Drilling down on: at D.C. United 1, Montreal 1

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Man of the Match: Bernardo Corradi’s big effort helped set the pace for Montreal, as the busy Impact forward had the will near goal to help his club collect its first road Major League Soccer road points. The former Italian international won headers early, nearly scored on a hard near post run and then found the goal on a cross to the back post. Just after the important strike, he nicely set up Collen Warner, who missed just to the right.

Packaged for take-away:

  • Lots of hot-button talk about United Designated Player Branko Boskovic in 3 .. 2 … 1 …
  • It would be easy to say Maicon Santos’ introduction in the 61st minute changed things for D.C. United’s rudderless attack; his will and energy certainly helped add some pep. But it was so much more than that. When Santos came on he partnered with Chris Pontius at forward while Dwayne De Rosario dropped into the midfield in place of the drifting and ineffective Boskovic. That was the change that mattered even more.
  • De Rosario’s willingness to insert himself sharply into attacking positions created the chaos in Montreal’s defense that opened scoring chances that just weren’t there before.
  • Consider that D.C. United didn’t even have a shot on goal until Santos’ 65th minute effort. A few minutes later, the home team was on the board.
  • Further, Boskovic’s movement is so sluggish and undefined, he’s often crowding the midfield. Once he left and De Rosario took the central midfield position next to Perry Kitchen, Kitchen’s distribution from the holding areas became less cluttered, more purposeful.
  • Bottom line here, I am trying really, really hard to see what Boskovic is adding to this team. I could go on and on about what the man doesn’t do; I just don’t see what his base contribution might be. We are seven weeks into the MLS season. He should be fit. He should be making a difference.
  • So, totaling up the DP tally around RFK: They have three of them. De Rosario has yet to score, but he’s doing fine, making things happen. Boskovic just made his second start, and manager Ben Olsen needs to think long and hard about whether a third is best for the team. Hamdi Salihi, the team’s third DP, didn’t play at all Wednesday. Any way you slice it, there’s a whole bunch there to sort out — especially with players like Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon and Andy Najar looking hungry and up for the job. They just need a playmaker around them who is more involved.
  • Early for Montreal, Sanna Nyassi looked like the most dangerous man, troubling United left back Daniel Woolard. Later, Lamar Neagle came in for the tiring Nyassi, and he added some punch to Montreal’s attack.
  • Justin Mapp had two glistening opportunities for the Impact but failed to turn either into something on goal, mostly because he didn’t have confidence in his right foot. One was a pass that needed to be better for Davey Arnaud, and one was a shot he passed up from point blank range. It’s OK to be better with one foot, but at this point in his career he needs to be competent enough with either at the moment of truth.

Chicharito says Mexican team “always feels welcome” in the United States

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Mexico will take on Wales on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA as they warm up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Playing in the United States is nothing new for the USMNT’s southern neighbors, and it doesn’t phase them. In fact, they love it.

Star striker Chicharito told reporters that he and the rest of the squad is more than happy playing north of the border, because according to him, apart from a pair of venues, they can’t even tell they’re on the road.

“We always feel welcome here,” Chicharito said. “It’s like our second country, if we can say that, apart from Columbus [Ohio] and apart from the stadium in Miami when we played Colombia…those two stadiums, that’s the only time I’ve felt that we were the away team.”

Chicharito knows that the high population of his countrymen and women in the United States helps the Mexican team feel close to home when they play over the border. He’s all for the melting pot of the US.

“We feel at home [in the United States],” Chicharito said. “We have plenty of Mexicans here, so I don’t know what else to tell you, we feel welcome, we feel glad, happy to be in touch with those people here. They are sacrificing a lot of things, and they are all enjoying their lives that they decide to live in the USA…it’s great. It’s great when you come to another country and you feel like you are home. You see all the stadium green, shouting and screaming your names, screaming your goals, so yeah, it’s great.”

Mexico will play Wales on Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will return home to take on Scotland at Azteca on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

England international Delph expecting child in middle of World Cup

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England international Fabian Delph could face quite the dilemma if England advances past the group stage of the World Cup.

Delph’s wife Natalie is expecting the couple’s third child on June 30, which is two days after their pivotal group stage match against Belgium, and two days before the squad would take the field July 1 for its Round of 16 game should they win Group G. If they finish second in the group, they would play their Round of 16 game on July 3.

When asked what his plans are, Delph joked that his wife would manage on her own. “She’s tough, she’s a Yorkshire lass so she’ll deal with it,” Delph said with a smile.

He then coughed up the truth: they’re not quite sure what the plan is.

“We’re not 100% certain, with a game on the 28th there might be an opportunity to fly back and then get back fast,” he said. “[England manager] Gareth [Southgate] has been fantastic. There’s nothing more important than family to me – family always comes first and always will.”

There’s another dilemma that Southgate must navigate involving Delph. The 28-year-old is a natural winger, but played wing-back in Pep Guardiola‘s title-winning system for much of the year and saw a massive uptick in form in the new role, playing in place of the injured Benjamin Mendy. Southgate must decide where he wants to deploy Delph – if at all – and if he wishes to fit his formation and tactics to mold Delph’s season under Guardiola.

Authorities drop assault charges against Hope Solo

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KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors in Washington state have dropped domestic violence charges against former U.S. national team star goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault in 2014 after police said she assaulted two family members at a home in Kirkland, east of Seattle. The case was delayed by appeals.

KING-TV reports that city prosecutors dropped the charges Wednesday, saying the witnesses in the case wanted to move on with their lives and did not want to participate in a trial. An attorney for Kirkland, Melissa Osman, wrote in court documents that the circumstances were unlikely to be repeated.

The longtime national team goalkeeper and two-time Olympic gold medalist recently ran unsuccessfully for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. She has called for equal pay and equal treatment for the U.S. women’s team.

Mark Hughes signs new long-term contract at Southampton

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Mark Hughes has gone from Stoke City outcast to Southampton savior in little under six months time.

The Welsh boss was let go from Stoke City with the Potters 18th in the table and headed towards eventual relegation, but he was picked up by fellow relegation candidates Southampton after the departure of Mauricio Pellegrino. He steered the club to safety, finishing three points above the drop in 17th.

With the Saints in the top flight for another season, the club has announced the signing of Hughes to a new three-year contract.

“Mark, Eddie and I are thrilled to have signed long-term contracts with the club. It was the only option we considered, having spent the last eight weeks with the club,” Hughes said of himself and his assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki. “Now it is vital that we take the unbelievable support we received from the fans during the last few games into next season. The staff and the players will work hard every day to deliver the success this club deserves, and with everyone pulling together we will achieve our goals.”

Hughes guided Stoke City to three consecutive ninth-placed finishes, the highest the club had ever finished in the English top flight, but they finished 13th last year and regressed even further this campaign. The sale of playmaker Marko Arnautovic was particularly damaging, and the club scored just 35 goals in 38 games as a result.

At Southampton, Hughes took over a club that sat in 17th with just eight matches to go. He lost three Premier League games in a row to start his tenure and only won two league matches with Saints the rest of the way, but managed to keep the club barely afloat.