Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 4

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Goalkeeper:

  • Colorado’s Clint Irwin

Why we like him: There were some great saves from Andy Gruenebaum, and Troy Perkins was solid on the Montreal carpet, but oh my gosh, did you see what Clint Irwin did in L.A. on Saturday? One way traffic the whole time, and the only thing the Galaxy could get past Matt Pickens’ understudy was a spot kick from Mike Magee. Take a bow, youngin’.

Back line:

  • Sporting KC’s Aurelien Collin
  • San Jose’s Nana Attakora
  • Columbus’s Josh Williams

Why we like them: Without his partner in attacking-oppressing crime (Matt Besler), Collin led the KC defense to a clean sheet in New England. Nana Attakora vindicated Frank Yallop’s faith as San Jose kept Seattle off the scoresheet, while Josh Williams’s opening goal at D.C. pushes him ahead of a few other wide men who could have claimed the spot (Jed Brovsky and teammate Tyson Wahl).

Midfield:

  • Montréal’s Patrice Bernier
  • FC Dallas’s Jackson (pictured)
  • Chivas USA’s Edgar Mejia
  • Houston’s Ricardo Clark

Why we like them: Did you see Bernier’s assist on Montréal’s goal? If there was an assist of the week, he’d get it. That man’s your Player of the Month, easy. He may have even been the Player of the Week.

Jackson had a goal and an assist as Dallas stayed atop the West. Josh Saunders is going to have flashbacks of the Brazilian bulldog hounding him for that second goal.

Edgar Meija matched Jackson’s production thanks to a second half rocket that propelled the Goats, while Ricardo Clark’s coverage of the middle and surges toward Vancouver’s right channel eventually paid off with an assist on Houston’s first goal.

Forward:

  • San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski
  • Chivas USA’s Juan Agudelo
  • Montréal’s Marco Di Vaio

Why we like them:  You know those jerks that quote themselves and pretend it’s profound? Well, you’re reading one. Here’s me elsewhere on Wondo:

Good enough to be the Most Valuable Player yet of no use for his national team, “Wondo” is almost the perfect MLS star. He’s not going to be pulled away by qualifiers and at this point, he’s not going to jump to Europe. All he’s going to do is score big goals.

As for the others, correct me if I’m forgetting a performance, but was Sunday Juan Agudelo’s best game in MLSThat was an amazing finish.

As for Di Vaio, I’m still not sure he’s going to put up the goal totals many expect, but week in, week out, the guy’s putting on a clinic in how a forward can contribute without getting on the scoresheet. On Saturday, he just so happened to get the match-winner.

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

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

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.