but Chavez’s speaks to a different issue. It’s the worst attempt at a challenge I’ve seen all year, one that harkens back to some other deplorable choices. MLS should come down hard.
- Unfortunately, those three incidents had a greater influence on the second half than the goals. The excessive physicality stagnated play, and the final 45 minutes played out scoreless and choppy. That a player led the match with 54 completed passes speaks to the lack of fluidity.
- There may have been more to the second half than two sides being wary. New York seemed like a bully that had been punched in the mouth. After easy wins over Colorado, Montreal and Columbus, the Red Bulls seemed tentative once they realized San Jose could hang with them.
- And as prolific as New York’s attack can be, it’s hard to consider them on Sporting Kansas City’s level until they solve their defensive issues. For a team that seems to have one too many midfielder, I can’t help but wonder if the Red Bulls wouldn’t be better with Marquez in defense, if only until Wilman Conde returns.
- On the same play that saw Salinas’s clavicle broken, Bernárdez was stretched from the field. Early word has the Honduran international suffering a sprained MCL.
The game in 100 words (or less): New York City remedied their rocky start to the 2019 season with a Sunday stroll through Audi Field and three points. D.C. United, on the other hand, looked a sad shell of their former selves, the side hotly picked to represent the Eastern Conference in MLS Cup 2019. Alexandru Mitrita and Heber bagged the goals for Domenec Torrent’s side, which has lost just once in seven games to start the season and suddenly sits a point outside the East’s seven playoff places. Heber stole the spotlight in his first MLS start, bagging NYCFC’s second goal and notching a secondary assist on their first. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta were mostly held in check, outside of set-piece opportunities, in large part to a formational switch by Torrent: he opted for three center backs including 18-year-old academy product James Sands.
[ MORE: Everton pummels Manchester United (video) ]
Three moments that mattered
35′ — Mitrita scores through a sea of legs — Mitrita gets a bit lucky when his shot deflects off the leg of Frederic Brilliant, but United’s defending as a whole is far too lax to begin the sequence.
45’+4 — Moralez’s penalty smashes off the post, keeps DCU alive — When it happened, Maxi Moralez’s missed penalty kick appeared to be the second chance United needed to get back into the game. Alas…
56′ — Heber rifles inside the far post to make it 2-0 — United’s lifeline lasted all of 11 game-minutes, as they were slow to react to a simple ball over the top. Heber made the most of his first real look at goal, from a tight angle.
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Man of the match: Heber
Goalscorers: Mitrita (35′), Heber (56′)
Borussia Dortmund moved back within one point of Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich with a 4-0 win against Freiburg on Sunday.
[ LA LIGA: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of 2nd ]
Dortmund went ahead in the 11th minute when 19-year-old Jadon Sancho scored from the six-yard box after a run by Marco Reus. It was Sancho’s 11th Bundesliga goal this season.
Dortmund added three after the interval with goals from Reus, Mario Gotze and Paco Alcacer with a penalty.
[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]
In the day’s other game, Hertha Berlin was held 0-0 at home by bottom side Hannover, which ended an eight-game losing streak.
On Saturday, Bayern beat Werder Bremen 1-0.
With four rounds left, Bayern leads with 70 points, Dortmund has 69 and Leipzig is third with 61.
A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…
[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]
Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao
Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.
Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.
Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.
Getafe 3-0 Sevilla — WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.
Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Betis 1-2 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes
PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title without kicking a ball as second-place Lille could only draw 0-0 at Toulouse on Sunday.
Lille had to win to have any chance of catching PSG, but PSG is now 16 points ahead of its only rival with five matches left after this weekend.
After failing to clinch the title in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG can celebrate the eighth title in its history ahead of its home game against Monaco later Sunday.
It is PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons, with only Monaco in 2017 breaking PSG’s dominance.
Although the title was long expected from a side scoring 92 goals in 32 games so far, it took longer than it should have.
PSG could have won it three games ago, but drew 2-2 at home to Strasbourg when a win would have clinched it.
Then PSG needed a draw at Lille last Sunday, only to lose 5-1 in the club’s heaviest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge of the club in June 2011.
A win away to Nantes would have sufficed, too, on Wednesday night only for PSG to lose 3-2 .
The 10 goals conceded in those three games made for PSG’s worst defensive record during a three-game spell since 1985.
Also Sunday, striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored twice as 13th-place Nantes beat 17th-place Amiens 3-2.
Later, Saint-Etienne needed a draw at Reims to move above Marseille and into fourth place.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports